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

The response of mpox-associated inflammatory syndrome to steroid therapy
Arias, CA, Miller, WR, Olsen, RJ, Gollihar, J & Armstrong, A 2023, , The Lancet Infectious Diseases, vol. 23, no. 8, pp. e323-e324. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00876-3

Analysis of the Genomics and Mouse Virulence of an Emergent Clone of Streptococcus dysgalactiae Subspecies equisimilis
Beres, SB, Olsen, RJ, Wesley Long, S, Eraso, JM, Boukthir, S, Faili, A, Kayal, S & Musser, JM 2023, , Microbiology Spectrum, vol. 11, no. 2. https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.04550-22

Transmission history of SARS-CoV-2 in humans and white-tailed deer
Willgert, K, Didelot, X, Surendran-Nair, M, Kuchipudi, SV, Ruden, RM, Yon, M, Nissly, RH, Vandegrift, KJ, Nelli, RK, Li, L, Jayarao, BM, Levine, N, Olsen, RJ, Davis, JJ, Musser, JM, Hudson, PJ, Kapur, V & Conlan, AJK 2022, , Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, 12094. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-16071-z

Genome-Wide Transposon Mutagenesis Screens Identify Group A Streptococcus Genes Affecting Susceptibility to ß-Lactam Antibiotics
Zhu, L, Eraso, JM, Mangham, RE, Saavedra, MO, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB & Musser, JM 2022, , Journal of bacteriology, vol. 204, no. 12. https://doi.org/10.1128/jb.00287-22

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) Infection of Wild White-Tailed Deer in New York City
Vandegrift, KJ, Yon, M, Surendran Nair, M, Gontu, A, Ramasamy, S, Amirthalingam, S, Neerukonda, S, Nissly, RH, Chothe, SK, Jakka, P, LaBella, L, Levine, N, Rodriguez, S, Chen, C, Sheersh Boorla, V, Stuber, T, Boulanger, JR, Kotschwar, N, Aucoin, SG, Simon, R, Toal, KL, Olsen, RJ, Davis, JJ, Bold, D, Gaudreault, NN, Dinali Perera, K, Kim, Y, Chang, KO, Maranas, CD, Richt, JA, Musser, JM, Hudson, PJ, Kapur, V & Kuchipudi, SV 2022, , Viruses, vol. 14, no. 12, 2770. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14122770

A Chimeric Penicillin Binding Protein 2X Significantly Decreases in Vitro Beta-Lactam Susceptibility and Increases in Vivo Fitness of Streptococcus pyogenes
Olsen, RJ, Zhu, L, Mangham, RE, Faili, A, Kayal, S, Beres, SB & Musser, JM 2022, , American Journal of Pathology, vol. 192, no. 10, pp. 1397-1406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2022.06.011

Alignment of Fellowship Training with Practice Patterns for Molecular Pathologists: A Report of the Association for Molecular Pathology Training and Education Committee
Velu, PD, Cushman-Vokoun, A, Ewalt, MD, Feilotter, H, Gastier-Foster, JM, Goswami, RS, Laudadio, J, Olsen, RJ, Johnson, R, Schlinsog, A, Douglas, A, Sandersfeld, T & Kaul, KL 2022, , Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, vol. 24, no. 8, pp. 825-840. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2022.04.011

AHCC® Supplementation to Support Immune Function to Clear Persistent Human Papillomavirus Infections
Smith, JA, Gaikwad, AA, Mathew, L, Rech, B, Faro, JP, Lucci, JA, Bai, Y, Olsen, RJ & Byrd, TT 2022, , Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 12, 881902, pp. 881902. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2022.881902

Signals of Significantly Increased Vaccine Breakthrough, Decreased Hospitalization Rates, and Less Severe Disease in Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 Caused by the Omicron Variant of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Houston, Texas
Christensen, PA, Olsen, RJ, Long, SW, Snehal, R, Davis, JJ, Ojeda Saavedra, M, Reppond, K, Shyer, MN, Cambric, J, Gadd, R, Thakur, RM, Batajoo, A, Mangham, R, Pena, S, Trinh, T, Kinskey, JC, Williams, G, Olson, R, Gollihar, J & Musser, JM 2022, , American Journal of Pathology, vol. 192, no. 4, pp. 642-652. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2022.01.007

Multiple spillovers from humans and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer
Kuchipudi, SV, Surendran-Nair, M, Ruden, RM, Yon, M, Nissly, RH, Vandegrift, KJ, Nelli, RK, Li, L, Jayarao, BM, Maranas, CD, Levine, N, Willgert, K, Conlan, AJK, Olsen, RJ, Davis, JJ, Musser, JM, Hudson, PJ & Kapur, V 2022, , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 119, no. 6, e2121644119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2121644119

Integrative Reverse Genetic Analysis Identifies Polymorphisms Contributing to Decreased Antimicrobial Agent Susceptibility in Streptococcus pyogenes
Beres, SB, Zhu, L, Pruitt, L, Olsen, RJ, Faili, A, Kayal, S & Musser, JM 2022, , mBio, vol. 13, no. 1, e03618. https://doi.org/10.1128/MBIO.03618-21

Delta Variants of SARS-CoV-2 Cause Significantly Increased Vaccine Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases in Houston, Texas
Christensen, PA, Olsen, RJ, Long, SW, Subedi, S, Davis, JJ, Hodjat, P, Walley, DR, Kinskey, JC, Ojeda Saavedra, M, Pruitt, L, Reppond, K, Shyer, MN, Cambric, J, Gadd, R, Thakur, RM, Batajoo, A, Mangham, R, Pena, S, Trinh, T, Yerramilli, P, Nguyen, M, Olson, R, Snehal, R, Gollihar, J & Musser, JM 2022, , American Journal of Pathology, vol. 192, no. 2, pp. 320-331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2021.10.019

Molecular Signatures of KRAS-Mutated Lung Adenocarcinoma: Analysis of Concomitant EGFR, ALK, STK11, and PD-L1 Status
Hsu, J, Annunziata, JF, Burns, E, Bernicker, EH, Olsen, RJ & Thomas, JS 2022, , Clinical Pathology, vol. 15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2632010X221102054

Antibody escape and cryptic cross-domain stabilization in the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron spike protein
Javanmardi, K, Segall-Shapiro, TH, Chou, CW, Boutz, DR, Olsen, RJ, Xie, X, Xia, H, Shi, PY, Johnson, CD, Annapareddy, A, Weaver, S, Musser, JM, Ellington, AD, Finkelstein, IJ & Gollihar, JD 2022, , Cell Host and Microbe, vol. 30, no. 9, pp. 1242-1254.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2022.07.016

Genome-wide transposon mutagenesis screens identify group A streptococcus genes affecting susceptibility to beta-lactam antibiotics
Zhu, L, Eraso, JM, Mangham, R, Ojeda Saavedra, M, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB & Musser, JM 2022, , Journal of bacteriology.

Analysis of the ARTIC Version 3 and Version 4 SARS-CoV-2 Primers and Their Impact on the Detection of the G142D Amino Acid Substitution in the Spike Protein
Davis, JJ, Wesley Long, S, Christensen, PA, Olsen, RJ, Olson, R, Shukla, M, Subedi, S, Stevens, R & Musser, JM 2021, , Microbiology Spectrum, vol. 9, no. 3, e01803. https://doi.org/10.1128/SPECTRUM.01803-21

Polyester Mesh Functionalization with Nitric Oxide-Releasing Silica Nanoparticles Reduces Early Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Contamination
Fernandez-Moure, JS, Van Eps, JL, Scherba, JC, Haddix, S, Livingston, M, Bryan, NS, Cantu, C, Valson, C, Taraballi, F, Kaplan, LJ, Olsen, R & Tasciotti, E 2021, , Surgical Infections, vol. 22, no. 9, pp. 910-922. https://doi.org/10.1089/sur.2020.288

Trajectory of Growth of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Variants in Houston, Texas, January through May 2021, Based on 12,476 Genome Sequences
Olsen, RJ, Christensen, PA, Long, SW, Subedi, S, Hodjat, P, Olson, R, Nguyen, M, Davis, JJ, Yerramilli, P, Saavedra, MO, Pruitt, L, Reppond, K, Shyer, MN, Cambric, J, Gadd, R, Thakur, RM, Batajoo, A, Finkelstein, IJ, Gollihar, J & Musser, JM 2021, , American Journal of Pathology, vol. 191, no. 10, pp. 1754-1773. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2021.07.002

The reemergence of seasonal respiratory viruses in Houston, Texas, after Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions
Hodjat, P, Christensen, PA, Subedi, S, Bernard, DW, Olsen, RJ & Long, SW 2021, , Microbiology Spectrum, vol. 9, no. 2, e00430-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/Spectrum.00430-21

Functional insights into the high-molecular-mass penicillin- binding proteins of streptococcus agalactiae revealed by gene deletion and transposon mutagenesis analysis
Zhu, L, Yerramilli, P, Pruitt, L, Mishra, A, Olsen, RJ, Beres, SB, Waller, AS & Musser, JM 2021, , Journal of bacteriology, vol. 203, no. 17, e00234-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/JB.00234-21