Charles Hillman

Charles Hillman

Department of Psychology, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement, And Rehabilitation Sciences, Northeastern University, USA

Charles Hillman


Charles Hillman is a Professor at the Department of Psychology and the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement & Rehabilitation Sciences at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

He co-directs the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health, which aims to understand the role of lifestyle choices and behavior on the brain and cognition to maintain health and wellbeing as well as the effective functioning of one’s organism across the lifespan. One of prof Hillman’s particular interests is the role of childhood physical activity and excess adiposity on cognitive and brain outcomes. His research involves using a variety of neuroimaging tools.

Charles Hillman received his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in 2000. He then undertook a position at the University of Illinois, where he was a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health for 16 years. Since 2016 he continues his career at Northeastern University. Professor Hillman has published over 300 refereed journal articles, 15 book chapters, and co-edited a text entitled Functional Neuroimaging in Exercise and Sport Sciences. He has served on an Institute of Medicine of the National Academies committee entitled Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School and was a member of the 2018 Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for America’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

In 2010 prof. Hillman delivered a TED talk about the surprising links between exercise, intelligence, and aging. His contribution to neuroscience has been featured in media including CNN, National Public Radio, Good Morning America, Time, and Newsweek. 

Selected Publications

Donnelly, J.E., Hillman, C.H., Castelli, D., Etnier, J.L., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., Lambourne, K., Szabo-Reed, A.N., 2016. Physical Activity, Fitness, Cognitive Function, and Academic Achievement in Children: A Systematic Review. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 48, 1197–1222.

Gomez-Pinilla, F., Hillman, C., 2013. The influence of exercise on cognitive abilities. Compr. Physiol. 3, 403–428.

Hillman, C.H., Buck, S.M., Themanson, J.R., Pontifex, M.B., Castelli, D.M., 2009. Aerobic fitness and cognitive development: Event-related brain potential and task  performance indices of executive control in preadolescent children. Dev. Psychol. 45, 114–129. 

Hillman, C.H., Erickson, K.I., Kramer, A.F., 2008. Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 9, 58–65.  

More information

Charles Hillman website

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