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N. Maritza Dowling Faculty Member


Maritza Dowling is a Biostatistician and former co-director of the Biostatistics & Data Management Core at the NIH-NIA funded Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute. She currently holds a tenure track Assistant Professor position at the at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Nursing (SON) with an appointment at the Milken Institute School of Public Health in the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. She serves as the Director of Research at the GWU-SON Center for Aging, Health and Humanities (CAHH). Dr Dowling is also the co-founder of the GWU Institute of Brain Health and Dementia; a newly GWU approved charter designed to optimize health and quality of life for adults with or at risk of cognitive impairment, and their caregivers, through research in prevention, treatment, management and population health. Dr. Dowling’s recent published research has continued to focus on measurement issues in the longitudinal assessment of health constructs and cognitive function in older populations, the application of novel statistical approaches to model the complex interplay between risk and protective factors in dementia development, and the impact of neighborhood disadvantage on disease profiles. Her research also aims to optimize outcome measures for early diagnosis and disease monitoring. This research has included cognitive and brain changes in several at risk populations such as 1) post-menopausal women taking different formulations of hormone therapy, 2) middle age adults with mild traumatic brain injuries, and 3) low-income minority homebound older adults with physical and functional disabilities. In total, this work has resulted in over 70 publications on the role of a wide range of risk factors on neurocognitive function targeting enriched samples of individuals most vulnerable to disease progression. Dr. Dowling has submitted several grants to NIH-NIA in the R-series on these key areas and populations of research interest. She is currently the Lead Statistician and Co-Investigator in a multisite NIH-funded R01 to assess the long-term risks and benefits of menopause hormone replacement therapy on Alzheimer’s Disease pathophysiology including Aβ deposition, brain structure, and cognition, in order to provide insight into the biological basis of cognitive changes in early menopausal women. Most recently, her research has focused on the interplay between post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in cognitive rehabilitation outcomes among middle age adults with traumatic brain injury. As part of this research she has developed a suite of digital cognitive tasks to capture real-time longitudinal cognitive changes at different post-injury stages that could potentially be incorporated as part of a post-injury cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation program to monitor changes in cognition. This suite of digital tasks to measure working memory is currently being tested in a pilot study with individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s due to family history at the University of Wisconsin. Current research has also included under-served, under-represented, and under-studied populations such as homebound elderly at risk of social isolation, Hispanic older adults, and older sexual and gender minorities.

Research Areas

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