Laura Zahodne, PhD

Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Associate Research Scientist in the Taub Institute

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2005 University of Michigan
  • PhD, 2012 University of Florida
  • Residency: 2012 Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital
  • Fellowship: 2014 Columbia University Medical Center

Honors & Awards

Early Career Award, American Psychological Association Division 20 (Adult Development & Aging)

Benton-Meier Neuropsychology Scholarship, American Psychological Association Division 40 (Neuropsychology)

Walter McMillen Memorial Award for Parkinson's Disease Research, American Psychological Association Division 20 (Adult Development & Aging)

Bryan Robinson Endowment for the Neurosciences, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Neuroscience Center

Young Investigator Award, American Neuropsychiatric Association


Psychosocial Factors in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease. The overall aim of my research program is to understand how psychosocial experiences influence late-life cognitive trajectories and the expression of neurodegenerative disease. I have examined several putative risk (e.g., depressive symptoms, psychosis) and protective (e.g., educational attainment, bilingualism) factors in the prediction of dementia incidence and course. My current interest is in the role of positive psychosocial factors (e.g., wellbeing, self-efficacy, social support) in cognitive and brain aging, independent of negative affect. Ultimately, I wish to understand how these psychosocial factors contribute to brain maintenance or reserve.

Psychosocial Factors and Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Cognitive Aging. I investigate interactions between psychosocial factors and race/ethnicity in order to (1) identify causes of disparities in late-life cognitive outcomes, (2) determine whether key risk and protective factors differ across groups, and (3) explore how the unique psychosocial experiences of racial/ethnic minorities shape late-life cognitive trajectories.

Statistical Modeling of Symptom Trajectories in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease. Advanced longitudinal methods such as latent growth curve modeling represent powerful, flexible techniques for characterizing inter-individual differences in intra-individual changes in brain and behavior over time. I am interested in modeling multivariate outcomes longitudinally to explore theories of disease progression, identify sources of individual differences in aging and disease, and improve clinical prognosis.

Research Interests

  • Cognitive aging
  • Cognitive disparities
  • Longitudinal methods
  • Neuropsychology
  • Positive psychosocial factors


09/01/14 - 08/31/19 Psychosocial Protective Factors in Cognitive and Brain Aging (K99-R00 AG047963)

07/01/15 - 06/30/16 Deconstructing Cohort Differences in Cognitive Disparities across African Americans and Whites

Selected Publications

Zahodne, L.B., Manly, J.J., Azar, M., Brickman, A.M., & Glymour, M.M. (in press). Racial disparities in cognitive performance across mid and late adulthood: analyses in two cohort studies. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Zahodne, L.B., Manly, J.J., Brickman, A.M., Narkhede, A., Griffith, E.Y., Guzman, V.A., Schupf, N., & Stern, Y. (2015). Is decomposition of episodic memory variance a valid method for quantifying cognitive reserve in aging? A longitudinal application. Neuropsychologia, 77, 260-266.

Zahodne, L.B., Wall, M.M., Schupf, N., Mayeux, R., Manly, J.J., Stern, Y., Brickman, A.M. (2015). Late-life memory trajectories in relation to incident dementia and regional brain atrophy. Journal of Neurology, 262 (11), 2484-2490.

Zahodne, L.B., Meyer, O.L., Choi, E., Thomas, M.L., Willis, S.L., Marsiske, M., Gross, A.L., Rebok, G.W., & Parisi, J.M. (2015). External locus of control contributes to racial disparities in memory and reasoning training gains in ACTIVE. Psychology & Aging, 30 (3), 561-572.

Zahodne, L.B., Manly, J.J., Narkhede, A., Griffith, E.T., DeCarli, C., Schupf, N.S., Mayeux, R., & Brickman, A.M. (2015). Structural MRI predictors of late-life cognition differ across African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites. Current Alzheimer Research, 12 (7), 632-639.

Zahodne, L.B., Nowinski, C., Gershon, R., & Manly, J.J. (2015). Self-efficacy buffers the relationship between educational disadvantage and executive functioning. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 21 (4), 297-304.

Zahodne, L.B., Stern, Y., Manly, J.J. (2015). Differing effects of education on cognitive decline in diverse elders with low versus high educational attainment. Neuropsychology, 29 (4), 649-657.

Zahodne, L.B., Ornstein, K., Cosentino, S., Devanand, D.P., & Stern, Y. (2015). Longitudinal relationships between Alzheimer's disease progression and psychosis, depressed mood and agitation/aggression. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23 (2), 130-140.

Zahodne, L.B., Nowinski, C.J., Gershon, R.C., & Manly, J.J. (2014). Depressive symptoms are more strongly related to executive functioning and episodic memory among African American compared to non-Hispanic White older adults. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 29 (7), 663-669.

Zahodne, L.B., Nowinski, C., Gershon, R., & Manly, J.J. (2014). Which psychosocial factors best predict cognitive performance in older adults? Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 20, 487-495.

Zahodne, L.B., Schofield, P.W., Farrell, M., Stern, Y., & Manly, J.J. (2014). Bilingualism does not alter age-related cognitive decline or dementia risk among Spanish-speaking immigrants. Neuropsychology, 28, 238-246.

Zahodne, L.B., Stern, Y., & Manly, J.J. (2014). Depressive symptoms precede memory decline, but not vice versa, in non-demented older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62, 130-134.

Zahodne, L.B., Manly, J.J., MacKay-Brandt, A., & Stern, Y. (2013). Cognitive declines precede and predict functional declines in aging and Alzheimer's disease. PLoS One, 8 (9), e73645.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013636.

Zahodne, L.B., Manly, J.J., Brickman, A.M., Siedlecki, K., DeCarli, C., & Stern, Y. (2013). Quantifying cognitive reserve in older adults by decomposing episodic memory variance: replication and extension. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 19 (8), 854-862.

Zahodne, L.B., Gongvatana, A., Cohen, R.A., Ott, B.R., & Tremont, G. (2013). Are apathy and depression independently associated with longitudinal trajectories of cortical atrophy in mild cognitive impairment? American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(11), 1098-1106.

Zahodne, L.B., Devanand, D., & Stern, Y. (2013). Coupled cognitive and functional change in Alzheimer's disease and the influence of depressive symptoms. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 34 (4), 851-860.

Zahodne, L.B., Marsiske, M., & Bowers, D. (2013). A latent class analysis of psychological disturbance in Parkinson's disease. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28, 1054-1060.

Zahodne, L.B., Marsiske, M., Okun, M.S., Rodriguez, R.L., Malaty, I., & Bowers, D. (2012). Mood and motor trajectories in Parkinson's disease: multivariate latent growth curve modeling. Neuropsychology, 26 (1), 71-80.

Zahodne, L.B., Glymour, M.M., Sparks, C., Bontempo, D., Dixon, R.A., MacDonald, S.W.S., & Manly, J.J. (2011). Education does not slow cognitive decline with aging: 12-year evidence from the Victoria Longitudinal Study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17 (6), 1039-1046.