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

January 6, 2020
Jefferson Kinney, the founding chairman of the UNLV Cellular and Molecular Brain Research Laboratory, said the lab was created, in part, to complement the brain health center’s work.
KSNV-TV: News 3
December 6, 2019
As new treatments are developed for traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease, a significant amount of credit could go to UNLV’s new Department of Brain Health.
November 22, 2019
Nearly fifty-thousand Nevadans are currently living with Alzheimer's, and that number is only expected to skyrocket over the next decade. On this Nevada Week, we'll explore how close local researchers are to a cure. Plus, what role do citizen scientists and caregivers play toward fighting this neurodegenerative disease?
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.

Articles Featuring Jefferson Kinney

UNLV professor Matthew Lachniet works in his lab on campus.
PeopleDecember 27, 2019
A collection of stories highlighting UNLV faculty and students who made the news in 2019.
A portrait of Jefferson Kinney in front of a brain scan.
ResearchDecember 4, 2019
UNLV’s new Department of Brain Health leads interdisciplinary effort to answer tough questions about traumatic brain injury.
football players look up at fireworks display
Campus NewsDecember 2, 2019
A collection of local, national, and international news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.
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.