Catherine Cook Kaczorowski, Ph.D.

Affiliated Scientist

Identify early causative events that underlie cognitive deficits associated with ‘normal’ aging and Alzheimer’s disease

To get a different answer you need to ask the question differently.

Alzheimer’s disease currently affects 5 million Americans and despite decades of research we do not yet have a treatment that can even substantially slow the devastating symptoms let alone cure the inevitable cognitive decline.  Work in my laboratory to address this situation was launched not by asking what causes the disease, but by posing the counterintuitive question: “What makes some people resistant to the disease”?  In looking for the answer to this disarmingly simple question my laboratory is now leading a unique attack on Alzheimer’s and age-related dementia by focusing on identifying and validating the genetic factors that protect individuals from cognitive decline.

Integrated with broad collaborative efforts, my team of interns, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students are working on a variety of projects that seek to understand these “genetic mechanisms and biomarkers of resilience” with the ultimate goal of turning these protective factors into novel therapies.

Deconstructing Alzheimer's Disease Complexity to Identify Resilience Mechanisms

Catherine Kaczorowski Promotion Seminar

Education and experience


B.A. (Summa cum Laude) Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, May 2000
Ph.D. of Neuroscience, Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience, December 2006
Postdoctoral Trainee, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, January 2007-January 2009
Kern Innovation Fellow and Postdoctoral Trainee, Medical College of Wisconsin, January 2009 – June 2012

Fellowships, Honors and Awards

2019             Finalist, Glenn Foundation for Medical Research Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award     
2018             Evnin Family Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Research          
                     Sponsor AARF fellowship grant award (PI: Amy Dunn, postdoc. fellow)       
                     Dorothy Dillon Eweson Lecture Series on the Advances in Aging Research Award   
                     International Behavioural and Neural Genetic Society Young Investigator Award    
2017             The Jackson Laboratory nominee for Blavatnik National Award       
                     Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging         
                     Grant from the Wright Family Fund
                     Invited Chair of the Neuroscience 2017 Nanosymposium: "Protective and Pathogenetic Mechanisms in Alzheimer's Disease". International
                     meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC   
                     Invited panelist, BIOME 2017 Annual Conference, Portland, ME      
2016             BrightFocus Foundation Award (PI: Kaczorowski)     
                     Graduate Student Executive Committee Outstanding Mentor Award, UTHSC         
2015             ponsor AFAR fellowship grant award (PI: Lynda Wilmott, postdoc. fellow)
                     Patriot Award, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Department of the Secretary of Defense
                     Sponsor F31 NIA NRSA grant award (PI: Sarah Neuner, graduate student)
2014             NIA Butlers-Williams Scholar
                     American Federation on Aging Research Young Investigators Award, UTHSC          
                     UT Nominee for Searle Scholar Award           
2013             NIH R00 Pathway to Independence Award
2012             NIH K99 Pathway to Independence Award
                     Postdoctoral Travel Award, Medical College of Wisconsin Postdoctoral Assoc.       
                     Cold Spring Harbor Proteomics Course Travel Award
2011             Society for Neuroscience Poster Presentation Award, Milwaukee WI          
2009             Kern Innovation Center Fellowship (3 year award), Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center, MCW        
2003             NIMH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship Award (3 year award)
                     Cold Spring Harbor Ion Channel Physiology Course Award
2002             NIH Neuroscience in the Early Years Training Grant Award (2 year award)
                     Northwestern Graduate School University Scholar Award (2 year award)
                     NIH Neuroscience in the Early Years Travel Award
                     Gordon Research Conference on Synaptic Transmission Travel Award
2001            Northwestern University Fellowship Award (2 year award)  
                     Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience Award (2 year award) 
2000            Commencement Honors: Summa cum Laude, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
                    Golden Key National Honor Society, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee    
1999            Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
                    Phi Chi National Honor Society, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee            
                    Outstanding Tutor Award, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee        
                    All-American Scholar, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee   

Student and Postdoctoral Mentoring

Present Trainees (2020)
David Anderson, Research Intern

  • Project: Genetic control of transposable elements in resilience to aging and Alzheimer’s disease

Amy Dunn, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • STAT 2019 Wunderkind Award 
  • Alzheimer’s disease Association Research Award 
  • JAX Scholar Awardee, 2018-2020
  • Chair, International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society’ Meeting Session entitled “Gene-by-environment interactions in brain function and behavior” (2019)
  • International Behavioural and Neural Genetic Society Membership Award (2018)
  • IBANGS Genes, Brain and Behavior Travel Award (2018)
  • Selected for oral presentation International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS) meeting, Rochester, MN. May 17th-21st, 2018
  • Alfond Leaders award recipient (2018)

Brianna Gurdon, Research Intern

  • Project: BRAINSPACE - Quantitative analysis of brain cell types associated with resilience to AD

Niran Hadad, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Pyewacket fellowship

Sarah Heuer, graduate student, Genetics Track

  • Predoctoral fellow, Precision Genetics of Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (PGAD) T32 Training Program (2020-2022)
  • Speaker, Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Virtual (07/27/2020) 
  • Burroughs Wellcome Training Fellow (2018-2019)
  • Speaker, Complex Trait Consortium meeting, San Diego, CA (06/10/2019)
  • Invited speaker, ROSMAP meeting, Chicago, IL (04/15/2019)
  • Selected for oral presentation, 2019 Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Chicago

Jill King. Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Project: Neural Mechanisms Underlying a Protective ApoE Variant in Alzheimer’s Disease Mice

Andrew Ouellette, Graduate Student, University of Maine, GSBSE program

  • Predoctoral fellow, UMaine GSBSE T32 Training Program (2020-2022) 
  • Project: Cross-species analyses to identify genetic regulators of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia
  • 1st author poster at Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Chicago IL (10/19)

Maria Telpoukhovskaia, Research Scientist

  • Invited speaker, Single-Nucleus/Single Cell Profiling, Joint Meeting of the Molecular Mechanism of the Vascular Etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease (M2OVE-AD) and the Resilience-Alzheimer’s Disease Consortia
  • Scientific Organizer and Session Chair, JAX Center for Alzheimer's and Dementia Research Workshop 2020

Past Trainees (2014-2019)
Iman Abutineh, undergraduate research assistant: Immunohistochemistry (CBU)

  • Current position, resident physician, UTHSC (MD, graduate class of 2019)

Glen Acosta, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Oral presentation International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS)
  • IBANGS Genes, Brain and Behavior Travel Award (May 17th-21st, 2018)
  • Current position, Scientist I at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge MA

Natalia Bachelder, Research Intern, The Jackson Laboratory

  • Current position, EMT and applicant for Physician’s Assistant Program (2020)

Alex Bednarek, Research Intern, The Jackson Laboratory

  • Current position, Resident, Software Engineering, Codesmith, NY
  • Software Engineer, Plutoshift, Palo Alto, CA

John Buttross, undergraduate research assistant: Systems genetics of AD

  • Robert H. Buckman and Joyce Mollerup Scholarship for Lasallian Fellow
  • Best paper award at 2017 Tennessee Academy of Science's meeting (role: mentor)
  • 1st place presentation in Cell Biology at the The Kathryn Hoyle Bradley Prize in Health Sciences at the 2017 Alpha Chi National College Honor Society
  • Current position, medical student, UTHSC (MD, graduate class of 2022)

Patricia Doyle, Research Intern, The Jackson Laboratory

  • 6th place poster presenter (60+ posters from interns, grad students, postdocs and research scientists) at The Jackson Laboratory Scientific Symposium, 05/2019
  • Accepted into PhD program, University of Kentucky, Fall 2020
  • Doctoral PhD student in Ramon Sun lab, University of Kentucky 

Brianna Gurdon, summer student, The Jackson Laboratory

  • Current position, Research Intern, The Jackson Laboratory

Grace Fisher, Research Intern, The Jackson Laboratory

  • Current position, data analyst, Athena Health

Kevin Hope, graduate student (EPhys), Neuroscience Track, UTHSC

  • Contributed to 2 publications as a co-coauthor during his 12 mo in the lab
  • Current position, Postdoctoral Fellow in Clement Chow’s lab, University of Utah

Andrea Mirow, summer student, undergraduate at Amherst College, MA

  • Graduate of The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program
  • Current position, undergraduate student, Amherst College, MA
  • Current position, Kauffman Fellow, Amherst College, MA

Travis McMurphy, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Current position, postdoctoral fellow AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD

Erin Merchant, student intern, The Jackson Laboratory

  • Developed workflow for brain-wide quantification of amyloid

Michelle Kung, summer student, undergraduate at Villanova, PA

  • Graduate of JAX Summer Student Program
  • Project developed workflow for brain-wide quantification of astrocytes
  • Semifinalist for the Fulbright Scholarship (2018-2019)
  • Current position, medical student, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (class of 2023)

Andrew Ouellette, Research Intern

  • 1st author poster at Complex Trait Consortium Meeting (06/08/19)
  • 1st author poster at Society for Neuroscience Meeting, San Diego CA (11/05/18)
  • 1st author poster at Maine Chapter Society for Neuroscience Meeting (11/04/17)
  • Current position, doctoral student, University of Maine

Sarah Neuner, graduate student, Neuroscience Track, UTHSC

  • 2018 BrightFocus Travel Award, Molecular Neurodegeneration, Sweden
  • Awarded F31 NIA NRSA grant award (2015-2019)
  • Awarded AFAR grant award, declined in lieu of F31 award
  • Invited talk, Nanosymposium, Society for Neuroscience 11/15/2017
  • Travel award - Systems Genetics of Neurodegeneration, Germany (08/25-09/01/2017)
  • Invited talk, Nanosymposium, Society for Neuroscience 2017
  • Awarded Best graduate student talk 2017 JAX Scientific Symposium
  • Presenter award for graduate talk 2017 Complex Trait Consortium meeting
  • Research abstract selected for Press Conference on Aging at SFN, 2015
  • Current position, Postdoctoral Fellow in Alison Goate’s lab, Mt. Sinai, NY

Lynda Wilmott, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience Track, UTHSC

  • Awarded American Federation of Aging Research Grant Award, 2015-2016
  • Awarded Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Scholarship, 2015 Awarded Best presenter 2015 UTHSC Postdoctoral Research Day
  • Current position, Research Scientist, Washington University School of Medicine (PI: Paul Kotzbauer MD, PhD)

Anna Zhu, M1 medical student summer research rotation, UTHSC (class of 2018)

  • Gold Humanism Honor Society
  • Current position, Psychiatry resident, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Teaching Experience

2019             Lecturer, Development of Preclinical Models, The Jackson Laboratory; Learner type: graduate
2018             Session Chair and Lecturer “Genetics, Environment and Alzheimer’s Disease Susceptibility” at Alzheimer Association 2018 CT Dementia
                    Education Conference (Overall rating, 96% excellent,
                    80+ participants) Host: Stacy Chavis; Learner type: graduate, postdoc, faculty, clinicians
                     Lecturer, Neurological Disease and Aging, The Jackson Laboratory; Learner type: graduate, postdoc, faculty
                     Lecturer, Mammalian Genetics I & II (GENE 205A & B), Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Tufts University School of Medicine; Learner type: graduate
2017             Workshop on Neurogenetic Tools, The Jackson Laboratory; Learner type: graduate, postdoc, faculty
                     Lecture “Model systems for GWAS validation” Conference on Advanced Psychometric Methods in Cognitive Aging Research (Overall rating, 89%
                    excellent, 54 participants) Host: Paul Crane
                    and Dan Mungas; Learner type: graduate, postdoc, faculty
2015           Teaching Cellular Neuroscience lecture (Topic: Aging, Channels and Receptors) (6 of 6 anonymous student assessments of lecture ranked
                    outstanding); Learner type: graduate
                    Co-director of the Neuroscience Seminar Series, UTHSC; Learner type: graduate
2005           Student of Searle Center for Teaching Excellence Certification Program, Northwestern University; Learner type: undergraduate
                    Teaching Assistant for Dr. Teresa Horton, Science & engineering research and teaching synthesis (SERTS), Northwestern University; Learner
                    type: undergraduate
2002           Teaching Assistant for Dr. Nelson Spruston and Dr. Mark Segraves SERTS, Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience; Learner type:
1998            Academic Tutor, Tutoring and Academic Resource Center University of  Wisconsin at Milwaukee, WI; Learner type: undergraduate

Current Editorial Boards and Activity

Member - Planning Committee America Federation for Aging Research New Investigator in AD Meeting
Reviewer - Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC)
Review Editor, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Ad Hoc Reviewer Trends in Genetics; Science Signaling; Cell Reports; Genome Research; Nature Neuroscience; Learning and  Memory; Molecular Brain; Behavioural Brain Research; Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal ; Experimental Biology and Medicine; Nutritional Neuroscience; Behavioral Brain Research; PLOS ONE; Biophysical Journal; Physiological Genomics

Current Professional Memberships

Neurodegenerative Disease Working Group, NYGC, Executive Committee Member
Winter Conference on Neural Plasticity, Steering Committee Member
New York Academy of Sciences, Member
International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society, Member
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Member
Gerontological Society of America, Member
Society for Neuroscience, Member

Leadership and Professional Societies

2018 - Member of the Steering Committee, Winter Conference on Neural Plasticity
2019 - Executive Committee of the Neurodegenerative Disease Working Group, NYGC
2019 - Member, AMP-AD single-cell Working Group, NIA
2019 - Member, Planning Committee American Federation for Aging Research New Investigator in AD Meeting 
2019 - Member, NIA Reserve and Resilience Animal Studies Workgroup 
2019- Director of the JAX Center for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research
2020- Awards Committee, International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society
2020- Adviser and member, NIA Intervention Testing Program Access Panel