Jefferson Kinney

Founding Chair, Department of Brain Health
Expertise: Behavioral neuroscience, Alzheimer's disease, Schizophrenia, Learning and memory systems


Jefferson Kinney is the founding chair of the department of brain health in the School of Integrated Health Sciences. Kinney investigates neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson's disease, with a focus on cellular and molecular changes in the brain that underlie these disorders. 

His current work includes investigating the role of several risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and subtle changes in cell function, including interactions between diabetes and inflammation in the brain throughout the onset and progression of the disease. As part of this work, Kinney collaborates with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. 

Earlier in his career, Kinney completed an Intramural Research Training Fellowship with the National Institute of Mental Health and the Helen Dorris Fellowship in schizophrenia research at The Scripps Research Institute.


  • B.S., Psychology, Colorado State University
  • M.S., Experimental Psychology, Colorado State University
  • Ph.D., Behavioral Neuroscience, Colorado State University

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Jefferson Kinney In The News

KVVU-TV: Fox 5
October 19, 2019
Promising research is coming out of a new department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas focused on brain health.
Las Vegas Review Journal
July 8, 2019
At first, Maureen Kramer’s forgetfulness seemed like no big deal. She’d forget about plans made with her husband, Bill, and began relying on written directions to drive to familiar places.
Las Vegas Review Journal
December 24, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's proposal to spent $2 billion a year to battle Alzheimer's disease was welcomed Tuesday by Las Vegas researchers who say effective treatments are desperately needed given the growing number of elderly affected by the disease.
Las Vegas Review Journal
September 4, 2015
UNLV and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have been awarded an $11.1 million federal grant to advance the understanding of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Articles Featuring Jefferson Kinney

People preparing to cut ribbon on new Fertitta Complex
Campus NewsNovember 1, 2019
A collection of local, national, and international news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.
A man in a labcoat is reflected in nearby glass.
Campus NewsSeptember 26, 2019
Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Cummings joins UNLV to help launch new program that will be crucial for an aging state population.
Jefferson Kinney working in the lab.
ResearchDecember 12, 2017
Neuroscientist Jefferson Kinney's work with Ruvo Center for Brain Health is improving patient care while expanding opportunities for UNLV student learning.
Jefferson Kinney
ResearchOctober 13, 2015
Researcher knew there was a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Now they’ve discovered that introducing a brief sickness may help.