Kassandra Kisler Elliott

Assistant Professor of Research Physiology & Neuroscience

Assistant Director of the Optical Imaging Core and Research Operations for The Center for Neurodegeneration and Regeneration

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Dr. Kisler is the Assistant Director of the Optical Imaging Core at the Center for Neurodegeneration and Regeneration at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. She received her PhD in applied physics from Cornell University where she used a combination of microscopy and electrophysiology techniques to study cell biology. Her interests lie in understanding the contribution of microvascular dysfunction to dementia and developing therapeutic and preventative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. She focuses strongly on the application of in vivo imaging techniques to study vascular dynamics and the neurovascular unit in the living brain real time. The neurovascular unit is composed of several cell types working in concert to maintain the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and regulate the blood and nutrient supply to the brain. This functionality is thought to break down during Alzheimer’s disease progression, and in several other neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Kisler’s work with the Zlokovic lab builds upon her experience with imaging techniques and electrophysiology to tackle important questions related to blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity, vascular regulation and function, its relation to brain electrical activity, and the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s using transgenic model animals and in vitro approaches. In this role, she also investigates the effects of highly validated Alzheimer’s disease risk genes APOE4 and PICALM on neurovascular and brain function using both traditional techniques and next-generation transcriptomics.


  • Building vascular roadmaps: A novel toolset for visualizing and annotating whole mouse brain vasculature Lab Anim (NY). 2020 06; 49(6):175-176. . View in PubMed