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Zvinka Zlatar, Ph. D.

Dr. Zlatar received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Florida in 2012, with a focus on adult neuropsychology/geropsychology. She completed her APA-accredited clinical psychology internship at the University of California, Los Angeles (Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior), focusing on the neuropsychological assessment of older adults and Spanish-speaking adults. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neurocognitive aging at the University of California, San Diego with an emphasis on imaging the neural substrates of physical activity in older adults (Mentors: Christina Wierenga, Greg Brown, and Dilip Jeste). In 2016, she joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD, where she currently conducts research developing behavioral interventions to promote healthy brain and cognitive aging.

Research Interests

Dr. Zlatar is the Principal Investigator of the WISE Lab (Wellness Initiative for Senior Enrichment). The WISE Lab investigates the neural mechanisms by which behavioral factors and lifestyle interventions (such as exercise and diet) affect brain plasticity and cognition in aging. For this purpose the WISE lab uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain structure and perfusion (arterial spin labeling MRI); standard neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive function; accelerometry to capture physical activity and sedentary time; cardiorespiratory treadmill testing to measure fitness levels; and dietary recall to assess dietary changes. 

Dr. Zlatar’s NIH funded research is currently investigating if a mobile health-based exercise intervention (conducted in free-living environments) can improve brain perfusion and cognitive functions in cognitively normal older adults using remote heart rate tracking. 

The WISE Lab also investigates how older adult’s (Hispanics/Latinos and Non-Hispanic Whites) perceptions of their cognitive functions (i.e., subjective cognitive decline: SCD) relate to actual performance on neuropsychological testing, and the role that depression may play in this relationship. 

Clinical Focus

Clinically, Dr. Zlatar specializes in the neuropsychological assessment of adults and older adults. She is also bilingual and bicultural and provides neuropsychological assessment services to Spanish-speaking adults.