As chief science officer and medical affairs lead, Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., sets the strategic vision for the global research program of the Alzheimer's Association. Under her leadership, the Association is the world's largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research and an internationally recognized pioneer in convening the dementia science community to accelerate the field.
Dr. Carrillo oversees the implementation of the Association's growing portfolio of research initiatives, including the Alzheimer's Association International Conference® (AAIC®), the world's largest and most influential dementia science meeting, and the Research Roundtable, which enables international scientific, industry and government leaders to work together to overcome shared obstacles in Alzheimer's science and drug development. Additionally, Dr. Carrillo is a co-principal investigator for the Alzheimer's Network for Treatment and Diagnostics (ALZ-NET), which is designed to track the long-term clinical response and safety outcomes of enrolled patients being treated with novel FDA-approved Alzheimer's therapies.
Under Dr. Carrillo's direction, the Association's leadership in Alzheimer's research continues to thrive through its International Research Grant Program. The Association currently has more than $405 million invested in over 1,100 active projects in 56 countries spanning 6 continents.
Dr. Carrillo also oversees the Association's direct involvement in research. Dr. Carrillo is a co-primary investigator for the Association-funded and led U.S. POINTER study, a lifestyle intervention trial to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. She is also a co-primary investigator on the Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Study (LEADS), which will explore the development of early-onset Alzheimer's disease and how it compares to the more common late-onset Alzheimer's variant. Along with the American College of Radiology, the Alzheimer's Association co-funds the NEW IDEAS research study which will examine brain amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) scans in diverse populations with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.
Dr. Carrillo has published extensively on early diagnosis and biomarker standardization efforts, as well as on the global challenges to progress for research in Alzheimer's and dementia.
As an internationally respected Alzheimer's expert, Dr. Carrillo has been featured in numerous international media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine and "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt." Dr. Carrillo sits on the governing board of the Global Brain Health Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of the GHR Foundation.
In honor of her extensive contributions to the advance of Alzheimer's disease clinical trials, Dr. Carrillo received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer's Disease Therapeutic Research from the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease Conference. In addition, she is the recipient of the 2019 Alumnae Award from Northwestern University, as well as the 2023 Alumni Award from the University of Illinois' College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Carrillo earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Institute for Neuroscience and completed a postdoctoral fellowship focused on Alzheimer's brain imaging and risk factors at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois.