Audrey D. Lafrenaye, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Audrey D. Lafrenaye, Ph.D.

Department: Anatomy and Neurobio

Phone: 804-828-0527


Assistant Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Sanger hall 11-044
BOX 980709
P.O. Box 980709
Richmond, VA 23298
Phone: 804-828-0527


  • BA, Biology, Christopher Newport University 05/2004


  • PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Thesis: "Focal adhesion kinase, a major regulator of oligodendrocyte morphological maturation and myelination"
    Advisor: Babette Fuss, PhD 06/2005 - 05/2010
  • Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Certificate, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Discipline: Anatomy 09/2004 - 05/2005
  • Preparing Future Faculty Certificate, Virginia Commonwealth University 2008


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    Discipline: traumatic brain injury
    Advisor: John Povlishock, PhD 05/2010 - 01/2015


  • Dr. Lafrenaye's research focuses on exploring the diffuse glial and neuronal pathologies and corresponding morbidity associated with traumatic brain injury. These studies utilize in vivo models of both rat and pig central fluid percussion injury paired with extensive physiological monitoring and/or manipulation followed by behavioral, microscopic and molecular assessments. 

    Dr. Lafrenaye secured an R01 from the NINDS  to investigate the sub-cellular and molecular progression of diffuse neuronal membrane disruption in the face of elevated ICP as well as its potential behavioral correlative and ultimate therapeutic amelioration.
    In addition, she is investigating potential therapeutics as well as the association between diffuse axonal injury and neuroinflammation as well as histopathological signatures associated with serum biomarkers in a micro pig model of diffuse traumatic brain injury, as part of Operation Brain Trauma Therapy.

    Dr. Lafrenaye is also working in collaboration with Dr. Miller Ferguson to explore consequences of diffuse brain injury during development in an effort to better develop clinical interventions for children suffering brain injury.


  • Gross Anatomy
    Systems Neuroscience
    Grant writing



  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Acute neuroinflammation
  • Neuronal somatic membrane disruption/perturbation
  • Astrocyte swelling
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Bioimaging (confocal, epifluorescence, light and electron microscopy)
  • Physiological monitoring/management
  • Biomarker discovery


  • Outstanding Teacher Award - Medical Histology. School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University. Faculty are selected by the medical students based on their exemplary teaching and committment to medical education. 09/2018
  • Highest Award for Poster Presentation, International Neurotrauma Society. Selected as the highest ranking presentation of the top twenty-one trainee abstracts that were selected to compete in a platform and poster presentation of their work at the International Neurotrauma Society symposium in Budapest, Hungary. 03/2014
  • Award for Poster Presentation Excellence, Virginia Commonwealth University Postdoctoral Association. The top four posters presented at the annual postdoctoral association research day were selected based on cumulative scores of the judging committee. 09/2012
  • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology Osterud Award, Virginia Commonwealth University. The Osterud Award is presented to a graduate student who has distinguished himself/herself academically, in his/her research, as well as in service to the educational mission of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Virginia Commonwealth University. 2009
  • Forbes Day presenter, Virginia Commonwealth University. The top ten abstracts were selected for platform presentations during the annual Forbes Day. 2008
  • Phi Kappa Phi, Virginia Commonwealth University. Graduate students must rank in the top 10 percent of their class as well as be nominated and approved by their local chapter to be invited to join this society. 2006


  • Member, National Neurotrauma Society 2011 - Present
  • Member, Training, Education and Mentoring in Neurotrauma 2011 - Present
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience 2008 - Present
  • Member, Central Virginia Chapter Society for Neuroscience 2005 - Present
  • Member, National Postdoctoral Association 2012 - 2014


  • AD Lafrenaye,S Mondello, JT Povlishock, KM Gorse,K Wang, R Hayes and PM Kochanek Association between serum biomarker levels and histological assessments after diffuse TBI in micro pigs: Operation Brain Trauma Therapy. (in preperation)
  • AD Lafrenaye, S Mondello, JT Povlishock, KM Gorse, S Walker, D Coffman, R Hayes, K Wang, PM Kochanek Levetiracetam treatment for traumatic brain injury in the micro pig: Operation Brain Trauma Therapy. (in preparation)
  • JA Beitchman, J Lifshitz, NG Harris, TC Thomas, AD Lafrenaye, A Hanell, EC Dixon, TJ Povlishock, RK Rowe. Intracranial Mechanics of Fluid Percussion Brain Injury in the Rodent. Journal of Neurotrauma (in submission). 07/2018
  • KM Gorse and AD Lafrenaye. The importance of inter-species variation in traumatic brain injury-induced alterations of microglial-axonal interactions. Frontiers Neurology, section Neurotrauma, 20 September 2018 | 09/2018
  • Patrick M. Kochanek, C. Edward Dixon, Stefania Mondello, Kevin K W Wang, Audrey Lafrenaye, Helen Bramlett, W. Dalton Dietrich, Ronald L Hayes, Deborah A. Shear, Janice S. Gilsdorf, Michael Catania, Samuel M. Poloyac, Philip E. Empey, Travis C. Jackson, John Theodore Povlishock. Multi-center Pre-clinical Consortia to Enhance Translation of Therapies and Biomarkers for Traumatic Brain Injury: Operation Brain Trauma Therapy and Beyond Frontiers Neurology, section Neurotrauma.  2018 Aug 7;9:640 doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00640 08/2018
  • PM Kochanek, HM Bramlett, CE Dixon, WD Dietrich, S Mondello, KKW Wang, RL Hayes, AD Lafrenaye, JT Povlishock, FC Tortella, SM Poloyac, P Empey, DA Shear. Operation Brain Trauma Therapy: 2016 Update. Mil Med. 2018 Mar 1;183  doi: 10.1093/milmed/usx184. 03/2018
  • KM Gorse, MK Lantzy, ED Lee and AD Lafrenaye. Trpm4 induces astrocyte swelling but not death after diffuse traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2018 Jul 15;35(14):1694-1704 02/2018
  • AD Lafrenaye, M Todani, SA Walker, JT Povlishock Microglia processes associate with diffusely injured axons following mild traumatic brain injury in the micro pig. Journal of Neuroinflammation 12 (2015) 186. 2015
  • AD Lafrenaye, TE Krahe, and JT Povlishock. Moderately elevated intracranial pressure after diffuse traumatic brain injury is associated with exacerbated neuronal pathology and behavioral morbidity in the rat. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 34 (2014) 1628-1636.
  • AD Lafrenaye, MJ McGinn, and JT Povlishock. Increased intracranial pressure after diffuse traumatic brain injury exacerbates neuronal somatic membrane poration but not axonal injury: evidence for primary intracranial pressure-induced neuronal perturbation. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 32 (2012) 1919-1932.

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