Nicholas Fitz, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health


130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
R-znvy: assvgm@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-179-3117
Secondary Phone: 967-838-2363
Web site:

Personal Statement

Utilizing a multi-targeted approach my main research goal is to increase the understanding of how changes in gene function and apolipoprotein expression alters Alzheimer’s disease progression. During my graduate and post-doctoral training I received a broad training in utilizing animal models of neurodegenerative disease to test changes in cognition and biological markers of pathology. Due to the importance of fluorescent and confocal microscopy in the field of neurodegeneration, I have sought out extensive training in microscopy. Recently, I have been investigating novel AD therapies targeted at ligand activation of nuclear receptors (RXR and LXR) critical for inflammation and cholesterol homeostasis. Here I have strongly relied on confocal microscopy to examine changes in neurogenesis and Stem Cell differentiation, dendritic outgrowth, axonal regeneration, synaptogenesis and adult neurogenesis in AD model animals. I am currently receiving in-depth training, focusing on (1) the use of in vivo multiphoton imaging of the transgenic mouse brain to follow the progression of senile plaques and cerebral amyloid angiopathy and associated neuronal damage, (2) Developing a mouse model to determine how genetic variance and periphery and brain expression of Abca1 affects Alzheimer’s disease pathology, (3) Evaluating changes in mRNA levels associated with disease states, and (4) learning to use in vitro systems and viral vectors to assess neurodegenerative changes. As part of this training I went to Dr. Bacskai, my co-mentor, and obtained extensive experience with confocal and multiphoton imaging. 


2008 PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy
2001 BS in Animal Bioscience, Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications

N.F. Fitz, V. Tapias, A.A. Cronican, E.L. Castranio, M.
Saleem, A.Y. Carter, M. Lefterova, I. Lefterov, R. Koldamova. 

Opposing effects of Apoe/Apoa1 double deletion on amyloid-β pathology and cognitive performance in APP mice. Brain. 2015 Dec;138(Pt 12):3699-715. doi: 10.1093/brain/awv293.

Fitz NF, Castranio EL, Carter AY, Kodali R, Lefterov I, Koldamova R.

Improvement of memory deficits and amyloid-β clearance in aged APP23 mice treated with a combination of anti-amyloid-β antibody and LXR agonist.
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 2014 [Epub March 18]
DOI:10.3233/JAD-132789 PMID:24643138

Fitz NF, Cronican AA, Lefterov I, Koldamova R.
Comment on "ApoE-directed therapeutics rapidly clear β-amyloid and reverse deficits in AD mouse models".
Science 2013; 340(6135):924-c.
DOI:10.1126/science.1235809 PMID:23704552

Fitz NF, Cronican AA, Saleem M, Fauq AH, Chapman R, Lefterov I, Koldamova R.
Abca1 deficiency affects Alzheimer's disease-like phenotype in human ApoE4 but not in ApoE3-targeted replacement mice.
Journal of Neuroscience 2012; 32(38):13125-13136.
DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1937-12.2012 PMID:22993429

Fitz NF, Cronican A, Pham T, Fogg A, Fauq AH, Chapman R, Lefterov I, Koldamova R.
Liver X receptor agonist treatment ameliorates amyloid pathology and memory deficits caused by high-fat diet in APP23 mice.
Journal of Neuroscience 2010; 30(20):6862-6872.
DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1051-10.2010 PMID:20484628

Nicholas  Fitz