Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., is the senior director of Medical and Scientific Operations at the Alzheimer’s Association. Dr. Snyder oversees Association initiatives that accelerate innovative Alzheimer’s research and provide opportunities for the global dementia community to connect and collaborate.
Dr. Snyder leads the Association’s International Research Grant Program, the vehicle through which the Association funds promising investigations that advance understanding of Alzheimer's and move the field toward solutions for the global Alzheimer's crisis. As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research, the Association has invested more than $410 million in nearly 2,700 scientific investigations since the organization’s inception.
As part of this program, Dr. Snyder and the Alzheimer’s Association convened a think tank to explore gender-based disease vulnerability – recognizing that Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women – which directly led to the launch of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Initiative. This grant program, also overseen by Dr. Snyder, funds studies to uncover how biological and genetic factors shape disease development and progression in women as compared to men, a factor that may influence diagnostic and treatment options as research moves closer to precision medicine.
Dr. Snyder leads the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®) Satellite Symposia, which gathers scientists biannually in areas around world where breaking research may not arrive as readily. The Satellite Symposia gives researchers in these locations the opportunity to collaborate, investigate new topics, build networks and address common challenges.
Dr. Snyder also serves on the executive team for the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER). This study, funded and implemented by the Alzheimer’s Association, will evaluate whether lifestyle interventions that simultaneously target many risk factors can protect cognitive function in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline.
Dr. Snyder oversees the development and management of the field’s leading clinical neurology journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia®: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, and its companion open access journals, which help bridge the knowledge gaps across a wide range of dementia research disciplines.
An expert in the field, Dr. Snyder has been featured in numerous TV interviews and print and online news articles, including “The Dr. Oz Show,” The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Snyder received her Ph.D. in molecular biology from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the neurobiology program at Children’s Memorial Research Center, affiliated with Northwestern University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and religious studies from the University of Virginia.