Deborah Blacker

Professor in the Department of Epidemiology

Department of Epidemiology

149 13th Street
Psychiatry/Gerontology 149-2691 Mass General Hospital East
Charlestown, MA 02129-2000
Phone: 617.726.5571

Other Affiliations:

Professor of Psychiatry, HMS


Dr. Blacker is Deputy Chair and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is a geriatric psychiatrist and epidemiologist based at Mass General Hospital, where she directs the Gerontology Research Unit and serves Associate Chief for Research in the Department of Psychiatry. Her work focuses on the epidemiology, genetics, assessment, and early recognition of Alzheimer’s disease, and she serves as co-leader of the Education and Clinical Cores for the Mass Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and leader of the Analytic Core for the Harvard Aging Brain Study investigating earliest brain changes in Alzheimer’s disease. She is involved in multiple local and national studies regarding Alzheimer’s disease genetics and epidemiology, and leads the AlzRisk project to develop a curated online catalog of Alzheimer risk factor studies ( She is also actively involved in teaching and methodologic research at HSPH, where she co-directs the Psychiatric Epidemiology concentration and teaches a course on assessment methods in psychiatric epidemiologic research. She served on the DSM-5 Neurocognitive Disorders Workgroup, and the American Psychiatric Association’s Workgroup to Revise the Practice Guideline for Dementia.


Sc.D., 1992, Harvard School of Public Health* M.D., 1984, Harvard Medical School

Selected papers:

  1. Blacker D, Bertram L, Saunders AJ, Moscarillo TJ, Albert MS, Wiener W, Perry RT, Collins JS, Harrell LE, Go RCP, Mahoney A, Beaty T, Fallin MD, Avramopoulos D, Chase GA, Folstein MF, McInnis MG, Bassett SS, 4. Doheny KJ, Pugh EW, Tanzi RE. Results of a high resolution genome screen of 437 Alzheimer’s disease families. Hum Molec Genet 2003; 12:23-32. (an Alzheimer Research Forum Milestone paper)
  2. Lange C, Blacker D, Laird NM. Family-based association tests for survival and times-to-onset analysis, Statistics in Medicine 2004; 23:179-89.
  3. Blacker Mild Cognitive Impairment: no benefit from Vitamin E, little from donepezil [editorial]. New Engl J Med 2005; 352:2439-41
  4. Bertram L, McQueen MB, Mullin K, Blacker D, Tanzi RE. Systematic meta-analyses of Alzheimer disease genetic association studies: the AlzGene Database. Nat Genet 2007; 39:17-23
  5. Dickerson BC, Sperling RA, Hyman BT, Albert MS, Blacker Clinical Prediction of Alzheimer Disease Dementia Across the Spectrum of Mild Cognitive Impairment. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2007; 64:1443-1450
  6. Power MC, Weuve J, Gagne JJ, McQueen MB, Viswanathan A, Blacker The association between blood pressure and incident Alzheimer disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Epidemiology 2011; 22:646-659. PMCID: PMC3640480.
  7. Swanson DM, Blacker D, AlChawa T, Ludwig K, Mangold E, Lange C. Properties of permutation-based gene tests and controlling type 1error using a summary statistic based gene test. BMC Genetics 2013 Nov 7;14(1):108. PMCID: PMC3831057
  8. O’Brien J, Jackson J, Grodstein F, Blacker D*; Weuve J* Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy is Not Associated with Risk of All-Cause Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: A New Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Epidemiol Rev 2013 Sep 15 [Epub ahead of print] (*contributed equally). PMCID: PMC3873843
  9. Jackson JW, Schneeweiss S, VanderWeele TJ, Blacker D. Quantifying the role of adverse events in the mortality difference between first and second-generation antipsychotics in older adults: systematic review and meta-synthesis. PLoS One 2014; 9:e105376. PMCID: PMC4139353.
  10. Sajeev G, Weuve J, Jackson JW, VanderWeele TJ, Bennett DA, Grodstein F, Blacker D. Late-life cognitive activity and dementia: a systematic review and bias analysis. Epidemiology 2016 May 25. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27227783


Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography: