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Lauren A. O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Mellon Hall 441
Phone: 412.396.5133


University of Delaware, BS in Agriculture
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Viral Immunology, Fox Chase Cancer Center (Advisor:  Glenn F. Rall, PhD)
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania (Advisor: Dennis L. Kolson, MD, PhD)
B.S., Animal Science/Agricultural Biotechnology, University of Delaware  (Advisor:  Carl Schmidt, PhD)


The O'Donnell lab studies interactions between neurotropic viruses, infected neurons, and infiltrating immune cells in the  brain.  Specifically, we addresses how the adaptive immune response impacts on neurodevelopment during neonatal CNS infections.  Our group utilizes a unique mouse model of central nervous system infection (NSE-CD46+ mice) to induce inflammation in the brain through a neuron-restricted viral infection.  Current projects in the lab involve studying how  inflammatory cytokines alter cell fate decisions and survival of neural precursor cells in the brain and how the adaptive immune response leads to neuronal loss in the neonatal CNS.


Faculty Development Fund (2014)
Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation Award (2012)
Hunkele Dreaded Disease Award (2010-2012)
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Viral Immunology (F32-NS06251901; 2008-2010)

Publications – 2006 to present

O'Donnell, LA. Sherris Medical Microbiology as a Resource for Doctor of Pharmacy Students. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education.

O’Donnell, LA,  Rose, RW, Balachandran, S, Basagoudanavar, S,  Rall, GF. Interferon-gamma activates cell survival pathways in neurons to protect against cytotoxicity. (In preparation)

O'Donnell LA, Conway S, Rose RW, Nicolas E, Slifker M, Balachandran S, Rall GF. 2012. STAT1-Independent Control of a Neurotropic Measles Virus Challenge in Primary Neurons and Infected Mice. Journal of Immunology. 188(4):1915-23.

O’Donnell, LA, and Rall, GF. 2010. Blue Moon Neurovirology: The Merits of Studying Rare CNS Diseases of Viral Origin. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. 5(3):443-55.

O’Donnell, LA, Agrawal, A, Sabnekar, P, Dichter, MA, Lynch, DR, Kolson DL. 2007. Apelin, an endogenous neuronal peptide, protects hippocampal neurons against excitotoxic injury.  Journal of Neurochemistry. 102(6):1905-17

Wan, Q, Douglas, SD,  Wang, X, Kolson, DL, O’Donnell, LA, Ho, WZ.  2006. Morphine Up-regulates Functional Expression of Neurokinin-1 Receptor in Neurons.  Journal of Neuroscience Research.  84(7): 1588-1596

O’Donnell, LA, Agrawal, A, Jordan-Sciutto, KL, Dichter, MA, Lynch, DR, Kolson, DL. 2006. HIV-induced neurotoxicity: Roles for activation of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor subtypes 2A and 2B and the calcium activated protease calpain by a cerebrospinal fluid-derived HIV-1 strain. Journal of Neuroscience; 26(3): 981-90.  

O'Donnell, LA, Clemmer, JA, Czymmek, K, Schmidt, CJ. 2002. Marek's disease virus VP22: subcellular localization and characterization of carboxyl terminal deletion Mutations. Virology; 292(2): 235-40

Current Courses:

PHBM 433:  Infectious Disease I 
PHBM 434:  Infectious Disease II
GPSC 572: Methods of Evaluation of Drug Action and Toxicity
GPSC 695:  Written and Oral Scientific Communication

Previous Courses:

Duquesne  University (2010-current)
PHBM 358: Clinical Microbiology
PHBM 356: Human Physiology and Pathology
PHBM 423: GI/Rheumatology

University of Pennsylvania (2008-2010)
Lecturer: Biology of Neurodevelopment (BIBB 350)
Guest Lecturer: Neurobiology of Disease - Pathophysiology of Neuroinflammation and Infection in the CNS (INSC 587)

Philadelphia University (2005-2007)
Lecturer: General Chemistry (L321)
Lab Instructor: General Chemistry, Chemistry I and II

Honors and Awards

Omicron Delta Kappa Teacher of the Year (2014)
American Society of Microbiology Science Teaching Fellow (2014)
American Society of Microbiology Early Career Travel Award (2014)
Duquesne University PharmD Class of 2016: Teacher of the Year (2014)
Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award (2014)
Phi Kappa Phi Spirit of Learning Award (2014)
Duquesne University PharmD Weekend Class of 2015: Teacher of the Year (2013)
Duquesne University PharmD Class of 2015: Teacher of the Year (2013)
Duquesne University PharmD Class of 2014:  Teacher of the Year (2011)
Edward Lustbader Award for First Place Oral Presentation – 14th Annual Fox Chase Cancer Center Postdoctoral Research Conference (2009)
Fox Chase Cancer Center NIH Training Program in Cancer Research (T32-CA00903531; 2007-2008)
Fox Chase Cancer Center Greenwald Fellowship (2006-2007)
Penn Center for AIDS Research Best Poster Abstract in HIV Pathogenesis (2005)
University of Pennsylvania NIH Training Program in HIV Pathogenesis (T32-AI007632; 2003-2005)
University of Pennsylvania NIH Training Program in Cell and Molecular Biology (T32-GM07229; 2000-2002)   
University of Delaware: Cum Laude and Degree with Distinction (2000)
American Society of Animal Science Award (1999-2000)
University of Delaware Science and Engineering Research Fellowship (1999)
Alpha Zeta (Agricultural Honor Society)