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Dennis L. Kolson, MD, PhD

Dennis L. Kolson, MD, PhD Physician

Professor of Neurology Professor of Microbiology

Dr. Kolson is employed by Penn Medicine.

Patient Satisfaction Ratings

Patient Rating Breakdown

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

Comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Penn Medicine.

Overall Ratings

Clinical Specialties


  • Neurology

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Neurology, 1990

Clinical Expertise:

  • Abnormal Reflexes
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Arm Weakness
  • Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)
  • Ataxia
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Carotid Stenosis
  • Cerebellar Ataxia
  • Cerebellar Disease
  • Cerebral Aneurysm
  • Cerebrovascular Accident
  • Cervical Dystonia
  • Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT)
  • CNS Vasculitis
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Concussion
  • Cranial Nerve Injuries
  • Encephalopathies
  • Epilepsy
  • Facial Droop
  • Facial Nerve Pain (Neuralgia)
  • Facial Pain
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Headache
  • Leg Weakness
  • Lip Droop
  • Lobar Atrophy of Brain
  • Medication Overuse Headache
  • Memory Disorders
  • Movement Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
  • Myelitis
  • Nerve Root Pain
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Neuromuscular Disorders
  • Neuropathy
  • Nonruptured Cerebral Aneurysm
  • Orthostatic Hypotension
  • Paraplegia
  • Paresthesia
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Peripheral Nerve Disorders
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Periventricular Leukomalacia
  • Positional Vertigo
  • Primary Cerebellar Degeneration
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri
  • Quadriplegia
  • Radiculopathy
  • Sensory Impairment
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia
  • Spinocerebellar Degeneration
  • Spinocerebellar Diseases
  • Stroke
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
  • Syncope
  • Tetraplegia
  • Tinnitus
  • Torticollis
  • Transient Ischemic Attack
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Tremor
  • Trigeminal Nerve Disorders
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia (Tic Douloureux)
  • Unsteady Gait
  • Vertigo
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Practice Locations and Appointments

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna US Healthcare
  • Cigna
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • Clover Health Plan
  • CVS Health
  • Devon Health Services (Americare)
  • eLAP Services
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthAmerica / HealthAssurance, a Coventry Plan
  • HealthPartners
  • HealthPartners Medicare
  • HealthSmart
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Homestead Smart Health Plans
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Humana / Choicecare
  • Independence Blue Cross (Keystone East)
  • Intergroup
  • Keystone First
  • Keystone First Medicare
  • Multiplan
  • NJ Medicaid
  • NJ Qualcare
  • Oxford Health Plan
  • PA Health and Wellness (Centene) Medicare
  • PA Medicaid
  • PA Medicare
  • Preferred Health Care/LGH
  • Provider Partners Health Plan
  • Rail Road Medicare / Palmetto GBA
  • Remedy Partners at Penn Medicine
  • Tricare
  • United Healthcare
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
  • US Family Health Plan
  • Veterans Choice Program

Education and Training

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh
Residency: Mercy Providence Hospital/UPMC Passavant Hospital
Residency: Duke University Medical Center
Fellowship: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


American Academy of Neurology, National American Association for the Advancement of Science, National American Society for Virology, National National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium/NIH Steering Committee, 2002-, National

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Kolson is employed by Penn Medicine.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.
  • Pennsylvania Hospital: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


Description of Research Expertise:

Research Interests
Mechansims and determinants of HIV induced neuronal injury. Neuronal cell responses to virus induced injury.

Key words: neuron, hippocampus, apoptosis, gene expression, single-cell mRNA, HIV, chemokine receptor, NMDA receptor.

Description of Research

The Kolson lab focuses the roles for inflammation, immune activation, and oxidative stress in virus-induced neurodegeneration. Major areas of focus involve immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus/SIV). Research in the lab involves analysis of human brain specimens from HIV infected individuals, studies of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in SIV-infected Rhesus macaques, in vitro modeling of HIV-induced neurodegeneration, and oxidative stress responses in vitro and in vivo. We also study responses to HIV infection in cohorts of individuals participating in national/international clinical cohort trials.

We have developed a unique in vitro model of HIV-induced neurodegeneration, and we combine this model with analyses of autopsied human brains from HIV infected individuals and SIV-infected Rhesus macaques to identify pathways of neurodegeneration and modulating effects of host antioxidant response genes. We have identified a defect in the human host anti-oxidant response to HIV infection of the brain that determines an individual's risk for neurodegeneration and neurocognitive impairment in HIV infection. This has led to a pilot proof-of-principle neuroprotection drug study in Rhesus macaques. In neurogenetic studies, we have linked a common genetic polymorphism ((GT)n dinucleotide repeat length variation) in the antioxidant gene heme oxygenase-1, to risk for neuroinflammation and neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected persons.

Dr. Kolson has had active NIH funding for his laboratory since 1992, and he has trained PhD and MD-PhD students in his lab. Several of his students have been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschtein (F30, F31) National Research Service Award (NRSA) to support their own research training. He is active in training graduate and medical students as a laboratory research mentor, and he also gives interested trainees an opportunity for exposure to translational aspects of neurovirology/neuroimmunology research by offering students an opportunity to attend his weekly multiple sclerosis outpatient clinic.

Selected Publications:

Kolson DL, Sabnekar P, Baybis M and Crino PB: Gene expression in TUNEL-positive Neurons in HIV-infected brain J. Neurovirol. 10 ((suppl. 1)): 102-7,2004.

Patel SH, Kolson DL, Glosser G, Matozzo I, Ge Y, Babb JS, Mannon LJ and Grossman RI.: Correlation between percentage of brain parenchymal volume and neurocognitive performance in HIV infected patients. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23 : 543-549,2002.

Chen W, Sulcove J, Frank I, Jaffer S, Ozdener H and Kolson DL.: Development of a human neuronal cell model for HIV/macrophage-induced neurotoxicity: apoptosis induced by HIV-1 primary isolates and evidence for involvement of the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL-sensitive intrinsic apoptosis pathway. J. Virology 76 : 9407-9419,2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, Babb JS, Rabin ML, Mannon LJ and Kolson DL.: Age-related total gray matter and white matter changes in normal adult brain. Part I. Volumetric MR imaging analysis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23 : 1327-1333,2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, Babb JS, Rabin ML, Mannon LJ and Kolson DL.: Age-related total gray matter and white matter changes in normal adult brain. Part II: quantitative magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23 : 1334-1341,2002.

O’Donnell, LA, Chen W, Agrawal A, Sulcove J and Kolson DL.: Potential neuroprotective role of APJ/apelin interactions: protection against HIV-induced apoptosis. NIMH workshop: Viral and Host Genetic Factyors Regulating HIV/CNS Disease, Rockville, MD. : 2002.

Martin-Garcia J, Kolson DL, Gonzalez-Scarano F.: Chemokine receptors in the brain: their role in HIV infection and pathogenesis. AIDS (in press). : 2002.

Kolson DL.: Neuropathogenesis of central nervous system HIV-1 infection. Clin. Lab. Med. 22 : 1-15,2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RL, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Kolson DL and McGowan JC.: Magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis of gray matter in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 22 : 470-475,2001.

Ge Y, Grossman RL, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Nyul LG and Kolson DL.: Brain atrophy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: fractional volumetric analysis of gray matter and white matter. Radiology 220 : 606-610,2001.

View all publications

Academic Contact Info

280C Clinical Research Building
University of Pennsylvania
415 Curie Blvd.

Philadelphia, PA 19104/6146
Phone: (215) 573-3505
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366 (PENN)

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