The primary focus of Dr. Hilsabeck’s research is cognitive functioning in chronic liver disease, particularly chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection. His preliminary work led to an interest in understanding the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and immunological variables, especially cytokines, and he has a career development award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the role of cytokines in cognitive functioning in CHC. Gaining insights into how chronic immune system activation affects cognitive functioning can aid in providing etiological theories of cognitive dysfunction in CHC, as well as in other conditions in which the immune system is implicated, which then may lead to targeted interventions.
He spends 75% of his time in research and career development endeavors. The remaining 25% of his time is spent at the VA, where he directs a 2-year postdoctoral residency in clinical neuropsychology, which he developed and continues to refine. Direction of this fellowship involves intensive one-on-one supervision of the clinical work of two fellows to ensure they are prepared for independent practice, as well as board certification in clinical neuropsychology, which is the highest standard of practice in this field.