Shanna Burke

Project Title: The differential impact of apolipoprotein E genotype on cognitive and mental health among minorities with HIV and HCV

Despite the fact that HIV and hepatitis C disease progression, treatment efficacy, and mortality may be directly affected by specific APOE genotypes, genetic screening is largely absent in HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) clinical care. APOE e4 may directly affect or interact with behavioral and sociodemographic factors to impact cognitive and mental health in disparate ways among minority patients with HIV and/or HCV. The purpose of this project is to conduct the formative work needed to examine the impact of APOE genotype on cognitive and mental health among a minority sample of HIV/HCV patients, which will provide the opportunity to collect the pilot data needed for a more exhaustive large-scale study of the impact of APOE genotype on individuals with HIV and/or HCV from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Research Interests

Cognition, Depression, Genetics, Health Disparities, Sleep, Social Determinants of Health

Assistant Professor
School of Social Work

As a public health social worker, Dr. Burke’s research focuses on cognition and cognitive impairment, which includes neurodevelopmental disabilities and neurodegenerative disorders. Her translational objective is to decrease health disparities through the utilization of culturally responsive multi-modal assessment procedures, diagnostic methods, and interventions targeting cognitive impairments and chronic diseases across the lifespan. Dr. Burke’s research program examines the risk conferred by apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype as moderated by psychological conditions, stress, and sociodemographic factors. Her previous investigations have focused on depression, sleep disturbance, apolipoprotein E in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (2016), neuropsychiatric symptoms and apolipoprotein e as risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease development (2016), moderating the risk of Alzheimer’s disease through the use of anxiolytic agents (2017), the associative effect of depression, sleep disturbance, and anxiety and Alzheimer’s disease development (2017), decreasing hazards of Alzheimer’s disease with the use of antidepressants while accounting for apolipoprotein e (2018), the relationship between cognitive performance and measures of neurodegeneration among Hispanic and White non-Hispanic individuals with normal cognition, MCI and dementia (2018), and two recent papers (2018) describing how the treatment of sleep disturbance may reduce the risk of future probable Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment. Dr. Burke main research objective is to pursue investigations that seek to understand how biological vulnerability, health behaviors, and sociocultural factors inform differences in health outcomes.

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