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. Ducca EL, Gomez GT, Palta P, Sullivan KJ, Jack CR, Knopman DS, Gottesman RF, Walston J, Windham BG, Walker KA. Physical Frailty and Brain White Matter Abnormalities: The ARIC Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022.
  2. 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.
  3. Walker KA, Silverstein N, Zhou Y, Hughes TM, Jack CR Jr, Knopman DS, Sharrett AR, Wong DF, Mosley TH, Gottesman RF. Brain White Matter Structure and Amyloid Deposition in Black and White Older Adults: The ARIC-PET Study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021;10(17):e022087.
  4. Lindbohm JV, Mars N, Walker KA, Singh-Manoux A, Livingston G, Brunner EJ, Sipilä PN, Saksela K, Ferrie JE, Lovering RC, Williams SA, Hingorani AD, Gottesman RF, Zetterberg H, Kivimäki M. Plasma proteins, cognitive decline, and 20-year risk of dementia in the Whitehall II and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities studies. Alzheimers Dement. 2022;18(4):612-624.
  5. Kivimäki M, Walker KA, Pentti J, Nyberg ST, Mars N, Vahtera J, Suominen SB, Lallukka T, Rahkonen O, Pietiläinen O, Koskinen A, Väänänen A, Kalsi JK, Goldberg M, Zins M, Alfredsson L, Westerholm PJM, Knutsson A, Theorell T, Ervasti J, Oksanen T, Sipilä PN, Tabak AG, Ferrie JE, Williams SA, Livingston G, Gottesman RF, Singh-Manoux A, Zetterberg H, Lindbohm JV. Cognitive stimulation in the workplace, plasma proteins, and risk of dementia: three analyses of population cohort studies. BMJ. 2021;374:n1804.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Sunday, August 14, 2022