Roberta Brinton

Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Director of UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science - UAHS

Dr. Brinton is the Director of the UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science and Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, College of MedicinE - Tucson. Her research is focused on the mechanisms underlying late-onset Alzheimer’s and developing therapeutics to prevent, delay and cure the disease. Her discovery research program focuses on systems biology of: 1) Mechanisms underlying risk of Alzheimer’s during female brain aging; 2) Sex differences in mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s and 3) Regeneration and repair mechanisms to regenerate the Alzheimer’s brain. She has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has authored 29 book chapters and invited reviews and has delivered more than 250 invited presentations worldwide. She holds multiple patents, has co-founded two biotech companies, mentored 22 graduate students, 10 postdoctoral fellows and 56 STAR students. Her research is supported by an NIA Program Project, a NIA R37 MERIT Award, 4 R01s, UF1, and two training grants (T32 and R25). 

Dr. Brinton has received numerous awards and recognition for her research and STEM education initiatives and has appeared in over 100 media outlets, including national and international broadcasts. Her awards include: “Scientist of the Year” by Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, “Woman of the Year” by the California State Senate, “Science Educator of the Year” by the Society for Neuroscience, Los Angeles Magazine “Woman of the Year”, and U.S. News & World Report’s “Ten Best Minds”. For her outstanding work in promoting STEM careers among students of color, President Barack Obama presented her with one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, the Presidential Citizens Medal.

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Education & Post Graduate Training: 

MA, Psychology & Biology, University of Arizona, 1981
PhD, Neuropharmacology and Psychobiology, University of Arizona, 1984
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Rockefeller University (New York), 1984-1988

Professional Organizations: 

NIH Advisory Committee to the Director - Member, 2019-Present
Scientific Advisory Board of National Institute on Aging, 2019-Present
National Institute on Aging M2OVE AD Advisory Panel, 2018
Co-Chair and Reviewer: Translational Research Program, National Institute on Aging: Division of Neuroscience, 2018
Member of the Public Education and Communication Committee (PECC), 2016-2019
Board of Governors, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, New York, NY, 2015-Present
Chair, Medical & Scientific Advisory Council Alzheimer’s Association, Los Angeles, CA, 2014-Present
Member, NIH Center for Scientific Review Advisory Council, 2013-2017
Member Society for Neuroscience, Committee on Committees, 2013-2016
National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Advisory Board, 2010
Member, Alzforum Scientific Advisory Board, 2009-2013
Member, NIMH IRP Board of Scientific Councilors, NIH, 2009-2013
Member, Society for Neuroscience Board of Councilors, 2008-2011
NIH Blueprint Initiative on K‑12 Activities, 2008
NIH Blue Ribbon Panel on National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Programs, 2007-2008
External Advisory Board NIH/NIA Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, 2005-2009
Member, Scientific Review Board of Alzheimer’s Drug Development Foundation, NY, 1999-Present

Select Publications


Bacon ER, Mishra A, Wang Y, Desai MK, Yin F, Brinton RDiaz. "Neuroendocrine aging precedes perimenopause and is regulated by DNA methylation." Neurobiol. Aging. 2019;74:213-224. PMID: 30497015
Patanwala AE, Norwood C, Steiner H, et al. "Psychological and Genetic Predictors of Pain Tolerance." Clin Transl Sci. 2019;12(2):189-195. PMCID: PMC6440569  PMID: 30468309


Geifman N, Kennedy RE, Schneider LS, Buchan I, Brinton RDiaz. "Data-driven identification of endophenotypes of Alzheimer's disease progression: implications for clinical trials and therapeutic interventions." Alzheimers Res Ther. 2018;10(1):4. PMCID: PMC6389228  PMID: 29370871


Mosconi L, Berti V, Quinn C, et al. "Sex differences in Alzheimer risk: Brain imaging of endocrine vs chronologic aging." Neurology. 2017;89(13):1382-1390. PMCID: PMC5652968  PMID: 28855400


Brinton RD, Yao J, Yin F, Mack WJ, Cadenas E. "Perimenopause as a neurological transition state." Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2015;11(7):393-405. PMID: 26007613


Brinton RD. "Neurosteroids as regenerative agents in the brain: therapeutic implications." Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013;9(4):241-50. PMID: 23438839