Rochester, Minnesota Clinical Profile


Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., focuses on investigations of cognition in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Dr. Petersen and his colleagues evaluate cognitive changes in normal aging as well as in a variety of disorders involving impairment in cognition, such as Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Lewy body dementia.

Dr. Petersen directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, both of which involve the study and characterization of aging individuals over time with an emphasis on neuroimaging and biomarkers.

Focus areas

  • Cognitive function in aging
  • Disease course in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia
  • Biomarkers of disease processes, including neuroimaging and cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognitive and biomarker signals of early cognitive impairment
  • Development of therapies for cognitive impairment

Significance to patient care

Cognitive dysfunctions, including mild cognitive impairment and dementia, are leading causes of morbidity in aging. With the aging of society, these conditions are becoming increasingly common, and early detection is essential. Ultimately, the interventions will be designed to take place in cognitive dysfunction at its earliest stage.

Professional highlights

  • Member, World Dementia Council, 2014-present
  • Chair, Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services for the National Alzheimer's Project Act, 2011-present
  • Board of directors, The Alzheimer's Association, 2008-present
  • Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 2000-present
  • Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award, Alzheimer's Association, 2013
  • Member, National Advisory Council on Aging, National Institute on Aging (NIA), 2010-2013; Board of Scientific Counselors, NIA, 2003-2008
  • Zaven Khachaturian Award, Alzheimer's Association, 2012
  • Distinguished Mayo Clinic Investigator, 2011
  • Chair, Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, Alzheimer's Association, 2008-2011
  • Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's, and Related Diseases, American Academy of Neurology, 2005
  • MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease, 2004
  • Author of more than 700 publications and five books


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Neurology

Joint Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Neurology


  1. Fellow - Behavioral Neurology Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  2. Resident Department of Neurology
  3. Resident Neurology, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. Internship Department of Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center
  5. MD Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  6. U.S. Army Biomedical Research Laboratory
  7. PhD University of Minnesota
  8. BA Hamline University

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