Nurse scientist and professor Jessie Gibson
Gibson, who studies interventions for patients with Huntington's disease, has been named junior editor of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

Assistant professor Jessie Gibson, a nurse scientist studying mental health interventions for patients with Huntington's disease (HD), has been named junior editor of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science for a two-year term, one of two nurses on the 52-member editorial board and the only nurse among the new cohort of 14 junior editors.

In the new role, Gibson will assist with manuscript review, developing summaries and reports from the annual JCTS meeting, and working with associate editors as mentors.

Recipient in 2021 of a UVA iTHRIV/NIH KL2 grant for her research, and a subsequent 3Cavaliers grant for interprofessional collaborations, Gibson studies HD patients'  propensity for "interpretation bias"—the tendency to see people or situations in a consistently negative light—and whether an online brain training tool can help HD patients reduce or eliminate negative thinking and improve their well-being.

Huntington’s disease—sometimes described as a mix of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)—is a genetic disease that’s distinct because of its onset in prime adult years (generally ages 40 to 50) and its consequent duration of 10 to 25 years. HD causes a progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Patients who inherit it experience physical changes, like chorea (involuntary jerking or writhing), difficulty walking, balancing, swallowing and speaking, as well as less obvious but equally vexing psychological symptoms: personality changes, emotional instability and impaired ability to reason. There is no cure.

Nearly three-quarters of Huntington’s patients report anxiety, and many have depression. And because most live decades beyond diagnosis, unmanaged psychological symptoms often cause the quality of their lives to deteriorate.

Gibson's new editorial position began earlier this summer and will extend through June 2025.