Robyn Klein

22 April 2021
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Prof. Robyn Klein MD, PhD

Vice Provost
Associate Dean for Graduate Education, Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences
Director, Center for Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious Diseases
Professor, Departments of Medicine, Pathology & Immunology, Neuroscience
Washington University School of Medicine – St. Louis


Dr. Robyn S. Klein received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She then completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and post-doctoral training in Immunology at Harvard University. Dr. Klein joined the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in 2003, where she developed neuroimmunology basic and translational science research programs focused on the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Studies in the Klein laboratory focus on cellular and molecular mechanisms that orchestrate inflammation and CNS dysfunction during both viral and autoimmune encephalitides. The experimental approach involves the development of in vitro and in vivo models of blood-brain barrier function to study the CNS entry of viruses and mononuclear cells, and of the signaling responses that regulate vascular permeability. Studies using in vivo models for both autoimmune and WNV encephalitides focus on identifying the localizing cues that control leukocyte entry, persistent inflammation and neuronal injury. Work over the past few years has defined novel roles for cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of blood-brain barrier permeability to encephalitic viruses and protective versus pathogenic leukocytes. These inflammatory cues also regulate CNS repair by neural stem cells (NSCs) in mice with viral infection or demyelinating diseases. Aspects related to NSC-mediated repair include defining the innate immune mechanisms that promote synapse elimination and myelin damage and the localizing, proliferative and differentiation cues that lead to their successful repair. These studies seek to advance our understanding of normal and aberrant neuroimmune interactions and to the wide range in inflammatory patterns observed in various neuroinflammatory diseases. We also aim to identify novel therapeutic targets, which is much needed in an era where there is little to offer patients with neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Klein is currently the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Center for Neuroimmunology & Neuroinfectious Diseases at WUSM and Vice Provost of Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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