Graduate Studies Faculty
Kathleen Holton, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Research Interests:Excitotoxins, glutamate, aspartate, L-cysteine, nutritional neuroscience, central sensitization, pain, fibromyalgia, ADHD
Preceptor RotationsAcademic Term Available Winter 2014 No Spring 2014 No Fall 2015 No
Faculty MentorshipDr. Holton is not available as a mentor for 2014-2015.
Dr. Kathleen Holton is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience and the Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition at Oregon Health & Science University. She received her MPH in Epidemiology and her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, and completed postdoctoral work at OHSU in Nutritional Epidemiology. Dr. Holton teaches metabolism courses for the Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition, in addition to multiple elective courses. Dr. Holton also has an active research program in the area of Nutritional Neuroscience. Her research examines the negative effects of dietary excitotoxins on neurological symptoms, as well as the positive protective effects of certain micronutrients on neurological function. Dietary excitotoxins include the free forms of the amino acids L-glutamate, L-aspartate, and L-cysteine, as well as the less common, potent neurotoxins domoic acid, β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) and β-N-oxalylamino-L-alanine (BOAA). The most common dietary excitotoxin exposures in the US are from food additives. Dr. Holton’s research is exploring the beneficial effects of removing these additives while optimizing nutrient composition of the diet. She is currently testing this dietary approach in symptomatic adults and pregnant women who are at high risk of having an infant with psychological symptoms such as ADHD. Brain imaging work is being completed on infants born to these mothers in order to determine the effects of maternal diet on brain development.