Ira Driscoll

Associate Professor


Ph.D., University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, 2005

Research Interests:

My research is focused on understanding brain changes as early predictors of cognitive deficits and dementia, and the role for hormones and genetic background as modulators of age-related cognitive decline. The function of the hippocampus and the nature of amnesia in aging and Alzheimer's disease are of particular interest. I employ a multi-level investigative approach that combines neurogenetics, neuroimaging and cognitive tasks that allow for cross-species comparisons.

Our lab is currently pursuing the following research objectives:

  • Investigating the nature of genetic risk for age-related cognitive decline, the underlying neural circuitry and dynamics, and the role of hormone treatment as a modifier.
  • Investigating factors that reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Understanding the factors that protect some individuals from impairment and contribute to the maintenance of cognitive health will continue to underlie future efforts.
  • Understanding the function of the hippocampal formation and the anatomical and functional organization of learning and memory, in general, through development of tasks that allow for cross-species comparisons.

Courses Taught:

Psych 254 - Physiological Psychology
Psych 654 - Advanced Physiological Psychology
Psych 680 - Psychology of Aging
Psych 854 - Behavioral Neuroscience

Selected Publications

Driscoll, I., Espeland, M. A., Wassertheil-Smoller, S., Gaussoin, S. A., Ding, J., Granek, I. A., Ockene, J. K., Phillips, L. S., Yaffe, K., & Resnick, S. M. (2011, August). Weight change and cognitive function: findings from the Women's Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 19(8), 1595-600.
Driscoll, I. (2011, June). Asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease: a prodrome or a state of resilience? Driscoll I, Troncoso J. Curr Alzheimer Res.
Driscoll, I. (2011, June). Brain resilience and plasticity in the face of Alzheimer pathology. Curr Alzheimer Res.
Driscoll, I., Davatzikos, C., An, Y., Wu, X., Shen, D., Kraut, M., & Resnick, S. M. (2009, June). Longitudinal pattern of regional brain volume change differentiates normal aging from MCI. Neurology, 72(22), 1906-13.
Driscoll, I., & Resnick, S. M. (2007, February). Testosterone and cognition in normal aging and Alzheimer's disease: an update. Current Alzheimer research, 4(1), 33-45.
Driscoll, I., Resnick, S. M., Troncoso, J. C., An, Y., O'Brien, R., & Zonderman, A. B. (2006, December). Impact of Alzheimer's pathology on cognitive trajectories in nondemented elderly. Annals of neurology, 60(6), 688-95.
Driscoll, I., Hamilton, D. A., Yeo, R. A., Brooks, W. M., & Sutherland, R. J. (2005, March). Virtual navigation in humans: the impact of age, sex, and hormones on place learning. Hormones and behavior, 47(3), 326-35.
Driscoll, I., Howard, S. R., Prusky, G. T., Rudy, J. W., & Sutherland, R. J. (2005, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Seahorse wins all races: hippocampus participates in both linear and non-linear visual discrimination learning. Behavioural brain research, 164(1), 29-35.
Driscoll, I., & Sutherland, R. J. (2005, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). The aging hippocampus: navigating between rat and human experiments. Reviews in the neurosciences, 16(2), 87-121.
Driscoll, I., Sutherland, R. J., Prusky, G. T., & Rudy, J. W. (2004, December). Damage to the hippocampal formation does not disrupt representational flexibility as measured by a novelty transfer test. Behavioral neuroscience, 118(6), 1427-32.
Driscoll, I., Hamilton, D. A., Petropoulos, H., Yeo, R. A., Brooks, W. M., Baumgartner, R. N., & Sutherland, R. J. (2003, December). The aging hippocampus: cognitive, biochemical and structural findings. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 13(12), 1344-51.