Robert A. Stern, Ph.D.

Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at BUSM
Director, BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core

Dr. Robert Stern is Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), where he is Director of the Clinical Core of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center, one of only 30 centers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  A major focus of his research involves the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and the military, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  He recently received a grant from NIH to fund his work on developing methods of detecting and diagnosing CTE during life; this was the first grant for CTE ever funded by NIH (co-funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).  Dr. Stern oversees aspects of clinical research at the CTE Center, including the Brain Donation Registry, the LEGEND study, and the DETECT study.

Dr. Stern’s other areas of funded research include thyroid-brain relationships (funded by the National Institute of Mental Health), the cognitive effects of chemotherapy in the elderly (funded by the National Cancer Institute, with colleagues at Georgetown and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute), driving and dementia (funded by the Alzheimer’s Association), and the assessment and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  He is the principal investigator at BUSM for several clinical trials of  new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Anti-inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT).

Dr. Stern, a neuropsychologist, has published on various aspects of cognitive assessment and is the senior author of many widely used neuropsychological tests and instruments, including the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB).  He has received several NIH and other national and local grants, has published over 200 journal articles, chapters, and abstracts, and is a Fellow of both the American Neuropsychiatric Association and the National Academy of Neuropsychology.  Dr. Stern is a member of the Mackey-White Traumatic Brain Injury Committee of the National Football League Players Association.  He is also a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and is on the Medical Advisory Boards of Sports Legacy Institute and the National Graves’ Disease Foundation.  Dr. Stern has served on several national grant review committees and is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Frontiers in Neurotrauma, and Frontiers in Sports Neurology.

Dr. Stern received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. He completed his neuropsychology internship training at the Boston VA Medical Center, under the supervision of Dr. Edith Kaplan, and his postdoctoral fellowship training in both neuropsychology and psychoneuroendocrinology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. He was on the faculty at UNC from 1990-1993, where he was Associate Director of the NIMH-funded Mental Health Clinical Research Center and Director of the Neurobehavioral Assessment Core. He then joined the faculty at Brown Medical School, where he was Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as Director of Neuropsychology and the Memory and Cognitive Assessment Program at Rhode Island Hospital. While at Brown, Dr. Stern served as the director of the Clinical Neuropsychology Internship Training Program.  In 2004, Dr. Stern joined the Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology as an Associate Professor.

In addition to being a researcher, Dr. Stern is a teacher and mentor.  He plays an active role in both the BUSM neurology residency training program and the geriatrics fellowship training program, and is also a core faculty member for the Alzheimer’s Disease Translational Research Training Program (T32).  He is the research mentor for several graduate students and medical students at BUSM and is the Co-Director of the Behavioral Neurosciences Graduate Program.  Dr. Stern is also a licensed clinical neuropsychologist on staff at Boston Medical Center and is a member of the Boston University Neurology Associates where he specializes in the diagnosis of memory and other cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia, as well as the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma.


Select peer-reviewed publications of Dr. Stern’s work include:

Daneshvar, D.H., Baugh, C.M., Nowinski, C.J., McKee, A.C., Stern, R.A., & Cantu, R.C. (2011). Helmets and mouth guards:  The role of personal equipment in preventing sport-related concussions. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 30, 145-163. [PDF]

Gavett, B.E., Stern, R.A., & McKee, A.C. (2011). Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A potential late effect of sport-related concussive and subconcussive head trauma. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 30, 179-188. [PDF]

Nair, A., Gavett, B.E., Damman, M., Dekker, W., Green, R.C., Mandel, A., Auerbach, S., Steinberg, E., Hubbard, E., and Stern, R.A. (2010). Clock Drawing Test ratings by practicing dementia specialists: Inter-rater reliability and diagnostic accuracy.  Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 22, 85-92. [PDF]

McKee, A.C., Gavett, B.E., Stern, R.A., Nowinski, C.J., Cantu, R.C., Kowall, N.W., Perl, D., Hedley-Whyte, E.T., Price, B., Sullivan, C., Morin, P., Lee, H.S., Kubilus, C.A., Daneshvar, D., Wulff, M., & Budson, A.E. (2010). TDP-43 proteinopathy and motor neuron disease in chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 69, 918-929. [PDF]

Gavett BE, Ozonoff A, Doktor V, Palmisano J, Nair AK, Green RC, Jefferson AL, Stern RA. (2010). Predicting cognitive decline and conversion to Alzheimer’s disease in older adults using the NAB List Learning test. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16, 651-660. [PDF]

Gavett, B.E., Stern, R.A., Cantu, R.C., Nowinski, C.J., & McKee, A.C. (2010). Mild traumatic brain injury: A risk factor for neurodegeneration. Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, 2, 18-21.

Eggermont, L.H., Gavett, B.E., Volkers, K.M., Blankevoort, C.G., Scherder, E.J., Jefferson, A.L., Steinberg, E., Nair, A., Green, R.C., & Stern, R.A. (2010). Lower extremity function in normal cognitive aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 584-588. [PDF]

McKee, A.C., Cantu, R.C., Nowinski, C.J., Hedley-Whyte, E.T., Lee, H.S., Kubilus, C.A., Gavett, B.E., Romero, R., Budson, A.E., Ryu, H., Santini, V.E., & Stern, R.A. (2009). Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in athletes: Progressive tauopathy following repetitive concussion. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 68¸709-735.

Gavett, B.E., Poon, S.J., Ozonoff, A., Jefferson, A.L., Nair, A.K., Green, R.C., and Stern, R.A. (2009). Diagnostic utility of a list learning test in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15, 121-129. [PDF]

D’Ambrosio, L.A., Coughlin, J.F., Mohyde, M., Carruth, A., Hunter, J.D., & Stern, R.A.(2009).  Caregiver communications and the transition from driver to passenger among people with dementia.  Geriatric Rehabilitation, 25, 34–43.

Chung, W.W., Chen, C.A., Cupples, L.A., Roberts, J.S., Hiraki, S.C., Nair, A.K., Green, R.C., & Stern, R.A. (2009). A new scale measuring psychological impact of genetic susceptibility testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, 23, 50-56. . [PDF]

Ashendorf, L., Jefferson, A.L., Green, R.C., & Stern, R.A. (2009).  Test-retest stability on the WRAT-3 Reading subtest in geriatric cognitive evaluations.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 31, 605-610.

Stern, R.A., D’Ambrosio, L.A., Mohyde, M., Carruth, A., Tracton-Bishop, B., Hunter, J.D., Daneshvar, D.H., & Coughlin, J.F. (2008). At the Crossroads: Development and evaluation of a dementia caregiver group intervention to assist in driving cessation. Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, 29, 363-382.

Posternak, M.A., Novak, S.P., Stern, R.A., Hennessey, J.V., Joffe, R., Prange, A.J. Jr, & Zimmerman, M. (2008). A pilot effectiveness study: placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive L-triiodothyronine (T3) used to accelerate and potentiate the antidepressant response.The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 11, 15-25. [PDF]

Hubbard EJ, Santini, V, Blankevoort CG, Volkers, KM, Barrup, MS, Byerly L, Chaisson C, Jefferson AL, Kaplan, E, Green, RC, Stern RA. (2008). Clock Drawing Performance in Cognitively Normal Elderly. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 23, 295-327. [PDF]

Davis, J.D., Podolanczuk, A., Donahue, J.E., Stopa, E., Hennessey, J.V., Luo, L.G., Lim, Y-P., & Stern, R.A. (2008).  Thyroid hormone levels in the prefrontal cortex of post-mortem brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.  Current Aging Science, 1, 175-181.

Ashendorf A. Jefferson AL, O’Connor MK, Chaisson C, Green RC, & Stern, RA. (2008). Trail Making Test errors in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia.Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 23, 129-137. [PDF]

Ashendorf, L., Jefferson, A.L., Green, R.C., & Stern, R.A. (2008).  Test-retest stability on the WRAT-3 Reading subtest in geriatric cognitive evaluations.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.

Ropacki, S.A.L., Bert, A.A., Ropacki, M.T., Rogers, B.L., & Stern, R.A. (2007). The influence of cognitive reserve on neuropsychological functioning after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 73-85. [PDF]

Jefferson, A.L., Wong, S., Gracer, T.S. Ozonoff, A., Green, R.C., & Stern, R.A. (2007). Geriatric performance on an abbreviated version of the Boston Naming Test. Applied Neuropsychology, 14, 215-223. [PDF]

View Dr. Robert A. Stern’s CV