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Angela L. Jefferson, Ph.D.

Biographical sketch

Dr. Angela Jefferson is Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University, Director of the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimers Center (, and a clinical neuropsychologist with over 15 years of experience studying risk factors associated with unhealthy cognitive aging, including mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease. She has received multiple NIH and foundation research awards, as principal investigator including a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32), Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Womens Health Award (K12),Small Grant Program Award (R03), Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award in Aging (K23), Alzheimers Association National Research Award, an Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T32), Research Project Grant Award (R01), and Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24).

Research Summary

Dr. Jeffersons research program focuses on understanding relations between cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health, including hemodynamics, and the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of Alzheimers disease and related disorders. Her research activities center on three specific areas (1) cardiac function and brain aging, (2) alterations in vascular biology and brain aging, and (3) cerebrovascular changes, white matter degradation, and brain aging. The primary focus of Dr. Jeffersons research program examines relations between cardiac function and blood flow to the brain and the impact of subclinical cardiac dysfunction on brain aging and Alzheimers disease pathophysiology. She was the first to publish evidence that low normal levels of cardiac index correlate with smaller brain volumes and the first to report reductions in cardiac index increase the risk of incident Alzheimers disease among older adults. Her research initiatives are supported by a combination of NIH and foundation funding mechanisms. For more information on Dr. Jeffersons research interests, please visit her Centers website at