Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, M.D., Ph.D., is a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, with a focus on neurogenetics of Alzheimer's disease (AD). She is also a board-certified practicing neurologist with a subspecialty in behavioral neurology.
After graduating from medical school in Turkey, her native country, she obtained her Ph.D. at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida. During her Ph.D. training under the mentorship of Steven G. Younkin, M.D., Ph.D., and co-mentorship of Michael Hutton, Ph.D., she demonstrated that plasma amyloid-beta (AΒ) levels are heritable and for the first time used these traits as endophenotypes in AD.
Dr. Ertekin-Taner's thesis work led to identifying a locus on chromosome 10 with strong evidence of linkage to AΒ in late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) families and AD risk in an independent series.
During her postdoctoral training with Dr. Younkin between 2001 and 2003, she focused on fine-mapping studies on three candidate genes on chromosome 10. She identified independent associations of variants within alpha-T catenin (VR22), insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) and urokinase-plasminogen activator (PLAU) with AΒ levels in LOAD families and AD risk.
Between 2003 and 2007, Dr. Ertekin-Taner completed her residency in the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. She returned to the Jacksonville campus of Mayo Clinic in 2007 to complete a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology under the directorship of Neill R. Graff-Radford, M.D. Subsequently, she established her research program in the Department of Neuroscience, which focuses on the neurogenetics of Alzheimer's disease and neurodegenerative endophenotypes — including whole-transcriptome gene expression levels in the brain, cognition, neuropathology and neuroimaging to understand the complex genetics of AD.
Dr. Ertekin-Taner achieved the position of assistant professor of neurology in 2009, before being named as associate professor of both neurology and neuroscience in 2014.