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Detlev Boison, PhD

Research - RWJMS

Professor | Department of Neurosurgery | Rutgers RWJMS
Vice Chair of Research & Training | Department of Neurosurgery | Rutgers RWJMS


Dr. Boison has a passion for translational research and for finding cures for intractable conditions that cause human suffrage and death. He seeks to translate fundamental mechanisms of biochemistry and energy metabolism into novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neurological conditions and cancer. A major research effort is the development of metabolism-based therapies that enable disease modification in epilepsy and after traumatic brain injury. Dr. Boison graduated from the University of Köln, Germany, in 1994 with a PhD in Biochemistry. In 2005, he received the Venia Legendi (Habilitation) in Cellular Pharmacology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, for his work on cell-based adenosine augmentation therapies for epilepsy. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Boison has maintained a rigorous research program on translational adenosine research and has been continuously NIH funded since 2008. Dr. Boison has published over 190 papers with an h-index of 64 and has delivered over 160 invited lectures.



M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, University of Köln, Germany, 1989

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Köln, Germany, 1994

Post Doctorate:
Venia legendi (Habilitation) in Cellular Pharmacology, University of Zurich Medical School, 2005



  • Visiting Professor, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil (2019)
  • Visiting Professor, Trinity College, Hartford, CT (2018/2019)
  • European Patent EP 1 765 989 B1: Therapeutic delivery of adenosine into a tissue. Inventors: Boison, Brustle, November 2 (2016)
  • US. Patent 9040073, : Silk polymer-based adenosine release: therapeutic potential for epilepsy. Inventors: Boison, Kaplan, May 26 (2015)
  • Brighter Future Award; Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) (2013)
  • “Food for thought” cover of , Volume 121, Number 7 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation featuring Masino SA, Li T, Theofilas P, Sandau US, Ruskin DN, Fredholm BB, Geiger JD, Aronica E, Boison D. A ketogenic diet suppresses seizures in mice through adenosine A1 receptors, July (2011)
  • Selection of Fig. 3B from Boison D. “The adenosine kinase hypothesis of epileptogenesis” as cover art for issue of Progress in Neurobiology Vol. 84., March (2008)
  • Selection of Fig. 2C from Ren G, Li T, Lan JQ, Wilz A, Simon RP, Boison D. “Lentiviral RNAi-induced downregulation of adenosine kinase in human mesenchymal stem cell grafts: a novel perspective for seizure control” as cover art for issue of Experimental Neurology Vol. 208., November (2007)
  • Selection of Fig.3B1 from Fedele, D.E., Li, T., Lan, J.Q., Fredholm, B.B., and Boison, D. “Adenosine A1 receptors are crucial in keeping an epileptic focus localized” as cover art for July, issue of Experimental Neurology (2006)
  • Selection of Fig. 3C from Studer, F.E., Fedele, D.E., Marowsky, A., Schwerdel, C., Wernli, K., Vogt, K., Fritschy, J.-M., and Boison, D. “Shift of adenosine kinase expression from neurons to astrocytes during postnatal development suggests dual functionality of the enzyme” as cover art for Neuroscience Vol. 142 (2006)
  • International Patent WO 2005/118789, December 15, 2005
  • US. Patent 6110902: Methods for inhibition of neuronal activity by local delivery of adenosine. Inventors: Boison, Mohler, August 29 (2000)
  • Third place for presentation of the lecture “Gene therapy of experimental focal epilepsy” at the 49th Meeting of the German Neurosurgical Society in Hannover, Germany; awarded from the German Society for Neurosurgery (1998)
  • First class honors for PhD thesis (published in PNAS) (1995)
  • First class honors for diploma thesis (published in EMBO J.) (1989)


Research Interests:

  • The biochemistry and epigenetics of epilepsy
  • Focal adenosine-augmentation therapies to treat epilepsy
  • Therapies for epilepsy prevention
  • Brain regeneration after traumatic brain injury and stroke
  • Comorbidities in Neurology
  • The adenosine hypothesis of schizophrenia
  • Role of adenosine in cancer
  • Metabolic therapies



Astrocytes in the initiation and progression of epilepsy.
Vezzani A, Ravizza T, Bedner P, Aronica E, Steinhäuser C, Boison D., Nat Rev Neurol., Dec;18(12):707-722. doi: 10.1038/s41582-022-00727-5. Epub 2022 Oct 24. PMID: 36280704, 2022

ATP and Adenosine Metabolism in Cancer: Exploitation for Therapeutic Gain.
Yegutkin GG, Boison D., Pharmacol Rev., Jul;74(3):797-822. doi: 10.1124/pharmrev.121.000528.PMID: 35738682, 2022

The metabolic basis of epilepsy.
Rho JM, Boison D., Nat Rev Neurol., Jun;18(6):333-347. doi: 10.1038/s41582-022-00651-8. Epub 2022 Mar 31. PMID: 35361967, 2022

Adenosine Metabolism: Emerging Concepts for Cancer Therapy.
Boison D., Yegutkin GG., Cancer Cell., Dec 9;36(6):582-596. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2019.10.007. PMID: 31821783, 2019

Connexin 43-Mediated Astroglial Metabolic Networks Contribute to the Regulation of the Sleep-Wake Cycle.
Clasadonte J, Scemes E, Wang Z, Boison D., Haydon PG., Neuron., Sep 13;95(6):1365-1380.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.08.022. Epub 2017 Aug 31. PMID: 28867552, 2017

Epigenetic changes induced by adenosine augmentation therapy prevent epileptogenesis.
Williams-Karnesky RL, Sandau US, Lusardi TA, Lytle NK, Farrell JM, Pritchard EM, Kaplan DL, Boison D., J Clin Invest., Aug;123(8):3552-63. doi: 10.1172/JCI65636. Epub 2013 Jul 25. PMID: 23863710, 2013

Adenosine kinase: exploitation for therapeutic gain.
Boison D., Pharmacol Rev., Apr 16;65(3):906-43. doi: 10.1124/pr.112.006361. Print 2013 Jul. PMID: 23592612, 2013

Adenosine augmentation ameliorates psychotic and cognitive endophenotypes of schizophrenia.
Shen HY, Singer P, Lytle N, Wei CJ, Lan JQ, Williams-Karnesky RL, Chen JF, Yee BK, Boison D., J Clin Invest., Jul;122(7):2567-77. doi: 10.1172/JCI62378. Epub 2012 Jun 18. PMID: 22706302, 2012

A ketogenic diet suppresses seizures in mice through adenosine A₁ receptors.
Masino SA, Li T, Theofilas P, Sandau US, Ruskin DN, Fredholm BB, Geiger JD, Aronica E, Boison D., J Clin Invest., Jul;121(7):2679-83. doi: 10.1172/JCI57813. Epub 2011 Jun 23. PMID: 21701065, 2011

Adenosine kinase is a target for the prediction and prevention of epileptogenesis in mice.
Li T, Ren G, Lusardi T, Wilz A, Lan JQ, Iwasato T, Itohara S, Simon RP, Boison D., J Clin Invest., Feb;118(2):571-82. doi: 10.1172/JCI33737. PMID: 18172552, 2008



Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Public Health
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Piscataway, NJ 08854