Alan Peters, Ph.D.

peters Waterhouse Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Phone: 617-638-4235
Fax: 617-638-4216
Website: Fine Structure of the Aging Brain

Location: R – 1015, BUSM

Dr Alan Peters received his doctorate in Zoology from Bristol University, and after serving on the faculty of the Department of Anatomy at Edinburgh University in Scotland, he came to Boston as Chairman of the Department of Anatomy in 1966. He continued as Chairman of the Department until stepping down from that position in 1998.

In his research Dr Peters studies the structure of the nervous system, its organization, and the relationships between its component cells, the neurons and neuroglial cells. He is the author, with S.L. Palay and H. DeF Webster of the classical text “The Fine Structure of the Nervous System” (1991). He was the President of the American Association of Anatomists in 1992 and in 1998 he was named the recipient of the Henry Gray Award, which is the most prestigious award given by that Association. In 1991 the Cajal Club named him as the recipient of the Cortical Discoverer Award. In 2007 Dr Peters was elected a Fellow of the American Association of Anatomists and in 2011 he was awarded an honorary D.Sc. by the University of Edinburgh for his contributions to neuroscience.

Dr Peters’ research centers around electron microscopy. At present he is studying the changes that occur with normal aging in the cerebral hemispheres of rhesus monkeys. This is part of a group investigation into the factors which determine the decline in cognition that occurs with aging. The research is funded by NIH.


The most recent publications from our laboratory have been concerned with the effects of normal aging on cerebral cortex and white matter tracts of the monkey brain.

Peters, A and Sethares, C. 2012. Age-related changes in the morphology of cerebral capillaries do not correlate with cognitive decline. J. Comp. Neurol. 520: 1339 – 1347.

Ludvigson, A.E., Luebke, J.I., Lewis, J., and Peters, A. 2011 Structural abnormalities in the cortex of the rTg4510 mouse model of tauopathy: a light and electron microscope study. Brain Struct. Funct. 216: 31 – 42.

Peters, A and Kemper, T. 2011.  A review of the structural alterations in the cerebral hemispheres of the aging rhesus monkey/ Neurobiol. Aging. Accepted for Publication.

Bowley, M.P., Cabral, H., Rosene, D.L. and Peters, A. 2010 Age changes in myelinated nerve fibers of the cingulate bundle and corpus callosum in the rhesus monkey. J. Comp. Neurol. 518: 3046 – 3064.

Luebke, J., Barbas, H. and Peters, A. 2010 Effects of normal aging on prefrontal area 46 in the rhesus monkey. Brain Res Rev. 62: 212 – 232.

Peters, A. 2010 The morphology of minicolumns. In: The Neurochemical Basis of Autism: From Molecules to Minicolumns. ed. G.J. Blatt Springer, New York pp. 69 – 82.

Peters, A., Sethares, C., and Moss, M.B. 2010 How the primate fornix is affected by age. J. Comp. Neurol. 518: 3962 – 3980.

Soghomonian J.J., Sethares C., and Peters, A. 2010 Effects of age on axon terminals forming axosomatic and axodendritic inhibitory synapses in prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience 168: 74 – 81.

Peters, A. 2009 The effects of normal aging on myelinated nerve fibers in monkey central nervous system.  Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 3: 1 –10