Meet the Mentor: Jean-Pierre Roussarie, PhD
Gender Identity & Pronouns: Male, he/him/his
Affinity Groups: gPLUS, gGlobal
Race/Ethnicity and/or Nationality: White/French
Languages: English, French, some Spanish
Hometown: probably Paris and New York
Education: BA in Engineering, PhD in virology

Personal Facts/Hobbies: I grew in a tiny village in the suburbs of Paris. I was lucky to have academic parents (researchers in physics) who supported and guided me, and nurtured my love for science. I studied engineering in France, and then decided that maths and physics were not for me. I started a PhD in neurovirology at the Pasteur Institute. Having been fascinated forever by New York, I decided to move there for my postdoc after the completion of my PhD. I had loved studying the brain and spinal cord during my PhD but was ready to study something else than viruses. I thus moved to the field of neurodegenerative diseases. My postdoc was at Rockefeller University on Alzheimer’s disease. I spent 14 happy years there, came out as a cis gay man, and solidified my desire to start my academic lab. This dream finally came true in 2021 when I started in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at BUSM.

In my lab, we are trying to understand why specific types of neurons are very vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. For a long time, studying the particularities of distinct groups of neurons was technically challenging, but we now have tools to study this. If we know these vulnerable neurons well enough, we will understand why they degenerate in Alzheimer’s, and we might find ways to rescue them. Having always felt a bit uncomfortably different growing up, I like the idea of understanding how some neurons might also be a bit different. I am so fortunate to already have a group of amazing students to tackle this important question!

Starting a lab unfortunately does not leave much time for hobbies, but I love to travel, in particular to France (where family and many friends live) and New York (where my partner still lives); I love going to the cinema, and music or dance performances; and I love watching sunsets.

I am very much looking forward to providing support and mentoring to GMS students who share similar identities as me or not. I hope I will be able to help students in the same way I was helped by a string of great teachers, and mentors who allowed to be where I am now.