Jonathan Kipnis, Ph.D.

BJC Investigator & Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor
Pathology and Immunology

Immunology Program
Neurosciences Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314-273-2288

  • Couch Building, West Wing, Room 1101



  • Neuroimmunology; neuroscience; immunology; lymphatics; behavior; Alzheimer’s disease; neurodegeneration; glia; microglia; blood-brain barrier (BBB); meninges

  • We study complex interactions between the immune and nervous systems in health and disease

Research Abstract:

Our 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). We 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.

More information on our science, lab members and projects could be found on our website:

Selected Publications:

1. Derecki N.C., Cardani A.N., Yang C.H., Quinnies K.M., Crihfield A., Lynch K.R., and Kipnis J (2010) Regulation of learning and memory by meningeal immunity: A key role for IL-4. J Exp Med. May 10;207(5):1067-80. Epub 2010 May 3.

2. Lu Z., Elliott M.R., Chen Y., Walsh J.T., Klibanov, A.I., Ravichandran K.S. and Kipnis J. (2011) Phagocytic activity of neuronal progenitors regulates adult neurogenesis. Nat Cell Biol. Jul 31;13(9):1076-83.

3. Walsh JT, Hendrix S, Boato F, SmirnovI, ZhengJ, LukensJR, Gadani SP, HechlerD, GölzG, RosenbergerK, Kammertöns T, Vogt J, Vogelaar C, Siffrin V, Radjavi A, Fernandez-Castaneda A, Gaultier A, Gold R, Kanneganti TD, Nitsch R, Zipp Z, and Kipnis J. (2015) MHCII-independent CD4+ T cells protect injured CNS neurons via IL-4. J Clin Invest Feb;125(2):699-714. doi: 10.1172/JCI76210.

4. Gadani SP, Walsh JT, Smirnov I, Zheng J and Kipnis J. (2015) The glia-derived alarmin IL-33 orchestrates the post CNS injury immune response and promotes recovery. Neuron. Feb 18;85(4):703-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.013.

5. Cronk JC, Derecki NC, Ji E, Xu Y, LampanoA, Smirnov I, Baker W, Norris GT, Coddington N, Wolf Y, Klibanov AL, HarrisTH, Jung S, Litvak V, and Kipnis J. (2015) Methyl-CpG Binding Protein 2 Regulates Microglia and Macrophage Gene Expression in Response to Inflammatory Stimuli. Immunity, 42, 679-691, April 21.

6. Louveau A, Smirnov I, Keyes TJ, Eccles JD, Rouhani SJ, Peske JD, Derecki NC, Castle D, Mandell JW, Lee KS, Harris TH, Kipnis J. (2015) Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatics. Nature, Jul 16;523(7560):337-41. doi: 10.1038/nature14432.

7. Filiano AJ, Xu Y, Tustison NJ, Marsh RL, Baker W, Smirnov I, Overall CC, Gadani SP, Turner SD, Weng Z, Peerzade SN, Chen H, Lee KS, Scott MM, Beenhakker MP, Litvak V, Kipnis J. (2016) Unexpected role of interferon-γ in regulating neuronal connectivity and social behaviour. Nature. Jul 21;535(7612):425-9..

8. Gadani SP, Smirnov I, Smith AT, Overall CC and Kipnis J (2017) Characterization of meningeal type 2 innate lymphocytes and their response to CNS injury. J Exp Med., Feb;214(2):285-296. doi: 10.1084/jem.20161982.

9. Louveau A, Herz J, Alme MN, Salvador AF, Dong MQ, Viar KE, Herod SG, Knopp J, Setliff JC, Lupi AL, Da Mesquita S, Frost EL, Gaultier A, Harris TH, Cao R, Hu S, Lukens JR, Smirnov I, Overall CC, Oliver G, Kipnis J. (2018) CNS lymphatic drainage and neuroinflammation are regulated by meningeal lymphatic vasculature. Nat Neurosci. Oct;21(10):1380-1391. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0227-9. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

10. Da Mesquita S, Louveau A, Vaccari A, Smirnov I, Cornelison RC, Kingsmore KM, Contarino C, Onengut-Gumuscu S, Farber E, Raper D, Viar KE, Powell RD, Baker W, Dabhi N, Bai R, Cao R, Hu S, Rich SS, Munson JM, Lopes MB, Overall CC, Acton ST, Kipnis J. (2018) Functional aspects of meningeal lymphatics in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. Nature. Aug;560(7717):185-191. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0368-8. Epub 2018 Jul 25.
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