Roberta Diaz Brinton

Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD


Regular Director and Professor University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona United States



Dr. Brinton received her Ph.D. in Psychobiology and Neuropharmacology from the University of Arizona in 1984. She continued her postdoctoral training in Neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University as a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Brinton was awarded The Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama for decades of service to science education in inner city Los Angeles. She was also named one of the "Best Minds" by U.S. News And World Reports. Dr. Brinton has received multiple awards including the Woman of the Year by the California State Senate, the USC Remarkable Woman, University of Southern California Associates Award for Teaching Excellence, Professor of the Year Award, Rho Chi Scholastic Honorary Award for Excellence in Teaching; California Associations of Science Award for Leadership Excellence.

Dr. Brinton’s scientific publications span mechanistic discovery to therapeutic development for neurodegenerative diseases. She co-founded a biopharmaceutical company (CoCensys) with a focus on therapeutics for central nervous system diseases and disorders (IP currently in Phase II Clinical Trials through Marinus Pharmaceuticals). She holds three patents through USC and has filed three additional patents for current therapeutic development projects. She serves on the scientific review board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and NIH review panels. Dr. Brinton is PI of an NIA Program Project grant that spans five laboratories and three cores. Dr. Brinton is also PI of a NIA U01 grant to develop a neurogenic agent for prevention and treatment of age-associated Alzheimer’s disease. Her translation research to development of nutraceutical alternative to hormone therapy for women which is currently in NIA sponsored clinical trial.

Dr. Brinton directs the Center for Scientific Translation within the NIH USC Clinical Translational Science Institute. She brings her knowledge of mechanistic-based target identification, lead compound discovery and development, and pre-clinical IND enabling research required for advancing to Phase I human clinical trials to enable translational T1 researchers succeed.

She is also the Director of the Science Education Outreach initiative, the USC Science, Technology And Research (STAR) Program which provides junior and senior high school students in East and South Central Los Angeles the opportunity to learn science by joining a USC basic science research team for one or more years as a part of their high school science curriculum.

Neuroscience Sub-Discipline
Neuropharmacology and Neurochemistry
Neuroscience of Aging
Cell Culture
Genomics, Proteomics, and Systems Biology
Imaging (microscopy)
Imaging (PET, fMRI, etc)
Molecular Approaches
Therapeutic Techniques

Awards & Fellowships

Award NameAward Participant StatusEnd Date
Science Educator AwardWinner12/31/2006

Committee Participation

CommitteeTitleMember Status
SEA selection committeeChairpersonPast
Public Education & Communication CommitteeMemberPast
Nominating CommitteeMemberPast
NGA/SEA Selection CommitteeChairpersonPast
NGA/SEA Selection CommitteeChairpersonPast
International Brain Bee RepresentativeMemberPast
Gruber International Award Selection CommitteeChairpersonPast
Government and Public Affairs CommitteeMemberPast
Committee on Neuroscience LiteracyMemberPast
Committee on Neuroscience LiteracyMemberPast
Committee on CommitteesMemberPast
Brainfacts.Org Advisory GroupMemberPast
Annual Meeting Advisory GroupChairpersonPast
Achievement Awards Selection CommitteeMemberCurrent