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Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • PhD in Pharmacology - University of Minnesota School of Medicine
  • BA in Biology - Carleton College

Awards & Honors

  • The Early Career Basic Science Investigator Award, Drexel University College of Medicine, 2023
  • Frontiers in Neuroscience, Editorial Board, May 2018
  • Best poster, Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center Annual Retreat, May 2015
  • Best poster, Cell and Molecular Biology, Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences annual retreat, March 2015
  • Alavi-Dabiri Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center), July 2013
  • Best poster, Cell and Molecular Biology, Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences annual retreat, April 2013
  • Trainee Travel Award, International Society of Neurochemistry satellite "Brain in Flux," April 2013
  • National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award, T32, 2007-2008 and 2009-2010
  • National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award, T31, 2004-2007
  • Louise M. Nutter Student Research Award, runner up, Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota, 2006

Memberships / Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • International Transmembrane Transporter Society

Postgraduate Training / Additional Certifications

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Department of Neuroscience
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Pediatrics

Joshua Jackson, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

Dr. Jackson's primary research interest is in understanding mechanisms that regulate astrocyte-to-neuron communication and how this signaling is altered in brain disorders that possess inflammatory components.  His lab combines live-cell imaging, both in vitro and in vivo, with pharmacology and molecular genetics to investigate these mechanisms.

Visit the Jackson Laboratory.

Research Interests

Astrocyte biology, neuro-glial interactions, neurovascular coupling, synaptic development, calcium signaling, mitochondrial dynamics, brain metabolism


Astrocytes are the major glial cell in the central nervous system. Processes from these polarized cells ensheath the vasculature and contact synapses. These processes are decorated with neurotransmitter receptors and transporters that allow astrocytes to sense and respond to neuronal signaling. Astrocytes play important roles in synaptic signaling, neurotransmitter synthesis and recycling, control of nutrient uptake and control of local blood flow.

The focus of the Jackson Lab is the investigation of signal transduction mechanisms that facilitate astrocyte-neuron communications, with a particular emphasis on calcium signaling mechanisms. Current areas of investigation include:

  • Mechanisms of calcium clearance in astrocyte processes.
  • Signaling mechanisms in astrocytes that regulate neurovascular coupling.
  • Regulation of synaptic development and maturation by astrocyte mitochondrial metabolism.

Our research combines imaging techniques (in vitro and in vivo) with pharmacology, molecular genetics and electrophysiology to dissect the signaling that happens between astrocytes and neurons.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

"Transient oxygen/glucose deprivation causes a delayed loss of mitochondria and increases spontaneous calcium signaling in astrocyte processes"
O’Donnell JC, Jackson JG, and Robinson, MB
Journal of Neuroscience. 36(27):7109-27. PMID: 27383588 (2016)

"Reciprocal Regulation of Mitochondrial Dynamics and Calcium Signaling in Astrocyte Processes"
Jackson JG and Robinson, MB
Journal of Neuroscience. 35(45):15199-213. PMID: 26558789 (2015)

"Regulation of Brain Glutamate Metabolism by Nitric Oxide and S-Nitrosylation"
Raju K, Doulias PT, Evans P, Genda EN, Jackson JG, Horyn O, Daikhin Y, Nissim I, Nissim I, Yudkoff M, Robinson MB, and Ischiropoulos H
Science Signaling. 8(34): ra68. PMID: 26152695 (2014)

"Neuronal activity and glutamate uptake decrease mitochondrial mobility in astrocytes and position
mitochondria near glutamate transporters"
Jackson JG, O’Donnell JC, Takano H, Coulter DA, and Robinson MB
J. Neuroscience. 34(5): 1613-24. PMID: 24478345 (2014)
Faculty of 1000 Recommended Article

"Displacing hexokinase from mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) impairs GLT-1-mediated glutamate uptake but does not disrupt interactions between GLT-1 and mitochondrial proteins"
Jackson JG, O’Donnell JC, Krizman EN, Robinson MB
Journal of Neuroscience Research (2014)

"Genetic deletion of the neuronal glutamate transporter, EAAC1, results in decreased neuronal
death after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus"
Lane MC, Jackson JG, Krizman EN, Rothstein JD, Porter BE, and Robinson MB
Neurochem Int. PMID: 24334055 (2013)

"The glutamate transporter, GLAST, participates in a macromolecular complex that supports glutamate metabolism"
Bauer DE, Jackson JG, Genda EN, Montoya MM, Yudkoff M, Robinson MB
Neurochem Int. 61(4): 566-74. PMID: 22306776 (2012)

"Co-compartmentalization of the astroglial glutamate transporter, GLT-1, with glycolytic enzymes and mitochondria"
Genda EN*, Jackson JG*, Sheldon AL*, Locke SF, Greco TM, O'Donnell JC, Spruce LA, Xiao R, Guo W, Putt M, Seeholzer S, Ischiropoulos H, Robinson MB
J. Neuroscience 31(50): 8275-88. PMID: 22171032 (2011)
*Co-first authors

"Lactic Acidosis in a newborn with adrenal calcification"
Zecic A, Smet J, De Praeter C, Vanhaesebrouck P, Van Den Broecke C, De Paepe B, Lohse P, Martin JJ, De Meirleir L, Seneca S, Lissens W, Jackson JG, Campbell C and Van Coster R
Pediatr Res. 66(3): 317-22. PMID: 19581830 (2009)

"Bradykinin-induced nuclear factor of activated T-cells-dependent transcription in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons"
Jackson JG, Usachev YM and Thayer SA
Mol Pharmacol. 72(2):303-10. PMID: 17485565 (2007)

"Mitochondrial modulation of Ca2+-induced Ca2+- release in rat sensory neurons"
Jackson JG and Thayer SA
J Neurophysiol 96(3):1093-104. PMID: 16760347 (2006)

"Altered distribution of mitochondria impairs calcium homeostasis in rat hippocampal neurons in culture"
Wang G, Jackson JG, Thayer SA
J. Neurochem. 87 (1), 85-94. PMID: 12969255 (2003)

"Neurotensin Analog Selective for Hypothermia over Antinociception and Exhibiting Atypical Neuroleptic-Like Properties"
Boules, M, McMahon, BM, Warrington, L, Stewart, J, Jackson J, Fauq A, McCormick DJ, Richelson, E
Brain Research 919, 1-11. PMID: 11689157 (2001)

"Intraperitoneal Injection of Antisense Peptide Nucleic Acids Targeted to the Receptor Decreases Response to Morphine and Receptor Protein Levels in Rat Brain"
McMahon BM, Stewart JA, Jackson J, Fauq A, McCormick DJ, Richelson E
Brain Research 904, 345-349. PMID: 11406133 (2001)

"Altering Behavioral Responses and Dopamine Transporter with Antisense Peptide Nucleic Acids"
Tyler-McMahon BM, Stewart JA, Jackson J, Bitner MD, Fauq A, McCormick DJ, Richelson E
Biochemical Pharmacology 62, 929-932. PMID: 11543728 (2001)

Book Chapters and Invited Reviews/Articles

" Regulation of mitochondrial dynamics in astrocytes: Mechanisms, consequences, and unknowns"
Jackson JG and Robinson MB
Glia. 66(6):1213-1234. PMID: 29098734 (2017)

"Astroglial glutamate transporters coordinate excitatory signaling and brain energetics"
Robinson MB and Jackson JG
Neurochemistry International. PMID: 27013346 (2016)


"Glutamate transporters coordinate mitochondrial dynamics and calcium signaling in astrocyte processes"
Drexel University, 2017

"Glutamate transporters coordinate mitochondrial dynamics and calcium signaling in astrocyte processes"
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2016

"Association of glutamate transporters, glycolytic enzymes and mitochondria in astrocytes"
12th International Conference on Brain Energy Metabolism (ICBEM), Hong Kong, 2016

"Mitchondrial mobility regulates and is regulated by calcium signals in astrocyte processes"
Gordon Research Conferences and Seminars: Glial Biology-Functional Interactions Among Glia and Neurons, 2015

"Regulation of mitochondrial mobility in astrocyte processes"
Cold Spring Harbor Meeting: Glia in Health and Disease, 2014

"Regulation of mitochondrial mobility in astrocytes"
Biomedical Postdoc Research Symposium, University of Pennsylvania, 2013

"Regulation of mitochondrial mobility in astrocytes by neuronal activity and glutamate transport"
International Society of Neurochemistry satellite "Brain-in-Flux," Cancun, Mexico, 2013

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 488
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.6825
Fax: 215.762.2299