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Alexandros Poulopoulos, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:



670 W Baltimore St

Education and Training

  • University of Athens, BSc, Biology, 2003
  • University of Göttingen and Max Planck Institute, PhD,  Neuroscience, 2008
  • Harvard University, Postdoc and Research Associate, 2016


Our research aims to understand how neural circuits form in the brain, and to identify the circuitry and mechanisms that underlie conditions such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia.

Our lab combines synthetic biology, surgical in utero electroporation, and in vivo CRISPR genome editing to track and manipulate neural circuits directly in the developing rodent brain. With these approaches, we introduce pathological mutations, or take control of local biochemical pathways using light, and observe their effects on wiring patterns.

The ultimate goal of our group is to understand the in vivo mechanisms that determine circuit formation in development and circuit remodeling in adulthood; to discover how these processes deviate to alter brain circuits in neurodevelopmental disorders and mental illness; and to develop the knowhow and methodologies that may allow therapeutic intervention for the regeneration of circuits lost to disease or trauma.

For more on the lab and our research, see

Highlighted Publications

Poulopoulos A, Murphy AJ,  Ozkan A, Davis P, Hatch J, Kirchner R, Macklis JD. (2019) Subcellular transcriptomes and proteomes of developing axon projections in the cerebral cortex. Nature, (7739):356-360.

Poulopoulos A (editor). (2017) Synapse Development. Methods Mol Biol, 1538.

Poulopoulos A, Soykan T, Tuffy LP, Hammer M, Varoqueaux F, Brose N. (2012) Homodimerization and isoform-specific heterodimerization of neuroliginsBiochem J, 446(2):321-30.

Poulopoulos A. (2010) 'Holistic' synaptogenesis. Biochem Soc Trans, 38(2):511-5.

Poulopoulos A, Aramuni G, Meyer G, Soykan T, Hoon M, Papadopoulos T, Zhang M, Paarmann I, Fuchs C, Harvey K, Jedlicka P, Schwarzacher SW, Betz H, Harvey RJ, Brose N, Zhang W, Varoqueaux F. (2009) Neuroligin 2 drives postsynaptic assembly at perisomatic inhibitory synapses through gephyrin and collybistin. Neuron, 63(5):628-42.

Additional Publication Citations

Full publication list on Google Scholar.

Research Interests

  • Cortical circuit development
  • Synapse development
  • in vivo CRISPR genome engineering
  • mTOR signaling
  • Cell-cell interactions
  • Synthetic biology
  • Epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia
  • Cancer metastasis

Awards and Affiliations

  • NIH Director's New Innovator Award, 2019
  • Harvard Distinction in Teaching Award, 2015
  • Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Fellowship, 2012
  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Fellowship, 2010
  • Max Planck Society's Otto Hahn Medal, 2009

Links of Interest