Carol Barnes, PhD

Director, Evelyn F Mcknight Brain Institute


Life Sciences North 355
Department of Psychology
(520) 626-2616

Carol A. Barnes is a Regents Professor in the Departments of Psychology, Neurology and Neuroscience, the Evelyn F. McKnight Endowed Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging, and Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona.  Barnes is past-president of the Society for Neuroscience, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters.  She is the recipient of the 2013 Gerard Prize in Neuroscience and the 2014 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. 

The central goal of Barnes’ research program is to understand how the brain changes during normative aging and what the functional consequences of this are for memory.  Her research program involves behavioral, electrophysiological and molecular biological approaches to the study of young and aged rodents, non-human primates, and more recently a human project (the Precision Aging Network) that studies normative human brain aging, with the goal of optimizing cognitive health span across the lifespan.  She has published a number of manuscripts that are now classic references on brain aging and behavior (285 total, H index 112).




PhD: Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
MA: Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
BA: Psychology, University of California, Riverside, California, U.S.A.

Selected Publications

Hill, P. F., Bermudez, S., McAvan, A. S., Garren, J. D., Grilli, M. D., Barnes, C. A., & Ekstrom, A. D. (2024). Age differences in spatial memory are mitigated during naturalistic navigation. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 1–25.

Zheng, L., Gao, Z., Doner, S., Oyao, A., Forloines, M., Grilli, M. D., Barnes, C. A., & Ekstrom, A. D. (2023). Hippocampal contributions to novel spatial learning are both age-related and age-invariant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(50), e2307884120.

Gray, D. T., Zempare, M., Carey, N., Khattab, S., Sinakevitch, I., De Biase, L. M., & Barnes, C. A. (2023). Extracellular matrix proteoglycans support aged hippocampus networks: a potential cellular-level mechanism of brain reserve. Neurobiology of aging, 131, 52–58.

Sinakevitch, Irina & Mcdermott, Kelsey & Gray, Daniel & Barnes, Carol. (2023). A HIGH-RESOLUTION 3D RECONSTRUCTION OF THE LOCUS COERULEUS IN ADULT AND AGED RHESUS MACAQUES. IBRO Neuroscience Reports. 15. S499-S500. 10.1016/j.ibneur.2023.08.978.

Zheng, L., Gao, Z., Doner, S., Oyao, A., Forloines, M., Grilli, M., ... & Ekstrom, A. D. (2023). Age-related spatial memory differences are correlated with neural remapping in CA1 of the human hippocampus. Biorxiv: the Preprint Server for Biology.

Gray, D. T., Khattab, S., Meltzer, J., McDermott, K., Schwyhart, R., Sinakevitch, I., Härtig, W., & Barnes, C. A. (2023). Retrosplenial cortex microglia and perineuronal net densities are associated with memory impairment in aged rhesus macaques. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 33(8), 4626–4644.

Stern, Y., Albert, M., Barnes, C. A., Cabeza, R., Pascual-Leone, A., & Rapp, P. R. (2023). A framework for concepts of reserve and resilience in aging. Neurobiology of aging, 124, 100–103.

Lester, A. W., Jordan, G. A., Blum, C. J., Philpot, Z. P., & Barnes, C. A. (2022). Differential effects in young and aged rats' navigational accuracy following instantaneous rotation of environmental cues. Behavioral neuroscience, 136(6), 561–574.

Crown, L. M., Gray, D. T., Schimanski, L. A., Barnes, C. A., & Cowen, S. L. (2022). Aged Rats Exhibit Altered Behavior-Induced Oscillatory Activity, Place Cell Firing Rates, and Spatial Information Content in the CA1 Region of the Hippocampus. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 42(22), 4505–4516.