Kipnis Receives Prestigious NIH Director’s Pioneer Award

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, a School of Medicine neuroscientist who is transforming our understanding of the brain’s relationship to the immune system has been awarded the prestigious Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health.

As chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience and director of its Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG), Kipnis will receive more than $5.6 million in research funding over five years as part of the award.

[Read more]



UVA Identifies Brain’s Lymphatic Vessels as New Avenue to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

Lymphatic vessels that clean the brain of harmful material play a crucial role in the development and progression of multiple sclerosis, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests. The vessels appear to carry previously unknown messages from the brain to the immune system that ultimately trigger the disease’s symptoms. Blocking those messages may offer doctors a new way to treat a devastating condition that affects more than 2 million people.

The research team included, from left, Jonathan Kipnis, Jasmin Herz and Antoine Louveau. Kipnis called the research’s potential “beyond exciting.” [Read more, UVA Today, 9/17/18]



Kipnis Lab

In Scientific American cover story, “The Seventh Sense,” neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis describes the relationship between the nervous and immune systems. “Mounting evidence indicates that the brain and the immune system interact routinely, both in sickness and in health,” he writes. The immune system may “qualify as a kind of surveillance organ that detects microorganisms in … the body and informs the brain about them, much as our eyes relay visual information and our ears transmit auditory signals.” [Read more…]







Leitinger Lab Discovery Reveals How Obesity Causes Disease and How We Can Stop It

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine explains why obesity causes harmful inflammation that can lead to diabetes, clogged arteries and other health problems. Doctors may be able to use this knowledge to battle these chronic diseases and others driven by damaging inflammation.

“All these diseases have a common denominator,” said researcher Vlad Serbulea, PhD. “It may well be that we’ve identified what starts off the whole cascade of inflammation and metabolic changes.”

Check out the full story on UVA Health System Connect, 7/23/18.



Lukas Tamm Appointed Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics

Effective July 1, 2018, Lukas Tamm, PhD, has been appointed as chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics. Dr. Tamm received his basic training in molecular biosciences at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland. He spent a year at Cornell University studying microtubules by electron microscopy as part of his Master’s thesis (1978). He then joined the group of Joachem Seelig at the University of Basel where he earned his PhD in biophysics (1982). After postdoctoral training with Harden McConnell at Stanford University (1982-1984), he became a junior faculty member at the University of Basel. He joined the University of Virginia in 1990, where he is currently the director of the Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology.

(News, UVA School of Medicine website, 6/15/18)


John Lukens, PhD, awarded a 2018 Research Grant by The Alzheimer’s Association

John Lukens, PhD, is investigating how brain injury disrupts drainage of deleterious waste from the brain and how that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is awarding the School of Medicine’s John Lukens, PhD, a 2018 Research Grant Award. This funding will support research critical to developing more-effective strategies for detecting/treating/preventing Alzheimer’s.

The grant award provides Dr. Lukens $149,820 over three years to study lymphatic dysfunction and inflammasomes as drivers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. [Read more…]

(UVA Health System Newsroom, 2/20/18)