Cara Altimus, PhD is a senior director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy where she leads the Center’s biomedical philanthropy portfolio. A PhD neuroscientist, Altimus advises individual philanthropists and foundations on the state of research for various areas including neurodegenerative disease and mental health to identify opportunities where their capital can make the biggest impact.
With more than a decade of experience in neuroscience research, including neurological devices, psychiatric illness, learning, and memory, as well as sleep and circadian rhythms, Altimus has led Center projects ranging from the development of a philanthropic drug development program for neurodegenerative disease to a large patient-perspectives study for depression and bipolar research.
Prior to joining the Institute, Altimus worked at the Food and Drug Administration leading the Neural Interfaces Laboratory, which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of electrical stimulation methods in the brain. In addition to her research experience, she serves as the chair for the Trainee Advisory Committee for the Society for Neuroscience, is an advisor to the Ontario Brain Institute, and spent a year as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow developing a neuroscience research portfolio at the Department of Justice. Altimus holds a bachelor's degree in genetics from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in biology from Johns Hopkins University. She works at the Institute's Washington office.