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Troy Rohn, Ph.D.

Troy Rohn working in a lab
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Year arrived at BSU: 2000

Mailing Address:
Department of Biology
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515
Office Location: Science Building, Room 228
Office Number: 208-426-2396
Lab Location: Science Building, Room 216
E-Mail Address:


Troy Rohn graduated in 1990 from the University of California at Davis with a B.S. in Physiology. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Washington , Seattle in 1994. His interests include the role of apoE4 in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Rohn had several Postdoctoral stints including two plus years living in Paris , France , one year at Montana State University in Bozeman , Montana , and two years at UC Irvine at the Institute of Brain Aging and Dementia under the direction of Dr. Carl Cotman. Dr. Rohn continues to collaborate extensively with UC Irvine and in addition with Dr. Elizabeth Head at University of Kentucky. He has obtained extramural funding continuously since his arrival at BSU including grants from NIH, AFAR and  AHAF.


BIOL442/542: This is a molecular neurobiology course for undergraduate and graduate-students. Topics covered are all aspects of neuronal function at the molecular level. A discussion of several neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Schizophrenia are a few of diseases covered.

BIOL 431/531: This is a general pharmacology course for undergraduate and graduate-students. Topics include the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. All major drug classes are covered in this course.

Both courses are taught in the fall semesters

BIOL 100 at Boise State University (Electronic): This is a non-majors course covering all aspects of biology.

BIOL 320: A cell biology course that represents a core requirement for all biology majors.


The primary focus of my laboratory is involved in the research involving neurodegenerative diseases including to a large extent, Alzheimer’s disease (AD). During the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, many neurons die particularly in the area of the hippocampus. Because the hippocampus is an area of the brain involved in memory, AD is primary a disease where afflicted individuals lose their capacity for memory and eventually other important cognitive skills involved in executive functions.

The primary focus of my lab currently is understanding how inheritance of the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) gene greatly enhances dementia risk. Although it is well established that inheritance of the APOE4 allele increases the risk of AD approximately tenfold, the mechanism of how this protein contributes to AD pathogenesis remains unknown.  Emerging data from our lab suggests that the matrix metalloproteinase-9 can generate an amino-terminal fragment of apoE4 that localizes to the nucleus in microglia of the human AD brain.  We are currently assessing in vitro the mechanisms by which this fragment is taken up by microglia, traffics to the nucleus and ultimately alters gene expression.

Our lab also has an interest in other neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Pick’s, frontal temporal dementia, Down’s syndrome and vascular dementia.

Currently recruiting for 1 exceptional graduate student (Master’s program) to begin fall 2019. If interested please contact me at

RECENT PUBLICATIONS (selected from 67 total)

Pollock, T.B., Mack, J.M., Day, R.J., Isho, N.F., Brown, R.J., Hayden, E.J. and Rohn T.T. (2019). A fragment of apolipoprotein E4 leads to the downregulation of CXorf56, a novel ER-protein, and activation of BV2 microglial cells. In preparation.

Rohn, T.T., Kim, N., Isho, N.F. and Mack, J.M. (2018).  The potential of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing as a treatment strategy for Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis Parkinsonism.  8(3). Pii: 439. Doi: 10.4172/2161-0460. Epub 2018 May 31.

Rohn, T.T. and Mack, J.M. (2018). Apolipoprotein E fragmentation within Lewy bodies of the human Parkinson’s disease brain. Int. J. Neurodegener Dis 1:002.

Love, J.E., Day, R.J., Gause, J.W, Brown, R.J., Pu, X., Theis, D.I., Caraway, C.A., Poon, W.W., Rahman, A.A., Morrison, B.E., and Rohn T.T. (2017).  Nuclear uptake of an amino-terminal fragment of apolipoprotein E4 promotes cell death and localizes within microglia of the Alzheimer’s disease brain. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol: 9(2): 40-57

Gause J.W., Day, R.J., Caraway, C.A., Poon, W.W. and Rohn T.T. (2017). Evaluation of apolipoprotein E fragmentation as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. J. of Neurology and Neurological Disorders. 3(2): 204. DOI: 10.15744/2454- 4981.3.204

Rohn, T.T. and Moore, Z.D. (2017). Nuclear localization of apolipoprotein E4: A new trick for an old protein. Int. J. Neurol. Neurother. 4(2): DOI: 10.23937/2378-3001/1410067

Boise School District Board of Trustees

K-12 education is key for the future success of Idaho students at our universities. I have taken an active role in this regard by becoming a School Board Trustee for the Boise District. We have over 25,000 students representing 38 schools in our district and it has been a great challenge to provide an excellent education in face of real economic hardships. I am proud to serve on this board and am so thankful for all the great teachers and administrators in our district serving our kids!

Summer Neuroscience Camps

I serve as an instructor for two different neuroscience camps held at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley during the summer. These biomedical summer camps are run by Dr. Ryan Holzer of the Rosetta Institute (!biomedical-summer-camps/crty).  The camps provide advanced classes for high achieving high school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine or related fields, such as pharmacy, nursing, biomedical research or drug development. More broadly, students make friends from around the world, strengthen their academic skills, and experience college dorm life in a safe environment.