UF Women of Neuro

In July 2021, we began highlighting some of the incredible women leading our research initiatives at the McKnight Brain Institute. Check out some of our fearless leaders below!

Director of the Center for Addiction Research & Education

Dr. Sara Jo Nixon

Dr. Nixon is a clinical researcher in the area of substance abuse and dependence. Due to the complex nature of substance abuse, her work uses comprehensive behavioral assessments including neuropsychological testing, brain electrophysiology, and clinical research interviews.

Sara Jo Nixon, director of the center for Addiction Research & Education: "To me, true leadership means not backing down when faced with persistent challenges and modeling that perseverance. It means welcoming difficult questions and encouraging critical thinking in order to build a foundation that will lead us to exceptional innovation. Ultimately, success comes from meeting your own expectations — take time to know what those expectations are."

Director of the Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network (PeCAN)

Dr. Catherine Price

Dr. Price’s research is devoted to studying the neuropsychology of older adults with and without dementia and neuroanatomical dissociates on older adults’ cognitive functioning and cognitive change.

portrait of Dr. price next to a body of text that reads: "It’s imperative that we create new opportunities for the younger generation of diverse researchers. We can do this by encouraging them to be creative, to discuss their views and to build bridges with others. We can model how to stay persistent and teach them the value of strong communication skills in advancing their research."

interim chair of UF’s department of psychiatry

Dr. Carol Mathews

Dr. Mathews is a renowned clinician and translational researcher in the areas of obsessive-compulsive disorder, tics and anxiety disorders.

mathews smiles in her office in front of a multi

Co-Director of UF’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dr. Malú Gámez Tansey

Dr. Tansey’s research explores the role and regulation of neuroinflammatory and immune system responses in modulating the gene-environment interactions that determine risk for development and progression of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease.

Doctor Tansey is our next Women of Neuro

Associate Director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory

Dr. Sara Burke

Dr. Burke’s research investigates mechanisms of cognition and determining how diet and metabolic function can increase resilience to memory loss in aging and disease. To answer these questions, her lab integrates data across multiple levels of analysis that includes neurophysiology, gene expression, anatomy and behavioral assays.

Photo of doctor Sara Burke next to a graphic that reads, "University of Florida: Women of Neuro. ""It is incredibly important for researchers in the neurobiology of aging field to foster an interest among trainees from marginalized groups and first-generation students. There is still a lot of progress to be made to understand and treat cognitive aging. Our field will be better equipped to tackle unsolved problems if we are listening to a broad range of diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives." - Sara Burke, p-h-D, Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory

Associate Director of UF’s Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence

Dr. Yenisel Cruz-Almeida

Dr. Cruz-Almeida’s research is focused on understanding age-related pain perception and modulation in humans. Her research examines nervous system factors contributing to the observed inter-individual differences in pain phenotypes and its functional consequences including cognitive and mobility impairments.

“Building your perseverance and resilience are key to becoming a great scientist. When you fail, whether it’s an experiment or a beautiful grant proposal you’ve been working tirelessly on, you have to persevere and know that your worth is not determined by your failure.”

Director of UF’s Center for NeuroGenetics

Dr. Laura Ranum

Dr. Ranum’s research focuses on the role of Repeat Associated Non-ATG  (RAN) translation, RNA gain of function and protein gain of function in repeat expansion disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) types 5 and 8, myotonic dystrophy (DM) types 1 and 2 and Huntington’s disease (HD).

photo of doctor ranum in her lab

Former Chair of UF’s Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Regina Bussing

Dr. Bussing currently holds the position of professor and chief of faculty development in the department of psychiatry at UF. Her research expertise spans mental health services, measure development, pharmaco-epidemiology, psychotherapy intervention, and clinical pharmacology trials research.

photo of doctor bussing in her office

Chair of UF’s Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Jennifer Bizon

Dr. Jennifer Bizon is a professor and chair of the department of neuroscience. Her research is broadly focused on understanding brain aging and its implications for cognitive function. She participates in the training of medical students, graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral fellows.

"Being a leader in this field provides an opportunity to help pave the way for the next generation of female scientists. It's so important to have examples of female leadership, not only to have diverse voices in the room, but also to show that it is possible to balance work and family life."