The research lab of Zvonimir S. Katusic, M.D., Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic studies cognitive disorders. Protecting brain health

Driven by the need to increase options for patients with cognitive disorders, Dr. Katusic's research team studies the mechanisms responsible for normal endothelial function and repair of injured endothelium.


A major unmet need in modern medicine is preventing the neurodegeneration that is responsible for the development of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, cognitive impairment and related cognitive disorders.

Led by Zvonimir S. Katusic, M.D., Ph.D., the research team in the Vascular Biology Laboratory hopes to help meet that need.

Research in our lab focuses on the blood vessels of the brain and their role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration.

In particular, we're advancing the hypothesis that intact endothelium provides essential neuroprotective functions. In contrast, impairment of endothelial function induced by cardiovascular risk factors exerts detrimental effects on neurons, astrocytes and microglia, thereby increasing vulnerability of the brain tissue to neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment.

Our long-term goal is to improve understanding of the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective function of vascular endothelium. In our research investigations, we also use a wide range of experimental models to gain comprehensive mechanistic insights into the development of endothelial dysfunction.

Overall, our research efforts are designed to develop therapeutic strategies that preserve and promote the integrity of cerebrovascular endothelium and its capacity to maintain brain health.

About Dr. Katusic

In addition to serving as principal investigator of the Vascular Biology Laboratory, Dr. Katusic is a professor of anesthesiology and a professor of pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and a number of other funding agencies and organizations. Dr. Katusic's hope is that his research will help improve options for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related cognitive disorders.