Natascha Merten, PhD, MS

Credentials: Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
(School of Medicine and Public Health)

Position title: Scientist II


J5/M194, Clinical Science Center
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-0001

Keywords: Sensory Aging, Cognitive Decline, Dementia, Healthy Brain Aging, Biomarkers

Advisor: Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD

BS 2012, Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
MS 2014, Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
PhD 2019, Epidemiology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Postdoctoral 2021, Population Health and Epidemiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

I am a psychologist (MS) and aging epidemiologist (PhD) by training with research interests in human aging. I aim to assess aging with a holistic approach through investigating general aging processes that affect multiple domains of brain aging focusing on sensory and cognitive aging. I consider risk factors of Alzheimer’s pathology and inflammation, vascular and metabolic systems to identify common pathways of neurodegeneration, and brain aging. In this context, I also want to investigate early biomarkers of aging to identify individuals at risk for decline in various health conditions. In addition, I aim to assess potentially modifiable risk factors of brain aging with a particular focus on the roles of psychosocial factors. Understanding shared etiological pathways and identifying modifiable risk factors has the potential to improve prevention and treatment strategies for a wide range of age-related diseases, including age-related vision disorders.