Christi L. Kolarcik, PhD

Dr. Christi Kolarcik is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. After completing her undergraduate work in biology and chemistry at the Schreyer Honors College of the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Kolarcik received her PhD with Honors in Cellular and Molecular Pathology. She continued her fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh, first in the Swanson School of Engineering Department of Bioengineering (neural/tissue engineering) and then in the School of Medicine as a Research Associate (systems neuroscience). Dr. Kolarcik is also a graduate of the Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (CATER) Training Program and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Training Program.

Dr. Kolarcik is an accomplished neuroscientist focused on the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neurodegenerative and neuromuscular conditions. Her research program aims to define the circuit-level organization of the motor system and to identify specific circuit- and cellular-level features underlying neuronal vulnerability in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Her team seeks to link changes that occur in the motor system to muscle fiber type, anatomical location in the circuit, and time course of disease-related symptoms. This work incorporates molecular, cellular, and systems-based analyses to improve function following injury or disease, particularly in the context of ALS. Her team is currently involved in multiple research projects that focus on furthering the understanding of the basic biological mechanisms underlying ALS and motor system dysfunction, as well as developing therapeutic technologies and strategies.

In 2020, Dr. Kolarcik received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award and was a Leadership Academy for Early Career Faculty Fellow, both from the University of Pittsburgh. At the national level, in 2022 she received the Fred Sanfilippo-ASIP Visiting Lectureship Award. She is a member of the National ALS Association’s Board of Trustees and has been devoted to working with this patient community for over fifteen years. Her research has been funded by the NIH, UPMC, the ALS Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

View a list of Dr. Kolarcik’s publications here.