BIOGRAPHY

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD
BJC Investigator
Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Immunology
Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Neurosurgery
Director, Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG)
Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine
St. Louis (MO) | USA

Dr. Jonathan (Jony) Kipnis’s research group 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).

Kipnis’s research team 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.

Dr. Kipnis 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. In 2018 he received a prestigious NIH Director’s Pioneer award to explore in more depth neuro-immune interactions in healthy and diseased brain.

Dr. Kipnis joined UVA faculty in 2007 and subsequently became a chair of Neuroscience department there. As of July 1st, 2020 his lab relocated to Washington University in St. Louis.