Amanda Simanek, Ph.D., MPH

Center Scientist
School Of Public Health

Center Scientist, Assistant Professor

Interests & Expertise:
Dr. Simanek’s research centers around gaining better understanding of social patterning of infectious disease, building evidence regarding the etiologic links between infectious and chronic diseases and identifying novel pathways by which social disparities in health are perpetuated across generations and persist across the lifecourse. She has examined the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and seropositivity for persistent pathogens as well as immune aging in middle- to older-aged adults, and is currently working in collaboration with the Milwaukee Health Department to identify socioeconomic correlates of childhood vaccine rates at the neighborhood-level. Dr. Simanek has also examined the association between herpesviruses as well as other chronic bacterial and parasitic infections and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and mood disorders as well as mortality using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and Detroit Neighborhood Health Study.

To see Dr. Simanek’s full profile, click here. To view Dr. Simanek’s full CV, click here.

Current Projects:
Dr. Simanek is currently carrying out a longitudinal study of the association between several persistent pathogens and incident depression over nine years of follow-up among a cohort of older US Latinos using data from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. Other ongoing projects include examination of lifecourse pathways by which socioeconomic disadvantage contributes to depression onset among women in the Sister Study, a large, longitudinal cohort of middle-aged women in the US who have a sister with breast cancer and the buffering effect of civic engagement and social support on the adverse effects of lifecourse socioeconomic disadvantage on later life well-being among older adults in the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Most Recent Publications:

Aiello A.E., Jayabalasingham B., Simanek, A.M., Diez-Roux A., Feinstein L., Meier, H.C.S., Needham, B.L., & Dowd, J.B. (2017). The Impact of Pathogen Burden on Leukocyte Telomere Length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Epidemiology and Infection, Oct 145(14), 3076-3084. doi:10.1017/S0950268817001881

Aiello, A.E., Simanek, A.M., Stebbins, R.C., & Dowd, J.B. (2017) “Psychosocial Influences on Infectious Disease.” Chapter in: The Routledge International Handbook of Psychosocial Epidemiology, Kivimäki, M. (Ed.), Batty, D. G. (Ed.), Kawachi, I. (Ed.), Steptoe, A. (Ed.). London: Routledge.

Simanek, A.M., Parry, A., & Dowd, J.B. (2018). Differences in the Association between Persistent Pathogens and Mood Disorders among Young- to Middle-Aged Women and Men in the U.S. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 68, 56-65. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2017.09.017

Feinstein, L., Douglas, C. E., Stebbins, R. C., Pawelec, G., Simanek, A., & Aiello, A. E. (2016, September). Does cytomegalovirus infection contribute to socioeconomic disparities in all-cause mortality? Mechanisms of ageing and development158, 53-61.

Aiello, A. E., Simanek, A., Eisenberg, M. C., Walsh, A. R., Davis, B., Volz, E., Cheng, C., Rainey, J. J., Uzicanin, A., Gao, H., Osgood, N., Knowles, D., Stanley, K., Tarter, K., & Monto, A. S. (2016, June). Design and methods of a social network isolation study for reducing respiratory infection transmission: The eX-FLU cluster randomized trial. Epidemics15, 38-55.

Aiello, A. E., Dowd, J. B., Jayabalasingham, B., Feinstein, L., Uddin, M., Simanek, A., Cheng, C. K., Galea, S., Wildman, D. E., Koenen, K., & Pawelec, G. (2016, May). PTSD is associated with an increase in aged T cell phenotypes in adults living in Detroit. Psychoneuroendocrinology67, 133-41.

Meier, H., Haan, M. N., de Mendes Leon, C. F., Simanek, A., Dowd, J. B., & Aiello, A. E. (2016, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Early life socioeconomic position and immune response to persistent infections among elderly Latinos. Social science & medicine (1982)166, 77-85.