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Paul J. Yarowsky, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Associate Professor Department of Pharmacology


BRB 4-002

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-3134


(410) 706-0032

Education and Training

  • Washington University, St. Louis, MO, BS, 06/1969, Applied Mathematics & Computer Science.
  • George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., Ph.D., 02/1976, Physiology & Neuroscience
  • University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL, and City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, CA, 09/1978, Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellow.
  • National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, Postdoctoral Fellow, 05/1980 Neuroscience & Pharmacology


 I received my undergraduate degree with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering.  My Ph.D. degree was in basic neuroscience.  In postdoctoral work, I was involved in characterizing several types of ion channels in autonomic ganglia and in studying the correlation between electrical activity and energy metabolism. Since arriving at UMB, I have been involved in studying Human neural stem cells and the transplantation of super paramagnetic iron oxide-labeled stem cells. Investigating the use of MRI and of non-invasive focused ultrasound (FUS) for opening the blood brain barrier selectively and transiently and using this knowledge for developing clinically important interventional procedures for transplanting stem cells in neurodegenerative diseases.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Human neural stem cells • Neurodegenerative diseases • Cell transplantation • Nanoparticle labeling • Neurogenesis • Focused ultrasound • Blood brain barrier • Plasticity • Proteomics.

Highlighted Publications

Tang W, Tasch U, Neerchal NK, Zhu L, Yarowsky P. Measuring early pre-symptomatic changes in locomotion of SOD1-G93A rats--a rodent model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Jan 30;176(2):254-62. PubMed PMID: 18824029.

Tang W, McDowell K, Limsam M,Neerchal NK, Yarowsky P, Tasch U. Locomotion analysis of Sprague-Dawley rats before and after injecting 6-OHDA. Behav Brain Res. 2010 Jun 26;210(1):131-3. PubMed PMID: 20153780.

Shen WB, McDowell KA, Siebert AA, Clark SM, Dugger NV, Valentino KM, Jinnah HA, Sztalryd C, Fishman PS, Shaw CA, Jafri MS, Yarowsky PJ. Environmental neurotoxin-induced progressive model of parkinsonism in rats. Ann Neurol. 2010 Jul;68(1):70-80. PubMed PMID: 20582986; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2988442.

Tang W, Tasch U, Neerchal NK, Zhu L, Yarowsky P. Measuring early pre-symptomatic changes in locomotion of SOD1-G93A rats--a rodent model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Jan 30;176(2):254-62. PubMed PMID: 18824029.

Shen WB, Plachez C, Tsymbalyuk O, Tsymbalyuk N, Xu S, Smith A, Michel SLJ, Mullins J, Yarnell D, Gullapalli R, Puche AC, Simard JM, Fishman PS, Yarowsky P. Cell-based therapy in TBI: Magnetic retention of neural stem cells in vivo. Cell Transplant. 2016;25(6):1085-99. PubMed PMID: 26395573.

Additional Publication Citations

   Kafkafi N, Yekutieli D, Yarowsky P, Elmer GI. Data mining in a behavioral test detects early symptoms in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Aug;122(4):777-87. PubMed PMID: 18729631.

  Huang H, Jeon T, Sedmak G, Pletikos M, Vasung L, Xu X, Yarowsky P, Richards LJ, Kostovic I, Sestan N, Mori S. Coupling diffusion imaging with histological and gene expression analysis to examine the dynamics of cortical areas across the fetal period of human brain development. Cereb Cortex. 2013 Nov;23(11):2620-31. PubMed PMID: 22933464.

  Shen WB, Anastasiadis P, Nguyen B, Yarnell D, Yarowsky PJ, Victor Frenkel V, Fishman PS. Magnetic enhancement of stem cell targeted delivery into the brain following MR guided focused ultrasound for opening the blood brain barrier. Cell Transplant. (in press). 

Research Interests

My interest has been the translation of basic research knowledge to successful therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases such as, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and acute brain injury. The goal is to inhibit neuroinflammation and to enhance neuroprotection and repair. Current therapies, for PD are predominately designed to augment dopaminergic transmission. For complex, multifactorial disorders like PD, therapies that work at multiple levels of injury, to inhibit the destructive cascade of neuroinflammatory events as well as to support the survival of crucial cells and circuits are necessary. Our strategy includes both slowing the progression of neuropathology as well as lessening systemic side effects by using intranasal administration. I am familiar with the wide array of techniques that will be used during this project. Also, based upon previous studies, stem cell therapy has been less successful in the central nervous system because of the destructive cascade of neuroinflammatory events as well as the need to support the survival of crucial cells and circuits. Our cell therapy strategy includes both slowing the progression of pathology as well as lessening systemic side effects.

Awards and Affiliations

Honors and Awards:

2008-2010 Editorial Board, Neurotherapeutics

Ad hoc reviewer for more than 20 scientific journals

Ad hoc reviewer for NIH/NIMH Study Sections

Ad hoc reviewer for VA Career Development Award, Study Section RRD8

2005 - present Research Health Scientist, Baltimore VA Medical Center, Research Service, Baltimore, MD


1991Special Research Initiative Support, University of Maryland. Merit Pilot Award, VA BLR&D, “Enhancing Cell Delivery in Parkinson’s Disease.” This project delivers stem cells non-invasively into the striatum in a rodent model of Parkinson’s Disease.

2005/10/01-2009/06/30 REAP Award, Veteran's Administration “A pilot study comparing neuroinflammatory mechanisms in chemical, and virus-induced models of ALS. Seeks to recreate sporadic ALS (SALS) as a result of exposure to some environmental factor(s) from flour of the cycad palm seed.”

Grants and Contracts

2015 FUS Foundation Research Award Program. “Enhancement of FUS Mediated Delivery of Stem Cells to Brain.” This project evaluates the use of magnetic targeting to enhance the retention of neuroprogenitor cells in the brain. Delivery of the cells will be carried out non-invasively using transcranial, MRI guided focused ultrasound for transiently opening the blood-brain barrier.

2013/09/30-2015/01/31, Pilot Award, Veteran’s Administration. “Targeted migration of stem cells to improve therapy after TBI.” Develops methods to enhance the efficacy of transplantation of stem cells following TBI. Our proposal describes the use of external magnets to direct genetically engineered MION (monocrystalline iron oxide nanoparticles)-labeled stem cells to appropriate brain targets following TBI.

2013/09/30-2015/01/31, Pilot Award, Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund. “Targeted Therapy for Neurodegenerative Diseases with Magnetically Labeled Stem Cells.” Investigates the use of magnets to aid migration of magnetically-labeled human neural stem cells in an animal model of TBI.

In the News

“Newly developed cell transplantation delivery method could treat traumatic brain injury.” FierceMedicalDevices (; October 30, 2015, Stacy Lawrence.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

Shen WB, Plachez C, Chan A, Yarnell D, Puche AC, Fishman PS, Yarowsky P. Human neural progenitor cells retain viability, phenotype, proliferation, and lineage differentiation when labeled with a novel iron oxide nanoparticle, Molday ION Rhodamine B. Int J Nanomedicine. 2013;8:4593-600. PMID: 24348036.

Talaie T, Pratt SJ, Vanegas C, Xu S, Henn RF 3rd, Yarowsky P, Lovering RM.  Site-specific targeting of platelet-rich plasma via superparamagnetic nanoparticles. Orthop J Sports Med. 2015; 3(1)  PMID: 25664326.

Shen WB, Vaccaro DE, Fishman PS, Groman EV, Yarowsky P. SIRB, sans iron oxide rhodamine B, a novel cross-linked dextran nanoparticle, labels human neuroprogenitor and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and serves as a USPIO cell labeling control. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2016 May;11(3):222-8. PMID: 26809657.