Olivia Marola, Ph.D.

I'm interested in understanding the mechanisms by which vascular and metabolic deficits drive neurodegeneration in glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease.

My primary research interest is mapping the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease with the goal of identifying therapeutic targets. My doctoral work with Dr. Richard Libby at the University of Rochester focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in glaucoma. I investigated the retinal ganglion cell (RGC)-intrinsic apoptotic mechanisms that lead to neuronal death—specifically, I tested the role of DDIT3, JUN, MKK4, and MKK7 in driving RGC degeneration. I also studied the importance of endothelin signaling as an extrinsic vasoactive driver of glaucoma-relevant RGC death. My postdoctoral work with Dr. Gareth Howell focuses on the mechanisms driving both glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. I am leveraging a genetically diverse wild-derived mouse strain (WSB) to identify novel alleles driving cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). Furthermore, I am testing the potential of therapeutically strengthening the blood-brain barrier to ameliorate CAA and AD using genetic and pharmacological strategies. Ultimately, I aim to identify and test therapeutic targets to treat CAA and AD.

Olivia Marola on ORCID