Professor in the Department of Epidemiology
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 (AD). 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. She is also the PI of an Ethical, Legal and Social Issues grant from the Human Genome Project to develop and pilot educational materials regarding the genetic risk for AD. 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.
Sc.D., 1992, Harvard School of Public Health* M.D., 1984, Harvard Medical School