Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Kacie Deters received her Ph.D. in Medical Neuroscience from Indiana University in 2017 using neuroimaging and genetics to characterize neural characteristics of tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As a postdoc at Stanford University, she became a RCMAR Scientist awardee where she examined ethnic and racial disparities in Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. She expanded her training at the University of California, San Diego to understand racial bias that exists in neuropsychological assessments. She completed a postdoc at Stanford where her primary research interests are studying ethnic/racial disparities of AD specific risk factors on cognitive performance in older adults.
Dr. Deters was appointed to a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at UCLA in 2022 where she is investigating the intersection and contributions of genetics and social/environmental factors to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease using genetics, neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessments, and fluid-based biomarkers. In August 2022, she was accepted to the prestigious NIH/NIA Butler Williams Scholars Program and the NIH/NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute Scholars Program. She also serves on the RCMAR Scientist Advisory Board.
SAGE Project: APOE, neuropathology, and cognitive decline in Blacks
Decline in cognitive function can be detected years before Alzheimer’s disease (AD) symptoms become noticeable. However, most studies have focused on non-Hispanic Whites, representing a significant gap in knowledge. Although some variation is observed, many studies suggest several racial disparities in aging and dementia risk factors exist between non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites. For example, APOE4 is the largest genetic risk factor for AD in non-Hispanic Whites, yet the effect on AD risk is reduced in non-Hispanic Blacks. The goal of this study was to understand how race and genetic ancestry impact the association of AD genetic risk factors and neuropathology on cognitive decline. This work was published in Neurology (PMID: 33568538).