Dr. Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH

Tenured Professor, Epidemiology


130 DeSoto Street, 5139 Public Health 15261
R-znvy: ebfnabp@rqp.cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-838-6749
Web site:

Personal Statement

I am a physician-scientist specializing in Population Neuroscience of Aging.  I am especially interested in the neurobiological drivers of successful aging.

 Although older age is typically associated with a seemingly inevitable performance decline, we have evidence that some older adults appear resistant and resilient to the effect of aging.  Based on our discoveries, we believe that there are distinct neurobiological characteristics that can explain why some people age better than others and why some people respond to treatment better than others. We also believe that enhancing these neurobiological drivers of resilience can enhance function. 

Why population neuroscience? The combination of neuroscience and population science is critical to capture the complex relationships between the heterogeneity of the individuals on the manifestations of the disease. Our work leverages the most recent methodologies of CNS assessment to “virtually” dissect the brain in vivo   using very powerful and novel magnet resonance imaging. Our research inquiries are conducted in the context of carefully designed epidemiological studies.

What did we discover? We find that the “neurobiological drivers of resilience” appear related to   microstructural integrity of brain connections, small vessle and dopaminergic signaling. 

Why is this important? These findings are very important, because such resilience factors are modifiable. For example, we have shown that   lower and stable levels of inflammatory markers and blood pressure are critically important for preservation of brain integrity in older age. Information on our work and that of our trainees can be found at https://www.ebrain.pitt.edu/ 







Scientific Lycee, B. Croce, Palermo, Italy





University of Palermo Medical School, Palermo, Italy










University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL

Foreign Exchange Program

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Lois Pope Foundation; Neuroregenerative potential of white matter


Policlinico, University of Palermo Medical School, Palermo, Italy


Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine

2001- 2003

Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H

Epidemiology of Aging



Alzheimer Disease Research Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Mini residency

Steven T. DeKosky, M.D

Department of Neurology


Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

Trainee for the Aging Training Program

Epidemiology of Aging

Design and analysis of structural and functional brain imaging studies in large epidemiologic populations. PI: A B. Newman


Institute for Clinical Research and Education,University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA


Mentor Training Program

PI: B. Rollman and W.



MDPhD Director for the Department of Epidemiology 



EPI2019. Introduction to Multimodal Neuroimaging, SPRING

EPI 2012 - Principles of Population Neuroscience, SUMMER

Research Description

I have a long standing interest in understanding how the brain adapts to the “normal” processes of aging and disease. This is based on the peculiar observation that some individuals age well, while others decline very rapidly. I am specifically interested in understanding the causes, biomarkers, and consequences of brain aging. My goal is to identify the modifiers of brain function and structure and their implications to promote survival free of physical disability and dementia. My research approach is grounded on the application of cutting-edge methods of neuroimaging and clinical measures to epidemiological cohorts’ and randomized clinical trials studies. The application of the most advanced neuroimaging technology to large epidemiological studies of aging makes my research most innovative and of great potential impact. Collectively, my studies constitute a unique and novel resource comprising large datasets of detailed brain and functional markers from several hundreds of individuals. I expect that these data will augment our understanding of brain aging and that they will contribute to the discovery of new approaches to the promotion of survival free from disabilities.


Research Support

Principle Investigator (Active as of 2020): 

  • NIA-U01 Neurobiological drivers of mobility resilience: the dopaminergic system.
  • NIA- T32 Training Program in Population Neuroscience of Aging and Alzheimer's Disease (PNA)
  • NIA-P30: Pittsburgh Older American Independence Center (Leader of the Integrated Systems Core)
    ADRC foundation. Maladaptive Induction of Thrombospondin-1 Dysregulates Cerebral Blood Flow and Cognition of Aged Individuals


Co-Investigator (Active as of 2020):

  • NIDDK: Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) Phase II (PI: Trevor J. Orchard,    Epidemiology)
  • NHLBI:  Neurovascular Determinants of Cognitive Function in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease (PI:         Enrico Novelli)
  • NIMH: High Performance Imaging for Assessment of Small Vessel Disease in Older Adults with        Depression (PI: Howard Aizenstein)
  • NIA: Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Prospective Community Study (PI: Mary Ganguli)

NIA: Cognitive Decline, Brain Aging, Physical Environment, and Mobility (PI: Andrea Rosso)

Research Interests



Physical Disability




Selected Publications




Caterina  Rosano