Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Jason O’Connor, Ph.D.

Oconnor photo


My laboratory is interested in understanding the complex interactions between the immune system and the brain, with an emphasis on inflammation-induced neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental diseases. We have identified the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism as an important mediator of the effects of proinflammatory factors in the brain. Currently projects in the lab are exploring the (1) effects of neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites on depressive behaviors and cognitive function (2) the neurodevelopmental consequences of targeted deletion of the kynurenine metabolizing enzyme KMO (3) and the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in regulating neuroinflammation.

Selected Publications

Li X, Redus L, Chen C, Martinez PA, Strong R, Li S, O'Connor JC. Cognitive dysfunction precedes the onset of motor symptoms in the MitoPark mouse model of Parkinson's disease. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 15;8(8):e71341.

Lawson MA, Parrott JM, McCusker RH, Dantzer R, Kelley KW, O'Connor JC. Intracerebroventricular administration of lipopolysaccharide induces indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase-dependent depression-like behaviors. J Neuroinflammation. 2013 Jul 18;10(1):87.

Salazar A, Gonzalez-Rivera BL, Redus L, Parrott JM, O'Connor JC. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase mediates anhedonia and anxiety-like behaviors caused by peripheral lipopolysaccharide immune challenge. Horm Behav. 2012 Aug;62(3):202-9.

O'Connor JC, Lawson MA, André C, Moreau M, Lestage J, Castanon N, Kelley KW, Dantzer R. Lipopolysaccharide-induced depressive-like behavior is mediated by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activation in mice. Mol Psychiatry. 2009 May;14(5):511-22. doi: 10.1038/

Dantzer R, O'Connor JC, Freund GG, Johnson RW, Kelley KW. From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jan;9(1):46-56.

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Animal Sciences and Pathology, University of Illinois, 2005

B.S., Agriculture - Animal Science, University of Illinois, 1999



Phone: 210-567-4232

Research Profile
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Graduate Students

Danielle Coelho