Department of Bio-Medical Sciences - Philadelphia
Director of Dual Degree Programs and Biomedical Science Specialty Concentrations in the School of Health Sciences
Professor of Neuroscience

Denah M. Appelt, PhD


Office: 215-871-6164
Research Page

Dr. Appelt is a professor of Neuroscience in the department of Bio-Medical Sciences. She has served as the director for Basic and Clinical Neuroscience course in the DO curriculum and the director of the Neuroscience course in the Biomedical master program. Dr. Appelt lectures on neuroanatomy and participates in neuroanatomy labs in the DO SPOM course, Physician Assistant Studies, and Psychology program. In addition, Dr. Appelt is the director for the dual degree DO/PhD. program in Cellular and Molecular Biology designed to develop physician-scientist.

  • Education

    Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Hahnemann University
    PhD, Drexel University College of Medicine
    BS, Juniata College

  • Research

    Dr. Appelt has done extensive research in the field of aging and is recognized for her work on Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Appelt is the director of PCOM’s Biological Imaging Facility and is investigating pathogen involvement as a trigger for developing Alzheimer’s disease. She is particularly interested in understanding the effects Chlamydia pneumoniae and HSV exert on the central nervous system that result in the neuropathology observed in Alzheimer’s disease. Her laboratory uses high resolution electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and epifluorescent microscopy to study cellular structures.

  • Awards

    American Society for Cell Biology-Glenn Foundation Award for Outstanding Research in Aging (1996)

    Professor of the Year 2008 – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Kappa Sigma Phi Award for Osteopathic education (2003)

    Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award (2013)

  • Publications

    Selected Publications:

    Balin, B.J., Appelt, D.M., Little, C.S., Hammond, C.J., Whittum-Hudson, J.A., Hudson, A.P.: Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae in Alzheimer’s disease. In: Microbial Infections of the Neurologic System. Springer Publishers; Edited by Andreas Seyfang, H. Friedman, and M. Bendinelli, 2007.

    Brian J. Balin, C. Scott Little, Christine J. Hammond, Denah M. Appelt, Judith A. Whittum-Hudson, Hervé C. Gérard, and Alan P. Hudson,. Chlamydophila pneumoniae and the etiology of late-onset alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008; 13(4):371-380. PMID: 18487846

    Appelt,D, Roupas,M, Way,D, Bell,MG, Albert,E Christine J. Hammond, and Brian J. Balin: Inhibition of Apoptosis in Neuronal cells Infected with Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae (BMC Neurosci. 2008 Jan 24;9(1):13)

    Brian J. Balin, C. Scott Little, Christine J. Hammond, Denah M. Appelt, Judith A. Whittum-Hudson, Hervé C. Gérard, and Alan P. Hudson, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and the etiology of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, J. of Alzheimer Disease13,371-380 2008

    Galluzzi KE, Appelt DM, Balin BJ. Modern care for patients with Alzheimer disease: rationale for early intervention. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2010 Sep;110(9 Suppl 8):S37-42.PMID: 20926742

    Balin, B.J., Hammond, C.J., Little, C.S., Appelt, D.M., Hingley, S.T.: Evidence for an Infectious Etiology in Alzheimer’s disease. In: Advanced Understanding of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Raymond Chuen-Chung Chang (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-529-7, Intech, Rijeka, Croatia, 2011

    Thacker, J.D., Balin, B.J., Appelt, D.M., Sassi-Gaha, S., Purohit, M., Rest, R.F., Artlett, C.M.: Host-response to injury and infection and development of a first-in-class, broad-spectrum, anti-infective drug. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemo., epub Jan. 30, 2012.

    Selected Presentations

    1997-The Ultrastructural Analysis of Paired Helical Filaments found in Alzheimer’s Disease: Pathology Dept., Univ. of Pennsylvania

    1997-The Involvement of Transglutaminase and Isopeptidase in Alzheimer’s Disease: Cephalon

    1997-An Interplay of a Novel Isopeptidase and Transglutaminase in Deposits of Amyloid and Tangles Found in Alzheimers Disease: Wyeth Ayerst

    1998-Emerging Pathogens Associated With Alzheimer’s disease: Eli Lilly

    2001-Pathogen Entry through the Blood Brain Barrier: Consequences of Chlamydia Pneumonia Infection in Human Monocytes and Brain Endothelial Cells-AOA

    2002- Induction of Alzheimer's Disease-like Pathology in the Brains of Young, Non-Transgenic, BALB/c Mice Following Infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae: A Model for Late Onset/Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease: Society for Neurosciences

    2003-Chlamydia pneumoniae Infection: A Trigger for Alzheimer’s disease: Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

    2005-Neuropathological entities of Alzheimer's Disease are triggered following infection of neuronal cells with Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae" Drexel University Medical School

    2008- Think Tank on Dementia: Eastern Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society

    2008- Current Hypotheses of Alzheimer’s Disease: Should We Be Looking Outside The Box?: AOA

    2009-The Pathogen Hypothesis in Alzheimer’s Disease: MidWestern Osteopathic School

  • Grants

    CCDA (7/1/2013 -6/30/2014) Co-PI: Bactericidal Implant Surfaces

    Rose and Adolf Levis Foundation (1/01/2003-present) Co-PI; Chlamydia pneumoniae’s role in the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease

    CCDA (7/1/2012 -6/30/2013) Co-PI; Infection with Chlamydia Pneumoniae alters calcium-associated gene regulations and processes in neuronal cells and monocytes: Implications for Alzheimer’s disease

    CCDA (7/1/2012 -6/30/2013) Co-PI; Detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae in blood samples: A diagnostic screen for Alzheimer’s disease

    CCDA (9/1/2011 -6/30/2012) PI; Analysis by Real-Time PCR of Autophagy and Apoptosis in Neuronal Cells Infected with Chlamydia Pneumoniae

    Health Research Formula Fund :(1/01/ 2009- 12/31/2013) PI; Dissecting the apoptosis pathway affected by C. pneumoniae in Alzheimer's disease

    CCDA (9/1/2008 -6/30/2009) PI; Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae (Cpn) promotes Aβ 1-42 amyloid processing in Neuronal Cells: A Pathogenic Trigger for Alzheimer’s disease

    CCDA (10/1/2007 -9/30/2008) PI; Effects on the apoptotic markers following a Chlamydial infection in neurons and astrocytes: Implications for Alzheimer’s disease

    Alzheimer Association 7/01/04 to 6/30/07) Co-investigator; Chlamydia pneumoniae infection of Mice triggers Alzheimer-like pathology

    NIH R01ES006478-09A2 (7/2003-2008) Collaborator; Mechanisms of Cadmium Toxicity in Epithelial Cells NIH/NIAID - R01- AI44055-01A1 (06/01/99 - 05/31/04). Co-investigator; Chlamydia pneumoniae: a pathogen in Alzheimer’s disease?

    NIH/R15: (5/01/01-06/30/03) Co-investigator; Immunosenescence and Chlamydia Pneumoniae” Foundation for Research into the Diseases of Aging (6/01/99-7/01/2003) Co-investigator; Investigation of Chlamydia pneumoniae in Diseases of the Aging

    National Foundation for Infectious Diseases(6/01/99-7/01/2000)PI; Pathologic manifestations induced by Chlamydia Pneumonia infected glial cells in AD


  • Other

    Volunteer and Leadership Activities
    • Presidential Diversity Council 2013-present
    • Research committee, 2013-present
    • D.O. Admissions Committee, 1999-present
    • Faculty senate, chair, 2014-2015
    • Middle States accreditation self-study committee, section chair, 2012-2014
    • Faculty search committee, 2012-2013
    • Honors and Awards committee, 2010-2013
    • Institutional and Environmental Health and Safety committee, vice chair, 2009-2013
    • Chief Science Officer search committee, 2011-2012
    • Faculty Representative to Executive Faculty, 2009-2010
    • Appointment, Promotion and Tenure, 2003-2009
    • Faculty Senate, Secretary, 2007-2008
    • Challenging Views of Alzheimer’s Disease, PCOM Symposium Organizer, 2004