Howard J. Aizenstein, MD, PhD

  • Professor, Psychiatry, Bioengineering




Campus Address

STERL 253 Pittsburgh

One-Line Research Description

Cognitive and affective neuroscience of aging and geriatric brain disorders

Dr. Aizenstein is an expert on the cognitive and affective neuroscience of aging and geriatric brain disorders. He is trained as a geriatric psychiatrist and also a computer scientist. His research program is recognized for expertise in MRI analyses methods, as well as their use for clinical research in aging.

Dr. Aizenstein’s research group has developed semi-automated methods of morphometric and functional MRI analyses. He uses structural and functional neuroimaging to identify networks of brain regions associated with affective and cognitive processing, and how these change over time with and without intervention.

Dr. Aizenstein has experience with fMRI studies in a variety of psychiatric disorders involving mood and cognitive disorders. He will contribute his expertise in brain imaging, the analysis of brain images, and geriatric psychiatry. He has extensively worked with the other PIs and Co-Is through several NIH funded grants and publications. He is a skilled and valued mentor; he received the 2009 Departmental mentorship award. He has collaborated and mentored many investigators, including K awardees, post-doctoral students and graduate students.

Representative Publications

Aizenstein HJ, Clark KA, Butters MA, Cochran J, Stenger VA, Meltzer CC, Reynolds C, Carter CS. The BOLD hemodynamic response in healthy aging. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2004, 16(5):786-93. PMID: 15200706


Aizenstein HJ, Butters MA, Clark KA, Figurski JL, Stenger VA, Nebes RD, Reynolds CF 3rd, Carter CS. Prefrontal and striatal activation in elderly subjects during concurrent implicit and explicit sequence learning. Neurobiology of Aging, 2006, 27(5):741-751. PMID: 15935517


Aizenstein HJ, Nebes RD, Saxton JA, Price JC, Mathis CA, Tsopelas ND, Ziolko SK, James JA, Snitz BE, Houck PR, Bi W, Cohen AD, Lopresti BJ, DeKosky ST, Halligan M, Klunk WE.  Frequent amyloid deposition without significant cognitive impairment among the elderly. Archives of Neurology, 2008, 65(11):1509-17. PMCID: PMC2636844


Aizenstein HJ, Andreescu C, Edelman KL, Cochran JL, Price J, Butters MA, Karp J A, Patel M, Reynolds CF3rd, fMRI correlates of white matter hyperintensities in late-life depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2011, 168(10):1075-82. PMCID: PMC3656408


Karim HT, Andreescu C, Tudorascu D, Smagula SF, Butters MA, Karp JF, Reynolds CF III, Aizenstein HJ. Intrinsic functional connectivity in late-life depression: Trajectories over the course of pharmacotherapy in remitters and non-remitters. Molecular Psychiatry, 2017, 22(3):450-57. PMCID: PMC5322273


Tudorascu DL, Anderson SJ, Minhas DS, Yu Z, Comer D, Lao P, Hartley S, Laymon CM, Snitz BE, Lopresti BJ, Johnson S, Price JC, Mathis CA, Aizenstein HJ, Klunk WE, Handen BL, Christian BT Cohen AD. (2019) Comparison of longitudinal Aβ in nondemented elderly and Down syndrome. Neurobiology of Aging. 73:171-176. PMCID: PMC62517572.


Wu M, Thurston RC, Tudorascu DL, Karim HT, Mathis CA, Lopresti BJ, Kamboh MI, Cohen AD, Snitz BE, Klunk WE, Aizenstein HJ. (2019) Amyloid Deposition Is Associated with Different Patterns of Hippocampal Connectivity in Men versus Women. Neurobiology of Aging. 76:141-150. PMID: 30711677; NIHMS 1515576 3.


Lin C, Karim HT, Pecina M, Aizenstein HJ, Lenze EJ, Blumberger DM, Mulsant BH, Kharasch ED, Reynolds Iii CF, Karp JF. (2019) Low-dose augmentation with buprenorphine increases emotional reactivity but not reward activity in treatment resistant mid- and late-life depression. Neuroimage Clin.21:101679. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101679. Epub 2019 Jan 22. PMCID: PMC63560064.


Gujral S, Aizenstein H, Reynolds CF 3rd, Butters MA, Grove G, Karp JF, Erickson KI. (2019) Exercise for depression: A feasibility trial exploring neural mechanisms. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Jun;27(6):611-616. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.01.012. Epub 2019 Jan 17. PMCID: PMC65113185.


Manning KJ, Gunning FM, Aizenstein HJ, Steffens DC. (2019) Training the next generation of geriatric-focused clinical neuroscientists. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Mar 13. pii: S1064-7481(19)30285-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.03.006. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30928155