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Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • PhD, Pharmacology and Physiology, Drexel University College of Medicine (2018)
  • BS, Biology and Psychology, Fordham University (2011)

Awards & Honors

  • Mary Hoffman Shaw, PhD Memorial Travel Award (2016)

Postgraduate Training / Additional Certifications

  • NIH Resilience Training Program

Jennifer Ross, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

Dr. Jennifer Ross is interested in preclinical and clinical research examining the intersection of stress-related psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative disease.

Research Interests

Stress; psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; amyloid beta peptide production and release; dense core vesicles; noradrenergic influence on large-scale network dynamics


Norepinephrine as a Novel Regulator of Amyloid Beta Peptides

Norepinephrine exerts a global influence on brain function, from modulating local neuro-inflammatory responses to facilitating large-scale, task-related behaviors. Targeting the brain norepinephrine system has proven to be a powerful tool to treat stress-related psychiatric diseases such as depression and anxiety. Norepinephrine influences these highly complex disorders at least in part by mediating the central stress response, whose dysregulation results in hyper arousal, mood disorders, and several other chronic systemic diseases. Stress is also a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, and emerging evidence suggests an important role of norepinephrine in the etiology and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Amplification of the stress system disrupts cellular and molecular processes at the synapse, promoting the production and secretion of amyloid beta 42 peptides, and numerous studies indicate that norepinephrine can exert profound effects on the production and clearance of amyloid beta 42 peptides. Thus, the dysregulation of norepinephrine under conditions of chronic stress, psychiatric disease, or degeneration of the locus coeruleus may directly contribute to an aberrant increase in Amyloid beta 42 peptides, suggesting that targeting the norepinephrine system may be a novel approach to modulate Amyloid beta 42 levels in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease to slow or halt the progression of disease.

Effects of Medicinal Marijuana on Clinical Assessments of Pain, Anxiety, and/or Spasticity

This clinical study primarily aims to quantify the effects of medicinal marijuana in the treatment of patient populations that experience chronic pain, anxiety, and/or spasticity. The purpose of this clinical research is twofold. Broadly, the study is designed to fill a critical gap in the relationship between medical doctors that prescribe medicinal marijuana and their patients with qualifying medical conditions. To accomplish this goal, we have designed a hypothesis-driven study that will utilize clinical assessments to collect quantitative data on the efficacy of medicinal marijuana for the treatment of stress-related disorders. Importantly, our analysis will stratify study participants based on their symptoms, preferred marijuana strain, and medical history to inform prescribing doctors of optimal treatment strategies for a diverse patient population to improve treatment outcomes.


View Dr. Ross' full bibliography.

Selected Publications

"The Locus Coeruleus- Norepinephrine System in Stress and Arousal: Unraveling Historical, Current, and Future Perspectives"
Ross JA, Van Bockstaele EJ
Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:601519. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.601519. eCollection 2020. Review. PubMed PMID: 33584368; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7873441

"The role of catecholamines in modulating responses to stress: Sex-specific patterns, implications, and therapeutic potential for post-traumatic stress disorder and opiate withdrawal"
Ross JA, Van Bockstaele EJ
Eur J Neurosci. 2020 Jul;52(1):2429-2465. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14714. Epub 2020 Apr 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 32125035

"Localization of amyloid beta peptides to locus coeruleus and medial prefrontal cortex in corticotropin releasing factor overexpressing male and female mice"
Ross JA, Alexis R, Reyes BAS, Risbrough V, Van Bockstaele EJ
Brain Struct Funct. 2019 Sep;224(7):2385-2405. doi: 10.1007/s00429-019-01915-8. Epub 2019 Jun 27. PubMed PMID: 31250157; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7371412

"Noradrenergic depletion causes sex specific alterations in the endocannabinoid system in the Murine prefrontal cortex"
Urquhart MA, Ross JA, Reyes BAS, Nitikman M, Thomas SA, Mackie K, Van Bockstaele EJ
Neurobiol Stress. 2019 Feb;10:100164. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100164. eCollection 2019 Feb. PubMed PMID: 31193575; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6535650

"Amyloid beta peptides, locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system and dense core vesicles"
Ross JA, Reyes BAS, Van Bockstaele EJ
Brain Res. 2019 Jan 1;1702:46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.009. Epub 2018 Mar 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 29577889; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6375485

"Stress induced neural reorganization: A conceptual framework linking depression and Alzheimer's disease"
Ross JA, Gliebus G, Van Bockstaele EJ
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jul 13;85:136-151. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.08.004. Epub 2017 Aug 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 28803923; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5809232

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 488
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.4530
Fax: 215.762.2299