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Qu (Teresa) TIAN

Qu Tian
Title: Associate Scientist
Office(s): Longitudinal Studies Section (LSS)
Phone Number: 410-558-8232
Email Address:


Dr. Qu (Teresa) Tian is an Associate Scientist in the Translational Gerontology Branch. Trained in neuroepidemiology, aging, and kinesiology, her research centers on the interface between motor function, cognition, and the central nervous system in aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. At the NIA, she establishes a key collaboration between the neuroimaging and cognitive assessment resources of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience within the Longitudinal Studies Section of the Translational Gerontology Branch. She is the recipient of the Women Scientist Advisors NIA Excellence in Scientific Research Award and the Winner of the NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence. Dr. Tian received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh and her M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She conducted postdoctoral work at the NIA.

Research Interests/Portfolio

Dr. Tian has a long-standing interest in brain aging and its interface with movement and energy metabolism. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on identifying early phenotypes of brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases and unveiling the underlying mechanisms. Early phenotypes and biomarkers can identify individuals at risk of accelerated brain aging and developing neurodegenerative diseases and design preventive strategies to preserve brain function and prevent cognitive decline. Dr. Tian establishes a line of research elucidating the complex relation between motor function and brain aging using data from observational studies across the US and Europe. She primarily focuses on cognitive and neuroimaging outcomes, such as brain volumes by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), microstructural integrity by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) markers. She has investigated mitochondria-related markers, including blood-based biomarkers, to understand mechanisms underlying physical and cognitive decline. She also works on sensor-based accelerometry data to identify phenotypes in real life and sensory function related to both brain health and motor function in aging.

Selected Publications

  1. Tian Q, An Y, Kitner-Triolo MH, Davatzikos C, Studenski SA, Ferrucci L, Resnick SM. (In press). Neurology. Associations of Olfaction with Longitudinal Trajectories of Brain Volumes and Neuropsychological Function in Older Adults.
  2. Tian Q, Mitchell BA, Zampino M, Fishbein KW, Spencer RG, Ferrucci L. Muscle mitochondrial energetics predicts mobility decline in well‐functioning older adults: The baltimore longitudinal study of aging. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb;21(2):e13552. doi: 10.1111/acel.13552. Epub 2022 Jan 20. PubMed PMID: 35048491; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8844110
  3. Tian Q, Studenski SA, Montero-Odasso M, Davatzikos C, Resnick SM, Ferrucci L. Cognitive and neuroimaging profiles of older adults with dual decline in memory and gait speed. Neurobiology of Aging. 2021 Jan;97:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.10.002. Epub 2020 Oct 9. PubMed PMID: 33152563.
  4. Tian Q, Pilling LC, Atkins JL, Melzer D, Ferrucci L. The relationship of parental longevity with the aging brain-results from UK Biobank. GeroScience. 2020 Oct;42(5):1377-1385. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00227-8. Epub 2020 Jul 15. PubMed PMID: 32671621; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7525531.
  5. Tian Q, Resnick SM, Mielke MM, Yaffe K, Launer LJ, Jonsson PV, Grande G, Welmer AK, Laukka EJ, Bandinelli S, Cherubini A, Rosano C, Kritchevsky SB, Simonsick EM, Studenski SA, Ferrucci L. Association of Dual Decline in Memory and Gait Speed With Risk for Dementia Among Adults Older Than 60 Years: A Multicohort Individual-Level Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open. 2020 Feb 5;3(2):e1921636. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.21636. PubMed PMID: 32083691; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7043189.
  6. Tian Q, Chastan N, Bair WN, Resnick SM, Ferrucci L, Studenski SA. The brain map of gait variability in aging, cognitive impairment and dementia-A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2017 Mar;74(Pt A):149-162. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.01.020. Epub 2017 Jan 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 28115194; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5303129.


Complete list of Dr. Tian’s publications.

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