Mark P. Burns

Ph.D. (2000) National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Phone: 202.687.4735 (office) or 202.687.2961 (lab)
Fax: 202.687.0617
Laboratory for Brain Injury and Dementia 

Dr Burns’ lab investigates the link between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer’s disease. Exposure to TBI can quadruple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and amyloid plaques similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease have been found in the brain of TBI fatalities. Dr Burns’ lab recently found that the same pathways that are activated long-term in Alzheimer’s disease are activated short-term after TBI. By blocking the activation of these pathways in mice, the physical disability or memory impairments following brain trauma were completely abolished and the amount of brain damage was reduced by over 70%. This research is providing new insights into how toxic proteins produced in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease and TBI are causing neuronal cell damage and memory loss.


  • Loane, D.J., Washington, P.M., Vardanian, L., Pocivavsek, A., Hoe, H.S., Duff, K.E., Cernak, I, Rebeck, G.W., Faden, A.I. and Burns, M.P. (2011) Modulation of ABCA1 by an LXR agonist reduces beta-amyloid levels and improves outcome after traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 28:225-236
  • Burns, M.P. and Rebeck, G.W. (2010) Intracellular cholesterol homeostasis and amyloid precursor protein processing. Biochem Biophysica Acta – Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids.1801: 853-859
  • Noble, W and Burns, M.P. (2010) Challenges in Neurodegeneration Research. Frontiers in Psychiatry 1(7):1-2
  • Cartegena, C.M., Burns, M.P. and Rebeck G.W. (2010) 24S-hydroxycholesterol effects on lipid metabolism genes are modeled in traumatic brain injury. Brain Research. 319:1-12PMC2826556
  • Minami, S.S, Sung, Y.M., Dumanis, S.B., Chi, S.H., Burns, M.P., Ann, E.J., Suzuki, T., Turner, R.S., Park, H-S, Pak, D.T.S, Rebeck, G.W., Hoe, H.S. (2010) X11α and Reelin regulate ApoEr2 trafficking and cell movement. FASEB J. 24:58-69 PMC2797038
  • Loane, D.J., Pocivavsek, A., Moussa, C.E-H., Thompson, R., Matsuoka, Y., Faden, A.I., Rebeck, G.W. and Burns, M.P. (2009). APP secretases as therapeutic targets for traumatic brain injury. Nature Medicine 15:377-379 PMC2844765
  • Burns, M.P., Zhang, L., Rebeck, G.W., Querfurth, H.W., Moussa, C.E-H. (2009) Parkin promotes intracellular Aβ1-42 clearance. Hum. Mol. Gen. 18:3206-3216 PMC2733820
  • Pocivavsek, A., Burns, M.P. and Rebeck, G.W. (2009). Low-density lipoprotein receptors regulate microglial inflammation through C-Jun N-terminal kinase. Glia 57:444-53.PMC2628955
  • Cartagena, C.M., Ahmed, F., Burns, M.P., Pajoohesh-Ganji, A., Pak, D.T., Faden, A.I. and Rebeck, G.W. (2008). Cortical injury increases cholesterol 24S hydroxylase (Cyp46) levels in the rat brain. 
  • J. Neurotrauma 25:1087-1098 PMC2745316
  • Minami, S.S, Sung, Y.M., Dumanis, S.B., Chi, S.H., Burns, M.P., Ann, E.J., Suzuki, T., Turner, R.S., Park, H-S, Pak, D.T.S, Rebeck, G.W., Hoe, H.S. (2010) X11α and Reelin regulate ApoEr2 trafficking and cell movement. FASEB J. 24:58-69 PMC2797038
  • Eckert, G.P., Vardanian, L., Rebeck G.W. and Burns, M.P. (2007) Regulation of central nervous system cholesterol homeostasis by the liver X receptor agonist  TO-901317.Neurosci Lett. 423: 47-52
  • Czech, C., Burns, M.P. (joint first author), Vardanian, L., Augustine, A., Jacobsen, H., Baumann, K. and Rebeck G.W. (2007). Cholesterol independent effect of LXR agonist TO-901317 on gamma-secretase. J Neurochem. 101: 929-936
  • Hoe, H.S., Cooper, M., Burns, M.P., Lewis, P.A., van der Brug, M., Chakraborty, G., Cartegena, C., Pak, D.T.S., Cookson, M.R., Rebeck., G.W. (2007). The metalloprotease inhibitor TIMP-3 regulates APP and ApoE receptor proteolysis. J. Neurosci. 27: 10895-10905
  • Burns, M.P., Vardanian, L., Pajoohesh-Ganji, A., Wang L., Cooper M., Harris, D.C., Duff, K. and Rebeck G.W. (2006). The effects of ABCA1 on cholesterol efflux and Ab levels in vitro and in vivo. J Neurochem. 98: 792-800
  • Burns, M., Igbavboa, U., Wang, L., Wood, G.W. and Duff, K. (2006). Cholesterol distribution, not total levels, correlate with altered amyloid precursor protein processing in statin treated mice. NeuroMolecular Medicine. 8:319-328.
  • Noble, W., Planel, E., Zehr, C., Olm, V., Meyerson, J., Suleman, F., Gaynor, K., Wang, L., LaFrancois, J., Feinstein, B., Burns, M., Krishnamurthy, P., Wen, Y., Bhat, R., Lewis, J., Dickson, D. and Duff, K. (2005). Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 by lithium correlates with reduced tauopathy and degeneration in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 102: 6990-6995
  • Burns, M. and Duff, K. (2004). Brains on steroids resist neurodegeneration. Nature Med. 10: 675-676
  • Harkin, A, Connor, T.J., Burns M. and Kelly, J.P. (2004) Nitric oxide synthase inhibitors augment the effects of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors in the forced swim test. Eur. Neuropsychopharmacol. 14: 274-281
  • Burns, M., Gaynor, K., Olm, V., Mercken, M., LaFrancois, J., Wang, L., Mathews, P.M., Noble, W., Matsuoka, Y. and Duff, K. (2003). Presenilin redistribution associated with aberrant cholesterol transport enhances b-amyloid production in vivo. J Neurosci. 23: 5645-5649
  • Noble, W., Olm, V., Takata, K., Casey, E., O, M., Meyerson, J., Gaynor, K., LaFrancois, J., Wang, L., Kondo, T., Davies, P., Burns, M., Veeranna, Nixon, R., Dickson, D., Matsuoka, Y., Ahlijanian, M., Lau, LF., Duff, K. (2003). CDK5 is a key factor in tau aggregation and tangle formation in vivo. Neuron 38:555-565
  • Burns, M., Noble, W.J., Olm, V., Gaynor, K., Casey, L. and Duff, K.E. (2003). Co-localization of cholesterol, apolipoprotein E and fibrillar A-beta in amyloid plaques. Mol Brain Res. 110: 119-25
  • Burns, M. and Duff, K.E. (2003). Use of in vivo models to study the role of cholesterol in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurochem Res. 28: 979-86.
  • Burns, M. and Duff, K. (2003). Intracellular cholesterol homeostasis and Alzheimer’s disease In: “Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders: Research Advances” Iqbal, K. and Winblad, B. (eds)  Ana. Aslan Intl. Acad. Aging, Bucharest, Romania. pp: 559-567
  • Burns, M. and Duff, K.E. (2002). Cholesterol in Alzheimer’s disease and tauopathy. Ann NY Acad Sci. 977: 367-376