Megan Zuelsdorff joined CDHA as a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral trainee in September 2017 and has worked on several research projects related to social determinants of cognitive aging processes and socioenvironmental contributors to well-established disparities in impairment and Alzheimer’s risk. One of her major projects examines how adverse events across the life course contribute to established racial disparities in cognitive health during later life.
In February 2018, Zuelsdorff received a three-year award from the Alzheimer’s Association totaling $175,000 to continue this research. To investigate the role of stress processes in the development of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes and cognitive decline, she will pair cognitive and biomarker data from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study with newly collected socioenvironmental and physiological stress data. The project prioritizes participation by African American and rural members of WRAP to gain insight into cognitive health effects of social and biological stress processes among populations most affected.