Katherine Burdick
Katherine Burdick, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Investigating the Role of Neurocognition in Mood and Psychotic Disorders

With a multimodal focus on studying and treating patients with severe mental llness (SMI), we work to understand the causes of these illnesses and identify treatments to improve the lives of patients and their families. We investigate the relatively understudied symptom domain of neurocognitive impairment (e.g. attention, memory problems) in patients with psychotic and mood disorders. We use a transdiagnostic approach, largely focused on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, because cognitive symptoms are common to both disorders. This symptom domain is particularly important, as deficits contribute directly to the high rates of social and occupational disability in patients with SMI. In addition to characterizing the patterns of impairments in cognition that are associated with SMI, our program focuses on understanding what causes these problems. Specifically, we study both biological mechanisms (e.g. inflammation, genetic variation) and environmental/psychosocial factors (e.g. childhood trauma, sleep disturbances) that contribute to the development of cognitive deficits, with the goal of informing prevention and intervention efforts.