Lee Ryan, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychology

Director, Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratories

Department of Psychology, Neurology, and the Neuroscience Program

Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratories

Psychology 217L
P.O. Box 210068
Tucson, AZ 85721-0068

(520) 621-7443
Email Address: 
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 1981 (M.A., Music)
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 1987 (BSc)
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1992 (Ph.D. in Clinical/Cognitive Psychology)
  • University of California, San Diego, California, 1993-95 (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Honors & Awards: 
  • National Science & Engineering Research Council, Canada Graduate Fellowships, 1988-1992
  • National Science & Engineering Research Council, Canada Postdoctoral Fellowships, 1993-95
  • Research Scientist, University of California, San Diego, 1993-1996
  • Member, Memory Disorders Society
Major Areas of Research Interest: 

Dr. Lee Ryan is a clinical neuropsychologist whose research focuses on the neural basis of memory and memory changes across the lifespan. Dr.
Ryan's research focuses on the neural basis of memory, age-related changes in memory, and how these changes relate to brain functioning. 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 an associate professor in the Cognition and Neural Systems program and the Clinical Neuropsychology program at 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 effect cognitive functioning, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Her research utilizes magnetic resonance imaging methods such as MRI morphometric analysis, functional MRI, and diffusion-weighted MRI in order to measure brain anatomy and function. Ongoing projects include:


  • functional neuroimaging (fMRI) studies of autobiographical memory retrieval; the role of the hippocampus and other medial temporal lobe regions in semantic and episodic memory retrieval
  • functional and anatomical brain changes across the adult lifespan, and how they relate to changes in cognitive functioning, especially memory, problem solving, and executive function
  • identifying early markers of risk for Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively healthy older adults, utilizing diffusion-weighted imaging and functional MRI
Selected Publications: 

Ryan, L., & Schnyer, D. Regional specificity of format specific priming effects in word reading using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Cerebral Cortex.

Hayes, S., Ryan, L., Trouard, T., & Nadel, L. (2005). An fMRI study of region-specific patterns of activation during retrieval of aspects of episodic memories. Behavioral Neuroscience, 118, 885-896, 2005.

Glisky, E., Ryan, L., Reminger, S., & Hayes, S. Ich verstehe, aber ich verstehe nichts: An fMRI study of psychogenic amnesia. Neuropsychologia, 42, 1132-1147, 2004.

Reminger SL. Kaszniak AW. Labiner DM. Littrell LD. David BT. Ryan L. Herring AM. Kaemingk KL. Bilateral hippocampal volume predicts verbal memory function in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. 5(5):687-95, 2004

Schnyer, D., Ryan, L., Trouard, T., & Forster, K. Masked word repetition results in increased fMRI signal: A framework for understanding signal changes in priming. Neuroreport, 13, 281-284, 2002.

Sponsored Research Through MSRP: 

Chris Wie (MSRP 2006): “Using high resolution diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWMRI) to detect white matter changes in Alzheimer’s Patients.”

Shari Robbins (MSRP 2009): "Use of diffusion weighted MRI data to evaluate changes in white matter and relation to Alzheimer's Disease in a longitudinal Study."

Last Updated: 
November 18, 2015