Sterling Johnson, PhD

Sterling Johnson, PhD

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headshot of Dr. Sterling Johnson
Jean R. Finley Professor of Geriatrics and Dementia
Department of Medicine
Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Professional Activities

Dr. Johnson is a clinical neuropsychologist with research interests in early identification of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. He leads the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a longitudinal cohort study of 1500+ people at varying levels of risk for sporadic Alzheimer's disease. He is the associate director and Biomarker Core leader in the Wisconsin ADRC, as well as the associate director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute. In 2022, he was awarded the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship, recognize UW–Madison faculty members whose distinguished scholarship has advanced the confines of knowledge, and whose excellence also includes teaching or service.

Johnson is also the lead principal investigator for the ADRC Consortium for Clarity in ADRD Research Through Imaging (CLARiTI). ADRC’s nationwide collaborate in CLARiTI for the purpose of elucidating the multiple intersecting etiologies that cause cognitive impairment and that may be present in any given patient. CLARiTI launched in 2023 and will establish standardized brain imaging and blood plasma test protocols to analyze levels and types of amyloid and tau, which are hallmark biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, together with assays of other proteinopathies.

Research Interests

Dr. Johnson's current projects include the following:

  • Disambiguating the multiple causes of cognitive decline in addition to Alzheimer’s disease
  • The WRAP longitudinal study
  • Tau and amyloid imaging in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease
  • Developing better methods for identifying cognitive decline