Jonathan Kipnis, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Jonathan (Jony) Kipnis is BJC Investigator, Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Immunology and Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Neurosurgery at Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine. He is also an inaugural Director of Center for Brain immunology and Glia (BIG) at Washington University. Jony graduated from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where he was a Sir Charles Clore scholar and a recipient of distinguished prize for scientific achievements awarded by the Israeli Parliament, The Knesset. Kipnis lab focuses on the complex interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS). The goal is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions in neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, and mental disorders as well as in physiology (including healthy aging). They showed that the brain function is dependent, in part, on the function and integrity of the immune system and that immune molecules (cytokines) can play neuromodulatory roles. The fascination with immunity and its role in neurophysiology is what brought the team to a breakthrough discovery of meningeal lymphatic vessels that drain the CNS into the peripheral lymph nodes and thus serve as a physical connection between the brain and the immune system. This finding challenged the prevailing dogma of CNS being an “immune privileged organ” and opened new avenues to mechanistically study the nature of neuroimmune interactions under physiological and pathological conditions. The implications of this work are broad and range from Autism to Alzheimer’s disease through neuroinflammatory conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis. Among other awards, Dr. Kipnis is a recipient NIH Director’s Pioneer award for 2018 to explore in more depth neuro-immune interactions in healthy and diseased brain.

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