A headshot photo of I. Mark Olfert.

I. Mark Olfert, PhD, RRT, FAHA


Contact Information

PO Box 9227
3130G HSN
Morgantown, WV 26506


  • Department of Human Performance - Division of Exercise Physiology
  • WVU Cancer Institute
  • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Graduate Training

  • Loma Linda University, PhD, 2000

Research Interests

My laboratory conducts research in cardiopulmonary and skeletal muscle physiology as it pertains to health and disease. My research covers two broad areas, 1) pulmonary gas exchange and ventilation under conditions of stress (e.g. disease, exercise, high altitude) and 2) factors limiting O2 transport and exercise capacity, particularly in context of the formation and/or remodeling of skeletal muscle microvessels (i.e. angiogenesis) in chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart failure (CHF), renal failure, and/or diabetes.

The current major focus in my laboratory is to better understand the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle angiogenesis. One factor of particular interest is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a critical factor for vessel formation during growth and development, but is also found to be important throughout life (e.g. in response to wound healing, tumor progression, and exercise-induced skeletal muscle angiogenesis). Recent discoveries in my laboratory have also expanded our interest in the role of negative angiogenic regulators and extracellular matrix proteins, such as thrombospondin (TSP) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), may play in pathophysiology of cardiac and skeletal muscle co-morbidities associated with COPD and other chronic diseases.

Students working in my laboratory can expect to learn and use a multidisciplinary approach in involving cellular and molecular, histochemical, biochemical, and classical physiologic techniques in the study of human and animal (i.e. transgenic) models. These studies take a translational approach to better understand the pathophysiology of cardiac and skeletal muscle dysfunction in association chronic cardiac, respiratory and/or metabolic disease.

Grants and Research

Current Grants and Contracts

PI unless otherwise stated

  • AHA Collaborative Sciences Award #20CSA35320107, 2021 - 2024
  • NIH R21 ES033026-01, 2020 - 2022

Completed Grants and Contracts

PI unless otherwise stated

  • NIH U54G M104942-05S1, 2020 - 2021
    • PD Hodder, PI Olfert
  • American Cancer Society #16-143-07-IRG Phillip R. Dino Innovative Research, 2017 - 2018
  • WVCTI Obesity/Metabolic Disease Pilot Project Grant, NIH/NIGMS U54GM104942 ($50,000), 2014 - 2015
  • WVU Research Corporation: Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (PSCoR) ($25,000), 2014
  • American Cancer Society / Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center (ACS-IRG) Award ($30,000), 2012 - 2013
  • WVU Research Funding and Development Grant ($25,000), 2012
  • American Heart Association (Great Rivers Affiliate), Beginning Grant-in-Aid ($120,000), 2009 - 2011
  • NIH Clinical Research LRP Award ($21,948), 2006 - 2008
  • NIH R01 #HL080203, 2006 - 2010
    • Co-Investigator
  • Tobacco Related Disease Research Program, New Investigator Award ($269,500), 2005 - 2008
  • NASA/National Space Biomedical Research Institute, 2005 - 2009
    • Co-Investigator
  • Parker B. Francis Fellowship Award in Pulmonary Research ($132,000), 2005 - 2008
  • NIH Clinical Research LRP Award ($54,200), 2004 - 2006
  • American Heart Association (Western States Affiliate), Beginning Grant-in-Aid ($140,000), 2003 - 2005


Recent Publications in Refereed Journals

  1. Mills A, Frazier J, Plants R, Burrage E, Coblentz T, Nassabeh S, Robinson M, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Effects of electronic cigarette E-liquid and device wattage on vascular function. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2023 Sep 1;474:116631. PMID: 37468077
  2. Oeung B, Pham K, Olfert IM, De La Zerda DJ, Gaio E, Powell FL, Heinrich EC. The normal distribution of the hypoxic ventilatory response and methodological impacts: a meta-analysis and computational investigation. J Physiol. 2023 Aug 17; Online ahead of print. PMID: 37589511
  3. Snoderly HT, Alkhadrawi H, Panchal DM, Weaver KL, Vito JN, Freshwater KA, Santiago SP, Olfert IM, Nurkiewicz TR, Bennewitz MF. Short-term exposure of female BALB/cJ mice to e-cigarette aerosol promotes neutrophil recruitment and enhances neutrophil-platelet aggregation in pulmonary microvasculature. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2023 Apr 18;86(8):246-262. PMID: 36859793
  4. Aboaziza E, Feaster KM, Hare L, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Maternal electronic cigarette use during pregnancy affects long-term arterial function in offspring. J Appl Physiol. 2023 Jan 1;134(1):59-71. PMID: 36417201
  5. Halvorson BD, Menon NJ, Goldman D, Frisbee SJ, Goodwill AG, Butcher JT, Stapleton PA, Brooks SD, d'audiffret AC, Wiseman RW, Lombard JH, Brock RW, Olfert IM, Chantler PD, Frisbee JC. The development of peripheral microvasculopathy with chronic metabolic disease in obese Zucker rats: a retrograde emergence? Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Sep 1;323(3):H475-H489. PMID: 35904886
  6. Mills A, Dakhlallah D, Robinson M, Kirk A, Llavina S, Boyd JW, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Short-term effects of electronic cigarettes on cerebrovascular function: A time course study. Exp Physiol. 2022 Aug;107(8):994-1006. PMID: 35661445
  7. O’Reilly J, Ono-Moore KD, Chintapalli SV, Rutkowsky JM, Tolentino T, Lloyd KCK, Olfert IM, Adams SH. Sex differences in skeletal muscle revealed through fiber type, capillarity, and transcriptomics profiling in mice. Physiol Rep. 2021 Sep;9(18):e15031. PMID: 34545692
  8. Burrage EN, Aboaziza E, Hare L, Reppert S, Moore J, Goldsmith WT, Kelley EE, Mills A, Dakhlallah D, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Long-term cerebrovascular dysfunction in the offspring from maternal electronic cigarette use during pregnancy. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2021 Aug 1;321(2):H339-H352. PMID: 34170194
  9. Ono-Moore KD, Olfert IM, Rutkowsky JM, Chintapalli SV, Willis BJ, Blackburn ML, Williams DK, O’Reilly J, Tolentino T, Lloyd KCK, Adams SH. Metabolic physiology and skeletal muscle phenotypes in male and female myoglobin knockout mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jul 1;321(1):E63-E79. PMID: 33969704
  10. Boateng SY, Olfert IM, Chantler PD. Role of perivascular adipose tissue and exercise on arterial function with obesity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2021 Jul 1;49(3):188-196. PMID: 33831902

Recent Conference Abstracts

  1. Mills A, Nassabeh S, Frazier J, Robinson M, Legg P, Shamma A, Hurley A, Chantler P, Dakhallah D, Boyd, J, Olfert IM. Maternal vaping during pregnancy e-cigs leads to obesity in offspring. American Physiology Summit 2023. Long Beach, CA. 2023 Apr. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1152/physiol.2023.38.S1.5729326
  2. Frazier JI, Mills A, Nassabeh S, Plants R, Robinson M, Kincaid S, Kottapalli D, Prabhu S, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Low vs. high wattage vaping during pregnancy influences vascular function in rat offspring. Annual Experimental Biology Conference. Philadelphia, PA. 2022 Apr. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.2022.36.S1.R5928
  3. Mills A, Plants R, Nassabeh S, Bruce A, Robinson M, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Maternal vaping effects on cerebrovascular function in offspring. Annual AHA Scientific Sessions. Boston, MA. 2021 Nov.
  4. Mills A, Robinson M, Kirk A, Chantler PD, Olfert IM. Single exposure to electronic cigarettes induces cerebrovascular impairments up to 72 hours. NIH Tobacco Regulatory Science Meeting. Virtual. 2021 Oct.
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