GFAp with MHC Class II and T CellsResearch in Neuroimmunology at UVA is at the forefront of one of the fastest growing disciplines in all of science. Researchers in this field focus on how crosstalk between the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system contributes to health and disease. At UVA, our faculty are conducting cutting edge research while cultivating a environment that is highly collaborative and innovative.

The complete lack of effective biomedical interventions to treat debilitating neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and autism spectrum disorder has lead to a need to improve the characterization of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that promote neurological diseases. Recent findings strongly implicate dysfunctional immune responses in the pathogenesis of most, if not all, neurological disorders.  To characterize the immunological pathways that provoke neurological diseases a center for neuroimmunology research was established at UVA. The center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) unites expertise in basic neuroscience, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, CNS infectious disease and immunology to tackle this important biomedical area.  Neuroimmunology research at UVA utilizes cutting-edge approaches to study the immunological underpinnings of multiple major neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, CNS infectious disease, autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer, depression, Rett syndrome, and schizophrenia. Much of this work is focused on identifying the specific immune pathways that spur CNS disease and investigating ways to harness the immune system to develop novel treatment strategies.

The overwhelming medical and societal burdens imposed by neurological disorders demands scientists with strong foundations in both neuroscience and immunology. Thus graduate students studying neuroimmunology at UVA are immersed in a dynamic and interdisciplinary training experience that encompasses neuroscience, immunology, behavioral neurobiology, imaging, bioinformatics and genomics, cell biology and clinical neurology. Our goal is to equip trainees with the necessary critical and creative thinking skills, technical expertise, and conceptual foundation in neuroscience and immunology to tackle important problems in all areas of neuroimmunology research. It is an exciting time to study neuroimmunology at UVA and we look forward to training the next generations of scientists who will lead the way in providing fundamental new insights into immune-mediated regulation of neurological function and disease.

Graduate students in the neuroimmunology research discipline are supported by the Medical Scientists Training Program (MSTP) grant, Neuroscience Training Grant, Immunology Training Grant, Pharmacology Training Grant and Wagner Fellowship.


  • Arandjelovic, Sanja

    Innate immunity, Cell clearance, Inflammatory and autoimmune disease

  • Cliffe, Anna

    Herpes Simplex Virus Infection of Neurons

  • Cope, Elise

    Adult-born neurons, perineuronal nets, and microglia in hippocampal plasticity and behavior in health and disease

  • Deppmann, Christopher

    Elucidating and Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Nervous System Development

  • Desai, Bimal N.

    Ion channels and Ca2+-signaling in inflammation, immunity and tissue homeostasis

  • Engelhard, Victor H.

    Identification of MHC-restricted tumor antigens / Control of T cell homing to tumors / Tertiary lymphoid structures and intratumoral immunity

  • Ewald, Sarah

    Innate immunity, chronic disease, host-parasite interactions, Toxoplasma gondii, proteomics

  • Eyo, Ukpong Bassey


  • Ferris, Heather

    Brain metabolism, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease

  • Gaultier, Alban

    Exploring new therapeutics avenues to treat Multiple Sclerosis.

  • Harris, Tajie H.

    Immune response to infectious disease in the CNS

  • Jiang, Lulu

    The Pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other dementia-related disorders.

  • Kuan, Alex


  • Lee, Kevin S.

    Neuronal Vulnerability: A Study of Cellular Mechanism

  • Liu, Xiaorong

    Developing novel neuroprotection strategies to preserve vision in glaucoma

  • Lu, Tsai-Yi


  • Lukens, John R.

    Understanding How Immunological Pathways Contribute to Neurodegenerative, Neurodevelopmental, Mental and Behavior Disorders

  • Ma, Jianjie

    Physiology & Biophysics

  • Mandell, James W.

    Identification of Novel Biomarkers for Inflammatory Myopathies

  • McRae, MaryPeace

    HIV, opioids, blood-brain barrier, drug transporters, inflammatory signaling, brain, antiretroviral therapy.

  • Parichy, David

    Developmental Genetics, Evolution and Regeneration

  • Perez-Reyes, Edward

    Exploring epilepsy circuits then preventing seizures using gene therapies. Developing drug-inducible genetic switches for insulin replacement gene therapies.

  • Pompano, Rebecca

    Bioanalytical tools for inflammatory disease

  • Price, Richard J.

    Image Guided Drug and Gene Delivery for Neurodegeneration and Cancer; Focused Ultrasound and Immunotherapy; Arteriogenesis and Angiogenesis

  • Provencio, Javier

    Innate Inflammatory Pathways Associated with Acute Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

  • Purow, Benjamin W.

    Novel therapeutic approaches to brain cancers and to other neurologic diseases

  • Sheybani, Natasha

    Biomedical Engineering

  • Zong, Hui

    Early detection, cancer prevention, and tumor microenvironment