Deborah Blacker, M.D., Sc.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Dr. Blacker is a geriatric psychiatrist with a doctoral degree in genetic epidemiology, and serves as Director of the Gerontology Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her primary work concerns the clinical and genetic epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease. She is extensively involved in efforts to locate genes that contribute to AD risk, including several different projects to collect, evaluate, and follow clinical samples for the study of AD genetics. She is the psychiatrist for the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, where she helped to establish an AD Genetic Counseling Unit.

In parallel with her efforts to identify AD genes, she works with a group based at the Harvard School of Public Health to develop new methods for the genetic study of complex diseases, including family-based association tests and methods to estimate the magnitude of genetic risk. Last, she has recently become the principal investigator of a program project on the clinical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging phenomenology of prodromal AD, and the genetic and environmental risk factors affecting the transition from mild memory difficulties to frank AD.

Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Longitudinal Study of AD Genotypes

This study draws on a unique community-based longitudinal cohort of 378 subjects who span the range of impairment between normal aging and mild Alzheimer's disease (AD). This research focuses on two key steps to find AD genes and to understand their impact.

2006
$100,000

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Bertram L, Schjeide BM, Hooli B, Mullin K, Hiltunen M, Soininen H, Ingelsson M, Lannfelt L, Blacker D, Tanzi RE., No association between CALHM1 and Alzheimer's disease risk., Cell, 135(6), Dec 12 2008, 993-4
Bertram L, Lange CL, Mullin K, Parkinson M, Hsiao M, Hogan MF,  Schjeide BMM, Hooli B, DeVito J, Ionita I, Jiang H, Laird N, Moscarillo T, Ohlsen KL, Elliott K, Wang X, Hu-Lince D, Ryder M, Murphy A, Wagner SL, Blacker D, Becker KD, Tanzi RE., Genome-wide Association Analysis Reveals Putative Alzheimer's Disease Susceptibility Loci in Addition to APOE, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 83, November 2008, 623-632
McQueen MB, Bertram L, Lange C, Becker KD, Albert MS, Tanzi RE, Blacker D., Exploring Candidate Gene Associations with Neuropsychological Performance., Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 144(8), 2007, 987-91