Kristine Yaffe, MD - Contact Information

Yaffe Kristine 100x142

Title: Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair in Psychiatry; Associate Chair of Clinical and Translational Research; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Chief of Geriatric Psychiatry and Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center


University of Pennsylvania, MD

Postgraduate Training:

UCSF, Neurology Residency; UCSF, Psychiatry Residency; UCSF, Clinical Epidemiology and Research Methods Fellowship;UCSF, Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship

Biography Summary:

Kristine Yaffe, MD, is a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF and associate chair of clinical and translational research in the Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Yaffe was recently named the first holder of the Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair in Psychiatry.  Dr. Yaffe is dually trained in neurology and psychiatry and completed postdoctoral training in epidemiology and geriatric psychiatry, all at UCSF. Dr. Yaffe serves as the director of the UCSF Dementia Epidemiology Research Group, which conducts research relating to cognitive function and dementia in aging populations throughout the United States. A primary focus of the group is determining predictors and outcomes of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Dr. Yaffe is also the principal investigator (PI) of the data core for the Alzheimer’s disease Research Center at UCSF.  In addition to her positions at UC, Dr. Yaffe is the Chief of geriatric psychiatry and the director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.  In addition to her research and clinical work, Dr. Yaffe has greatly contributed to training fellows and faculty in clinical research, and in career development and mentorship.  As an example of her role as a mentor, Dr. Yaffe is the PI of the Mental Illness Research, Educational and Clinical Center (MIRECC) Fellowship which trains fellows in psychiatry and geropsychiatry.

Dr. Yaffe currently holds several NIH, DOD and foundation grants.  To that end, she is PI of a recently funded NIH R01, entitled “Long Term Depressive Symptom Course and Adverse Health Outcomes among Older Women”.  The goal of this project is to investigate how depressive symptoms among elderly women are associated with cognitive and functional decline over the long term.  She also the PI of two more NIH funded R01 grants – one investigating cognitive decline among patients with chronic renal insufficiency (The CRIC project), and one investigating how sleep dysfunction is associated with cognitive impairment.  Dr. Yaffe is also the PI of a NIH K24 grant investigating predictors and outcomes of cognitive trajectories in the oldest old.  Her foundation grants include one from the Alzheimer’s Association that is investigating predictors of MCI and Dementia among the oldest old women, and one from an anonymous foundation, “Biomarkers of Optimal Cognitive Aging” for which she is investigating biomarkers associated with maintaining optimal cognitive function late life. Dr. Yaffe has had her research published in over 200 peer reviewed research articles in such prestigious journals at JAMA, BMJ, New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of General Psychiatry and Annals of Neurology.

Clinical Expertise:

Memory disorders, geriatric neuropsychiatry

Educational Expertise:

Memory disorders, geriatric neuropsychiatry, clinical research methodology and epidemiology

Research Areas:

With primary research goals of understanding the mechanisms that cause cognitive decline, identifying novel risk factors for cognitive impairment, and looking for strategies to prevent and treat cognitive disorders, the group works to improve the outlook of cognitive aging. An additional focus of our group is conceptualization and characterization of Healthy Brain Aging.

Some of our current funded research projects include:

• Determining the how depressive symptoms are associated with cognitive and functional decline over the long term among older women.

• Identifying comprehensive risk factors for mild cognitive impairment and dementia among community-dwelling elderly women in their 9th and 10th decades of life.

• Identifying cognitive trajectories, their predictors and outcomes among elderly men and women in their 9th and 10th decades of life, and determining factors associated with maintaining optimal cognitive function.

• Investigating the association between sleep dysfunction and cognitive impairment in a large prospective study.

• Determining how PTSD and traumatic brain injury contribute to the risk of developing dementia in old age.

• Determining the association between chronic renal insufficiency and cognitive impairment in a large multi-site prospective study.

• Determining the association between behavioral disturbances such as hallucinations, agitation and depression and cognitive decline. We are studying ways to treat these symptoms (both pharmacologically and behaviorally) and trying to understand why they often lead to poor outcomes.

• Assessing whether staying active, either physically or mentally, is a strategy to prevent cognitive decline.

• Investigating how diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors may contribute to accelerated cognitive aging. 

Administrative Assistant: Alice Stader - Contact Information

Campus Location: VAMC

Publications on PubMed »

Psychiatric Research/Neurosciences Fellowship
Dementia Epidemiology Research Group
Memory and Aging Center (MAC)
Geriatric/Cognitive Impairment Research Collaboration Group
Women’s Health Clinical Research Center
US Department of Veterans Affair - Mental Health Service at SFVAMC


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service