Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD

Assistant Professor
Medicine
600 Highland Avenue
CSC J5/156M
Madison, WI 53792
Telephone: 
608-265-4479
Focus Groups: 
Neuroscience/Neuropathology
Education: 
PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Internship: Brown Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
Research Summary: 
Alzheimer’s disease, neuroimaging, lifestyle, genetics, cognitive resilience
Research Detail: 

My 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, I am also interested in discovering new knowledge concerning whether and how specific modifiable (e.g., cognitively-stimulating activities, physical exercise) and non-modifiable (e.g., genetic makeup) factors provide resilience to the deleterious effects of brain changes on cognitive function.

Selected Publications: 
Okonkwo OC, Mielke MM, Griffith HR, Moghekar AR, O’Brien RJ, Shaw LM, Trojanowski JQ, Albert MS, the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Cerebrospinal fluid profiles predict prospective course and outcome among persons with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Archives of Neurology, 2011; 68:113-119.
Okonkwo OC, Xu G, Dowling NM, Bendlin BB, LaRue A, Hermann BP, Koscik R, Jonaitis E, Rowley HA, Carlsson CM, Asthana S, Sager MA, Johnson SC. Family history of Alzheimer disease predicts hippocampal atrophy in healthy middle-aged adults. Neurology. 2012; 78:1769-1776.
Okonkwo OC, Xu G, Oh JM, Dowling NM, Carlsson CM, Gallagher C, Birdsill AC, Palotti M, Wharton W, Hermann BP, LaRue A, Bendlin BB, Rowley HA, Asthana S, Sager MA, Johnson SC. Cerebral blood flow is diminished in asymptomatic middle-aged adults with maternal history of Alzheimer’s disease. Cerebral Cortex. 2014;24:978-988.
Okonkwo OC, Oh JM, Koscik R, Jonaitis E, Cleary CA, Dowling NM, Bendlin BB, LaRue A, Hermann BP, Barnhart TE, Murali D, Rowley HA, Carlsson CM, Gallagher CL, Asthana S, Sager MA, Christian BT, Johnson SC. Amyloid burden, neuronal function, and cognitive decline in middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2014;20:422-433.
Okonkwo OC. At the crossroads of preclinical AD and normal brain ageing. Lancet Neurology. 2014;13:965-966.
Doherty DM, Schultz SA, Oh JM, Koscik RL, Dowling NM, Barnhart TE, Murali D, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, LaRue A, Hermann BP, Rowley HA, Asthana A, Sager MA, Christian BT, Johnson SC, Okonkwo OC. Amyloid burden, cortical thickness, and cognitive function in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring. 2015;1:160-169.
Schultz SA, Larson J, Oh J, Koscik R, Dowling NM, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Sager M, LaRue A, Okonkwo OC. Participation in cognitively-stimulating activities is associated with brain structure and cognitive function in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Imaging and Behavior. 2015;9:729-736.
Boots EA, Schultz SA, Oh JM, Larson J, Edwards D, Cook D, Koscik RL, Dowling MN, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Bendlin BB, LaRue A, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Johnson SC, Okonkwo OC. Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with brain structure, cognition, and mood in a middle-aged cohort at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Brain Imaging and Behavior. 2015;9:639-649.
Almeida RP, Schultz SA, Austin BP, Boots EA, Dowling NM, Gleason CE, Bendlin BB, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Zetterberg H, Carlsson CM, Johnson SC, Asthana S, Okonkwo OC. Effect of cognitive reserve on age-related changes in cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. JAMA Neurology. 2015;72:699-706.
Boots EA, Schultz SA, Almeida RP, Oh JM, Koscik RL, Dowling MN, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Okonkwo OC. Occupational complexity and cognitive reserve in a middle-aged cohort at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2015; 30:634-642.