Cara Westmark

Associate Professor

School of Medicine and Public Health | Department of Neurology

Hometown: Dubuque, Iowa

Dr. Westmark received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame. She is faculty in the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine & Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studies pharmaceutical and dietary interventions for the treatment of neurological disorders with a focus on autism and Alzheimer’s disease.


Diet & Neurological Disorders
We study the effect of diet on neurological phenotypes in mouse models of autism, fragile X syndrome, Dravet syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. We found effects on seizure propensity, behavior and biomarkers. The results have important implications for animal husbandry practices and for infants fed soy-based formulas.
Linking Autism and Alzheimer's
We found a connection between a prevalent protein studied in Alzheimer’s disease and excess expression of this protein in a neurodevelopmental disorder called fragile X syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. This provides an opportunity for drug repurposing between the disorders.