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Research Areas

The National Institute on Aging’s commitment to the systematic study of the aging brain began with its establishment in 1974, and its support of neuroscience research, including research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has increased dramatically since then. The NIA legislative mandate provides specific authority to support research on AD, establish AD research centers, conduct clinical trials for the treatment of AD, and promote research on the etiology, treatment, and diagnosis of AD.

Among the many age-related impairments that lead to institutional care, those related to changes in brain functioning have the most significant implications for public policy and priorities for further research. Changes in the brain, especially those that affect sensory, motor, sleep, cognitive, and emotional functioning, profoundly influence the quality of life of older individuals. Reduced functional capacity not only limits independence but also influences the attitudes of others toward the aging person, affects the individual’s self-image, and often determines the nature and quality of health-care services.

Through its investment in neuroscience research, NIA is committed not only to solving the problems of dementias of old age, but also to further understanding of the normally aging brain.

Within the NIA, the Division of Neuroscience fosters and supports extramural and collaborative research and training to further the understanding of neural and behavioral processes associated with the aging brain. An area of special emphasis is brain-behavior relationships. An important component of this Division is the support of basic, clinical, and epidemiological studies of AD and related dementias of aging.

Overall, the Division supports a broad spectrum of research aimed at elucidating how the central nervous system and behavior are affected by normal as well as pathological aging. An emerging focus is how the processes of aging and age-related cognitive decline intersect with the development of AD and other dementias of aging. The basic theme throughout the Division is to understand the aging nervous system in order to foster the maintenance of health and improve the quality of life of the older population.

Division of Neuroscience Branches

Office of the Division Director

Eliezer Masliah, M.D.
Director, Division of Neuroscience
Email Eliezer Masliah

Jennie Larkin, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Email Jennie Larkin

Jean Tiong-Koehler, Ph.D.
Special Assistant to the Division Director
Email Jean Tiong-Koehler

Toni Salazar
Financial Analyst
Email Toni Salazar

Donna Weaver
Extramural Program Office Manager
Email Donna Weaver

Lakeisha Carroll
Staff Assistant
Email Lakeisha Carroll

Sarita Chapman-Olley
Extramural Scientist Administrator
Email Sarita Chapman-Olley

Office for Strategic Development and Partnerships

Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D.
Director, Office for Strategic Development and Partnerships
Email Suzana Petanceska

Erika Tarver, M.S.M
Senior Project Manager
Email Erika Tarver

Learn more about the Office for Strategic Development and Partnerships.