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Angela L. Jefferson, PhD

Director, Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer
Professor of Neurology, Psychology, & Psychiatry

Dr. Angela L. Jefferson is Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University, Director of the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center (, and a clinical neuropsychologist with over 15 years of experience studying risk factors associated with unhealthy cognitive aging, including mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Jefferson’s research program focuses on understanding relations between cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health, including hemodynamics, and the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Her research activities are based 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. Jefferson’s research program examines relations between cardiac function and blood flow to the brain and the impact of subclinical cardiac dysfunction on brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology. Dr. Jefferson’s clinical interests include general medical neuropsychology and geriatric neuropsychology with expertise in differentiating mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease from normal cognitive aging. For more information, please visit the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center website at

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Jefferson AL, Gifford KA, Acosta LM, Bell SP, Donahue MJ, Davis LT, Gottlieb J, Gupta DK, Hohman TJ, Lane EM, Libon DJ, Mendes LA, Niswender K, Pechman KR, Rane S, Ruberg FL, Su YR, Zetterberg H, Liu D. The Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project: Study design and baseline cohort overview. J Alzheimer’s Dis, 2016; 52(2):539-559. PMC4866875.

Jefferson AL, Beiser AS, Himali JJ, Seshadri S, O’Donnell CJ, Manning WJ, Wolf PA, Au R, Benjamin EJ. Low cardiac index is associated with incident dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation, 2015; 131(15):1333-1339. PMC4398627.


Hohman TJ, Bell SP, Jefferson AL for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The role of vascular endothelial growth factor in neurodegeneration and cognitive decline: Exploring interactions with biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA Neuro, 2015; 72(5):520-529. PMC4428948.


Hohman TJ, Liu D, Samuels LR, Gifford KA, Mukherjee S, Benson EM, Abel T, Ruberg FL, Jefferson AL for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Stroke risk interacts with Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers on brain aging outcomes. Neurobiol Aging, 2015; 36(9):2501-2508. PMC4523400.


Jefferson AL, Gifford KA, Damon SM, Chapman IV GW, Liu D, Sparling J, Dobromyslin V, Salat D for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Gray and white matter tissue contrast differentiates mild cognitive impairment converters and non-converters. Brain Imag Behav, 2015; 9(2):141-148. PMC4146750.


Gifford KA, Liu D, Badaracco M, Tripodis Y, Gentile A, Lu Z, Palmisano J, Jefferson AL. Blood pressure and cognition among older adults: Results from a meta-analysis. Arch Clin Neuropsych, 2013; 28(7):649-664. PMC3807830.


Jefferson AL, Himali JJ, Au R, Seshadri S, DeCarli C, O’Donnell CJ, Wolf PA, Manning WJ, Beiser AS, Benjamin EJ.  Relation of left ventricular ejection fraction to cognitive aging (from the Framingham Heart Study). Amer J Cardio, 2011; 108(9):1346-1351. PMC3204899.


Jefferson AL, Massaro JM, Beiser AS, Seshadri S, Larson MG, Wolf PA, Au R, Benjamin EJ.  Inflammatory markers and neuropsychological functioning: The Framingham Heart Study.  Neuroepi. 2011; 37(1):21-30. PMC3142099.


Jefferson AL, Holland CM, Tate DF, Csapo I, Poppas A, Cohen RA, Guttmann CRG. Atlas-derived perfusion correlates of white matter hyperintensities in patients with reduced cardiac output. Neurobiol Aging, 2011; 32(1):133-139. PMC2889176.


Jefferson AL, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, Au R, Massaro JM, Seshadri S, Gona P, Salton CJ, DeCarli C, O’Donnell CJ, Benjamin EJ, Wolf PA, Manning WJ. Cardiac index is associated with brain aging: The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation, 2010; 122(7):690-697. PMC2929763.


Jefferson AL, Massaro JM, Larson MG, Wolf PA, Au R, Kathiresan S, Seshadri S, Lipinska I, Meigs JB, Keaney Jr. JF, Vasan RS, Benjamin EJ, DeCarli C. Inflammatory biomarkers are associated with total brain volume: The Framingham Heart Study. Neurology, 2007; 68(13):1032-1038. PMC2758770.


Jefferson AL, Tate DF, Poppas A, Brickman AM, Paul RH, Gunstad J, Cohen RA. Lower cardiac output is associated with greater white matter hyperintensities in older adults with cardiovascular disease. J Amer Geri Society, 2007; 55(7):1044-1048. PMC2721459.