Randall J. Olsen, MD, PhD

Professor of Clinical Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Academic Institute
Full Clinical Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Research Lab


After completing his fellowship in hematopathology, Dr. Olsen became an Instructor in Houston Methodist Research Institute. He was recently awarded a Fellow-to-Faculty transition award from the American Heart Association to investigate virulence genetics in group A Streptococcus. The study will focus on why certain strains are more capable of causing necrotizing fasciitis, or the devastating “flesh eating” disease. He is a member of several professional societies.

Description of Research

The research in Dr. Olsen’s laboratory is focused on studying the molecular pathogenesis of invasive group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections such as necrotizing fasciitis (NF, also termed the “flesh eating infection”). During the past several years, there have been marked advances in the study of GAS genetics and epidemiology, but overall knowledge of the key molecular pathways and host-pathogen interactions mediating GAS virulence in invasive deep soft tissue infections remains largely incomplete. Previous studies in the Musser laboratory suggest that the metal transporter of the Streptococcus regulator (mtsR) regulatory gene and/or the genes under its control (the “mtsR Axis”) may play an important role in GAS NF. Dr. Olsen’s laboratory uses an integrated molecular approach to study the “mtsR Axis” in GAS NF. Affymetrix GAS gene expression microarray analysis, Luminex-based human serum protein profiling, tissue microarray examination, flow cytometric analysis, in vivo molecular imaging, quantitative microbial culture, and in vitro immunologic assays will be used for the detailed study of specimens derived from preclinical models and human patients. The long-term goal is to leverage knowledge gained to aid the development of new diagnostic tools, vaccine strategies, and therapeutic agents that will significantly improve patient care.

Areas Of Expertise

Group A Streptococcus Necrotizing fasciitis Invasive infection Pathogen-host interactions Microbial virulence
Education & Training

Residency, Baylor College of Medicine
Clinical Fellowship, The Methodist Hospital
PhD, University of Nebraska
MD, University of Nebraska Medical School, Omaha, NE
Research Fellowship, Houston Methodist Hospital

Predicting ß-lactam resistance using whole genome sequencing in Klebsiella pneumoniae: the challenge of ß-lactamase inhibitors
Hujer, AM, Long, SW, Olsen, RJ, Taracila, MA, Rojas, LJ, Musser, JM & Bonomo, RA 2020, , Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, vol. 98, no. 3, 115149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2020.115149

Group A Streptococcus AdcR Regulon Participates in Bacterial Defense against Host-Mediated Zinc Sequestration and Contributes to Virulence
Makthal, N, Do, H, Wendel, BM, Olsen, RJ, Helmann, JD, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2020, , Infection and Immunity, vol. 88, no. 8. https://doi.org/10.1128/IAI.00097-20

Human infections caused by clonally related african clade (clade III) strains of candida auris in the greater houston region
Long, SW, Saavedra, MO, Christensen, PA, Musser, JM & Olsena, RJ 2020, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, vol. 58, no. 7, e02063-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.02063-19

Streptococcus pyogenes genes that promote pharyngitis in primates
Zhu, L, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB, Saavedra, MO, Kubiak, SL, Cantu, CC, Jenkins, L, Waller, AS, Sun, Z, Palzkill, T, Porter, AR, DeLeo, FR & Musser, JM 2020, JCI insight, vol. 5, no. 11. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.137686

Peripheral T cell lymphoma, NOS with aberrant aß and ?d T cell receptor expression in a post-heart transplant patient
Liu, S, Ewton, A, Miller, TN, Zieske, AW, Thrall, MJ, Olsen, RJ, Zu, Y & Hao, S 2020, Journal of Hematopathology, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 109-116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12308-020-00393-w

Genome-Wide Screens Identify Group A Streptococcus Surface Proteins Promoting Female Genital Tract Colonization and Virulence
Zhu, L, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB, Ojeda Saavedra, M, Kubiak, SL, Cantu, CC, Jenkins, L, Yerramilli, P, Pruitt, L, Charbonneau, ARL, Waller, AS & Musser, JM 2020, American Journal of Pathology, vol. 190, no. 4, pp. 862-873. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2019.12.003

New pathogenesis mechanisms and translational leads identified by multidimensional analysis of necrotizing myositis in primates
Kachroo, P, Eraso, JM, Olsen, RJ, Zhu, L, Kubiak, SL, Pruitt, L, Yerramilli, P, Cantu, CC, Saavedra, MO, Pensar, J, Corander, J, Jenkins, L, Kao, L, Granillo, A, Porter, AR, Deleo, FR & Musser, JM 2020, mBio, vol. 11, no. 1, e03363-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.03363-19

Reduced in vitro susceptibility of streptococcus pyogenes to ß-lactam antibiotics associated with mutations in the pbp2x gene is geographically widespread
Musser, JM, Beres, SB, Zhu, L, Olsen, RJ, Vuopio, J, Hyyryläinen, HL, Gröndahl-Yli-Hannuksela, K, Kristinsson, KG, Darenberg, J, Henriques-Normark, B, Hoffmann, S, Caugant, DA, Smith, AJ, Lindsay, DSJ, Boragine, DM & Palzkill, T 2020, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, vol. 58, no. 4, e01993-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01993-19

Genetic heterogeneity of the Spy1336/R28—Spy1337 virulence axis in Streptococcus pyogenes and effect on gene transcript levels and pathogenesis
Eraso, JM, Kachroo, P, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB, Zhu, L, Badu, T, Shannon, S, Cantu, CC, Saavedra, MO, Kubiak, SL, Porter, AR, DeLeo, FR & Musser, JM 2020, , PLoS ONE, vol. 15, no. 3, e0229064. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229064

Clinical Utility of Reflex Ordered Testing for Molecular Biomarkers in Lung Adenocarcinoma
Anand, K, Phung, TL, Bernicker, EH, Cagle, PT, Olsen, RJ & Thomas, JS 2020, Clinical Lung Cancer. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.05.007

Polymorphisms in Regulator of Cov Contribute to the Molecular Pathogenesis of Serotype M28 Group A Streptococcus
Bernard, PE, Kachroo, P, Eraso, JM, Zhu, L, Madry, JE, Linson, SE, Ojeda Saavedra, M, Cantu, C, Musser, JM & Olsen, RJ 2019, American Journal of Pathology, vol. 189, no. 10, pp. 2002-2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2019.06.009

Metal sensing and regulation of adaptive responses to manganese limitation by MtsR is critical for group A streptococcus virulence
Do, H, Makthal, N, Chandrangsu, P, Olsen, RJ, Helmann, JD, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2019, Nucleic Acids Research, vol. 47, no. 15, pp. 8333-8334. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz641

A review of the FDA-approved molecular testing platforms for human papillomavirus
Salazar, KL, Duhon, DJ, Olsen, RJ & Thrall, MJ 2019, Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 284-292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasc.2019.06.001

Metal sensing and regulation of adaptive responses to manganese limitation by MtsR is critical for group A streptococcus virulence
Do, H, Makthal, N, Chandrangsu, P, Olsen, RJ, Helmann, JD, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2019, Nucleic Acids Research, vol. 47, no. 14, pp. 7476-7493. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz524

Environmental pH and peptide signaling control virulence of Streptococcus pyogenes via a quorum-sensing pathway
Do, H, Makthal, N, VanderWal, AR, Saavedra, MO, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2019, Nature Communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 2586. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10556-8

HPV status in women with high-grade dysplasia on cervical biopsy and preceding negative HPV tests
Ge, Y, Mody, RR, Olsen, RJ, Zhou, H, Luna, E, Armylagos, D, Puntachart, N, Hendrickson, H, Schwartz, MR & Mody, DR 2019, , Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 149-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasc.2019.01.001

Integrated analysis of population genomics, transcriptomics and virulence provides novel insights into Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis
Kachroo, P, Eraso, JM, Beres, SB, Olsen, RJ, Zhu, L, Nasser, W, Bernard, PE, Cantu, CC, Saavedra, MO, Arredondo, MJ, Strope, B, Do, H, Kumaraswami, M, Vuopio, J, Gröndahl-Yli-Hannuksela, K, Kristinsson, KG, Gottfredsson, M, Pesonen, M, Pensar, J, Davenport, ER, Clark, AG, Corander, J, Caugant, DA, Gaini, S, Magnussen, MD, Kubiak, SL, Nguyen, HAT, Long, SW, Porter, AR, DeLeo, FR & Musser, JM 2019, Nature Genetics, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 548-559. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0343-1

Gene fitness landscape of group A streptococcus during necrotizing myositis
Zhu, L, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB, Eraso, JM, Saavedra, MO, Kubiak, SL, Cantu, CC, Jenkins, L, Charbonneau, ARL, Waller, AS & Musser, JM 2019, The Journal of clinical investigation, vol. 129, no. 2, pp. 887-901. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI124994

From bench to bedside: Evaluation of AHCC supplementation to modulate the host immunity to clear high-risk human papillomavirus infections
Smith, JA, Mathew, L, Gaikwad, A, Rech, B, Burney, MN, Faro, JP, Lucci, JA, Bai, Y, Olsen, RJ & Byrd, TT 2019, Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 9, no. MAR, 173. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00173

Draft Genome Sequence of Candida auris Strain LOM, a Human Clinical Isolate from Greater Metropolitan Houston, Texas
Long, SW, Olsen, RJ, Nguyen, HAT, Saavedra, MO & Musser, JM 2019, Microbiology Resource Announcements, vol. 8, no. 25, e00532-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/MRA.00532-19