Jonathan Kipnis


  • BS, Tel Aviv
  • MS, Weizmann Institute of Science
  • PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science

Primary Appointment

  • Professor, Neuroscience


Research Interest(s)

Neuro-Immune Interactions

Research Description

Neuroimmune interactions in neurodegenerative and mental disorders - understanding of basic mechanisms and development of therapeutic vaccines We are interested in the role of immune system in the following conditions:
CNS injury and neurodegenerative diseases - neuronal regeneration, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis.
Models: spinal cord injury, optic nerve injury, brain injury, glaucoma, Alzheimer's Disease. Mental conditions - cognition, neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity.
Models: age-related dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Schizophrenia, Depression. In our lab we are working on the interaction of the immune and nervous systems. Up until recently, scientists assumed that the presence of immune system in the central nervous system (CNS) was a hallmark for undergoing pathological processes. However, new line of evidence supports the notion that immune assistance is required for a better neuronal survival following injury. Moreover, we found that animals that lack the population of T lymphocytes (T cells) cannot perform cognitive tasks as well as normal animals do and are impaired in adult neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity. On the other hand, boost of immune response (vaccine) improves learning abilities in normal animals and accelerates neurogenesis. We are trying to elucidate on cellular and molecular levels the mechanism underlying these beneficial effects of immune cells in healthy and diseased CNS. We are also designing vaccines that promote neuronal survival and improve cognitive functions.

Selected Publications

  • Derecki N, Cronk J, Kipnis J. The role of microglia in brain maintenance: implications for Rett syndrome. Trends in immunology. 2012;34(3): 144-50. PMID: 23122051 | PMCID: PMC3566274
  • Derecki N, Cronk J, Lu Z, Xu E, Abbott S, Guyenet P, Kipnis J. Wild-type microglia arrest pathology in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Nature. 2012;484(7392): 105-9. PMID: 22425995 | PMCID: PMC3321067
  • Kipnis J, Gadani S, Derecki N. Pro-cognitive properties of T cells. Nature reviews. Immunology. 2012;12(9): 663-9. PMID: 22903149
  • Lu Z, Elliott M, Chen Y, Walsh J, Klibanov A, Ravichandran K, Kipnis J. Phagocytic activity of neuronal progenitors regulates adult neurogenesis. Nature cell biology. 2011;13(9): 1076-83. PMID: 21804544 | PMCID: PMC3374401
  • Derecki N, Cardani A, Yang C, Quinnies K, Crihfield A, Lynch K, Kipnis J. Regulation of learning and memory by meningeal immunity: a key role for IL-4. The Journal of experimental medicine. 2010;207(5): 1067-80. PMID: 20439540 | PMCID: PMC2867291
  • Derecki N, Privman E, Kipnis J. Rett syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders--brain diseases of immune malfunction? Molecular psychiatry. 2010;15(4): 355-63. PMID: 20177406 | PMCID: PMC3368984
  • Lu Z, Kipnis J. Thrombospondin 1--a key astrocyte-derived neurogenic factor. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2010;24(6): 1925-34. PMID: 20124433 | PMCID: PMC3231793