Jonathan Kipnis


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

Primary Appointment

  • Professor, Neuroscience


Research Interest(s)

Neuroimmunology and glia biology in cognition, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration

Research Description

Neuroimmune interactions and the role for glia cells in brain function, development and diseases: understanding basic mechanisms and development of therapeutic vaccines

We are interested in the role of immune system and glial cells, particularly microglia, 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.

Cognitive disorders and Neurodevelopmental disorders.

Models: Autism spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease.

Mental disorders.

Models: 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, a new line of evidence supports the notion that immune assistance is required for a better neuronal survival following injury. Microglia, the brain's resident macrophages, are playing a major role in brain disorders. Interestingly, microglia are the only cells in the brain that can be feasible replaced (even in patients) and thus represent an exceptional therapeutic target for genetic CNS disorders.

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 on healthy and diseased brain.

Selected Publications

  • Cronk J, Derecki N, Ji E, Xu Y, Lampano A, Smirnov I, Baker W, Norris G, Marin I, Coddington N, Wolf Y, Turner S, Aderem A, Klibanov A, Harris T, Jung S, Litvak V, Kipnis J. Methyl-CpG Binding Protein 2 Regulates Microglia and Macrophage Gene Expression in Response to Inflammatory Stimuli. Immunity. 2015;42(4): 679-91. PMID: 25902482 | PMCID: PMC4407145
  • Gadani S, Kipnis J. Brainless immunity no more. Nature immunology. 2015;16(5): 440-1. PMID: 25898188
  • Gadani S, Walsh J, Lukens J, Kipnis J. Dealing with Danger in the CNS: The Response of the Immune System to Injury. Neuron. 2015;87(1): 47-62. PMID: 26139369 | PMCID: PMC4491143
  • Gadani S, Walsh J, Smirnov I, Zheng J, Kipnis J. The glia-derived alarmin IL-33 orchestrates the immune response and promotes recovery following CNS injury. Neuron. 2015;85(4): 703-9. PMID: 25661185
  • Louveau A, Smirnov I, Keyes T, Eccles J, Rouhani S, Peske J, Derecki N, Castle D, Mandell J, Lee K, Harris T, Kipnis J. Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels. Nature. 2015. PMID: 26030524 | PMCID: PMC4506234
  • Walsh J, Hendrix S, Boato F, Smirnov I, Zheng J, Lukens J, Gadani S, Hechler D, Gölz G, Rosenberger K, Kammertöns T, Vogt J, Vogelaar C, Siffrin V, Radjavi A, Fernandez-Castaneda A, Gaultier A, Gold R, Kanneganti T, Nitsch R, Zipp F, Kipnis J. MHCII-independent CD4+ T cells protect injured CNS neurons via IL-4. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2015;125(2): 699-714. PMID: 25607842 | PMCID: PMC4319416
  • Derecki N, Kipnis J. From neurons to microglia, with complements. Nature neuroscience. 2013;16(12): 1712-3. PMID: 24270269
  • Radjavi A, Smirnov I, Derecki N, Kipnis J. Dynamics of the meningeal CD4(+) T-cell repertoire are defined by the cervical lymph nodes and facilitate cognitive task performance in mice. Molecular psychiatry. 2013. PMID: 23752249 | PMCID: PMC3773254
  • 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
  • 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