Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Geriatric Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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Stacey J. Sukoff Rizzo, PhD


Associate Professor of Neurobiology

Department of Medicine – Aging Institute

Director, Preclinical Phenotyping Core


Phone: 412-383-3719

Office: 100 Technology Drive
Suite 569
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-3719
Fax: 412-383-9055
Administrative Assistant:
Kathy Brickett
Address: 100 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-4416
Fax: 412-383-9055
Education and Training
PhD, University College of London, 2012
Research Interest
Research in Dr. Rizzo’s lab focuses on investigating the genetic contributions underlying the pathophysiological of diseases of Aging including Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and related neuropsychiatric and cognitive co-morbidities, in order to interrogate novel pathways and targets that may enable the identification of new therapeutic agents. Dr. Rizzo is a behavior pharmacologist by training and holds a BS in Animal Sciences from Rutgers University and a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London. She is an internationally recognized expert in behavioral phenotyping and pharmacology of genetic mouse models. Dr. Rizzo previously spent 18 years in the pharmaceutical industry in Neuroscience Drug Discovery departments at Wyeth Research, Merck Research Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer where she led and contributed to many drug discovery projects across therapeutic areas. Prior to her current appoint, from 2014-2019, Dr. Rizzo served as Director of Mouse Neurobehavioral Phenotyping at The Jackson Laboratory’s Institute for Mammalian Genetics (JAX) and Associate Director of JAX’s Center for Biometric Analysis. Dr. Rizzo’s lab is a critical component of the NIA funded Model Organism Development for Late Onset Alzheimer’s disease (MODEL-AD) consortium where she co-heads the Preclinical Testing Core which evaluates the potential therapeutic efficacy of novel test compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (
Selected Publications:
Sukoff Rizzo, S.J., Anderson, L.C., Green, T.L., McGarr, T., Wells, G., Winter, S.S. Assessing healthspan and lifespan measures in aging mice: optimization of testing protocols, replicability, and rater reliability. Current Protocols in Mouse Biology. 2018; 8(2): e45.
Harrison DE., Strong R., Alavez S., Astle C.M., DiGiovanni J., Fernandez E., Flurkey K., Garratt M., Gelfond J.A.L., Javors M.A., Levi M., Lithgow G.J., Macchiarini F., Nelson J.F., Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Slaga T.J., Stearns T., Wilkinson J.E., Miller R.A. Acarbose improves health and lifespan in aging HET3 mice. Aging Cell. 2019; 18(2): e12898.
Onos K.D., Uyar A., Keezer K.J., Jackson H.M., Preuss C., Acklin C.J., O'Rourke R., Buchanan R., Cossette T.L., Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Soto I., Carter G.W., Howell G.R. Enhancing face validity of mouse models of Alzheimer's disease with natural genetic variation. PLOS Genetics. 2019; 15(5): e1008155.
Sayed A.A., Sher R.B., Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Anderson L.C., Patenaude K.E., Cox G.A. Functional rescue in a mouse model of congenital muscular dystrophy with megaconial myopathy. Human Molecular Genetics. 2019.
Graham L.C., Weronika G.A., Chun Y., Risacher S., Philip V.M., Saykin A.J., Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Howell G.R. Exercise prevents obesity-induced cognitive decline and white matter damage in mice. Neurobiology of Aging. 2019; 80: 154-172.
Lanz T.A., Reinhart V., Sheehan S., Rizzo S.J.S., Bove S.E., James L.C., Volfson D., Lewis D.A., Kleiman R.J. Post-mortem transcriptional profiling reveals widespread increase in inflammation in schizophrenia: a comparison of prefrontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus among matched tetrads of controls with subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar or major depressive disorder. Translational Psychiatry. 2018; 9(1): 151.
Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Silverman J.L. Methodological Considerations for Optimizing and Validating Behavioral Assays. Current Protocols in Mouse Biology. 2016; 6(4): 364-379.
Gonzales C., Zaleska M., Riddell D.R., Atchison K.P., Robshaw A., Zhou H., Sukoff Rizzo S.J. Alternative method of oral administration by peanut butter pellet fotmulation results in target engagement of BACEl and attenuation of gavage-induced stress responses in mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2014; 126: 28-35.
Onos K.D., Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Howell G.R., Sasner M. Toward more predictive genetic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Brain Research Bulletin. 2016; 122: 1-11.
Sukoff Rizzo S.J., Crawley J.N. Behavioral Phenotyping Assays for Genetic Mouse Models of Neurodevelopmental, Neurodegenerative, and Psychiatric Disorders. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences. 2017; 5: 371-389.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Preclinical investigation of common mechanistic links between aberrant protein aggregation and blood-brain barrier
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Health
Grant Number: RF1 NS117486
Start Year: 2020
End Year: 2024