Lee Ryan, PhD

Personal Information
Department Head, Psychology
Professor, Psychology
Associate Director, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute
Director, Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratory
(520) 621-7443

Dr. Lee Ryan completed her undergraduate work at the University of Toronto, received a Ph.D. in Cognitive and Clinical Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 1992, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Diego. Currently Dr. Ryan is the Director of the Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratory, the Head of the Psychology Department and the Associate Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona. 


  • Investigating the aging brain and how memory changes with age
  • Developing state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging techniques to visualize the aging brain
  • Identifying ways to maintain a healthy brain through heart-healthy lifestyle choices

Dr. Ryan's research focuses on the neural basis of memory, age-related changes in memory, and how these changes relate to brain functioning. Her research is currently funded by the National Institute on Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission, and the Arizona Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. She has a special interest in memory disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, AIDS-related dementia, and diseases of white matter including multiple sclerosis.


As a professor in the Cognition and Neural Systems program and the Clinical Neuropsychology program in the University of Arizona's Department of Psychology, Dr. Ryan teaches undergraduate classes in human memory and graduate level courses such as Human Brain Behavior Relationships, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Principles of Neuroanatomy. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Ryan works with individuals and families who are coping with chronic and progressive diseases that affect cognitive functioning, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. 

Research Areas: 

Healthy Brains

Healthy Lives

Healthy Minds

Research Program: