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Kimberly L. Ostrow, Ph.D., M.A.

Kimberly L. Ostrow, Ph.D., M.A.

Headshot of Kimberly L. Ostrow
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology

Research Interests

Schwann cell tumors; pain; genetics; epigenetics

Background

Dr. Kimberly L. Ostrow is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is currently engaged in the study of the genetics and epigenetics of neurofibromatosis, schwannomatosis, and other basic science aspects of peripheral nerve tumor biology.

Many critical questions such as the mutations underlying schwannomatosis, genotype-phenotype correlations, inheritance patterns, pathologic diagnosis of schwannomatosis-associated schwannomas, tumor burden in schwannomatosis, the incidence of malignancy, and the effectiveness of current, or new treatments remain unanswered. Because pain is the hallmark of schwannomatosis, Dr. Ostrow became focused on looking at pain pathways in schwannomatosis. There is a great need for in depth study of the mechanism involved in schwannomatosis-related pain. Pain in schwannomatosis is not necessarily related to the size of the tumor. Her lab has discovered that tumor cells removed from schwannomatosis patients that cause pain, secrete different proteins such as cytokines into conditioned media in culture. This conditioned media can influence neuronal sensitivity to membrane depolarization and chemical ion channel agonists. Dr. Ostrow's goal is to decipher the main activators of the painful phenotype of schwannomatosis to develop new treatments for pain management.

Dr. Ostrow is also the co-director of the International Schwannomatosis Database. This project, funded by the Children’s Tumor Foundation, brings together experts in the field of schwannomatosis to enroll patients in the database and promote collaborative research.

Dr. Ostrow earned a BS in biochemistry at SUNY Geneseo in Geneseo, New York. She completed an MA and PhD in biochemistry, from the SUNY Buffalo/Roswell Park Cancer Institute Graduate Division.  Dr. Ostrow post-doctoral associate in the Department of Biophysics at SUNY/Buffalo School of Medicine before joining Johns Hopkins in 2005. At Johns Hopkins she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular genetics in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Cancer Research Division, in the Laboratory of David Sidransky M.D.

Dr. Ostrow is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Children’s Tumor Foundation and American Neurological Association. Her work has been recognized with the New Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. Recently she was honored with the  European Neurofibromatosis Public Award, for the greatest potential for clinical impact in NF. This award is given to a single researcher, based on voting by colleagues, NF patients, and advocates.

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Titles

  • Assistant Professor of Neurology

Departments / Divisions

Education

Degrees

  • M.A.; State University of New York (Buffalo) (New York) (1999)
  • Ph.D.; State University of New York (Buffalo) (New York) (2002)
  • B.S.; State University of New York (Geneseo) (New York) (1995)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Ostrow has established collaborations with clinicians and basic scientists in the Johns Hopkins Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Oncology - affiliated with the Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Center in order to study the genetics and epigenetics of neurofibromatosis, schwannomatosis, and other basic science aspects of peripheral nerve tumor biology. She is  the Co-Director of the International Schwannomatosis Database. This project funded by the Children’s Tumor Foundation brings together experts in the field of schwannomatosis to enroll patients in the database and promote collaborative research. 

Because pain is the hallmark of schwannomatosis, Dr. Ostrow became focused on looking at pain pathways in schwannomatosis. There is a great need for in depth study of the mechanism involved in schwannomatosis-related pain. Pain in schwannomatosis is not necessarily related to the size of the tumor. Her lab has discovered that tumor cells removed from schwannomatosis patients that cause pain, secrete different proteins such as cytokines into conditioned media in culture. This conditioned media can influence neuronal sensitivity to membrane depolarization and chemical ion channel agonists. Dr. Ostrow's goal is to decipher the main activators of the painful phenotype of schwannomatosis to develop new treatments for pain management.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Ostrow KL, Donaldson K, Blakeley J, Belzberg A, Hoke A. Immortalized Human Schwann Cell Lines Derived From Tumors of Schwannomatosis Patients. PLoS One 2015;10:e0144620

Ostrow KL, Bergner AL, Blakeley J, Evans DG, Ferner R, Friedman JM, Harris GJ, Jordan JT, Korf B, Langmead S, Leschziner G, Mautner V, Merker VL, Papi L, Plotkin SR, Slopis JM, Smith MJ, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Yohay K, Belzberg AJ. Creation of an international registry to support discovery in schwannomatosis. Am J Med Genet A 2017;173:407-413

Ostrow KL, Donaldson KJ, Caterina MJ, Belzberg A, Hoke A. The Secretomes of Painful Versus Nonpainful Human Schwannomatosis Tumor Cells Differentially Influence Sensory Neuron Gene Expression and Sensitivity. Sci Rep 2019;9:13098

Mansouri S, Suppiah S, Mamatjan Y, Paganini, I, Liu JC, Karimi S, Patil V, Nassiri F, Singh O, Sundaravadanam Y, Rath P, Sestini R, Gensini F, Agnihotri S , Blakeley J, Ostrow K, Largaespada D, Plotkin SR, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Ferrer MM, Pugh T, Aldape K, Papi L, Zadeh G Epigenomic, genomic, and transcriptomic landscape of schwannomatosis Acta Neuropathologica 2021;141:101-116

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
855 N. Wolfe Street
Rangos Building, Suite 241
Baltimore, MD 21205-1503 map

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • New Investigator Award, American Heart Association, 2004 - 2005
  • European Neurofibromatosis Public Award, NF Patients United for the greatest potential for clinical impact in NF. This award is given to a single researcher, based on voting by colleagues, NF patients, and advocates

Memberships

  • American Cancer Society- Certified Breast Cancer Awareness Community Outreach Speaker, 2010 - 2011
  • Member of the International Schwannomatosis Database Collaborators, 2012 - 2016
  • Society for Neuroscience, 2012
  • Children’s Tumor Foundation, 2012
  • American Neurological Association, 2014
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