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Lisa Opanashuk
Title: Program Director
Office(s): Division of Neuroscience (DN)
Phone Number: 301-827-5422
Email Address:


Dr. Lisa Opanashuk is the Program Director for Pathobiology of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and AD related dementias (ADRD) research in the Neurobiology of Aging and Neurodegeneration Branch in the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Prior to joining NIA in 2017, Dr. Opanashuk worked as a Program Manager for neurodegenerative diseases in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development (R&D) in the Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences R&D Services.

Dr. Opanashuk received her B.S. in neuroscience and Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Rochester. Lisa then completed postdoctoral fellowship research at the University of Kentucky on neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration, and at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on the impact of environmental exposures on peripheral neurodegeneration. Before joining the VA in 2014, Lisa spent 14 years on faculty at the University of Rochester School of Medicine where her research focused on environmental risk factors for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases/disorders.

Research Interests/Portfolio

  • Etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD), including disease progression and mechanisms underlying AD pathobiology
  • Neuroinflammation: microglia, astrocytes, and inflammatory factors influencing neurodegeneration in AD
  • Biochemical, cellular, and molecular genetic analyses of the role of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and other abnormal structures in AD pathology
  • Basic science on the role aging in frontotemporal lobe dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, and vascular contributions in dementia
  • Role of traumatic brain injury in AD/ADRD pathogenesis
  • Environmental risk factors (exposome) for AD/ADRD
  • Basic science related to AD/ADRD neuropathology in Down’s syndrome

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