Research Scientists

Marianna Cortese

Senior Research Scientist



Dr. Cortese obtained her medical degree in 2013 from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. She completed her Ph.D. in Epidemiology in 2017 at the University of Bergen in Norway, in which she focused on risk factors and early signs of multiple sclerosis.

In 2018 to 2019, she joined Dr. Ascherio’s Neuroepidemiology Research Group at the Department of Nutrition for her postdoctoral research training and has since continued working with his team, currently as a Research Scientist, on understanding risk factors of the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis and other neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases using large prospective cohorts, such as theNurses’ Health Studies, the US military cohort, the Finnish Maternity Cohort, the BENEFIT trial follow-up cohort, and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway.

Dr. Cortese is currently focusing on a unique project identifying a metabolomic signature of MS progression using blood of MS patients collected in the earliest disease stages. She is also investigating new risk factors of MS and examining the immune response to different viral infections using blood samples from the large cohort of active duty personnel in the US military. Finally, Dr. Cortese is working on projects on prenatal risk factors for neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases using Norwegian population registries.



Omega-3 fatty acids linked with slower progression of ALS

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids—particularly alpha-linolenic acid, a nutrient found in foods including flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia, canola, and soybean oils—may help slow the progression of disease in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a new study…