Staff Directory Contact Us

The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Nunzio Pomara, M.D.

Nunzio Pomara, M.D.

Department Director
Geriatric Psychiatry

Faculty Directory


Nunzio Pomara, MD, is the Director of the Geriatric Research Division and the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program at NKI and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Pathology at the New York University School of Medicine.  Dr. Pomara has been involved in research pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Geriatric Psychopharmacology for more than 30 years and has made many important contributions in these areas. He has been involved in many of the clinical trials that led to the FDA approval of medications currently used to treat AD. These medications include Memantine and Rivastigmine. Dr. Pomara has made many important and original contributions in this area of study as well as to our understanding of AD and related disorders, such as late-life major depression.

A major focus of his research for over 30 years has been to elucidate the cognitive toxicity associated with commonly prescribed medications in the elderly. He has also studied pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic factors that may contribute to individual vulnerability to drug-induced cognitive and psychomotor toxicity. He has shown that certain forms of the APOE and TOMM40 genes increase the risk for drug-induced adverse events unrelated to pharmacokinetic factors and likely reflect pharmacodynamic mechanisms.

Dr. Pomara has received numerous grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), published extensively, and presented at various national and international scientific meetings. He is a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the American and European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr. Pomara and his research team established a Center at NKI designed to address important clinical needs of the elderly such as providing free cognitive assessments to individuals with memory complaints through the Memory Education and Research Initiative (MERI) program. The Center also offers access to cutting-edge clinical trials of diverse experimental compounds for the prevention and treatment of AD.

  • Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Research, New York State Office of Mental Health
  • Elected to European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Elected to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Permanent Member, Interventions Committee for Disorders Related to Schizophrenia, Late Life, or Personality (ITSP), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • Member, Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award Committee, Society of Biological Psychiatry
Select Publications

Bruno D, Grothe MJ, Nierenberg J, Teipel SJ, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Pomara N. The relationship between CSF tau markers, hippocampal volume and delayed primacy performance in cognitively intact elderly individuals. Alzheimer’s Dement (Amst). 2015 Mar 1;1(1):81-86. PubMed PMID: 26258161.

Pomara N, Lee SH, Bruno D, Silber T, Greenblatt DJ, Petkova E, Sidtis JJ. Adverse performance effects of acute lorazepam administration in elderly long-term users: pharmacokinetic and clinical predictors. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Jan 2; 56:129-35. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.08.014. Epub 2014 Sep 6. PubMed PMID: 25195839; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4258460.

Halliday MR, Pomara N, Sagare AP, Mack WJ, Frangione B, Zlokovic BV. Relationship between cyclophilin a levels and matrix metalloproteinase 9 activity in cerebrospinal fluid of cognitively normal apolipoprotein e4 carriers and blood-brain barrier breakdown. JAMA Neurol. 2013 Sep 1;70(9):1198-200. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.3841. PubMed PMID: 24030206; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4047029.

Bruno D, Reiss PT, Petkova E, Sidtis JJ, Pomara N. Decreased recall of primacy words predicts cognitive decline. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2013 Mar;28(2):95-103. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acs116. Epub 2013 Jan 7. PubMed PMID: 23299182.

Pomara N, Bruno D, Sarreal AS, Hernando RT, Nierenberg J, Petkova E, Sidtis JJ, Wisniewski TM, Mehta PD, Pratico D, Zetterberg H, Blennow K. Lower CSF amyloid beta peptides and higher F2-isoprostanes in cognitively intact elderly individuals with major depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2012 May;169(5):523-30. PubMed PMID: 22764362; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3586557.