Kristen O’Connell, Ph.D., is an associate professor and joined The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Mammalian Genetics in 2016. Prior to joining JAX, O’Connell was the recipient of a K99/R00 award from NHLBI, where she was an assistant professor of physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. While there, she built an NIH-funded research program to investigate the impact of body weight and obesogenic diets on the function and plasticity of hypothalamic neurons that regulate appetite and energy balance. At JAX, O’Connell has further expanded her research program to examine gene x environment (GxE) interactions, such as diet and obesity, on resilience and susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, where she uses the translational AD-BXD genetic reference panel to model genetic diversity. At JAX, O’Connell is also involved in collaborative efforts to create new models of Alzheimer’s and related dementias that better capture the complexity of this disease. She is currently on the executive committee of the JAX Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research (CADR) and is a core member of the JAX Center for Addiction Biology. O’Connell received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and her B.S. in biology from Villanova University. She completed her postdoctoral training at Colorado State University.