The Koliatsos Laboratory

Our Staff

Dr. Vassilis KoliatsosVassilis E. Koliatsos, MD MBA


Dr. Koliatsos, Professor of Pathology and Neurology and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is the head of the Laboratory and leads efforts in neuropathology of human TBI. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Athens School of Medicine, he trained in systems neuroscience with Mahlon DeLong and cellular and molecular neuropathology with Don Price. His main interest is how the nervous system deals with traumatic or degenerative insults and what it does to repair itself. He is strongly influenced by his work in the early and mid-90s, when he characterized a number of neurotrophic factors for key populations of neurons in the brain and spinal cord, and he believes that understanding cell biology will lead to rational therapies. Although much of his prior work was on simple models of axotomy, he has recently turned to more complex models of axonal injury, including models of diffuse axonal injury and blast injury to brain. He serves on the faculty of the Ph.D. graduate program of Pathobiology of Disease and leads the TBI Research Center in the Department of Pathology. A clinical neuropsychiatrist, he also sees patients with TBI and degenerative dementias. Dr. Koliatsos has been awarded the Leadership and Excellence in Alzheimer's disease Award and the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, both from NIH.

Dr. Jiwon RyuJiwon Ryu, PhD


Dr. Ryu, a PhD graduate with focus on Microbiology and Immunology from the Ewha Womans University in Seoul, is the laboratory manager and leads efforts in molecular biology and protein work. She is broadly trained and skilled in a wide variety of methodologies spanning from molecular biology to neuropathology. She also has training and expertise in manipulating ES cells, IPSCs, and differentiated neural and oligodendrocyte precursors. Besides science, Dr. Ryu is interested in administrative and managerial aspects of research and has considerable skill and expertise in research coordination across laboratories and research groups. She is presently focused on the proteomics of tau and the identification and characterization of protein fragments that may mark the onset of degenerative tauopathy.

Dr. Leyan XuLeyan Xu, PhD


Dr. Xu, Research Associate in the Division of Neuropathology, leads projects related to animal models of TBI. Dr. Xu is an MD graduate from Jilin University and PhD graduate from Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and an expert in experimental neurosurgical methods, neuroanatomy, and neuropathology. He has previously led efforts in stem cell transplantation studies in the lab. These studies were pivotal in the design of novel therapies for spinal cord injury and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. More recently, working with colleagues at the Applied Physics Laboratory and Virginia Commonwealth University, he has expanded into models of blast and, especially, blunt neurotrauma. Dr. Xu is very well published in stem cell therapies and animal models of TBI and has attracted many Hopkins investigators outside the lab in collaborative projects. He has also trained a large number of undergraduates who rotate in the Koliatsos Lab.

Trainees

Dr. Nikolaos ZiogasNikolaos Ziogas, MD


Dr. Ziogas, postdoctoral research fellow, models diffuse axonal injury in motor pathways and brain stem circuitries using high-resolution neuroanatomical tools such as CLARITY, immunohistochemistry for local and systemic aspects of the neuroinflammatory response, and various methods to detect changes in the blood-brain barrier. He is also interested in novel imaging and computing technologies to model TBI by combining data from various pathological trajectories into single coherent profiles per individual research subject. Molecular hypotheses derived from simpler animal models can then be incorporated into this systemic analysis to develop valid biomarkers and define target pathways for neuroprotection and new therapies. Dr. Ziogas has received the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Libra Initiative Award and the 2016 National Capital Area TBI Award for first paper.

Dr. Yusong Ge Yusong Ge, MD

Dr. Ge has characterized a visual model of diffuse TBI using impact acceleration and has tested a molecular hypothesis of axonal and perikaryal degeneration borrowed from simple axotomy models. This model generates an optic neuropathy that is initiated, among else, by the early induction of the DLK/LZK-JNK cascade. With Drs. Welsbie and Zack from the Wilmer Eye Institute, Dr. Ge has developed kinase blocking pharmacological strategies to inhibit JNK activation and abrogate degenerative changes in the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells.