David E. Olson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Department of Chemistry
2463 Chemistry Annex
Lab Website

Research Interests

Our lab studies a class of compounds that we call psychoplastogens, or small molecules capable of promoting neural plasticity. Such compounds have enormous potential for treating a wide variety of neuropsychiatric diseases including depression, anxiety disorders, and addiction. We use a combination of synthetic chemistry, molecular neurobiology, and behavioral neuropharmacology to 1) understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying the effects of psychoplastogens on the nervous system, and 2) develop next generation neurotherapeutics.

Zhu, J. S.; Larach, J. M.; Tombari, R. J.; Gingrich, P. W.; Bode, S. R.; Tuck, J. R.; Warren, H. T.; Son, J.-H.; Duim, W. C.; Fettinger, J. C.; Haddadin, M. J.; Tantillo, D. J.; Kurth, M. J.; Olson, D. E. "A Redox Isomerization Strategy for Accessing Modular Azobenzene Photoswitches with Near Quantitative Bidirectional Photoconversion." Org. Lett. 2019, ASAP.

Tombari, R. J.; Saunders, C. M.; Wu, C.-Y.; Dunlap, L. E.; Tantillo, D. J.; Olson, D. E. "Ex Vivo Analysis of Tryptophan Metabolism Using 19F NMR." ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, ASAP.

Cameron, L. P.; Benson, C. J.; DeFelice, B. C.; Fiehn, O.; Olson, D. E. "Chronic, Intermittent Microdoses of the Psychedelic N,N‚ÄźDimethyltryptamine (DMT) Produce Positive Effects on Mood and Anxiety in Rodents." ACS Chem. Neurosci., 2019, 10, 3261−3270.

Kearney, S. E.; et al. "Canvass: A Crowd-Sourced Natural-Product Screening Library for Exploring Biological Space." ACS Cent. Sci., 2018, 4, 1727–1741.

Olson, D. E. "Psychoplastogens: A Promising Class of Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics" J. of Exp. Neurosci. 2018, 12, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1177/1179069518800508.

Cameron, L. P.; Olson, D. E. "Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)" ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2018, ASAP.

Dunlap, L. E.; Andrews, A. A.; Olson, D. E. "Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine" ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2018, ASAP.

Ly, C.; Greb, A. C.; Cameron, L. P.; Wong, J. M.; Barragan, E. V.; Wilson, P. C.; Burbach, K. F.; Soltanzadeh Zarandi, S.; Sood, A.; Paddy, M. R.; Duim, W. C.; Dennis, M. Y.; McAllister, A. K.; Ori-McKenney, K. M.; Gray, J. A.; Olson, D. E. "Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity" Cell Reports 2018, 23, 3170–3182.

Su, J. Y.; Olson, D. E.; Ting, S. I.; Du Bois, J. "Synthetic Studies Toward Pactamycin Highlighting Oxidative C–H and Alkene Amination Technologies" J. Org. Chem. 2018, 83, 7121–7134.

Cameron, L. P.; Benson, C. J.; Dunlap, L. E.; Olson, D. E. "Effects of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) on rat behaviors relevant to anxiety and depression" ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2018, 9, 1582–1590.

Olson, D. E.; Sleiman, S. F.; Bourassa, M. W.; Wagner, F. F.; Gale, J. P.; Zhang, Y.-L.; Ratan, R. R.; Holson, E. B. “Hydroxamate-based Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Can Protect Neurons from Oxidative Stress by Forming Catalase Mimetic Complexes with Intracellular IronCell Chem. Biol. (formerly Chem. Biol.) 2015, 22, 439-445.

Sleiman, S. F.; Olson, D. E.; Bourassa, M. W.; Karuppagounder, S. S.; Zhang, Y.-L.; Gale, J.; Wagner, F. F.; Basso, M.; Coppola, G.; Pinto, J. T.; Holson, E. B.; Ratan, R. R. “Hydroxamic Acid-based Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitors Can Mediate Neuroprotection Independent of HDAC InhibitionJ. Neurosci. 2014, 34, 14328-14337.

Olson, D. E.; Su, J. Y.; Roberts, D. A.; Du Bois, J. “Vicinal Diamination of Alkenes under Rh-Catalysis J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13506-13509.