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James Connor, MS, PhD

James Connor, MS, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Anatomy and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurosurgery
Professor, Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Penn State Neuroscience Institute
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

  • Iron
  • Brain
  • Ferritins
  • Transferrin
  • Proteins
  • Neoplasms
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Genes
  • Apoferritins
  • Oligodendroglia
  • Survival

Recent Publications


Shesh, B & Connor, JR 2023, 'A novel view of ferritin in cancer', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer, vol. 1878, no. 4, 188917.
Baringer, SL, Palsa, K, Spiegelman, VS, Simpson, IA & Connor, JR 2023, 'Apo- and holo-transferrin differentially interact with hephaestin and ferroportin in a novel mechanism of cellular iron release regulation', Journal of Biomedical Science, vol. 30, no. 1, 36.
Baringer, SL, Simpson, IA & Connor, JR 2023, 'Brain iron acquisition: An overview of homeostatic regulation and disease dysregulation', Journal of neurochemistry, vol. 165, no. 5, pp. 625-642.
Palsa, K, Baringer, SL, Shenoy, G, Spiegelman, VS, Simpson, IA & Connor, JR 2023, 'Exosomes are involved in iron transport from human blood–brain barrier endothelial cells and are modified by endothelial cell iron status', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 299, no. 2, 102868.
Palsa, K, Connor, JR, Flanagan, J & Hines, EA 2023, 'H-ferritin in sows' colostrum- and milk-derived extracellular vesicles: a novel iron delivery concept', Journal of animal science, vol. 101, skad013.
Bhanja, D, Wilding, H, Baroz, A, Trifoi, M, Shenoy, G, Slagle-Webb, B, Hayes, D, Soudagar, Y, Connor, J & Mansouri, A 2023, 'Photodynamic Therapy for Glioblastoma: Illuminating the Path toward Clinical Applicability', Cancers, vol. 15, no. 13, 3427.
Pandya Shesh, B, Walter, V, Palsa, K, Slagle-Webb, B, Neely, E, Schell, T & Connor, JR 2023, 'Sexually dimorphic effect of H-ferritin genetic manipulation on survival and tumor microenvironment in a mouse model of glioblastoma', Journal of neuro-oncology, vol. 164, no. 3, pp. 569-586.
Pandya Shesh, B, Slagle-Webb, B, Shenoy, G, Khristov, V, Zacharia, BE & Connor, JR 2023, 'Uptake of H-ferritin by Glioblastoma stem cells and its impact on their invasion capacity', Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, vol. 149, no. 12, pp. 9691-9703.


Du, G, Wang, E, Sica, C, Chen, H, De Jesus, S, Lewis, MM, Kong, L, Connor, J, Mailman, RB & Huang, X 2022, 'Dynamics of Nigral Iron Accumulation in Parkinson's Disease: From Diagnosis to Late Stage', Movement Disorders, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 1654-1662.
Wang, GM, Cioffi, G, Patil, N, Waite, KA, Lanese, R, Ostrom, QT, Kruchko, C, Berens, ME, Connor, JR, Lathia, JD, Rubin, JB & Barnholtz-Sloan, JS 2022, 'Importance of the intersection of age and sex to understand variation in incidence and survival for primary malignant gliomas', Neuro-oncology, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 302-310.
Bhanja, D, Neighbors, J, Connor, J, Zadeh, G & Mansouri, A 2022, 'Neuropharmacological Study of Posaconazole for Glioblastoma: A Phase 0 Clinical Trial Protocol', Neurosurgery, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 658-665.
Khristov, V, Nesterova, D, Trifoi, M, Clegg, T, Daya, A, Barrett, T, Tufano, E, Shenoy, G, Pandya, B, Beselia, G, Smith, N, Mrowczynski, O, Zacharia, B, Waite, K, Lathia, J, Barnholtz-Sloan, J & Connor, J 2022, 'Plasma IL13Rα2 as a novel liquid biopsy biomarker for glioblastoma', Journal of neuro-oncology, vol. 160, no. 3, pp. 743-752.
Baringer, SL, Neely, EB, Palsa, K, Simpson, IA & Connor, JR 2022, 'Regulation of brain iron uptake by apo- and holo-transferrin is dependent on sex and delivery protein', Fluids and Barriers of the CNS, vol. 19, no. 1, 49.
Khristov, V, Lin, A, Freedman, Z, Staub, J, Shenoy, G, Mrowczynski, O, Rizk, E, Zacharia, B & Connor, J 2023, 'Tumor-Derived Biomarkers in Liquid Biopsy of Glioblastoma', World neurosurgery, vol. 170, pp. 182-194.


Chen, P, Bornhorst, J, Patton, S, Bagai, K, Nitin, R, Miah, M, Hare, DJ, Kysenius, K, Crouch, PJ, Xiong, L, Rouleau, GA, Schwerdtle, T, Connor, J, Aschner, M, Bowman, AB & Walters, AS 2021, 'A potential role for zinc in restless legs syndrome', Sleep, vol. 44, no. 4, zsaa236.
Lee, SY, Slagle-Webb, B, Schengrund, CL, Zhu, J & Connor, JR 2021, 'Association between iron and cholesterol in neuroblastomas', Anticancer Research, vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 2795-2804.
Lee, SY, Slagle-Webb, B, Sharma, AK & Connor, JR 2021, 'Biological activity of a thiobarbituric acid compound in neuroblastomas', Anticancer Research, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 1171-1181.
Beg, U, Snyder, BM, Madhani, SI, Hamidi, N, Padmanaban, V, Tuanquin, LC, Kruser, TJ, Connor, J & Mansouri, A 2021, 'Current Landscape and Future Prospects of Radiation Sensitizers for Malignant Brain Tumors: A Systematic Review', World neurosurgery, vol. 151, pp. e839-e856.
Wang, EW, Trojano, ML, Lewis, MM, Du, G, Chen, H, Brown, GL, Jellen, LC, Song, I, Neely, E, Kong, L, Connor, JR & Huang, X 2021, 'HFE H63D Limits Nigral Vulnerability to Paraquat in Agricultural Workers', Toxicological Sciences, vol. 181, no. 1, pp. 47-57.
Kaur, H, Bush, WS, Letendre, SL, Ellis, RJ, Heaton, RK, Patton, SM, Connor, JR, Samuels, DC, Franklin, DR, Hulgan, T & Kallianpur, AR 2021, 'Higher CSF Ferritin Heavy-Chain (Fth1) and Transferrin Predict Better Neurocognitive Performance in People with HIV', Molecular Neurobiology, vol. 58, no. 10, pp. 4842-4855.
Patil, N, Somasundaram, E, Waite, KA, Lathia, JD, Machtay, M, Gilbert, MR, Connor, JR, Rubin, JB, Berens, ME, Buerki, RA, Choi, S, Sloan, AE, Penas-Prado, M, Ashby, LS, Blumenthal, DT, Werner-Wasik, M, Hunter, GK, Flickinger, JC, Wendland, MM, Panet-Raymond, V, Robins, HI, Pugh, SL, Mehta, MP & Barnholtz-Sloan, JS 2021, 'Independently validated sex-specific nomograms for predicting survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma: NRG Oncology RTOG 0525 and 0825', Journal of neuro-oncology, vol. 155, no. 3, pp. 363-372.
Jellen, LC, Lewis, MM, Du, G, Wang, X, Galvis, MLE, Krzyzanowski, S, Capan, CD, Snyder, AM, Connor, JR, Kong, L, Mailman, RB, Brundin, P, Brundin, L & Huang, X 2021, 'Low plasma serotonin linked to higher nigral iron in Parkinson’s disease', Scientific reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 24384.
Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation 2021, 'The Management of Restless Legs Syndrome: An Updated Algorithm', Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vol. 96, no. 7, pp. 1921-1937.
Kang, YJ, Holley, CK, Abidian, MR, Madhankumar, AB, Connor, J & Majd, S 2021, 'Tumor Targeted Delivery of an Anti-Cancer Therapeutic: An In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation', Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol. 10, no. 2, 2001261.


Lee, SY, Slagle-Webb, B, Sharma, AK & Connor, JR 2020, 'Characterization of a novel barbituric acid and two thiobarbituric acid compounds for lung cancer treatment', Anticancer Research, vol. 40, no. 11, pp. 6039-6049.
Connor, JR, Duck, K, Patton, S, Simpson, IA, Trotti, LM, Allen, R, Earley, CJ & Rye, D 2020, 'Evidence for communication of peripheral iron status to cerebrospinal fluid: Clinical implications for therapeutic strategy', Fluids and Barriers of the CNS, vol. 17, no. 1, 28.
Johansen, ML, Stetson, LC, Vadmal, V, Waite, K, Berens, ME, Connor, JR, Lathia, J, Rubin, JB & Barnholtz-Sloan, JS 2020, 'Gliomas display distinct sex-based differential methylation patterns based on molecular subtype', Neuro-Oncology Advances, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-12.
Kim, Y, Stahl, MC, Huang, X & Connor, JR 2020, 'H63D variant of the homeostatic iron regulator (HFE) gene alters α-synuclein expression, aggregation, and toxicity', Journal of neurochemistry, vol. 155, no. 2, pp. 177-190.
Kim, GB, Aragon-Sanabria, V, Randolph, L, Jiang, H, Reynolds, JA, Webb, BS, Madhankumar, A, Lian, X, Connor, JR, Yang, J & Dong, C 2020, 'High-affinity mutant Interleukin-13 targeted CAR T cells enhance delivery of clickable biodegradable fluorescent nanoparticles to glioblastoma', Bioactive Materials, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 624-635.
Turaga, SM, Silver, DJ, Bayik, D, Paouri, E, Peng, S, Lauko, A, Alban, TJ, Borjini, N, Stanko, S, Naik, UP, Keri, RA, Connor, JR, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS, Rubin, JB, Berens, M, Davalos, D & Lathia, JD 2020, 'JAM-A functions as a female microglial tumor suppressor in glioblastoma', Neuro-oncology, vol. 22, no. 11, pp. 1591-1601.
Dong, M, Cioffi, G, Wang, J, Waite, KA, Ostrom, QT, Kruchko, C, Lathia, JD, Rubin, JB, Berens, ME, Connor, J & Barnholtz-Sloan, JS 2020, 'Sex differences in cancer incidence and survival: a pan-cancer analysis', Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 1389-1397.
Nesterova, DS, Midya, V, Zacharia, BE, Proctor, EA, Lee, SY, Stetson, LC, Lathia, JD, Rubin, JB, Waite, KA, Berens, ME, Barnholtz-Sloan, JS & Connor, JR 2020, 'Sexually dimorphic impact of the iron-regulating gene, HFE, on survival in glioblastoma', Neuro-Oncology Advances, vol. 2, no. 1, vdaa001.
Song, IY, Snyder, AM, Kim, Y, Neely, EB, Wade, QW & Connor, JR 2020, 'The Nrf2-mediated defense mechanism associated with HFE genotype limits vulnerability to oxidative stress-induced toxicity', Toxicology, vol. 441, 152525.
Kim, Y & Connor, JR 2020, 'The roles of iron and HFE genotype in neurological diseases', Molecular Aspects of Medicine, vol. 75, 100867.


Lee, SY, Walter, V, Zhu, J, Salzberg, AC, Liu, DJ & Connor, JR 2019, 'Impact of HFE variants and sex in lung cancer', PloS one, vol. 14, no. 12, e0226821.
Wade, QW, Chiou, B & Connor, J 2019, Iron uptake at the blood-brain barrier is influenced by sex and genotype. in S Clemens & I Ghorayeb (eds), Advances in Pharmacology. Advances in Pharmacology, vol. 84, Academic Press Inc., pp. 123-145.
Möller, HE, Bossoni, L, Connor, JR, Crichton, RR, Does, MD, Ward, RJ, Zecca, L, Zucca, FA & Ronen, I 2019, 'Iron, Myelin, and the Brain: Neuroimaging Meets Neurobiology', Trends in Neurosciences, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 384-401.
Ravi, V, Madhankumar, AB, Abraham, T, Slagle-Webb, B & Connor, JR 2019, 'Liposomal delivery of ferritin heavy chain 1 (FTH1) siRNA in patient xenograft derived glioblastoma initiating cells suggests different sensitivities to radiation and distinct survival mechanisms', PloS one, vol. 14, no. 9, e0221952.
Payne, R, Mrowczynski, OD, Slagle-Webb, B, Bourcier, A, Mau, C, Aregawi, D, Madhankumar, AB, Lee, SY, Harbaugh, K, Connor, J & Rizk, EB 2019, 'MLN8237 treatment in an orthoxenograft murine model for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors', Journal of neurosurgery, vol. 130, no. 2, pp. 465-475.
Mairuae, N, Connor, JR, Buranrat, B & Lee, SY 2019, 'Oroxylum indicum (L.) extract protects human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells against ß-amyloid-induced cell injury', Molecular medicine reports, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 1933-1942.
Chiou, B, Neely, E, Kallianpur, A & Connor, J 2019, 'Semaphorin4A causes loss of mature oligodendrocytes and demyelination in vivo', Journal of neuroinflammation, vol. 16, no. 1, 28.
Gittleman, H, Ostrom, QT, Stetson, LC, Waite, K, Hodges, TR, Wright, CH, Wright, J, Rubin, JB, Berens, ME, Lathia, J, Connor, JR, Kruchko, C, Sloan, AE & Barnholtz-Sloan, JS 2019, 'Sex is an important prognostic factor for glioblastoma but not for nonglioblastoma', Neuro-Oncology Practice, vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 451-462.
Mrowczynski, OD, Payne, RA, Bourcier, AJ, Mau, CY, Slagle-Webb, B, Shenoy, G, Madhankumar, AB, Abramson, SB, Wolfe, D, Harbaugh, KS, Rizk, EB & Connor, JR 2019, 'Targeting IL-13Ra2 for effective treatment of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors in mouse models', Journal of neurosurgery, vol. 131, no. 5, pp. 1369-1379.
Chiou, B, Neely, EB, Mcdevitt, DS, Simpson, IA & Connor, JR 2020, 'Transferrin and H-ferritin involvement in brain iron acquisition during postnatal development: impact of sex and genotype', Journal of neurochemistry, vol. 152, no. 3, pp. 381-396.