Faculty Appointments: 
Professor of Pathobiology in Pediatrics at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2005– present)
(215) 590-7028
Office Location: 
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 502-G Abramson Research Center 3615 Civic Center Boulevard

The Wolfe laboratory investigates direct gene transfer and neural stem cell engraftment in the central nervous system with a focus on the lysosomal storage diseases that, like most inherited metabolic disorders in the CNS, have global lesions.


Gene therapy,
Neural stem cells,
iPS cells,
Viral vectors,
Animal models of human diseases,
Neurological disease,
Molecular neuropathology,
Lysosomal enzymes,

Research Interests
gene transfer in the central nervous system, genetic diseases, animal models, mechanisms of pathology.

Key words: gene therapy, viral vectors, brain, pathogenesis, lysosomal enzymes, neural stem cells, MRI and PET imaging, animal models, genetic diseases.

Description of Research
Animal homologs of human genetic diseases are used as test systems for gene transfer by viral vectors. The approaches for transferring genes to the brain currently being investigated are ex vivo gene transfer using retrovirus and lentivius vector-modified neural stem cells transplanted to the brain and direct injection of herpesvirus, adeno-associated virus, and lentivirus vectors. The studies involve comparisons of promoters, properties of transduction for different cell types and various subregions of the brain. New methods to follow cell fate and gene expression in the live animal are being explored using MRI and PET techniques. Studies are also being directed towards better understanding of the mechanism of disease in the brain.

Rotation Projects for 2009-2010
Rotation projects are related to the molecular design and engineering of vectors, understanding the fate of vector-transferred genes in the brain, the regulation of foreign gene expression from vectors, neural stem cell biology,induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), imaging studies, and proteomics and genomics analysis of neurodegenerative lesions. Projects can be tailored to the interest and experience of the student.

Ph.D., Immunology: retroviruses/genetics, University of Pennsylvania (1986)
V.M.D., veterinary medicine, University of Pennsylvania, cum laude (1982)
post-bac, general sciences, Univ Penn (1977)
post-bacc, general sciences, Harvard Univ (1975)
A.B., Philosophy, Ripon College (1969)
Selected Publications
Magnitsky, S., Vite, C.H., Delikatny, E.J., Pickup, S., Wehrli, S., Wolfe, J.H. and Poptani, P.. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum distinguishes individual cats affected with alpha-mannosidosis from normal cats.. NMR Biomed.. Vol in press. 2009.
Husain, T., Passini, M.A., Parente, M.K., Fraser, N.W. and Wolfe, J.H. (2009). Long-term AAV vector gene and protein expression in mouse brain from a small pan-cellular promoter is similar to neural cell promoters.. Gene Ther.. Vol 16. 2009:927-932.
Walton R.M., Magnitsky, S.G., Seiler, G.S., Poptani H., and Wolfe J.H.. Transplantation and magnetic resonance imaging of canine neural progenitor cell grafts in the postnatal dog brain.. J. Neuropath. Exp. Neurol.. (67) . 2008:954-962.