Associate Professor of Nursing Mo-Kyung Sin, PhD, RN, has received federal funding to pursue her research study “Blood Pressure, Microinfarcts, and Dementia: A Pathway for Alzheimer's Disease Management.” The R03 award ($288,600 over 2 years) was granted through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging as part of the “Small Research Grant Program for the Next Generation of Researchers in Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias.” Dr. Sin’s award from the NIH, joins only five previous NIH-funded awards and sub-awards made to Seattle University in the last decade and demonstrates the continued growth and evolution of SU’s research enterprise.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Dr. Sin who has meticulously studied and sought mentorship to move her scholarship in the direction of aging and dementia research,” said Dean Kristen Swanson.
Since joining SU in 2004, Dr. Sin has consistently pursued her research into the influence of cardiovascular disease on the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In 2019, she was selected for the distinguished Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation and has since received the program’s 2021 Alumni Award for her outstanding contribution in educating others and nursing students on Parkinson disease.
A strong advocate for student success, Dr. Sin has mentored both nursing students and alumni through the Parkinson Disease Nursing Student Ambassador Program, which she implemented in 2020 with funding from the Parkinson’s Foundation. She expanded the current program in 2021 to the Alzheimer Disease and Parkinson Disease Ambassador Program with a seed grant from the College of Nursing. The ambassador programs were designed to provide nursing students with necessary knowledge and competency when caring for patients with Alzheimer disease and/or Parkinson disease and evidence-based practice skills through case-study manuscript development. The first cohort of ambassadors in 2020, four senior nursing students and two nursing alumni, generated three manuscripts, which were published in peer-reviewed journals.
With support from the NIH, Dr. Sin will continue her study of the relationship between blood pressure, cerebral vasculopathies (abnormal blood vessels of the brain: cerebral amyloid angiopathy, arteriolosclerosis) and region-specific cerebral microinfarcts (microscopic tissue infarction/necrosis of the brain) and their influence on the development of dementia.
To do so, she will use data from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, a longitudinal dataset collected by Kaiser Permanente (KP) and the University of Washington since 1996 that follows KP patients throughout their lives. Ultimately, her research will contribute to foundational knowledge about possible mechanisms for preventing or delaying dementia in older adults, including interventions aimed at proper monitoring and treatment of blood pressure.