Title: BDNF signaling through astrocytic TrkB receptors: a novel molecular mechanism in postnatal brain development

The focus of Dr. Olsen’s research has been on the membrane properties of astrocytes including ion and transporter homeostasis during astrocyte postnatal maturation in the healthy brain and in neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett syndrome, cortical dysplasia and Alexander disease. More recent studies by her laboratory indicate broader interests in astrocyte development including epigenetic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies.

Dr. Olsen received her undergraduate training in Biochemistry from the University of Southern Oregon in 1999.  Her interest in astrocytes was developed early in her PhD training in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Astrocyte biology was also the focus of her post-doctoral training and her research focus as she launched her own independent career in the Department of Physiology at UAB in late 2010. Dr. Olsen is now an associate professor in the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech and the Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Neuroscience. Her work has been funded by the NIH, DOD and the Rett syndrome Foundation.