Dr. Sara Burke named co-director of UF’s CAM Center

Sara Burke
Dr. Sara Burke

By Michelle Koidin Jaffee

University of Florida neuroscientist Sara Burke, Ph.D., has been appointed co-director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM Center), a world-class center that aims to develop interventions to preserve cognitive function during the aging process and improve quality of life for seniors.

With co-director Ronald Cohen, Ph.D., Burke will lead the multidisciplinary CAM Center, which brings together investigators in physiology, neurobiology, neuroplasticity, pharmacology and cellular and behavioral neuroscience. The center is supported by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation (MBRF) and focuses on alleviating cognitive changes due to the normal aging process that affects 87% of the population and differs from dementia and other diseases affecting the brain.

“I am honored to follow in the footsteps of strong leaders who have created this vibrant, collaborative and successful center,” said Burke, an associate professor of neuroscience who has served as the center’s associate director since 2020.

“Importantly, CAM leadership will work to nurture and expand interactions and collaborations between preclinical and clinical researchers,” she said. “A strong dialogue between basic scientists and clinical translational researchers is imperative for understanding and treating memory loss and cognitive decline in older adults. This goal remains the core of the CAM Center mission and vision of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.”

In her new role, Burke said she will foster engagement among the center’s community of faculty members and trainees through annual research days, collaborative research through pilot grants and CAM-sponsored seminar speakers.

Burke succeeds Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., who was named director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida on Feb. 13 and also serves as chair of UF’s department of neuroscience.

“Dr. Burke is an exceptional researcher in the field of cognitive aging, and she has been instrumental in the CAM Center’s achievements thus far,” Bizon said. “I have no doubt that her energy, scientific acumen and leadership will enable the CAM Center to flourish and extend its impact.”

Burke, who completed her postdoctoral fellowship under Carol Barnes, Ph.D., director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona, was recruited to UF in 2013 as part of an initiative to broaden the university’s research in cognitive aging facilitated by the support from the MBRF.

“Dr. Burke’s established research programs in cognitive aging and memory research combined with her enthusiasm, hard work and collaborative spirit make her an ideal person to serve as co-director of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research,” said Michael L. Dockery, M.D., chair of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

Dr. Burke’s interview with the McKnight Brain Research Foundation


Photo Gallery

Cognitive aging 4
Sara Burke
faculty member talking
sara burke in the lab
sara burke looking into a microscope
sara burke in the lab
sara burke in the lab
Sara burke receiving an award at the college of medicine research celebration
(From left) Drs. Jose Abisambra, Jeremy McIntyre and Sara Burke