Rachel Olson, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

Chief Scientific Officer, Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research

  • PhD, Microbiology, University of Missouri
  • BS, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Winona State University

Building Address: 1020 E Campus Loop
Phone Number: 573-882-8860
Email: olsonra@missouri.edu


Dr. Olson is interested in understanding the biology of the host-pathogen interface during infectious disease. Her ongoing work includes high consequence pathogens such as Yersinia pestis (plague), and emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Olson also operates an infectious disease animal modeling core in the Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research with BSL3 or below pathogens. In this role she has established and welcomes additional collaborations across and beyond campus.


Chambers CA, Dadelahi AS, Moley CR, Olson RM, Logue CM, Skyberg JA.  Nucleotide receptors mediate protection against neonatal sepsis and meningitis caused by alpha-hemolysin expressing Escherichia coli K1.  FASEB J .  2022 Mar; 36 (3) :e22197.  doi: 10.1096/fj.202101485R.  PubMed PMID: 35147989.

Olson RM, Dhariwala MO, Mitchell WJ, Skyberg JA, Anderson DM.  Modification of the Pulmonary MyD88 Inflammatory Response Underlies the Role of the Yersinia pestis Pigmentation Locus in Primary Pneumonic Plague.  Infect Immun .  2021 Feb 16; 89 (3).  doi: 10.1128/IAI.00595-20.  Print 2021 Feb 16.  PubMed PMID: 33257532 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8097263.

Willix JL, Stockton JL, Olson RM, Anderson PE, Anderson DM.  Activation of Heme Oxygenase Expression by Cobalt Protoporphyrin Treatment Prevents Pneumonic Plague Caused by Inhalation of Yersinia pestis Antimicrob Agents Chemother .  2020 Mar 24; 64 (4).  doi: 10.1128/AAC.01819-19.  Print 2020 Mar 24.  PubMed PMID: 32015027 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7179272.

Olson RM, Anderson DM.  Shift from primary pneumonic to secondary septicemic plague by decreasing the volume of intranasal challenge with Yersinia pestis in the murine model.  PLoS One .  2019; 14 (5) :e0217440.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217440.  eCollection 2019.  PubMed PMID: 31121001 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6532925.

Olson RM, Dhariwala MO, Mitchell WJ, Anderson DM.  Yersinia pestis Exploits Early Activation of MyD88 for Growth in the Lungs during Pneumonic Plague.  Infect Immun .  2019 Apr; 87 (4).  doi: 10.1128/IAI.00757-18.  Print 2019 Apr.  PubMed PMID: 30642901 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6434131.

Dhariwala MO, Olson RM, Anderson DM.  Induction of Type I Interferon through a Noncanonical Toll-Like Receptor 7 Pathway during Yersinia pestis Infection.  Infect Immun .  2017 Nov; 85 (11).  doi: 10.1128/IAI.00570-17.  Print 2017 Nov.  PubMed PMID: 28847850 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5649010.

Olson RM, Anderson DM.  Usurping bacterial virulence factors as self-delivery vehicles for therapeutic use.  Virulence .  2017 Oct 3; 8 (7) :1072-1074.  doi: 10.1080/21505594.2017.1336595.  Epub 2017 Jun 21.  PubMed PMID: 28636422 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5711413.

Zhang Y, Olson RM, Brown CR.  Macrophage LTB 4 drives efficient phagocytosis of Borrelia burgdorferi via BLT1 or BLT2.  J Lipid Res .  2017 Mar; 58 (3) :494-503.  doi: 10.1194/jlr.M068882.  Epub 2017 Jan 4.  PubMed PMID: 28053185 ; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5335579.