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A headshot photo of Randy Nelson.

Randy Nelson, PhD

Professor & Chair; Hazel Ruby McQuain Chair for Neurological Research; Director of Basic Science Research

Contact Information

PO Box 9303
108 Biomedical Road
Morgantown, WV 26506


  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

Graduate Training

  • PhD, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
  • PhD, Endocrinology, University of California, Berkeley


  • Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Texas, Austin

Research Interests

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 .

Brain Efflux Transporter Expression in Mice Harboring Brain Metastases of Breast Cancer. P-glycoprotein (Red), cell nuclei (blue), JIMT-1BR3 tumor (top left). From William Walker, PhD.


Recent Publications

Follow our lab on Twitter: @DeVriesNelsonWV

Google Scholar
Pub Med‚Äč

  • Bedrosian, T.A. & Nelson, R.J. 2017. Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits. Translational Psychiatry, 7: e1017. PM28140399.
  • Borniger, J.C., Walker, W.H., Gaudier-Diaz, M.M., Stegman, C., Zhang, N., Hollyfield, J.L., Nelson, R.J. & DeVries, A.C. 2017. Time-of-day dictates transcriptional inflammatory responses to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Scientific Reports, 7:1-11. PM28117419.
  • Cisse, YM, Russart, KL, & Nelson, RJ. 2017. Parental exposure to dim light at night prior to mating alters offspring adaptive immunity. Scientific Reports, 31:1-10. PM28361901.
  • Borniger J.C., Walker W.H., Surbhi, Emmer K.M., Zhang N., Zalenski A.A., Muscarella S.L., Fitzgerald J.A., Smith A.N., Braam C., Tial T., Magalang U., Lustberg M.B., Nelson RJ., DeVries A.C. 2018. A role for hypocretin/orexin in metabolic dysfunction in a mouse model of non-metastic breast cancer. Cell Metabolism, 27:1-12.
  • Fonken, L.K., Bedrosian, T.A., Zhang, N., Weil, Z.M., DeVries, A.C., & Nelson, R.J.  2019.  Effects of light at night on cardiac arrest outcome.  Experimental Neurology, 317:100-109.

  • Walker, W.H., Zhang, N., Melendez-Hernandez, O.H., Pascoe, J., DeVries, A.C., & Nelson, R.J. 2020. Acute exposure to dim light at night is sufficient to induce neurological changes and depressive-like behavior. Molecular Psychiatry (In press). DOI: 10.1038/ s41380-019-0430-4

  • Walker, W.H., Walton, J.C., DeVries, A.C., & Nelson, R.J.  2020. Circadian rhythm disruption and mental health.  Translational Psychiatry, 10:28 doi: 10.1038/s41398-020-0694-0.