About Randy Nelson
Professor & Chair
Hazel Ruby McQuain Chair for Neurological Research
Director, WVU Center for Foundational Neuroscience Research &Education
Executive Director of Basic & Foundational Neuroscience Research, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
- West Virginia University School of Medicine
- Department of Neuroscience
Hazel Ruby McQuain Chair for Neurological Research; Director, Basic Science Research
- West Virginia University School of Medicine
- Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (SOM)
- PhD, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
- PhD, Endocrinology, University of California, Berkeley
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Walker, W.H., Walton, J.C., DeVries, A.C., Nelson, R.J. 2020. Circadian rhythm disruption and mental health. Translational Psychiatry, 10:1-13. DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-0694-0
Weil, Z.M., Fonken, L.K., Walker, W.H., Bumgarner, J.R., Liu, J.A., Melendez-Hernandez, O.H., Zhang, N., DeVries, A.C., Nelson, R.J. 2020. Dim light at night exacerbates stroke outcome. European Journal of Neuroscience, 52:4139-4146. DOI: 10.1111/ejn.14915.
Walton, J.C., Walker, W.H., Bumgarner, J.R., Melendez-Hernandez, O.H., Liu, J.A., Hughes, H.L., Kaper, A.L., & Nelson, R.J. 2021. Circadian variation in efficacy of medications. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 109:1457-1488. DOI: 10.1002/cpt.2073
Nelson, R.J. Bumgarner, J.B., Walker, W.H., & DeVries, A.C. 2021. Time-of-day as a critical biological variable. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 127:740-746. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.05.017
Walker W.H. 2nd, Walton J.C., Nelson R.J. 2021. Disrupted circadian rhythms and mental health. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 179: 259-270. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-819975-6.00016-9.
Meléndez-Fernández O.H., Walton J.C., DeVries A.C., Nelson R.J. 2021. Clocks, rhythms, sex, and hearts: How disrupted circadian rhythms, time-of-day, and sex influence cardiovascular health. Biomolecules. 2021 Jun 14; 11(6): 883. DOI: 10.3390/biom11060883.
Liu J.A., Walton J.C., DeVries A.C., Nelson R.J. 2021. Disruptions of circadian rhythms and thrombolytic therapy during ischemic stroke intervention. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15: 675732. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2021.675732
Bumgarner J.R., Nelson R.J. 2021. Light at night and disrupted circadian rhythms alter physiology and behavior. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 4: 6(13): 1160-1169. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icab017.
Walton J.C., Bumgarner J.R., Nelson R.J. 2022. Sex differences in circadian rhythms. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, a039107. DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a039107.
Walker W. H., Sprowls S. A., Bumgarner J. R., Liu J. A., Meléndez-Fernández O. H., Walton J. C., Lockman P. R., DeVries A. C., & Nelson R. J. 2022. Circadian influences on chemotherapy efficacy in a mouse model of brain metastases of breast cancer. Frontiers in Oncology, 11, 752331. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.752331
Bumgarner, J.R. Nelson, R.J. 2022. Open-source analysis and visualization of segmented vasculature datasets with VesselVio. Cell Reports Methods, 2:100189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100189
Nelson, R.J. 2019. (Hormones and Behavior section editor). Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior. Second Edition. Elsevier Major Reference Works, Oxford, UK.
Nelson, R.J. (Editor). 2022. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.
Nelson, R.J. & Kriegsfeld, L.J. 2022. An Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology. Sixth Edition. Sinauer Associates, An imprint of Oxford University Press: Sunderland, MA.
Fonken, L.F. & Nelson, R.J. (Editors). 2023. Biological Implications of Circadian Disruption: A Modern Health Challenge. Cambridge University Press (In press).
Nelson, R.J. & Weil, Z.M. (Editors). 2023. Biographical History of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. Springer Nature, New York (In press).
Dr. Nelson holds the Hazel Ruby McQuain Chair for Neurological Research in the WVU School of Medicine and is director of basic science research in the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, as well as across the University. He also leads the neuroscience PhD program as one of the seven biomedical science PhD programs at the Health Sciences Center, and serves as a professor and inaugural chair in the new Department of Neuroscience.
Dr. Nelson earned his AB and MA degrees in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned a PhD in Psychology in 1983, as well as a second PhD in Endocrinology in 1984, both from UC Berkeley. Dr. Nelson then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Reproductive Biology at the University of Texas, Austin.
Dr. Nelson served on the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University from 1986 until 2000, where he was a professor of psychology, neuroscience, biochemistry, and molecular biology. He then served on the faculty at The Ohio State University from 2000 - 2018, during which time he served as Distinguished University Professor, as well as the co-director of both the Neuroscience Research Institute (2014-2018) and the Neuroscience Graduate Studies Program (2003-2009). He was also the faculty lead of the Chronic Brain Injuries Discovery Theme.
Dr. Nelson has published over 400 research articles and more than 10 books describing studies in biological rhythms, behavioral neuroendocrinology, and immune function. Current studies focus on circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are endogenous biological rhythms of about 24 hours and are a fundamental characteristic of life. Although life evolved over the past 3-4 billion years under bright days and dark nights, humans have been able to interrupt this natural light-dark cycle for the past 130 years or so with bright light at night. The laboratory studies the effects of these disrupted circadian rhythms on several parameters including immune function, neuroinflammation, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Current projects in the lab include: prenatal and early life effects of light at night on metabolism and immunity, and disruption of circadian rhythms on neuroinflammation associated with cardiac or cancer development and treatments.