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Research interests

Dr. Kerstin Bettermann is a vascular neurologist with research interests in acute stroke trials, the relationship between stroke and diabetes, cerebral small vessel disease and vascular dementia. She conducts clinical stroke and vascular dementia related research studies, as well as bench research.

Dr. Bettermann’s research program at Penn State College of Medicine is focused on studying the immunological mechanisms affecting neurological outcome in diabetic stroke, and the influence of diabetes and hyperglycemia on cerebrovascular disease. Her translational research uses rodent models of diabetic stroke and studies stroke patients to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to poor outcome in diabetic stroke, with the goal of leveraging these discoveries to develop interventions that can be used to improve neurological function in this high-risk population. Furthermore, her research group conducts several clinical acute stroke interventional trials in patients with hyperglycemia.

A second major focus of Dr. Bettermann’s lab is to identify biomarkers of cerebral small vessel disease that will allow for monitoring disease progression, assessing the efficacy of specific therapeutic interventions and studying targets for the treatment of vascular dementia. One of the goals of her studies is to assess the association between retinal microvascular function, inflammation, exosomal micro-RNA expression and cognition in patients with vascular dementia and cognitive impairment due to cerebral small-vessel disease. In addition, her team is involved in research of rodent models for cerebral small-vessel disease. 

Clinical interests

Dr. Kerstin Bettermann is a neurologist with subspecialty training in vascular neurology. Her clinical interests include the management of patients with acute stroke, stroke prevention and stroke recovery. She has a special interest in the treatment of cerebral small vessel disease such as amyloid angiopathy and CADASIL, and in vascular dementia. Dr. Bettermann is a faculty member of the stroke division and has regular subspecialty clinics that focus on the treatment of patients with stroke and cerebral vascular diseases.

Professional information

Board-certified in vascular neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2005 (recertified in 2015)

Board-certified in psychiatry and neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2004 (recertified in 2014)

Certification in the interpretation of neuroimaging studies (MRI and CT) of the central nervous system, American Society of Neuroimaging, 2004

Basic training certification in hyperbaric and diving medicine, Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital, University of South Carolina, 2003 and 2004

Certification in neurosonology, American Society of Neuroimaging, 2003

Education/Academic qualification

Vascular Neurology, Fellowship, Wake Forest University


Neurology, Residency, Wake Forest University


Neurology, Internship, Wake Forest University


Psychiatry, Residency, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf


Neurology, Residency, Technical University of Munich


Neurophysiology, PhD, University of Heidelberg

… → 1995

MD, University of Heidelberg

… → 1994


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