Dritan Agalliu, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Agalliu is a neuroscientist with 22 years of research experience in developmental, cellular and molecular neuroscience and specializing in the interaction of brain and blood vessels in the healthy and diseased Central Nervous System (CNS). The lab is investigating the mechanisms of immune cells entry into the CNS in a novel animal model for post-infectious autoimmune encephalitis caused by multiple Streptococcus pyogenes infections, to understand how immune cells induce neurovascular, synaptic and behavioral deficits in the brain. His laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate formation of the blood-brain barrier in the CNS and the mechanisms of barrier breakdown in a variety of CNS diseases such as stroke and autoimmune diseases (like Multiple Sclerosis or Autoimmune Encephalitis) having symptoms that include blood-brain barrier failure, using a variety of genetic, molecular, cellular and imaging approaches. They developed novel mouse strains that allow them to visualize changes in structural components of the blood-brain barrier, namely tight junctions, and caveolae, in living animals for several CNS diseases (e.g., stroke and multiple sclerosis) to understand the cellular mechanisms underlying barrier impairment in these neurological disorders.