Robyn S. Klein, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist recognized internationally for her work on the brain’s immune system, is vice provost and associate dean for graduate education for the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences (DBBS).
She is also president of the Academic Women’s Network at the School of Medicine. In that role, she promotes career development and mentorship for women in science and medicine.
As associate dean, Klein sets the direction of graduate education at DBBS. Klein intends to build on the division’s strength in training young scientists, and to prepare students for scientific careers that are interdisciplinary and extend beyond academic domains.
“We have a fantastic graduate program, and our faculty provide first-rate scientific training,” said Klein, a professor of medicine, of neuroscience, and of pathology and immunology. “We have to provide the best training and experience for our graduate students so they will be prepared for top positions, whether they go into academia, industry, science policy, scientific publishing or any other field.”
DBBS has an important role in promoting diversity and inclusion at Washington University, and Klein plans to lead new efforts in this area, among students, faculty and staff. She believes increased diversity will enhance the quality of education and research at the university. She plans to focus on new ways to increase recruitment of students from underrepresented minority groups.
“There are a lot of excellent underrepresented minority students who do not necessarily consider our program when they are looking at graduate training,” Klein said. “I am looking for ways to identify such students and encourage them to come to St. Louis.”
Klein, who joined the faculty in 2003, is the founding director of the university’s Center for Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious Diseases. Much of her work has focused on how the barrier between the brain and the rest of the body changes when the brain is infected or inflamed and, more recently, on how infections alter cognitive function. Her past studies have shed light on why women are much more likely than men to develop multiple sclerosis, and how viral infections such as West Nile and Zika damage the brain.
“We are exceptionally fortunate to have such an accomplished scientist and leader as Robyn Klein.”
Provost Holden Thorp
Klein is an elected member of the International Advisory Board of the International Society of Neuroimmunology and a recipient of the Dana Foundation Award for Neuroimmunology. She is a founding member of the International Society for Neurovirology and a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Immunology and the International Society for Neuroimmunology.