Skip Navigation

Alex L. Kolodkin

Brian Institute

Dr. ALEX L. KOLODKIN is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He received his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oregon at Eugene in 1987, under the mentorship of Dr. Franklin W. Stahl, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of California at Berkeley, working with Dr. Corey S. Goodman. He came to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1995 and was promoted to full professor in 2004. Since 2005, he has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. He also received the Pradel research Award of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Dr. Kolodkin studies how neurons in the brain are wired up during development. He and his colleagues have identified molecular cues that guide neurons to their appropriate targets and that also promote the formation of synaptic connections critical for normal circuit function. Dr. Kolodkin led in the discovery of one of the largest family of phylogenetically conserved neuronal guidance cues, the semaphorins, and here at Hopkins he identified the first neuronal semaphorin receptor. His team has shown how semaphorins and their receptors direct neuronal connectivity in multiple neural systems. They have also shown that classical guidance cues and their receptors function to regulate excitatory synaptogenesis in the mammalian brain. Recent work in his laboratory identifies key guidance cues and receptors that orchestrate connectivity in the mammalian retina and that regulate for formation of retinal neuron axon connections to the brain. Together, his work provides a framework for understanding how a limited number of guidance molecules is capable of sculpting, maintaining, and refining complex neural circuitry.