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Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Longitudinal Studies Section


Scientific Director


251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

Aging is accompanied by a global susceptibility for a number of different diseases and functional decline that cannot be readily assessed by the currently available approaches. However, the mechanism that leads to such a susceptibility to disease and disability in the elderly is poorly understood. One possible way of gaining a better understanding of the relationship between aging, morbidity and disability is to examine such a relationship in the context of longitudinal studies. It is widely recognized that physical and cognitive function are strong predictors of mortality, independently of other traditional medical markers of poor health status. Recent data suggest that the high prevalence of comorbidity in the elderly cannot be explained by a simple stochastic process (since the incidence and prevalence of many acute and chronic diseases increases with age, older patients are more likely to be affected by multiple conditions) but rather, results from a global susceptibility to disease that specific individuals develop over the aging process. In other terms, while aging, some individuals become more "frail" than others and, as a result of this process, they are at higher risk of developing comorbidity and disability.


Dr. Luigi Ferrucci is a geriatrician and an epidemiologist who conducts research on the causal pathways leading to progressive physical and cognitive decline in older persons. In September 2002, he became the Chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section at NIA and the Director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging. Dr. Ferrucci received a Medical Degree and Board Certification in 1980, a Board Certification in Geriatrics in 1982 and Ph.D. in Biology and Pathophysiology of Aging in 1998 at the University of Florence, Italy. He spent a 2-year internship at the Intensive Care Unit of the Florence Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and was for many years Associate Professor of Biology, Human Physiology and Statistics at the University of Florence. Between 1985 and 2002 he was Chief of Geriatric Rehabilitation at the Department of Geriatric Medicine and Director of the Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology at the Italian National Institute of Aging. During the same period, he collaborated with the NIA Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry where he spent several periods as Visiting Scientist. Dr. Ferrucci has made major contributions in the design of many epidemiological studies conducted in the U.S. and in Europe, including the European Longitudinal Study on Aging, the "ICare Dicomano Study," the AKEA study of Centenarians in Sardinia and the Women's Health and Aging Study. He was also the Principal Investigator of the InCHIANTI study, a longitudinal study conducted in the Chianti Geographical area (Tuscany, Italy) looking at risk factors for mobility disability in older persons. Dr. Ferrucci is currently refining the design of the BLSA to focus more on normal aging and the development of age-associated frailty. Dr. Ferrucci is Scientific Director, NIA since May 2011.

Selected Publications

  1. Terracciano A, Schrack JA, Sutin AR, Chan W, Simonsick EM, Ferrucci L. Personality, metabolic rate and aerobic capacity. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54746.
  2. Gamaldo AA, Ferrucci L, Rifkind J, Longo DL, Zonderman AB. Relationship between mean corpuscular volume and cognitive performance in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013;61(1):84-9.
  3. Deshpande N, Metter EJ, Guralnik J, Ferrucci L. Can failure on adaptive locomotor tasks independently predict incident mobility disability? Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2013;92(8):704-9.
  4. Wendell CR, Waldstein SR, Ferrucci L, O'Brien RJ, Strait JB, Zonderman AB. Carotid atherosclerosis and prospective risk of dementia. Stroke. 2012;43(12):3319-24.
  5. Meirelles OD, Ding J, Tanaka T, Sanna S, Yang HT, Dudekula DB, Cucca F, Ferrucci L, Abecasis G, Schlessinger D. SHAVE: shrinkage estimator measured for multiple visits increases power in GWAS of quantitative traits. Eur J Hum Genet. 2013;21(6):673-9.
This page was last updated on October 20th, 2012