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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

Research/Clinical Keywords

cortical development; synaptogenesis; cell adhesion; mTOR; Neuroligin; epilepsy; autism; CRISPR; in utero electroporation

Highlighted Publications

Altas B, Tuffy LP, Patrizi A, Dimova K, Soykan T, Brandenburg C, Romanowski AJ, Robertson CD, Khim SN, Bunce GW, Ambrozkiewicz MC, Yagensky O, Krueger-Burg D, Hammer M, Hsiao HH, Laskowski PR, Dyck L, Puche AC, Sassoè-Pognetto M, Chua JJE, Urlaub H, Jahn O, Brose N, Poulopoulos A. Region-Specific Phosphorylation Determines Neuroligin-3 Localization at Excitatory versus Inhibitory Synapses. (2024) Biol Psychiatry, doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.12.020

Ament SA & Poulopoulos A. “The Brain’s Dark Transcriptome: Sequencing RNA in distal compartments of neurons and glia“. (2023) Curr Opin Neurobiol81:102725

Altas B, Romanowski AJ, Bunce G, Poulopoulos A. Neuronal mTOR Outposts: Implications for Translation, Signaling, and Plasticity. (2022) Front. Cell. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2022.853634

Richardson RR, Steyert M, Khim SN, Crutcher GW, Brandenburg C, Robertson C, Romanowski AJ, Inen J, Altas B, Poulopoulos A. Enhancing precision and efficiency of Cas9-mediated knockin through combinatorial fusions of DNA repair proteins. (2023) CRISPR J, 6(5):447-461

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

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

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

  • Teacher of the Year Award, GPILS University of Maryland, 2020
  • 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
  • Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, 2009

Links of Interest