Skip to main content
Explore URMC

URMC Logo

John A. Olschowka, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Fax: (585) 756-5334

Office: (585) 275-8238

Research Labs

Biography

Research

RECENT RESEARCH: Models of CNS inflammation. The inflammatory processes that follow injury (trauma, stroke, seizure, infection, radiation, etc.) to the central nervous system (CNS) dramatically amplify the damage. For example, reduction of the inflammatory process following stroke has been shown to limit the volume of damaged tissue by 2/3's. Our laboratory is currently working to better understand the mechanisms of inflammation within the CNS. Currently we are examining several clinically relevant areas of CNS inflammation, most in collaboration with Dr. Kerry O'Banion. First, we are using a model of damage to the CNS caused by gamma-irradiation. Treatment of brain tumors with radiation leads to long-term damage of the normal brain tissue, damage caused by a massive inflammatory response. This model will be expanded beginning in the fall of 2008 by a NIAID funded pilot project as we examine the effects of combined injuries, radiation and a peripheral injury, on the functioning of both brain and lung. In a related model, we are examining the effect of cosmic radiation (similar to the exposure received in space) on the CNS. Third, using several transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease coupled with a model of chronic inflammation, we are exploring the possible beneficial effects of inflammation in the clearing of Aß plaque pathology. Fourth, in a project begun this year, we are examining the potential brain injuring effects of underwater sound exposure. This project funded by the Office of Naval Research is interested in the use of sound exposure as a non-lethal weapon. Our final and newest area of research examines late appearing cytokines following brain injury. While suppression of acute pro-inflammatory cytokines has worked well in animal models, they have not proven useful clinically. We are now examining the late appearing cytokine HMGB-1 and its receptors (RAGE, TLR4 and TLR2) in a model of traumatic brain injury. With a better understanding, we hope to limit the inflammatory response and thus improve the effectiveness of therapy. Using techniques such as light microscopic immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, computerized image analysis, quantitative real time RT-PCR, and the immunohistochemical methods for detection of apoptosis, we have begun to unravel the cell types, cytokines, chemokines, apoptotic genes, and adhesion molecules involved in CNS inflammation. With the aid of a pilot grant from the Schmitt Foundation, we are now beginning to examine to role of CNS inflammation in the development of seizure activity. Following a variety of inflammation models (radiation-induced, Alzheimer's transgenic mice, peripheral inflammation, etc), we have begun to record EEG's from mice to determine alterations in susceptibility to seizure activity. PUBLICATIONS: Cherry JD; Williams JP; O'Banion MK; Olschowka JA "Thermal injury lowers the threshold for radiation-induced neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction." Radiation research. 2013; 180(4):398-406. Ghosh S; Wu MD; Shaftel SS; Kyrkanides S; Laferla FM; Olschowka JA; O'Banion MK "Sustained interleukin-1ß overexpression exacerbates tau pathology despite reduced amyloid burden in an Alzheimer's mouse model." The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2013; 33(11):5053-64. Cherry JD; Liu B; Frost JL; Lemere CA; Williams JP; Olschowka JA; O'Banion MK "Galactic cosmic radiation leads to cognitive impairment and increased aß plaque accumulation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease." PloS one. 2012; 7(12):e53275. . Hein AM, Stasko, MR, Matousek SB, Scott-McKean JJ, Maier SF, Olschowka JA, Costa AC, O'Banion MK. Sustained hippocampal IL-1ß overexpression impairs contextual and spatial memory in transgenic mice. Brain Behav. Immun. 2009, PMCID: PMC2818290

Credentials

Faculty Appointments

  • Associate Chair, Education - Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, (SMD)
  • Professor - Department of Neuroscience, (SMD) - Primary

Education

1973
BS | Univ of Cal Davis
Zoology

1978
PhD | Univ of Cal Davis
Anatomy

1974
MS | Univ of Cal Davis
Anatomy

Awards

2015
Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education
Location: University of Rochester

2013
Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education
Location: University of Rochester

2012
Commendation for Excellence in Medical Education
Sponsor: University of Rochester

2004
Commendation for excellence in medical education
Location: University of Rochester

2003
Commendation for excellence in medical education
Location: University of Rochester

2001
Commendation for excellence in medical education
Location: University of Rochester

2000
Commendation for excellence in medical education
Location: University of Rochester

1996
Commendation for excellence in medical education
Location: University of Rochester

1995
Student (undergraduate) Advisor of the Year
Location: University of Rochester

1994
Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education
Location: University of Rochester

1992
George W. Merck Dean's Teaching Scholar Award
Location: University of Rochester

1978
Outstanding Teaching Award, Graduate Division
Location: University of California

1974
Sigma Xi Honor Society

VIEW ALL expand_more

Publications

Journal Articles

12/2016
Sweet TB, Hurley SD, Wu MD, Olschowka JA, Williams JP, O'Banion MK. "Neurogenic Effects of Low-Dose Whole-Body HZE (Fe) Ion and Gamma Irradiation." Radiation research.. 2016 Dec 0; 186(6):614-623. Epub 2016 Dec 01.

10/1/2016
Begolly S, Shrager PG, Olschowka JA, Williams JP, O'Banion MK. "Fractionation Spares Mice From Radiation-Induced Reductions in Weight Gain But Does Not Prevent Late Oligodendrocyte Lineage Side Effects." International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics.. 2016 Oct 1; 96(2):449-57. Epub 2016 May 12.

5/2016
Dever DP, Adham ZO, Thompson B, Genestine M, Cherry J, Olschowka JA, DiCicco-Bloom E, Opanashuk LA. "Aryl hydrocarbon receptor deletion in cerebellar granule neuron precursors impairs neurogenesis." Developmental neurobiology.. 2016 May 0; 76(5):533-50. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

Books & Chapters

2002
Chapter Title: Immune response, stress, and environment: implications for cetaceans.
Book Title: Molecular and Cell Biology of Marine Mammals
Author List: Romano, T.A.; D.L. Felten; S.Y. Stevens; J.A. Olschowka; V. Quanranta; S. H. Ridgway
Edited By: C.J. Pfeiffer
Published By: Krieger Pub. Co.2002

1993
Chapter Title: Immunocytochemical methods for the localization of cytokines in brain.
Book Title: Neurobiology of Cytokines Part A; A volume of Methods in Neurosciences.
Author List: Olschowka, J.A.
Edited By: E. de Souza
Published By: Academic Press1993

1991
Chapter Title: Interleukin-1beta Expression in the Rat Brain
Book Title: Peripheral Signaling of the Brain: Neural-Immune and Cognitive Function.
Author List: Olschowka, J.A.; Dopp, J.; Higgins, G.A.
Edited By: R.C.A. Frederickson, J.L. McGaugh and D.L. Felten
Published By: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers1991 in Toronto

VIEW ALL PUBLICATIONS