Ronald Killiany, PhD

Associate Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology

Director, Multimodal Whole Animal Imaging Core



BS, John Carroll University
MA (Psychology), University of Hartford
PhD (Psychology), Northeastern University

Research Interests

Dr. Killiany’s research has been focused on exploring the relationship between brain structure and behavior. To a large extent, the studies have focused on the morphological changes that take place in the brain during aging and disease processes.

Initial work began in his graduate work with developmental studies to determine specific structure/function relationships in the memory system of the non-human primate as a model for human development. This theme continued into his post-doctoral studies of normal aging and cerebrovascular disease using non-human primates, where the focus was been on characterizing cognitive changes.

In collaboration with investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, his studies began using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to assess volumetric changes in the brains of healthy elderly and cognitively-impaired human subjects. As these collaborative studies evolved, functional techniques such as fMRI (functional magnetic resonance images) SPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography), and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning were included.

In recent years, his work has shifted focus to include studies aimed at exploring the value of MRI in predicting which subjects will progress to develop cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease and which will remain cognitively stable.


Selected Publications

  1. Dickerson, B.C., Salat, D.H., Bates, J.F., Atiya, M., Killiany, R.J., Greve, D.N., Dale, A.M., Stern, C.E., Blacker, D., Albert, M.S. & Sperling, R.A. 2004, Medial temporal lobe function and structure in mild cognitive impairment. Annals of Neurology, 56, 27–35.
  2. Atiya, M., Hyman, B.T., Albert, M. & Killiany, R.J. 2003. Structural magnetic resonance imaging in established and prodromal Alzheimer’s disease: A review. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, 17, 177–195.