Iliana Kohler


Associate Director, Population Studies Center
Practice Associate Professor in Sociology

Ph.D., Political Science, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, 2001

I am a health researcher and social demographer whose research builds on both social and biomedical sciences, and whose primary research agenda focuses on adult health outcomes, chronic diseases, intergenerational relationships and transfers, and morbidity and mortality in international contexts. I have collaborated extensively in multidisciplinary and international research teams, and I have demonstrated leadership in coalescing research teams around new research ideas and innovative projects in population health. Most recently, I have spearheaded the extension of the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH), one of the signature projects of the Population Studies Center, towards research on chronic diseases and mortality in an African poor high HIV-prevalence context, with a specific focus on the social and biological determinants of mental health and cognitive abilities. I have been instrumental in the development of comparable survey instruments that will allow the creation of a comparative health research agenda between MLSFH, HRS, SHARE, focused on chronic diseases and mortality between low-income and high-income countries. I have recently served as the lead international consultant for the United Nations DESA project on “Data collection methodology and tools for supporting the formulation of evidence-based policies in response to the challenge of population ageing in sub-Saharan Africa.” I have extensive experience working with and analyzing large observational datasets with a focus on survival outcomes. I have demonstrated strong communication skills in several academic publications, successful research grant applications (including NIH grants), and research reports to NIH and other organizations.

My research interests parallel the NIA research programs and initiatives including Cognition and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD), Global Aging and Health (HIV), Health Disparities in Aging and its life-course determinants. As a past PSC/PARC Postdoc, I was mentored by multiple Research Associates including Jere Behrman, Irma Elo, Samuel Preston, Beth Soldo and Susan Watkins. In my new faculty position, Herbert Smith serves as my official mentor. My post-doctoral experience and pilot funding (PARC Pilot: Do Parents in Developing Countries benefit from Their Children’s Education at Old Age?) prepared me to initiate/manage/administer a new research agenda that has led to large multidisciplinary international projects, submission of early career research grants and participation in funded research as key personnel. I will be very involved with the strengthening our international partnerships with the Medical College of Malawi.