Barrientos_Ruth_724x840Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
460 Medical Center Drive, Room 319
Columbus, OH 43210

Research Interests

Dr. Barrientos is a behavioral neuroscientist researching the role of inflammation on cognitive impairments. Various physiological insults to the body, such as bacterial or viral infections, surgery and unhealthy diet, trigger an inflammatory response in the brain, and often, these responses are adaptive and beneficial. However, when the immune cells of the brain (microglia) are sensitized, as in aging, these same insults produce exaggerated and prolonged inflammatory responses in the brain that are detrimental to long-term memory, and can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Dr. Barrientos’ laboratory examines the neuroimmune phenotype of the aging brain and the underlying mechanisms and signaling pathways involved with each of these “everyday” insults.

Research Goals

The main goal of Dr. Barrientos’ research is to develop effective interventions to not only prevent, but to also reverse the aging-associated precipitous memory declines produced by these neuroinflammatory triggers.


PhD: George Washington University
Post-doctoral: University of Colorado Boulder


  • Reviewer of the Year for Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 2013 and 2016
  • University of Colorado Arts and Science Fund for Excellence Award, 2017
  • Institute for Behavioral Medicine and Research Pilot Grant Award, The Ohio State University, 2018

Research Lab  PubMed articles