Dr. Sara N. Burke Ph.D

Headshot of Dr. Sara N. Burke


About Sara N. Burke

Dr. Burke is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Associate Director of the Cognitive Aging and Memory Center (CAM) at the University of Florida College of Medicine. She received her PhD in Neuroscience & Pharmacology in 2009 from the University of Arizona and went on to complete a Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-2013) at her alma mater. The overarching goals of her NIH-funded research program are to 1) pinpoint alterations in how different brain regions communicate over the lifespan and how this contributes to loss of function in advanced age, and 2) to design therapeutic strategies for alleviating cognitive dysfunction in order to promote positive health outcomes in the elderly.

Research Profile

Dr. Burke’s research pertains to investigating mechanisms of cognition and determining how diet and metabolic function can increase resilience to memory loss in aging and disease. To answer these questions, her lab integrates data across multiple levels of analysis that includes neurophysiology, gene expression, anatomy and behavioral assays. Using these integrative approaches, current projects in her laboratory are focused on uncovering mechanisms of age-related impairments in hippocampal-dependent sensory discrimination across modalities in normal aging and a novel model of tau pathology (Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program), identifying age-associated changes in medial temporal lobe-prefrontal functional connectivity that contribute to memory deficits (1R01AG049722; 1R21AG051004), and testing whether diet can globally improve neural network function in old animals (pilot grant sub-award of P30AG028740). Her rationale is that by elucidating how aging influences systems-level dynamics, her lab will be better positioned to develop interventions that broadly improve cognition and everyday living.

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