Lisa Boulanger, PhD

Dr. Boulanger received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, and performed postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School, where she was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. Dr. Boulanger’s first faculty position was in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, where she was the Silvio Varon Professor of Neuroregeneration. She moved her lab to Princeton in 2009. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Award and a Whitehall Foundation award, and is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University.

The goal of research in Dr. Boulanger’s laboratory is to understand how immune-brain interactions contribute to the formation, function, modification, and disruption of neural circuits. Her group has identified unexpected, critical roles for specific immune proteins, members of the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI), in the control of excitatory synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory. Ongoing research in the Boulanger lab has three major goals: (1) to characterize the roles of MHCI in neurons and other cell types of the healthy nervous system; (2) to define cellular and molecular mechanisms by which MHC performs these non-immune functions, and (3) to explore how MHIC contributes to disorders of the developing, mature, and aging nervous system. To address these questions, the lab exploits a range of approaches, from electron microscopy and protein structure-function studies through electrophysiology and animal behavior. Ongoing collaborations with clinical and preclinical researchers include investigations of the role of neuroimmune interactions in normal neurological aging, neurodegenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and epilepsy.