Neil Kowall, MD (ADC Director)

ADC Director,  Professor of Neurology and Pathology

Neil Kowall

Dr. Neil W. Kowall was born in Calgary, Canada and graduated with his MD from the University of British Columbia in 1979. He moved to Boston for postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital followed by a Neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. After finishing his clinical training, he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship and was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He moved to the VA and Boston University in 1992 where he is currently Professor of Neurology and Pathology, Chief of Neurology at VA Boston Healthcare System, Director of the VA New England Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center and Director of the NIH-funded Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He has published over 120 original reports. His major research interests are human neuroanatomy and neuropathology and the use of animal models to test novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.

Research Interests

Dr. Kowall’s research interests include the following: human neuroanatomy, immunocytochemistry and enzyme histochemistry of the brain, neuropathological basis of neurological disorders, animal models of neurological diseases, geriatric neurology, and cognitive decline in the elderly.

ADC Role

Dr. Kowall is the Principal Investigator and Director of the NIH-funded BU ADC and leads its Administrative Core.  He is also a Co-Principal Investigator for the BU site of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).


Dr. Kowall has received various awards, including the following: two Medical Research Council Studentship awards, the Russel Prize in Anatomy, the Hamber Prize in Medicine, the Bristol Medical Prize in Pharmacology, the Merck Scholarship in Medical Therapeutics, the Mead Prize in Pediatrics, the FIRST Award (R29) from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Moore Award for Best Paper on Clinicopathological Correlation from the American Association of Neuropathologists, two Director’s Special Quality Awards/Commendations from the Bedford VAMC, and the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer’s Association.


Dr. Kowall is also a member of several professional organizations, including the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association of Neuropathologists, the Society for Experimental Neuropathology, the International Society of Neuropathology, the Royal Society of Medicine (U.K.), the American Geriatrics Society, and the American Neurological Association. He was the president of the Boston Society of Neurology and Psychiatry from 1999-2000.

Recent Publications

Peer-reviewed publications of Dr. Kowall’s work include the following (selected from a list of over 120):

Choi JK, Jenkins BG, Carreras I, Kaymakcalan S, Cormier K, Kowall NW, Dedeoglu A. Anti-inflammatory treatment in AD mice protects against neuronal pathology. Exp Neurol. 2010 Jun; 223(2): 377-84. [PDF]

Carreras I, Yuruker S, Aytan N, Hossain L, Choi JK, Jenkins BG, Kowall NW, Dedeoglu A. Moderate exercise delays the motor performance decline in a transgenic model of ALS. Brain Res. 2010 Feb 8; 1313: 192-201. [PDF]

McKee AC, Gavett BE, Stern RA, Nowinski CJ, Cantu RC, Kowall NW, Perl DP, Hedley-Whyte ET, Price B, Sullivan C, Morin P, Lee HS, Kubilus CA, Daneshvar DH, Wulff M, Budson AE. TDP-43 Proteinopathy and Motor Neuron Disease in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2010 Sep; 69(9): 918-29. [PDF]

Aydin C, Aytan N, Mahon MJ, Tawfeek HA, Kowall NW, Dedeoglu A, Bastepe M. Extralarge XL(alpha)s (XXL(alpha)s), a variant of stimulatory G protein alpha-subunit (Gs(alpha)), is a distinct, membrane-anchored GNAS product that can mimic Gs(alpha). Endocrinology. 2008 Aug; 150(8): 3567-75. [PDF]

McKee A, Carreras I, Lokman H, Ryu H, Klein WL, Oddo S, LaFerla FM, Jenkins BG, Kowall NW, Dedeoglu A. Ibuprofen reduces Aβ, hyperphosphorylated tau and memory deficits in Alzheimer mice. Brain Res. 2008 May1; 1207: 225-36. [PDF]

Hanlon EB, Perelman LT, Vitkin EI, Greco FA, McKee AC, Kowall NW.
Scattering Differentiates Alzheimer In vitro. Opt Lett. 2008 Mar 15; 33(6): 624-6. [PDF]

Harper DG, Stopa EG, Kuo-Leblanc V, McKee AC, Asayama K, Volicer L, Kowall NW, Satlin A. Dorsomedial SCN neuronal subpopulations subserve different functions in human dementia. Brain. 2008 Jun; 131(PT 6): 1609-17. [PDF]

Vlad SC, Miller DR, Kowall NW, Felson DT. Protective Effects of NSAIDs on the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurology. 2008 May 6; 70(19): 1672-7. [PDF]

Mellott TJ, Kowall NW, Lopez-Coviella I, Blusztajn JK. Prenatal choline deficiency increases choline transporter expression in the septum and hippocampus during postnatal development and in adulthood in rats. Brain Res. 2007 Jun 2; 1151: 1-11. [PDF]

Stack E, Dedeoglu A, Kowall NW, Cormier K, Jenkins B, Kubulis J, Matson et al. Neuroprotective Effects of Synaptic Modulation in Huntington’s Disease R6/2 Mice. J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 21; 27(47): 12908-15. [PDF]

Klivenyi P, Siwek D, Gardian G, Yang L, Starkov A, Cleren C, Ferrante RJ, Kowall NW, Abeliovich A, Beal MF. Mice lacking alpha- synuclein are resistant to mitochondrial toxins. Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Mar; 21(3): 541-8. [PDF]

Kraytsberg Y, Kudryavtseva E, McKee AC, Geula C, Kowall NW, Khrapko K. Mitochondrial DNA deletions are abundant in neurons of the aged human substantia nigra and are associated with respiratory chain deficiency. Nat Genet. 2006 May; 38(5): 518-20. [PDF]

McKee AC, Au R, Cabral HJ, Kowall NW, Seshadri S, Kubilus CA, Drake J, Wolf PA. Visual Association Pathology in Preclinical Alzheimer Disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2006; 65(6): 621-30. [Abstract/Purchase]

Lee J, Kosaras B, Aleyasin H, Han JA, Park DS, Ratan RR, Kowall NW, Ferrante RJ, Lee SW, Ryu H. Role of cyclooxygenase-2 induction by transcription factor Sp1 and Sp3 in neuronal oxidative and DNA damage response. FASEB J. 2006 Nov; 20(13): 2375-7. [PDF]

McKeon-O’Malley C, Siwek D, Lamoureux JA, Williams CL, Kowall NW. Prenatal choline deficiency decreases the cross-sectional area of cholinergic neurons in the medial septal nucleus. Brain Res. 2003 Jul 11; 977(2): 278-83. [PDF]

Sheridan PL, Solomont J, Kowall N, Hausdorff, JM. Influence of Executive Function on Locomotor Function: Divided Attention Increases Gait Variability in Alzheimer’s Disease. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Nov; 51(11): 1633-37. [PDF]

Albright CD, Siwek DF, Craciunescu CN, Mar MH, Kowall NW, Williams CL, Zeisel SH. Choline availability during embryonic development alters the localization of calretinin in developing and aging mouse hippocampus. Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Apr; 6(2): 129-34. [Abstract/Purchase]

Malin DH, Crithers MK, Lake JR, Goyarzu P, Plotner RE, Garcia, SA. Spell SH, Tomsic BJ, Giordano T, Kowall NW. Hippocampal injections of amyloid beta-peptide 1-40 impair subsequent one-trial/day reward learning. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2001 Sep; 76(2): 125-37. [PDF]