Nielsen leads the National Institute on Aging (NIA)’s Individual Behavioral Processes Branch, which supports behavioral, psychological and integrative biobehavioral research on the mechanistic pathways linking social and behavioral factors to health in mid-life and older age. She examines aging processes across the full life course, including early life influences on later life outcomes, as well as research on behavioral and social processes in midlife that play a causal role in shaping trajectories of aging. Her own portfolio supports transdisciplinary research in affective science, health psychology, and life-span developmental psychology. She coordinates NIA research initiatives on midlife reversibility of risk associated with early life adversity, conscientiousness and healthy aging, socioemotional influences on decision-making, and stress measurement. She serves on the Implementation Team for the trans-NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund Program, which promotes a mechanisms-focused experimental medicine approach to behavior change intervention design.
Lis Nielsen, in her personal capacity, served on the Mind & Life Steering Council from Summer 2018 to Fall 2020.