Olson Lab

Olson Lab

Olson Lab group photo

Our Research

The Olson lab identifies, prioritizes, and advances therapeutics into clinical trials for children with brain cancer, with increasing focus on types of brain tumors that are uncommon and have the greatest need for translational research. Our work integrates cutting edge genomics, advanced mouse models of human-derived tumors, functional genomic analyses, and a truly novel approach to advancing effective drug combinations. We intend to increase the cure rate for children with these types of brain cancer by at least 10% due specifically to work done by our team.

Dr. Jim Olson is an internationally recognized thought leader in cancer drug discovery who has a lofty goal of being able to give hope to every child and family facing a diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer before he retires. To achieve his vision, he relies on community-driven funding and nature-inspired solutions. Credit: TEDx Seattle


Nature Medicine 2018

A biobank of patient-derived pediatric brain tumor models. (in press) Brabetz S, Leary SES, Gröbner SN, Nakamoto MW, Şeker-Cin H, Girard EJ, Cole B, Strand AD, Bloom KL, Hovestadt V, Mack NL, Schwalm B, Korshunov A, Balasubramanian GP, Northcott PA, Pedro K, Dey J, Hansen S, Ditzler S, Lichter P, Chavez L, Jones DTW, Koster J, Pfister SM, Kool M, Olson JM. 

Leukemia 2018

Simultaneous multiple interaction T-cell engaging (SMITE) bispecific antibodies overcome bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) resistance via CD28 co-stimulation. Correnti CE, Laszlo GS, de van der Schueren W, Godwin CD, Bandaranayake AD, Busch MA, Gudgeon CJ, Bates OM, Olson JM, Mehlin C, Walter RB. 

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 2018

Screening, large-scale production and structure-based classification of cystine-dense peptides. Correnti CE, Gewe MM, Mehlin C, Bandaranayake AD, Johnsen, WA, Rupert PB, Brusniak M, Clarke M, Burke SE, de van der Schueren W, Pilat K, Turnbaugh SM, May D, Watson A, Chan MK, Bahl, CD, Olson JM, Strong RK. 

Nature Communications 2017

Mammalian Display Screening of Diverse Cystine-Dense Peptides for Difficult to Drug Targets. Crook ZR, Sevilla GP, Friend D, Brusniak M, Bandaranayake AD, Clarke M, Gewe M, Mhyre AJ, Baker D, Strong RK, Bradley P, Olson JM.

Featured News

How to light up a tumor

The Guardian | September 2015

For decades, brain surgeons have struggled to precisely target tumors. Malignant tissue is often missed and left behind, especially in brain cancer patients. Could one of the world’s most deadly scorpions come to their aid?

One doctor’s quest to save people by injecting them with scorpion venom

Wired | June 2014

Scorpion venom is key to a compound that lights up all of the malignant cells in a patient’s body, allowing surgeons to easily spot them in the operating room.

Why painting tumors could make brain surgeons better

NPR | September 2013

Surgeons can't always distinguish tumor cells from healthy cells. The Olson lab set out to search for a solution that would make it easier for them to find and remove tumors.

Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope

NPR | September 2013

Dr. Jim Olson pursues several interests with incredible passion. But to really understand him, you have to watch him in action with patients.