Natalia Rost, MD, MPH, is investigating how an individual’s brain becomes susceptible to an insult, such as stroke, and how to prevent it altogether.

Resilient Brain: From Biomarkers of Susceptibility to Mechanisms of Stroke Recovery

Natalia S. Rost, MD, MPH

MGH Research Scholar 2019-2024

Physician Investigator, Department of Neurology

Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

The impact of stroke is devastating to those who suffer from it, their families, and the society as a whole. I have dedicated my professional life to understanding why an individual’s brain becomes susceptible to an insult, such as stroke, and how to prevent it altogether.

We used the brain MRI scans of stroke patients to identify signs of long-term injury called white matter disease, and demonstrated that it leads to poor poststroke recovery.

Further, we discovered that “the vulnerable brain” - or the brain susceptible to stroke -is the brain with significant overall burden of white matter disease, and we focused our studies on understanding how this white matter disease increases stroke risk and poor outcomes.

Our state-of-the-art research program is uniquely positioned to elucidate the mechanisms by which one’s brain becomes susceptible to stroke.

By using an established network of national and international collaborators and innovative methods of brain MRI and genetic analysis, we already developing novel tools that personalize prediction of stroke risk and recovery.

Furthermore, we will use these tools to determine the “brain reserve,” or one’s brain capacity to withstand the insult, and the ways to boost the brain’s resilience.