Rita Guerreiro, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Areas of Expertise

Genetics, neurodegeneration, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, next-generation sequencing, rare neurological diseases


Dr. Rita Guerreiro is a leader in parsing the genetic variations that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. She earned her B.Sc. in biomedical sciences from Coimbra Health Technology Institute, her M.S. degree in biomolecular methods from Aveiro University and her Ph.D. (with honors) from Coimbra University, all in Portugal. Her pre-doctoral work was supervised by Dr. John Hardy and Dr. Catarina Oliveira, and was conducted at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. While there, she studied the genetics of dementia, with a focus on searching for new mutations and new genes underlying Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. In 2010, she joined the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at University College London’s Institute of Neurology as a postdoctoral research fellow, where she explored genetic variability in several neurological diseases (mainly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases) and investigated how genetic variants affect the disease process at the molecular level. In 2015, she became a principal investigator in the Department of Molecular Neuroscience, after holding a Travelling Research Fellowship US from Alzheimer’s Research UK (2012–2015) and obtaining a Senior Research Fellowship from Alzheimer’s Society (2015–2019). In 2017 she was named programme leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London. In 2018, she joined Van Andel Institute’s Department of Neurodegenerative Science as an associate professor.

Dr. Guerreiro was the first recipient of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Young Investigator of the Year Award in 2016, and also earned the 2015 Fondazione Gino Galletti Neuroscience Prize and the 2015 Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Research Leaders Award. She was recognized as a Personality of the Year in 2015 by Dr. Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of the Portuguese Republic. In 2014, Dr. Guerreiro received the IFRAD (Fondation pour la Recherche sur Alzheimer) European Grand Prix for Young Researchers.

She serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Neurodegenerative Disease, Science Matters, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, and is an advisory editor for Neurobiology of Aging.