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Naftali Raz, Ph.D

 Ph.D. Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin. (1985)
B.A., Psychology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. (1979)
Professor, Integrative Neuroscience
Dr.  Naftali Raz will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2024-2025 academic year.



Psychology B-117
Phone: (631) 632-7823

View CV

Research Interests:

Human brain aging, age-related changes in cognition, metabolic, vascular and inflammatory risk factors in aging, life-span development of the brain and cognition.

Current Research:

My research focuses on understanding individual differences in cognitive aging. I am interested in the relationship between age-related changes in the brain and declines in cognitive performance in older adults who do not suffer from dementia. My research is based on the theoretical conceptualization of aging as a non-programmed, stochastic, wear-and-tear process that is predicated on gradual loss of the brain’s energetic capacity. As aging is associated with deterioration in many physiological functions that are linked to energetic declines, I am particularly interested in the ways physiological and genetic risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular disease shape the trajectories of aging. In longitudinal studies of healthy adults, I study with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age-related changes in regional brain volume and cortical thickness, and regional myelin content, as well as accumulation of iron in the brain. The latter may provide an indirect marker of oxidative stress in the brain. This has been postulated as a key factor in cellular senescence and a driver of functional decline in the mitochondria, the main energy producing organelles. Through resting-state functional MRI and MRI measures of the cerebral blood flow, I examine the role of variability of brain activation in age-related cognitive changes. With phosphorus and proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) I study age-related changes in the brain metabolites associated with energy production, cellular membranes turnover and key neurotransmitters. In my research, I am focusing on risk factors rather than clinically evident disease. This is with the hope that early detection of the preventable physiological changes that lead to cognitive deficits in the later part of the lifespan can mitigate age-related reduction in cognitive performance.

Recent Publications:

Selected publications (full list - at my Google Scholar profile )


Ghisletta, P., Dahle, C.L., Raz, N (2022). Age-related hearing loss, cognitive performance, and metabolic risk in healthy adults: A seven-year longitudinal study. Journal of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, In press.

Bender, A.R., Driver, C., Hertzog, C., Raz, N. (2022). Instructing use of an effective strategy improves recognition memory in healthy adults. Journal of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, in press.

Garrett DD, Skowron A, Wiegert S, Adolf J, Dahle CL, Lindenberger U, Raz N. (2021). Lost dynamics and the dynamics of loss: Longitudinal compression of brain signal variability is coupled with declines in functional integration and cognitive performance. Cerebral Cortex, 31, 5239-5252.

Miller, M.L., Ghisletta, P., Jacobs, B.S., Dahle, C.L., Raz, N (2021). Changes in cerebral arterial pulsatility and hippocampal volume: A Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography study. Neurobiology of Aging, 108, 110-121.

Lynn, J, Anand, C, Arshad, M, Homayouni, R., Rosenberg, D.R., Ofen, N., Raz, N., Stanley, J (2021). Microstructure of human corpus callosum across the lifespan: Regional variations in axon caliber, density, and myelin content. Cerebral Cortex, 31, 1032–1045.

Raz, N. (2020). Brains, hearts, and minds: Trajectories of neuroanatomical and cognitive change and their modification by vascular and metabolic factors. In:  Poeppel, D., Mangun, G.R. and Gazzaniga, M.S., Cognitive Neuroscience VI. MIT Press.

Lacreuse, A., Raz, N., Schmidtke, D., Hopkins, W., Herndon, J.D (2020). Age-related decline in executive function as a hallmark of cognitive aging across primates: A view from the laboratory. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Part B, Biol Sci. 9, 375(1811), 20190618.

Stern, Y., Barnes, CA, Grady, C, Jones, R.N. & Raz, N. (2019). Brain reserve, cognitive reserve, compensation, and maintenance: Operationalization, validity, and mechanisms of cognitive resilience. Neurobiology of Aging, 83, 124-129.

Stanley, J.A., Raz. N. (2018). Functional Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: The “new” MRS. Frontiers in Psychiatry - Neuroimaging and Stimulation, 9:76. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00076

Raz, N. & Daugherty, A.M. (2018). Pathways to brain aging and their modifiers: Free-Radical Induced Energetic and Neural Decline in Senescence (FRIENDS) model, Gerontology, 64:49-57, 2017 Sep 1. doi: 10.1159/000479508. [Epub ahead of print].

Daugherty, A.M. & Raz, N. (2017). A virtual Morris water maze revisited: Two-year changes in navigation performance and their neural correlates in healthy adults. NeuroImage, 146:492-506. /j.neuroimage.2016.09.044.

Arshad. M., Stanley, J.A., & Raz, N. (2016). Adult age differences in subcortical myelin content are consistent with protracted myelination and unrelated to Diffusion Tensor Imaging indices. NeuroImage, 143, 26-39, 2016 Aug 21 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.047.

Daugherty, A.M., Haacke, E.M., & Raz, N. (2015). Increase in iron content predicts shrinkage of the striatum and changes in verbal working memory in healthy adults. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(17):6731-6743.

Raz, N. & Lindenberger, U. (2011). Only time will tell: Cross-sectional studies offer no solution to the Age-Brain-Cognition triangle—Comment on Salthouse (2011). Psychological Bulletin, 137, 790–795.

Raz, N., Lindenberger, U., Rodrigue, K.M., Kennedy, K.M., Head, D. Williamson, A., Dahle, C., Gerstorf, D., & Acker, J.D. (2005). Regional brain changes in aging healthy adults: General trends, individual differences, and modifiers. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 1676-1689.

Raz, N. (2000). Aging of the brain and its impact on cognitive performance: Integration of structural and functional findings. In: F.I.M. Craik and T.A. Salthouse (Eds.) Handbook of Aging and Cognition - II. (Pp.1-90). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Selected presentations

Anand, C., Khatib, D, Dahle, C., Raz, N., Stanley, J.A.  Age differences in hippocampal glutamate modulation during associative encoding: A proton functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Presented at ISMRM Annual Meeting, Sydney, Australia, April 18 – 23, 2020.

Daugherty, A.M, Saifullah, S., Augustinack, J., Amunts, K.,  Bakker, A.,  Berron, D.,  Brown, T., Burggren, A., Chetelat, G., de Florès, R., Ding, S.-L., Insausti, R. Kedo, O., La Joie, R.,  Malykhin, N., Martinez, A.,  Mueller, S., Olsen, R., Palombo, D., Raz, N., Stark, C.,  Wang, L.,  Wisse, L., Yushkevich, P.,  Carr, V. Hippocampal Subfields Group progress update: Consensus protocol to segment subfields within the hippocampal body on high-resolution in vivo MRI. To be presented at the Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, November 2022.

Current Funding

Principal Investigator:

National Institute on Aging grant 5R01AG011230-25: Neural Correlates and Modifiers of Cognitive Aging. Funding period: 7/1/16-6/30/21. Total costs: $3,608,750. No cost extension till June 30, 2023.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Jeffrey A. Stanley, Ph.D., Wayne State University):

National Institute on Aging, R21 AG059160-01 Task-related modulation of hippocampal glutamate, subfield volumes, and associative memory in younger and older adults: A longitudinal ¹H fMRS study. Funding period: 6/1/2018-5/31/2021 (NCE). Total costs: $423,148. No-cost extension till October 31, 2022.