Alison Preston’s Bio

Alison Preston is the inaugural Vice Provost for Faculty Development. As Vice Provost, Dr. Preston oversees strategy and development of initiatives, programs, and resources to support the successful careers and visibility of UT faculty of all ranks.  She works together with key stakeholders, including the office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity, the office of the Vice President for Research, the Equity Councils, the Faculty Innovation Center, and the Associate Deans for Faculty Affairs in each of UT colleges and schools, to create a culture of effective faculty mentorship and leadership development at the university.

Dr. Preston joined UT in 2007 as an assistant professor after completing her graduate and postdoctoral training at Stanford University. She holds the Dr. A. Wilson Nolle and Sir Raghunath P. Mahendroo Professorship in Neuroscience and is a member of the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology, as well as the Department of Psychiatry in the Dell Medical School. Dr. Preston is also a member of the Center for Learning and Memory, the Center for Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience at UT, and the Institute for Neuroscience at UT.

The overarching goal of Dr. Preston’s research is to understand the neural mechanisms that support learning and memory in the human brain, using a combination of brain imaging and computational neuroscience techniques. Her research focuses on how changes in brain structure and function across the lifespan—from early childhood to older adulthood—impact how we acquire and retain knowledge. Her lab studies how changes in brain systems across the lifespan not only influence memory, but also impact problem solving, creativity, reasoning, and planning abilities as individuals age. Her work thus crosses several domains of inquiry including cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and education. Dr. Preston has received several awards for her research accomplishments, including Young Investigator Awards from NARSAD and the Department of Defense and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. For her contributions to the field of psychology, she was appointed a Fellow to the Psychonomic Society and the Association for Psychological Science.

Prior to serving as Vice Provost, Dr. Preston has held a number of administrative positions at UT. She has served as head of Cognitive Neuroscience area in the Department of Psychology, Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center, and Interim Vice President for Research.