Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Ph.D. University of Alabama at Birmingham
Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, Cognitive Reserve, Physical Activity, Genetics
Dr Okonkwo’s research focuses on clarifying how alterations in the brain and other biomolecules (such as cerebrospinal fluid β-amyloid) place some cognitively-normal individuals on a pernicious trajectory that culminates in probable Alzheimer’s disease. In this context, Dr Okonkwo is also interested in discovering new knowledge concerning the modulation of the link between brain changes and cognitive decline by both modifiable (e.g., cognitively-stimulating activities, physical exercise) and non-modifiable (e.g., genetic vulnerability) factors. This program of research leverages the broad state-of-the-art resources available at the UW including the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging, and the UW Biotechnology Center. It involves partnerships with colleagues in geriatrics, neuroradiology, medical physics, biostatistics, genetic epidemiology, exercise physiology, and clinical chemistry; and has been generously supported by the NIA, the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the John A. Hartford Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
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