The primary objective of our research program is to identify and understand risk and protective factors for cognitive and brain aging in populations at high risk for dementia, including ethnic minority groups and those with chronic disease such as diabetes mellitus.
Professor Rachel Whitmer is an epidemiologist with a passion for identifying modifiable risk factors for brain health and dementia in diverse populations which have previously been underrepresented in population based research. She leads a large research program funded by the National Institute of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association. Dr. Whitmer is part of the UC Davis Graduate Group Epidemiology, Graduate Group in Public Health Sciences, and is Director of the Epidemiology Core of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology. Dr. Whitmer is Principal Investigator of the Northern California site for US POINTER the first multidomain behavioral intervention clinical trial to prevent cognitive decline, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association. Dr. Whitmer is committed to mentoring junior scientists and promoting those underrepresented in research. Her mentees include Fulbright Fellows, NIH KL-2 and K99 recipients. Her H-index is 42 and her work has been published in JAMA, BMJ, Neurology, Diabetes Care, JAMA: Neurology, and Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
The Whitmer lab is a collaboration of UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, and the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
The goal of our lab is to utilize population science and epidemiology to understand why some individuals get dementia and others do not. The lab focuses on ethnoracial disparities in cognitive aging and dementia, lifecourse contributions to brain health, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, and metabolic and vascular influences on brain aging. We focus especially on populations that have traditionally not been included in brain aging research, including ethnic minorities and those with chronic disease. We currently have 4 NIH-funded cohort studies in the field and in early 2019 we will launch the US POINTER, a multidomain clinical trial to prevent cognitive decline.