Cathy Pederson, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
Elizabeth E. Powelson Endowed Chair in Biology

Neurobiology/Physiology, Human Anatomy & Physiology
Director of Health Science Program
BDK Science Center 217
(937) 327-6481

Dr. Pederson joined Wittenberg’s faculty in 1995 and teaches a variety of courses that are related to the health professions. While challenging, students enjoy these courses as they hone their knowledge about human anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. Dr. Pederson has incorporated multi-week independent research projects into each of her upper-level laboratory courses to give students experience in experimental design and running their own study. Students who excel in these projects are often invited to present their work at a regional conference which provides an opportunity to speak with colleagues from other universities and make professional contacts for graduate school.

Dr. Pederson’s current research interest is in postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) which is a neurological disorder that affects the autonomic (automatic) nervous system. The symptoms of POTS include increase in heart rate >40 beats per minute when moving from sitting to standing, dizziness, brain fog, chronic fatigue, and neuropathic pain. She is the founder of Standing Up To POTS, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for POTS research and educating people in the medical profession and in the community about this disorder. You can visit her foundation website at

Notable Accomplishments

  • Warrior Award, NeuroConnect Conference, Washington DC, 2019
  • Top 10 Best Team Performance, 8th Annual Wego Health Awards, 2019
  • Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century, Class of 2000
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award, 1999

Courses taught

  • Biology 120: Human Health and Disease
  • Biology 129/229: The Science Behind Addiction
  • Biology 220: Neurobiology
  • Biology 221: Pharmacology
  • Biology 325: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Biology 326: Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Biology 327: Human Anatomy and Physiology II Laboratory
  • Honors 300: Chronic Illness and the Healthcare System


  • Ph.D., Physiology and Neurobiology, Rutgers
  • B.A., Biology, Wittenberg University

Research Interests

  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
  • Chronic “invisible” illnesses
  • Quality of life and suicide risk in people with chronic “invisible” illnesses

Professional Activities

  • Founder and President, Standing Up to POTS (international nonprofit)
  • Regular poster presentations with students at the Midwest Great Lakes Undergraduate Research Symposium in Neuroscience

Selected Publications

  • Pederson, Cathy L., Kathleen Gorman-Ezell (‘03), and Jeffrey B. Brookings. 2020. “Psychological Distress in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome Patients in the Crisis Phase of the Fennell Phase Inventory.” Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior
  • Pederson, Cathy L. 2020. “Suicide is a Concern for the Chronic Invisible Illness Community.” Journal of Health Science and Education 4(1):1-2.
  • Pederson, Cathy L., Kathleen Gorman-Ezell (’03), Greta Hochstetler Mayer (’98), and Jeff B. Brookings. 2019. “Development and Preliminary Validation of a Tool for Screening Suicide Risk in Chronic Illness.” Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling. Doi:10.1080/07481756.2019.1691463
  • Pederson, Cathy L. and Stacy Ogbeide (’06). 2019. “Diagnosing and Caring for Patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in Primary Care.” Journal of Health Science and Education 3(4):1-4.
  • Pederson, Cathy L., Jeff B. Brookings. 2018. “Suicide Risk Linked with Perceived Burdensomeness in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.” Journal of Health Science & Education. 2(1): 128-136.
  • Pederson, Cathy L., Kathleen Gorman-Ezell (’03), and Greta Hochstetler Mayer (’98). 2018. “Assessing Depression in the Chronically Ill: A Cautionary Tale.” Counseling Today. 60(9): 38-43.
  • Pederson, Cathy L., Kathleen Gorman Ezell (’03), and Greta Hochstetler Mayer (’98). 2017. “Invisible Illness Increases Risk of Suicidal Ideation: The Role of Social Workers in Preventing Suicide.” Health & Social Work. 42(3):183-186.
  • Pederson, Cathy L. Pederson and Jill Blettner Brook. 2017. “Sleep Disturbance Linked to Suicidal Ideation in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.” Nature and Science of Sleep. 9: 109-115.
  • Pederson, Cathy L. and Jill Blettner Brook. 2017. “Health-Related Quality of Life in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.” Clinical Autonomic Research. 27(2): 75-81. DOI 10.1007/s10286-017-0399-5.
  • Pederson, Cathy L. and Greta Hochstetler Mayer (’98). 2016. “The Tangible Effects of Invisible Illness.” Counseling Today. 58(11): 56-59.
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