Irene Avila, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Analyst
Special Assistant to the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity
Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health
Chicana (Mexican descent)
Undergraduate: University of California (Santa Cruz), B.A. – Psychobiology
Graduate: Arizona State University (Tempe), M.A. – Psychology
Doctoral: Arizona State University (Tempe), Ph.D. – Psychology, Special Emphasis on Behavioral Neuroscience
Postdoctoral: National Institute on Aging, Intramural Research Program
Dr. Irene Avila is the Special Assistant to the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) in the Office of the Director. She coordinates and assists in the high level planning and execution of activities supporting COSWD. Her work focuses on developing programs for postdocs and early career investigators, with the goal of enhancing diversity inclusion and retention in biomedical research careers. She received her B.A. in Psychobiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Arizona State University, with a special emphasis in behavioral neuroscience. She conducted her dissertation work at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Intramural Research Program (IRP) through the Office of Intramural Training and Education’s (OITE) Graduate Partnership Program (GPP) investigated the relationship between dopamine and basal ganglia-cortical system dysfunction with respect to gait in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease. Her Postdoc research at National Institute on Aging (NIA) IRP investigated how cognitive functions are mediated by interactions of cortical, basal forebrain and dopamine circuits.