Melissa completed her undergraduate training in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her graduate training in clinical psychology at the University of Arizona. Supported by an NIA-funded T32 institutional training grant, Melissa completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on how patients and their families cope with serious or chronic illness. Melissa started her NIH career in 2001 as a Program Official in the Behavioral and Integrative Research Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), managing programs on behavioral and social interventions for treatment of drug abuse focused on adolescents, couples, and families. In 2007, Melissa joined the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), serving as Chief of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Branch until joining NIA in 2023. During her 16 years at NIDCR, Melissa and colleagues developed resources to support scientists conducting behavioral or social intervention research, including establishing funding opportunities, policies, and expert consensus that appreciate the unique challenges of behavioral and social intervention research. In addition, Melissa is a long-time collaborator with NIA and other NIH institutes, centers, and offices in advocating for a mechanisms-focused approach to intervention research, including contributing to the NIH Common Fund Science of Behavior Change program.
Melissa Riddle directs an intervention research program focused on behavioral and social interventions relevant to caregiving, including interventions meant to support individuals with cognitive impairment and the people who care for them. This program is situated in the Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research, at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The program supports rigorous intervention development guided by the NIH Stage Model, with the ultimate goals of developing effective interventions that meet the needs of the individuals and/or communities for which they are developed, and that can be implemented where they are needed.