Lauren Schmitz

Position title: Assistant Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison


Website: Lauren Schmitz's website

Lauren Schmitz profile picture

I am an Assistant Professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs. I earned my Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research an my M.S. in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. In 2017, I received a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to examine social determinants of epigenetic processes related to aging and cognitive decline. In addition to the NIA, my research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Retirement Research, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the March of Dimes.

My research uses data and methods from economics, public health, and genomics to examine how social inequality erodes health at a molecular level and speeds up the aging process. I take a life course view of aging that considers how social disadvantage shapes health from the prenatal period into old age. To capture the interplay between our biology and our social circumstances, my work marries genetic and epigenetic data with data from population-based longitudinal studies and randomized control trials. I primarily use methods for learning causal effects to help identify policy targets that support quality of life and extend healthspan.

Research areas

Social genomics

Health economics

Population health and aging

Social determinants of health

Health disparities