Summer Acevedo, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology


Research Info

"Memory Island"


Ongoing Research Project

Effects of ApoE on Spatial Learning and Memory in Young Hispanics
My research will explore the role of gender (male, female) and a protein in the brain (Apolipoprotein E, or ApoE) within a predominately Hispanic community on spatial learning and memory. This translational research involves the connection of learning paradigms between human and animals. Previous mouse studies have found that spatial and object recognition memory is sensitive to gender and ApoE. While a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Raber laboratory at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), I began to translate these animal findings over to human studies using a human version of the object recognition task called “Novel Image/Novel Location” and the water maze spatial memory task called “Memory Island”. My preliminary studies suggest that ApoE is not only a risk factor for cognitive decline in elderly, but also in children 7-10 years and young adults 20-40 years old specifically in these spatial learning and memory task in Caucasians. As a faculty member, I will establish and use these tests in combination with conventional tests in Puerto Rico. My goal is to characterize the cognitive impairments in children and young adult Hispanic ApoE carriers in to validate the use of mouse models. This validation would enable her to use the mouse models to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects in humans for the development and pre-clinical testing of therapeutic interventions.
Additional Projects
• Effects of ApoE on spatial learning and memory in Hispanic cancer survivors
• Effects of hemodialysis treatment on cognition in Hispanics
• Effects of AIDS/HIV infection on spatial learning and memory in adults.
• Effects of HIV/AIDS exposure during pregnancy on spatial learning and memory in children



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