Robyn Klein, MD, PhD

The Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Professor of Medical Sciences; Director, Center for Neuroimmunology & Neuroinfectious Diseases; Professor of Medicine, Pathology & Immunology, Neurosciences

Research Interests

My laboratory studies the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). We have focused on two components of CNS inflammatory states: the mechanism of leukocyte recruitment into the CNS and the direct effects of inflammatory mediators on resident neural cells. Common to both of these is the action of chemokines, which both recruit leukocytes into the CNS and signal through chemokine receptors present on neural cells, affecting their function and survival. Our experimental approach involves the development of in vitro and in vivo models of CNS mononuclear cell recruitment and neural cell chemokine receptor signaling responses. Our studies over the past few years have led us to focus on the roles of cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of blood-brain barrier permeability to protective versus pathogenic leukocytes, and to West Nile virus (WNV), a positive strand flavivirus that may enter the CNS and cause encephalitis. These inflammatory cues also regulate CNS repair by neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in mice with viral infection or demyelinating diseases. Aspects related to NPC-mediated repair include defining the localizing, proliferative and differentiation cues that lead to successful repair of damaged neurons and myelin.

Professional Education
  • BA: Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY (1985)
  • MS: Neuroscience: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (1990)
  • PhD: Neuroscience: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (1993)
  • Medical Degree: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY (1993)
  • Residency: Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA (1996)
  • Clinical Fellowship, Infectious Diseases: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (1997)
  • Research Fellowship, Infectious Diseases: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (2000)
  • Internal Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pathology and Immunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Hope Center for Neurological Disorders

Klein Lab

We are interested in defining fundamental processes of the neuroimmune system – which is structurally and cellularly distinct from the peripheral immune system – that protect neurons from infection and inflammation. Our research particularly explores how innate immune responses of glial cells orchestrate all functions of the neuroimmune system including the regulation of pathogen entry and infection, recruitment of peripheral immune cells, and induces processes that promote repair during neuroinflammatory diseases.

PI: Robyn Klein, MD, PhD