Oksana Polesskaya, Ph.D.

Oksana Polesskaya, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672
Rochester, NY 14642

Lab: (585) 275-2708

Research Bio

My current focus is on understanding of neuropathology related to HIV-1 infection (NeuroAIDS). I am looking at the role of vascular dysfunction as a possible cause of neuronal dysfunction leading to cognitive deficit. One additional aspect of this work concerns short term and long term effects of methamphetamine exposure, in combination with HIV virotoxin. The main model I use for these studies is a mouse expressing HIV-1 virotoxin Tat in brain under an inducible promoter. I use two-photon microscopy to visualize 3D structure of cerebral vasculature in vivo and ex vivo, and laser Doppler flowmetry to detect changes in cerebral blood flow.
Another aspect of NeuroAIDS is developing a therapeutic molecule to counteract HIV-1 related neuroinflammation. I am part of the team (lead by Drs. Dewhurst and Gelbard) which develops such a molecule, an inhibitor of Mixed Lineage Kinase 3 (MLK3). MLK3 is an upstream kinase which mediates both microglia activation and neuronal degradation, therefore its inhibition might alleviate inflammation-mediated neuronal dysfunction.

The MLK3 studies lead me to discovering the role of MLK3 in neutrophil migration. I am studying possible implication of MLK3 inhibition in sepsis, since neutrophils play an important role in this condition.
I earned Ph.D. from Institute of Medical Genetics (Moscow, Russia), then worked in Molecular Neurobiology Branch in NIDA/NIH, in Dr. Uhl lab. My research was focused on studying changes in genome which are associated with complex disorders, such as schizophrenia and drug abuse. My postdoctoral research in George Mason University in Dr. Fryxell's lab was related to the biology of drug abuse, focusing on the expression changes caused in brain of adolescent rats by exposure to nicotine.

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 20 available »

2014 Oct
Silva JN, Polesskaya O, Wei HS, Rasheed IY, Chamberlain JM, Nishimura C, Feng C, Dewhurst S. "Chronic central nervous system expression of HIV-1 Tat leads to accelerated rarefaction of neocortical capillaries and loss of red blood cell velocity heterogeneity." Microcirculation : the official journal of the Microcirculatory Society, Inc. 2014 Oct; 21(7):664-76.
2014 Apr
Polesskaya O, Wong C, Lebron L, Chamberlain JM, Gelbard HA, Goodfellow V, Kim M, Daiss JL, Dewhurst S. "MLK3 regulates fMLP-stimulated neutrophil motility." Molecular immunology. 2014 Apr; 58(2):214-22. Epub 2014 Jan 03.
Lin F, Roiland R, Polesskaya O, Chapman B, Johnson M, Brasch J, Chen DG, Mapstone M. "Fatigability Disrupts Cognitive Processes' Regulation of Inflammatory Reactivity inĀ Old Age." The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2014 22(12):1544-54. Epub 2013 Dec 07.
2013 Oct 24
Goodfellow VS, Loweth CJ, Ravula SB, Wiemann T, Nguyen TX, Xu Y, Todd DE, Sheppard DW, Pollack S, Polesskaya O, Marker DF, Dewhurst S, Gelbard HA. "Discovery, synthesis, and characterization of an orally bioavailable, brain penetrant inhibitor of mixed lineage kinase 3." Journal of medicinal chemistry. 2013 Oct 24; 56(20):8032-48. Epub 2013 Oct 03.
Polesskaya O, Sun A, Salahura G, Silva JN, Dewhurst S, Kasischke K. "Detection of microregional hypoxia in mouse cerebral cortex by two-photon imaging of endogenous NADH fluorescence." Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2012 (60)Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Current Appointments

Research Assistant Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary
Assistant Professor of Clinical - Department of Nursing (SON)