Hala Darwish, PhD, APN, RN, FAAN

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate
Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing

School of Nursing

400 N. Ingalls, Room 4345

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482



Dr. Hala Darwish received her undergraduate nursing degree and teaching diploma in special education from the American University of Beirut. In 2007, Dr. Darwish earned a master's degree in nursing and a doctorate in bio-behavioral nursing with a neuroscience concentration at the University of Michigan. She finished her post-doctorate fellowship two years later at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

In 2009, Dr. Darwish joined the American University of Beirut (AUB) Hariri School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor and achieved the rank of Associate Professor in 2016. Dr. Darwish served as the Managing Director of the Abou-Haidar Neuroscience Institute and Nehme and Therese Tohme Multiple Sclerosis Center at AUB Medical Center. She was also an associate at the AUB faculty of medicine Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Physiological Sciences (Neuroscience)and a clinical associate at the Department of Psychiatry. Her area of basic science and clinical specialty is cognitive neuroscience. 

She joined the University of Michigan School of Nursing as an associate professor with tenure in 2021 and became the first neuroscience scholar within the school of nursing. She is affiliated with the Michigan neuroscience institute and a member of the Michigan concussion center. 

Dr. Darwish has received training and individual research grants from the National Institute of Health and has presented her work at national and international forums. She is a member of the Nursing Honor Society Sigma Theta Tau, a fellow of the American Academy of the Nursing, and other international and national professional organizations.

Areas of Interest

Dr. Darwish's research focuses on factors that lead to impairment or enhancement of cognitive function. Understanding these biological, social, behavioral, and environmental factors is the foundation of her cognitive neuroscience research program. She is proficient in basic science and clinical research.  

Using basic and translational clinical neuroscience research methods, she studied vitamin D levels and their association with cognitive function in adults and older adults and patients with multiple sclerosis.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, she has examined the microglial activation pattern after traumatic brain injury and associated memory deficits.

She is currently working on designing multimodal community-based, evidence-based interventions that protect cognitive performance and rehabilitate it after neurological disorders.

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2018
  • International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Research Award, 2017


  • PhD, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, United States
  • MSN, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, United States
  • Teaching Diploma- Special Education, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • BSN, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Saba, E. S., Karout, M., Nasralla, L., Kobeissy, F., Darwish, H., & Khoury, S. J. (2021). Long-term cognitive deficits after traumatic brain injury associated with microglia activation. Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.), 108815 
  • Darwish, H., Farran, N., Hannoun, S., Tadros, N., Yamout, B., El Ayoubi, N. K., & Khoury, S. J. (2020). Serum vitamin D level is associated with the speed of processing in multiple sclerosis patients. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 200, 105628. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105628
  • Darwish, H., Farran, N., Assaad, S., & Chaaya, M. (2018). Cognitive Reserve Factors in a Developing Country: Education and Occupational Attainment Lower the Risk of Dementia in a Sample of Lebanese Older Adults. Front Aging Neurosci, 10, 277. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2018.00277
  • Darwish, H., Haddad, R., Osman, S., Ghassan, S., Yamout, B., Tamim, H., & Khoury, S. (2017). Effect of Vitamin D Replacement on Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis Patients. Sci Rep, 7, 45926. doi:10.1038/srep45926


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