Mission Statement

The mission of the Bendlin Lab is to take a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and inclusive approach to understand the factors that contribute to healthy and pathological brain aging. As a part of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, we share the goal of improving the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The Bendlin Lab strives to foster a non-discriminatory, diverse, and inclusive research and academic environment. Our research projects, supported by multiple NIA/NIH grants, donors, and private funding agencies, study brain structure and function in midlife and in older adults using a wide array of neuroimaging, biomarker, and genomic analyses. With a focus on education and outreach, the Bendlin Lab engages with students, staff, participants, and individuals in the community to promote greater awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

We understand that the individuals involved in the research process must reflect people whom the science ultimately stands to serve. In particular, this must include people who are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease and those who are underserved by our current health, economic, and social systems. Within our lab, we honor these values by training students and staff from diverse backgrounds, maintaining a lab culture that celebrates intersectional perspectives, and supporting each member according to their individual needs. We also implement these values throughout our scientific programs by committing to recruitment and retention of diverse participant cohorts, equitable compensation for research volunteers, and educational outreach in our studies.

Our lab studies aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vogt et al, 2020, Cerebral Cortex
Decreased cortical gray matter NODDI metrics in MCI and AD dementia groups from whole-brain analysis. From Vogt et al., 2020 published in Cerebral Cortex.

We are interested in understanding the interplay of factors that contribute to healthy or pathological brain aging. In particular, the effect of factors that contribute to or protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

We use a number of tools in our research, including cognitive testing, MRI, PET, and CSF analysis, to determine how risk factors for Alzheimer’s affect the brain, particularly in mid-life.

Hunt et al, 2020, JAMA Neurology
Voxel-based morphometry and region of interest analyses show significant associations between highest levels of neighborhood disadvantage and gray matter volume. From Hunt et al., 2020 published in JAMA Neurology.

Our NIA funded research program is focused on characterizing the early effects of Alzheimer’s disease on brain myelin and axons, in addition to determining the role of preclinical inflammation in cell and dendritic damage.

Together with collaborators both on and off of the UW campus, the lab is also studying the impact of modifiable factors that may affect trajectories of aging. These include the effect of mid-life metabolic disorders (obesity and insulin resistance), sleep, diet, and microbial influences.

Understanding early brain changes in people who may go on to develop cognitive decline is expected to lead to earlier diagnosis, prevention, and the development of new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Barbara Bendlin’s Google Scholar profile.

Bendlin Lab News