Mark Paul Mattson, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Laboratory of Neurosciences


251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

The aging process in the nervous system shares many mechanisms with the aging process in other organ systems. At the biochemical and molecular levels such age-related changes include: increased oxidative damage to proteins, DNA and lipids; perturbations of energy metabolism; accumulation of aggregated proteins; and inflammation. At the functional level, both speed and accuracy of a range of behaviors, including cognition and control of body movements, are impaired. In contrast to other organ systems, however, the fundamental cell type of the nervous system, the neuron, is post-mitotic and therefore must be maintained and function for the entire lifespan.

Dr. Mattson’s research program is aimed at understanding the molecular and cellular changes that occur in the nervous system during aging and the mechanisms responsible for aging of the nervous system and age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, and stroke. A broad array of experimental models and cutting-edge genetic, molecular and biochemical technologies are being applied to accomplish this goal. Knowledge gained in such basic research is being applied in preclinical and clinical studies to develop interventions to prevent and treat these disorders.


Dr. Mattson received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Iowa in 1986. After 3 years of postdoctoral studies in Developmental Neuroscience at Colorado State University, Dr. Mattson took a faculty position at the Sanders-Brown Research Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky Medical Center where he was promoted to Full Professor in 1997. Dr. Mattson is currently Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, and Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Ageing Research Reviews and NeuroMolecular Medicine, a Section Editor for Neurobiology of Aging, and an Associate Editor for Trends in Neurosciences. In addition, he has edited 10 volumes in the areas of mechanisms of brain function, stress responses, aging and age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Mattson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has received numerous awards including the Metropolitan Life Foundation Medical Research Award and the Alzheimer's Association Zenith Award. He is considered a leader in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal plasticity and neurodegenerative disorders, and has made major contributions to understanding of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, and to its prevention and treatment. Dr. Mattson has published more than 400 original research articles and more than 200 review articles and commentaries.

Selected Publications

  1. Sykora P, Misiak M, Wang Y, Ghosh S, Leandro GS, Liu D, Tian J, Baptiste BA, Cong WN, Brenerman BM, Fang E, Becker KG, Hamilton RJ, Chigurupati S, Zhang Y, Egan JM, Croteau DL, Wilson DM 3rd, Mattson MP, Bohr VA. DNA polymerase β deficiency leads to neurodegeneration and exacerbates Alzheimer disease phenotypes. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015;43(2):943-59.

  2. Nigam SM, Xu S, Kritikou JS, Marosi K, Brodin L, Mattson MP. Exercise and BDNF reduce Aβ production by enhancing α-secretase processing of APP. J Neurochem. 2017;142(2):286-296.

  3. Cheng A, Yang Y, Zhou Y, Maharana C, Lu D, Peng W, Liu Y, Wan R, Marosi K, Misiak M, Bohr VA, Mattson MP. Mitochondrial SIRT3 Mediates Adaptive Responses of Neurons to Exercise and Metabolic and Excitatory Challenges. Cell Metab. 2016;23(1):128-42.

  4. Marosi K, Kim SW, Moehl K, Scheibye-Knudsen M, Cheng A, Cutler R, Camandola S, Mattson MP. 3-Hydroxybutyrate regulates energy metabolism and induces BDNF expression in cerebral cortical neurons. J Neurochem. 2016;139(5):769-781.

  5. Cheng A, Wan R, Yang JL, Kamimura N, Son TG, Ouyang X, Luo Y, Okun E, Mattson MP. Involvement of PGC-1α in the formation and maintenance of neuronal dendritic spines. Nat Commun. 2012;3:1250.

This page was last updated on July 26th, 2018