Dr. O’Donovan is excited to have the opportunity to teach Biological Psychology—PL390 at West Point and looks forward to using his experiences as a neuroscience researcher to help the cadets learn about the wonder of the brain.
After earning his BS degree in Biological Sciences at the University of North Texas, he received his PhD in Neurobiology from the Johns Hopkins University where his studies focused on understanding gene regulation in response neuronal stimulation. Dr. O’Donovan’s postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University focused on understanding the molecular basis underlying a devastating auto-immune disease called paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration.
Most recently, as faculty at Burke Medical Research Institute and Weill Cornell Medical College, his research encompasses the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying nerve regeneration in order to develop novel therapies for nerve recovery after injury or genetic predisposition.
We have used conditional gene targeting in mice to make gain- and loss-of-function mutations in the MAP kinase pathway and analyze axon growth in the nervous system. We demonstrated that selective expression of a kinase-activated B-RAF is sufficient to drive both developmental axon growth as well as robust regenerative axon growth in the adult injured CNS.
Other projects Dr. O’Donovan works on include the creation of novel mouse models for the RASopathy syndromes. Notably, B-RAF gain-of-function mice phenocopy human disease symptoms and we use these mice to test the efficacy of small molecule-based therapies to delay or ameliorate symptoms.
O’Donovan, KJ, Wilkens, EP, Baraban, JM. Sequential expression of Egr-1 and Egr-3 in hippocampal granule cells following electroconvulsive stimulation. Journal of Neurochemistry. 1998; 70, 1241-1248. PMID: 9489747.
O’Donovan, KJ, Tourtellotte, WG, Milbrandt, J, Baraban, JM. The Egr family of transcription regulatory factors: progress at the interface of molecular and systems neuroscience. Trends in Neuroscience. 1999; 22,167-173. PMID: 10203854.
Zaman, K, Ryu, H, Hall, D, O’Donovan, KJ, Lin KI, Miller, MP, Marquis JC, Baraban, JM, Semenza, GL, Ratan, RR. Protection from oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in cortical neuronal cultures by iron chelators is associated with enhanced DNA binding of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 and ATF-1/CREB and increased expression of glycolytic enzymes, p21waf1/cip1 and erythropoietin. Journal of Neuroscience. 1999; 19 (22):9821-9830. PMID: 10559391.
O’Donovan, KJ, Baraban, JM. Major Egr3 isoforms are generated via alternate translation start sites and differ in their abilities to activate transcription. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 1999; 19: 4711-4718. PMID: 10373520.
O’Donovan, KJ, Levkovitz, Y, Ahn, D, Baraban, JM. Functional comparison of Egr3 transcription factor isoforms: Identification of an activation domain in the N-terminal segment absent from Egr3b, a major isoform expressed in brain. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2000; 75, 1352-1357. PMID: 10987814.
Levkowitz, Y, O’Donovan, KJ, Baraban, JM. Blockade of NGF-induced neurite outgrowth by a dominant-negative inhibitor of the Egr family of transcription regulatory factors. Journal of Neuroscience. 2001; 21(1) 45-52. PMID: 11150318.
O’Donovan, KJ, Darnell, RB. Neuronal signaling through alternative splicing: some exons CaRRE. Science’s STKE. 2001; www.stke.org/cgi/content/full/OC_sigtrans;2001/94/pe3. PMID: 11752670.
O'Donovan KJ, Diedler J, Couture GC, Fak JJ, Darnell RB. The onconeural antigen cdr2 is a novel APC/C target that acts in mitosis to regulate c-myc target genes in mammalian tumor cells. 2010. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10045. PMID 20383333.
Reeber, SL and O’Donovan, KJ. Tracking cell lineage and fate in cerebellar circuits. 2012. Cerebellum 11(4), 829-33. PMID 22864918.
O’Donovan KJ. Combinatorial resistance: the best defense is a good offense. 2013. Front. Oncol. 3:280. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00280. PMID 24312896.
O’Donovan, KJ, Ma, KJ, Guo, HC, Wang, C, Sun, F, Han, SB, Kim, H, Wong, J, Charron, J, Zou, H, Son, YJ, He, Z, Zhong J. 2014. B-RAF kinase mediates TrkA-induced sensory axon growth and promotes CNS regeneration. JEM vol. 211 no. 5 801-814. PMID 24733831.
O’Donovan, KJ, O’Keeffe, C, Zhong J. Whole-mount imaging of mouse embryo sensory axon projections'. JoVE, in press.