Keenan Walker, Ph.D.


Multimodal Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) Unit


251 Bayview Boulevard
Room 04B316
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

Dr. Walker's research program focuses on understanding the role of abnormal immune function and inflammation in Alzheimer's disease and late-life cognitive decline. He uses proteomic and genetic methods, brain-derived extracellular vesicles, and multimodal neuroimaging to investigate the link between chronic systemic inflammation, neuroinflammation, and neurologic endpoints using data from ongoing cohort studies, including the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), and the BIOCARD Study. Other areas of research focus include understanding the mechanisms leading to cognitive decline following critical illness and major infection, and evaluating how middle- and late-life vascular risk factors relate to dementia risk and structural brain changes.

Dr. Walker is the director of the Multimodal Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND) Unit within the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience.


Dr. Walker received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from St. John's University. He completed his pre-doctoral internship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of California San Diego / VA San Diego Healthcare System before beginning an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in age-related cognitive disorders. He began as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins in 2019 and soon after received funding for an NIH K23 career development award to study systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease. In 2020 he joined NIA's Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience as a Tenure-Track Investigator.

Selected Publications

  1. Walker KA, Chen J, Shi L, Yang Y, Fornage M, Zhou L, Schlosser P, Surapaneni A, Grams ME, Duggan MR, Peng Z, Gomez GT, Tin A, Hoogeveen RC, Sullivan KJ, Ganz P, Lindbohm JV, Kivimaki M, Nevado-Holgado AJ, Buckley N, Gottesman RF, Mosley TH, Boerwinkle E, Ballantyne CM, Coresh J. Proteomics analysis of plasma from middle-aged adults identifies protein markers of dementia risk in later life. Sci Transl Med. 2023;15(705):eadf5681.
  2. Walker KA, Chen J, Zhang J, Fornage M, Yang Y, Zhou L, Grams ME, Tin A, Daya N, Hoogeveen RC, Wu A, Sullivan KJ, Ganz P, Zeger SL, Gudmundsson EF, Emilsson V, Launer LJ, Jennings LL, Gudnason V, Chatterjee N, Gottesman RF, Mosley TH, Boerwinkle E, Ballantyne CM, Coresh J. Large-scale plasma proteomic analysis identifies proteins and pathways associated with dementia risk. Nat Aging. 2021;1(5):473-489.
  3. Duggan MR, Butler L, Peng Z, Daya GN, Moghekar A, An Y, Rapp SR, Hayden KM, Shadyab AH, Natale G, Liu L, Snetselaar L, Moaddel R, Rebholz CM, Sullivan K, Ballantyne CM, Resnick SM, Ferrucci L, Walker KA. Correction to: Plasma proteins related to inflammatory diet predict future cognitive impairment. Mol Psychiatry. 2023;28(4):1610.
  4. Gomez GT, Gottesman RF, Gabriel KP, Palta P, Gross AL, Soldan A, Albert MS, Sullivan KJ, Jack CR Jr, Knopman DS, Windham BG, Walker KA. The association of motoric cognitive risk with incident dementia and neuroimaging characteristics: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Alzheimers Dement. 2022;18(3):434-444.
  5. Walker KA, Duggan MR, Gong Z, Dark HE, Laporte JP, Faulkner ME, An Y, Lewis A, Moghekar AR, Resnick SM, Bouhrara M. MRI and fluid biomarkers reveal determinants of myelin and axonal loss with aging. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2023;10(3):397-407.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 22, 2023