Linda K. McEvoy, PhD


“My research goals are to further our understanding of the wide variety of factors that influence cognitive and brain health in aging, to inform strategies to reduce risk of dementia."

Linda K. McEvoy, PhD

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Linda K. McEvoy, PhD, is an experimental psychologist and neuroscientist with acquired expertise in aging epidemiology. As a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and professor emerita at the University of California San Diego, Dr. McEvoy works to improve the understanding of cognitive and brain changes in typical aging and in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her mission is to better understand the factors throughout the life course that affect cognitive and brain health in aging, in order to develop strategies to maintain cognitive health and reduce risk of dementia.

Before joining KPWHRI, Dr. McEvoy was a professor of public health and radiology at UC San Diego, where she conducted research on longitudinal cohort studies to identify typical patterns of changes in brain structure with aging and to distinguish them from patterns associated with early Alzheimer’s disease. Her research also sought to identify genetic, health, and behavioral risk factors associated with higher rates of cognitive decline with age and with dementia. 

She was one of the principal investigators on the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging, initiated in 1972. She assumed a leadership role on this study in 2014, expanding data collection to include neuroimaging and directing the electronic archiving and sharing of the vast amount of data collected by this study. She was also an investigator on the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging — a national study of male twin pairs who were recruited into the military during the Vietnam War era and who have been followed from middle age into older age.

More recently, using data from the Women’s Health Initiative, Dr. McEvoy has expanded her research focus to examine blood-based measures, including proteomic and epigenetic factors, that may predict risk of cognitive decline and dementia. At KPWHRI, she continues to study factors across the life course that influence cognitive health as a lead investigator on the ground-breaking Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study.

In addition to her research, Dr. McEvoy enjoys mentoring students, fellows, and junior faculty. At UC San Diego, she had leadership roles on several aging and Alzheimer’s disease training programs funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and she taught courses in grant writing to junior faculty. She enjoys sharing her knowledge on the characteristics of successful grant applications, which she has accumulated through service on several NIH study sections, including her current service as a standing member of the Center for Scientific Review Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging Study Section.

Research interests and experience

Recent Publications

Tsiknia AA, Reas E, Bangen KJ, Sundermann EE, McEvoy L, Brewer JB, Edland SD, Banks SJ; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Sex and APOE4 modify the effect of cardiovascular risk on tau in cognitively normal older adults. Brain Commun. 2022 Feb 18;4(1):fcac035. doi: 10.1093/braincomms/fcac035. eCollection 2022. PubMed

Whitsel N, Reynolds CA, Buchholz EJ, Pahlen S, Pearce RC, Hatton SN, Elman JA, Gillespie NA, Gustavson DE, Puckett OK, Dale AM, Eyler LT, Fennema-Notestine C, Hagler DJ Jr, Hauger RL, McEvoy LK, McKenzie R, Neale MC, Panizzon MS, Sanderson-Cimino M, Toomey R, Tu XM, Williams MKE, Bell T, Xian H, Lyons MJ, Kremen WS, Franz CE. Long-term associations of cigarette smoking in early mid-life with predicted brain aging from mid- to late life. Addiction. 2022 Apr;117(4):1049-1059. doi: 10.1111/add.15710. Epub 2021 Oct 28. PubMed




Researchers connect for ACT Symposium, advancing science on dementia, aging

The long-running ACT Study is now in its 30th year.



Can preventing hearing loss reduce dementia risk?

New research from Linda McEvoy, PhD, helps explain how hearing loss affects the brain.

KPWHRI in the media

Understanding the link between hearing loss and dementia

Using subtitles on TV, hearing aids may reduce risk of dementia

NBC San Diego, Nov. 21, 2023