N. Maritza Dowling

Maritza Dowling headshot

N. Maritza Dowling


Associate Professor (Tenured)


Office Phone: 202-994-0020
1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 500, 542 Washington DC 20006

N. Maritza Dowling is an associate professor and biostatistician at The George Washington University School of Nursing. She received a doctorate in quantitative methods with majors in statistics and psychometrics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Dowling’s research focuses on measurement issues in the longitudinal assessment of cognitive decline in older adults and the application of novel statistical approaches to model the complex interplay between risk and protective factors in Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes and biomarkers for disease prognosis. Her research also aims to optimize cognitive outcome measures for early diagnosis and patient selection in clinical studies of Alzheimer’s disease-modifying therapies.

Prior to joining GW, she served for a decade as an associate scientist in the Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics and co-director of the Biostatistics and Data Management Unit at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) where she conducted independent and collaborative methodological research designed to better understand the mechanisms underlying increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and the neural substrates of cognitive processes that differentiate normal from pathological aging in individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s and related dementias due to heredity. 

For the next five years, she will serve as a co-investigator and lead statistician on a multi-site $10.8 million NIH-NIA funded study, “Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in women: risks and benefits of hormone therapy.” The project will examine the differences in amyloid deposition, cerebrovascular lesions, cognitive function, mood and brain structure in women who were treated with different formulations of hormone therapy compared to placebo during early postmenopause. Presently, she is also a co-Investigator and lead statistician of another multisite 5-year $2.3 million study funded by NIH-NIA to implement appropriate and inclusive recruitment strategies aimed at engaging, recruiting, and retaining Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and SGM caregivers in research. A key goal is to establish a sustainable national research registry of SGM people with ADRD and SGM caregivers by developing, implementing, and evaluating tailored recruitment and engagement programs for use by NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in the nation and clinical research institutions.

Her current research also seeks to examine how digital technologies can be used to attenuate the risk of functional and cognitive decline in elderly homebound individuals with limited social interactions.

  • Editorial Board Member of Neurology and Neurobiology
  • Biomedical Informatics Center, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, George Washington University
  • Center for Health and Aging, Washington DC VA Medical Center
  • Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR)

Selected Publications

  • Mungas, D., Fletcher, E., Gavett, B., Zahodne, L., Hohman, T., Mayeda, E., Widaman, K., Dowling, N. M., Johnson, D., Tomaszewski-Farias, S. (2021). Comparison of Education and Episodic Memory as Modifiers of Brain Atrophy Effects on Cognitive Decline: Implications for Measuring Cognitive Reserve. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 27(5), 401-411.

  • Zeydan, Burcu, Lowe, VJ, Tosakulwong, N. Lesnick, TG, Senjem, ML, Jack, CR, Fields, JL, Gleason, CE,  Dowling, N.M., Rocca, WR, Miller, V., Kantarci, K. (2021). Sleep quality and cortical beta-amyloid deposition in post-menopausal women of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS). NeuroReport, 32(4), 326-331.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33470769/

  • Kwan, A, Wei, J., Dowling, N.M., Power, MC, Nadareishvili, Z (2021). Cognitive impairment after lacunar stroke and the risk of recurrent stroke and death. Cerebrovascular Diseases, 50: 383-389.

  • Power, MC, Bennett, EE, Turner, RW, Dowling, N.M., Ciarleglio, A, Glymour, MM, Gianattasio, KZ (2021). Trends in Relative Incidence and Prevalence of Dementia Across Non-Hispanic Black and White Individuals in the United States, 2000-2016. JAMA Neurology. 78(3): 275-284.

  • Zasadny, FM, Dyavanapalli, J, Dowling, N.M., Mendelowitz, D, Kay, MW (2020) Cholinergic stimulation improves electrophysiological rate adaptation during pressure overload-induced heart failure in rats.  American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 19(6): H1358-H1368.

  • Jain,V., Kimbro, S., Kowalik, G., Milojevic,I., Dowling, N. M., Hauser, K., Del Rio, R., Kay, M. W., Mendelowitz, D.(2020). Intranasal Oxytocin Increases Respiratory Rate and Reduces Obstructive Event Duration and Oxygen Desaturation in a Randomized Double Blinded Placebo Controlled Study in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Medicine, 74:242-247.

  • Dowling, N. M., Raykov, T., Marcoulides, G. (2020). A Method for Examining the Equating of Psychometric Scales and Tests: An Application Using Dementia Screening Tests. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 80(1): 199–209.

  • Kling, J., Dowling, N. M., Bimonte-Nelson, H.A., Gleason, C.E., Miller, V. (2019) Impact of Menopausal Hormone Formulations Pituitary-Ovarian Regulatory Feedback. American Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 317(6):R912-R920.

  • Bettcher, B.M., Gross, A., Gavett, B., Widaman, K., Fletcher, E., Dowling, N. M., Buckley, R.F., Arenaza-Urquillo, E., Zahodne, L., Hohman, T.J., Rentz, D., Mungas, D. (2019). Dynamic Change of Cognitive Reserve: Associations with Changes in Brain, Cognition, and Diagnosis. Neurobiology of Aging, 83:95-104.

  • Barzgari1, A., Sojkova, J., Dowling, N. M., Pozorski, V., Okonkwo, O., Starks, E. J., Oh, J., Thiesen, F., Wey, A., Nicholas, C. R., & Gallagher, C.L. (2019). Arterial spin labeling reveals relationships between resting cerebral perfusion and motor learning in Parkinson’s disease. Brain, Imaging, and Behavior, 13 (3), 577-587. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11682-018-9877-1

  • Dowling, N. M., Raykov, T., Marcoulides, G. (2019). Examining Population Differences in Within-Person Variability in Longitudinal Designs Using Latent Variable Modeling: An Application to the Study of Cognitive Functioning of Older Adults. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 79 (3), 598-609. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31105325/

  • Kantarci, K., Tosakulwong, N., Lesnick, T., Zuk, S., Lowe, V., Fields, J., Gunter, J., Senjem, M., Settell, M., Gleason, C., Dowling, N.M., Asthana, S., Jack, C. R., Rocca, W. Miller, V. (2018). Brain Structure and Cognition Three Years after an Early Menopausal Hormone Therapy Trial, JAMA Neurology, 90(16):e1404-e1412.
    **Featured Article in Neurology Today, Vol 18, April 5, 018. https://journals.lww.com/neurotodayonline/Fulltext/2018/04050/In_the_Clinic_Cognition__The_Latest_Study_on.1.aspx

  • Gleason, C, Norton, D, Anderson,E, Wahoske,M, Washington,D, Koscik,R, Dowling, NM, Johnson, S. Asthana, S. (2018) Cognitive variability predicts incident Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment comparable to a cerebrospinal fluid biomarker. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 61 (1).

  • Bolt, D., Dowling, N. M., Shih, Y-S., Loh, W-Y. (2017). Using Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition to Explore Differential Item Functioning: Application to PISA, (2017) In H. Jiao & R. W. Lissitz (Eds.), Test Fairness in the New Generation of Large-Scale Assessment (pp. 161-180). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

  • Dowling, N. M., Bolt, D. M., Deng, S., Li, C. (2016) Measurement and Control of Bias in Patient-Reported Outcomes Using Multidimensional Item Response Theory Models. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 16:63. doi: 10.1186/s12874-016-0161-z. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27229310/

  • Dowling, N. M., Bolt, D. M., Deng, S. (2016). An Approach for Item Sensitivity to Within-Person Change Over Time: An Illustration Using the ADAS-Cog. Psychological Assessment, 28 (12): 1576-1585. doi.org/10.1037/pas0000285. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4959988/

  • Kantarci, K., Tosakulwong, N., Lesnick,T., Zuk,S., Gunter, J., Gleason, C., Dowling, N. M., Vemuri, P., Senjem, M., Shuster, L.T., Bailey, K.R., Rocca, W., Jack, C., Asthana, S., & Miller, V. M. (2016). Effects of Hormone Therapy on Brain Structure in Post-Menopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA Neurology, 87, 887-889.

  • Gleason, C, Dowling, N. M., Flowers, S., Kaseroff, A., Gunn, W., Edwards, D. (2016). Common Sense Model factors affecting African American's disclosure of symptoms of mild cognitive impairment to providers. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(7): 537–546.

  • Raz, L., Hunter, L., Dowling, N. M., Wharton, W., Gleason, C.; Jayachandran, M.; Anderson, L., Asthana, S., Miller, V. M.  (2016). Differential Effects of Hormone Therapy on Serotonin, Vascular Function and Mood in the KEEPS. Climacteric, 19, 49-59.

  • Dowling, N. M., Johnson, S.C., Gleason, C.E., Jagust, W. (2015). The Mediational Effects of FDG Hypometabolism on the Association between Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers and Neurocognitive Function. NeuroImage, 105, 357-368.

  • Li, C., Dowling, N. M., & Chappell, R. (2015). Quantile regression with a change-point model for longitudinal data: An application to the study of cognitive changes in preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Biometrics. doi: 10.1111/biom.12313. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4575281/

  • Ithapu, V.K., Singh, V., Chappell, R., Dowling, N. M., Johnson, S. C. (2015). Imaging-based enrichment criteria using deep learning algorithms for efficient clinical trials in MCI. Alzheimer's & Dementia. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2015.01.010.

  • Gleason, C., Dowling, N. M., Wharton, W., Manson, J.E., Miller, V.M., Atwood, C.S., Brinton, E.A., Cedars, M., Lobo, R.A., Merriam, G.R., Neal-Perry, G., Santoro, N.F., Taylor, H.S., Black, D.M., Budoff, M.J., Hodis, H.N., Naftolin, F., Harman, S.M. (2015). Effects of Hormone Therapy on Cognition and Mood in Recently Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the Randomized, Controlled KEEPS-Cognitive and Affective Study. PLoS Medicine 2(6): e1001833. 
    Featured study at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society Annual Conference 

  • Gleason, C, Fischer, B.L., Dowling, N. M., Setchell, K.R., Carlsson, C.M., Asthana, S. (2015). Cognitive effects of soy isoflavones in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 47, 1009-1019.

  • Almeida, R.P., Schultz, S., Austin, B., Boots, E., Dowling, N. M., Gleason, C.E., Bendlin, B.B., Sager, M.A., Hermann, B.P., Zetterberg, H., Carlsson, C.M., Johnson, S.C., Asthana, S., & Okonwo, O.C. (2015). Effect of cognitive reserve as a modifier of age-related changes in CSF biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. JAMA Neurology, 72, 699-706.

  • Schultz, S.A., Oh, J.M., Koscik, R.L., Dowling, N. M., Gallagher, C. L., Carlsson, C. M., Bendlin, B. B., LaRue, A., Hermann, B. P., Rowley, H. A., Asthana, S., Sager, M. A., Johnson, S. C., Okonwo, O. (2015). Subjective memory complaints, cortical thinning, and cognitive dysfunction in middle-aged adults at risk for AD. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 1, 33-40.

  • Doherty, B., Schultz, S., Oh, J., Koscik, R., Dowling, N. M., Barnhart, T.E., Gallagher, C.L., Carlsson, C.M., Bendlin, B.B., LaRue, A., Hermann, B.P., Rowley, H.A., Asthana, S., Sager, M.A., Okonwo, O.  (2015). Amyloid burden, cortical thickness, and cognitive function in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Disease Monitoring, 1, 160-169.

  • Boots, EA, Schultz, SA, Almeida, RP, Koscik, RL, Dowling, N.M., Gallagher, CL, Carlsson, CM, Rowley, HA, Bendlin, BB, Asthana, S., Sager, MA, Hermann, BP, Johnson, SC, Okonkwo, O (2015) Occupational Complexity and Cognitive Reserve in a Middle-Aged Cohort at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30, 634-642.

  • Dowling, N. M., Gleason,C.E, Manson, J.E., Hodis, H.N., Miller, V.,  Brinton, E.A., Neal-Perry, G., Santorro, N., Wharton,W., Cedars, M., Lobo, R, Merriam, G., Naftolin, F., Taylor, H., Harman, S.M., Asthana, S. (2014). Characterization of Vascular Disease Risk in Postmenopausal Women and its Association with Cognitive Performance. PLoS One, 8(7), e68741.

  • Schultz, S., Larson, J., Oh, J., Koscik, R., Dowling, N. M., Gallagher, C. L., Carlsson, C.M., Rowley, H.A., Bendlin, B.B., Hermann, B.P., Johnson, S.C., Sager, M., LaRue, A., Okonwo, O. (2014). Participation in cognitively-stimulating activities is associated with brain structure and cognitive function in preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Brain Imaging and Behavior. doi 10.1007/s11682-014-9329-5.

  • Wharton, W., Gleason,C., Dowling, N. M., Carlsson, C, Brinton, E.A., Santoro, M.N., Neal-Perry, G., Taylor, H., Naftolin, F., Lobo, RA, Merriam, G, Manson, J.E., Cedars, M.I., Miller, V.M., Black, D. M., Budoff, M., Hodis, H. N., Harman, S. M. (2014). The KEEPS-Cognitive and Affective Study: Baseline Associations between Vascular Risk Factors and Cognition. Journal of the Alzheimer’s Disease, 40, 331-341.

  • Okonkwo, O., Xu, G., Oh, J., Dowling, N. M., Carlsson, C.M., Gallagher, C.L., Birdsill, A.C., Palotti, M., Wharton, W., Hermann, B.P., Larue, A., Bendlin, B.B., Rowley, H.A., Asthana, S., Sager M.A., Johnson, S. C. (2014). Cerebral Blood Flow is Diminished in Asymptomatic Middle-Aged Adults with Maternal History of Alzheimer's Disease. Cerebral Cortex, 24, 978-988.

  • Ly, M, Canu, E., Xu,G., Oh,J., McLaren, D., Dowling, N.M., Alexander, A.L., Sager, M., Johnson, S., Bendlin, B. (2014). Midlife measurements of white matter microstructure predict subsequent regional white matter atrophy in healthy adults. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 2044-2054.

  • Raz, L., Dowling, N.M, Gleason, C., Jayachanderan, M., Asthana, S., Miller, V.M. (2013). Effects of Menopausal Hormone Therapy on Serum Serotonin and Self-Report Depression in Healthy, Recently Menopausal Women. Journal of Women's Health, 22, 18.

  • Dowling, N. M., Olson, N., Mish, T., Kaprakattu, P., & Gleason, C. (2012). A Model for the Design and Implementation of a Participant Recruitment Registry for Clinical Studies of Older Adults. Clinical Trials: Journal of the Society for Clinical Trials, 9, 204-214.

  • Stricker, N., Dodge, H., Dowling, N.M., Han, D., Erosheva, E., Jagust, W. (2012). CSF biomarker associations with change in hippocampal volume and precuneus thickness: implications for the Alzheimer’s pathological cascade, Brain, Imaging, and Behavior Journal, 6, 599-609.

  • Hinrichs, C., Dowling, N.M., Johnson, S.C., & Singh, V. (2012). MKL-based sample enrichment and customized outcomes enable smaller AD clinical trials. Machine Learning and Interpretation in Neuroimaging (MLINI) 2011, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (LNAI) 7263, pp. 124-131.

  • Gleason, C.E., Dowling, N.M., Friedman, E., Wharton, W., & Asthana, S. (2012). Using predictors of hormone therapy use to model the healthy user bias: How does healthy user status influence cognitive effects of hormone therapy? Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 9, 524-533.


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison – Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods, (December, 2006)
  • University of Puerto Rico-PR – Master of Science in Mathematical Statistics (December, 1987)
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cardiovascular
  • Dementia
  • Diversity
  • Health Care Disparities
  • Health Policy
  • Neurology
  • Telemedicine
  • Women's Health
  • Achiever
  • Learner
  • Competition
  • Ideation
  • Focus