Help us fund research
that is changing lives


Honors and Awards


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has announced that Dr. Katerina Akassoglou and Dr. Arnold Kriegstein are among the recipients of the new R35 Research Program Award (RPA), a pilot program designed to encourage creative research by enhancing funding stability. Read the announcement.

Dr. Karunesh Ganguly leads one of 14 research teams that will share $9.5 million from the federal government’s BRAIN Initiative, part of $70 million in new grants announced by the National Institutes of Health. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was announced by President Barack Obama to help scientists accelerate the creation of new treatments for neurological disorders.

Dr. Ann Poncelet was named Director of the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators, which is recognized as one of the nation’s premier academies in medical education. The Academy has just announced its new members for 2016, and two members of our faculty in Neurology have been honored: Susannah Cornes, MD and Cathy Lomen-Hoerth, MD, PhD. Congratulations to all for these important new roles.


The University of California has announced that Dr. Adam Boxer is a recipient of the UC Cures for Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative award to accelerate the development of promising Alzheimer’s disease research by UC scientists. The initiative focuses on cutting-edge projects primed for clinical trial.

Dr. Stephen L. Hauser, Chair of the Department of Neurology at UCSF, has released successful clinical trial results for a promising new drug that could become the first to treat a devastating progressive form of multiple sclerosis. The findings of late-phase trials found that ocrelizumab greatly reduced symptoms for progressive MS, as well as the more common relapsing and remitting form of MS.

The Atlantic Philanthropies awarded UC San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, $177 million to create the Global Brain Health Institute, a groundbreaking venture to stem the precipitous rise in dementia by training and connecting a new generation of leaders worldwide. Dr. Bruce Miller, a behavioral neurologist and director of the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF, will lead the initiative with Ian Robertson, PhD, a neuroscientist at Trinity College.

Dr. Ying-hui Fu was invited to do a TEDx talk, "What Genes Tell Us About Sleep," in which she describes how genes influence sleep patterns, and how digital devices are changing sleep habits.

Dr. Karunesh Ganguly was awarded the prestigious New Innovator Award, one of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research grants from the NIH, to explore how a deeper understanding of neural recovery can lead to better design and implementation of neuroprosthetic devices. These “brain-machine interfaces,” which translate brain signals into motor commands, promise to enable patients paralyzed by stroke or injury to regain control of affected limbs.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley received the 2015 Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience in recognition of his significant contributions to public education and awareness about the field. The award is sponsored by the Dana Foundation.

Dr. Mo Levin won the the 2015 John R. Graham Senior Clinician Award in recognition of his international leadership in research and education in the field of headache medicine. The award was presented at the recent American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting, where Dr. Levin gave a lecture called Diagnosing Headaches.

The U.S. Department of Defense Alcohol and Substance Abuse Research Program (ASARP) has placed a research highlight on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) website describing the Institute of Translational Neuroscience (ITN), which is overseen by Dr. Jennifer Mitchell, and also includes descriptions of ongoing research by Dr. Andrew Kayser. The research highlights can be found here.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Dr. Stephen Hauser discussed the goals of the BRAIN Initiative, the future of ethical neuroscience, and a recent report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues regarding cognitive enhancement, consent, and the use of neuroscience in the legal system.

Dr. Caroline Tanner, Director of our Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC), has been selected as a White House Champion of Change for Parkinson’s disease. With the Champions of Change program, the White House recognizes Americans who are making positive changes in their communities. Dr. Tanner will be honored at the White House and will be featured in a blog post on the White House website. The CDMRP website has profiled her as well.

Jeanne Paz, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and an assistant investigator at the UC San Francisco-affiliated Gladstone Institutes, has been awarded the prestigious Michael Prize in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of epilepsy.

Louis Ptáček has received the prestigious Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation, in recognition of his research leading to the development of the field of ion channel defects, commonly known as channelopathies.

UC President Janet Napolitano has approved the appointment of Dan Lowenstein, MD, as the next Executive Vice-Chancellor and UCSF. Dr. Lowenstein will collaborate with Chancellor Hawgood and other leaders to develop and implement campus priorities across our mission areas of research, education, and patient care. He will remain an integral part of the Department of Neurology and the Epilepsy Division, and Dr. Paul Garcia has agreed to serve as Interim Division Chief of Epilepsy during the transition.

Andrew Kayser, MD, PhD has been awarded the 2015 Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology, sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology and the AAN Behavioral Neurology Section.

Alexandra Nelson, MD, PhD was accepted into the Physician-Scientist Scholar Program, which attracts the most accomplished and promising young physician/scientists to UCSF and accelerates their transition to independent laboratory-based investigators working on research problems relevant to human health.

Dena Dubal, MD, PhD was given the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging by the president of the Glenn Foundation. This award provides unsolicited funds to researchers investigating the biology of aging. Recipients are selected by an anonymous scientific advisory committee.


Stephen Massa, MD was given the 2014 Special Recognition Award from the UCSF Association of the Clinical Faculty, in recognition of his teaching and clinical work.

James Barkovich, MD, Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Neurology, and Neurological Surgery, was awarded the Faculty Research Lecture in Clinical Science. Dr. Barkovich laid the foundation for what has now become the clinical standard for pediatric brain imaging and simultaneously opened new vistas into the science of brain development and maturation.

Pierre-Antoine Gourraud, Assistant Professor of Neurology specializing in Translational Digital Medicine, was selected to participate in the French-American Foundation’s Young Leaders program, their signature initiative to create international links among young men and women holding leadership positions in the United States and France.


Amy Gelfand was awarded the 2013 Irene Perstein Award to support her investigation of melatonin for migraine prevention in children and adolescents.

Lennart Mucke received the ARCS Foundation’s 2013 Pacesetter Award for his lifelong dedication to overcoming Alzheimer’s disease.

Deborah Cahn-Weiner, a neuropsychologist at the UCSF Epilepsy Center, has been elected a Fellow in the American Psychological Association. This is a significant honor in recognition of her important contributions to the field.

Dan Lowenstein received the Raymond D. Adams Lectureship Award. His lecture, "Large-scale Team Science: The EPGP and Epi4K Experience," was presented at the 2013 American Neurological Association meeting. Earlier the same year, he won The 2013 Ambassador for Epilepsy Award from the International League Against Epilepsy in recognition of his outstanding international contributions to activities advancing the cause of epilepsy.

Peter Goadsby and colleagues won the 2013 Harold G. Wolff Award of the American Headache Society for their identification of areas of the brain active in the earliest stage of the migraine attack.

Stephen L. Hauserwon the 2013 Charcot Award in recognition of his pioneering studies in MS genetic susceptibility and his role in translating immunologic findings into clinical trials. The biennial Charcot Award is the top international award for MS research.

Donna Ferriero was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded an American scientist.

Lennart Mucke won the 2013 Dr. J. Elliott Royer Award in recognition of his trailblazing contributions to the field of human neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease research.

Dan Lowenstein was elected by students to deliver the Last Lecture, a venerable academic tradition designed to answer a single question: “If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?”

The National Organization for Rare Disorders Research (NORD) added Michael Geschwind to their Hall of Fame for his ongoing effort to solve Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Dr. Robert Edwards, professor of neurology and physiology, is one of three UCSF faculty who were recently elected members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in recognition of their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Read the whole story.

Our department chair, Dr. Stephen Hauser, appeared on episode 9 of Charle Rose: The Brain Series with several distinguished colleagues to talk about multiple sclerosis. Their discussion is available to view online (53 minutes).

Pierre-Antoine Gourraud received the Julia Bodmer Award, given annually by the European Federation for Immunogenetics to a young scientist in recognition of outstanding work in the field.

The Academic Senate selected Bruce Miller to deliver the 2012-2013 Faculty Research Lecture - Clinical Science. Dr. Miller also received the Academic Senate's 2012 Distinction in Mentoring Award.

Louis Ptacek has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors bestowed on scientists and engineers in the United States. Read the article at the UCSF News Center.

UCSF has received a challenge gift of $20 million from the Sandler Foundation that will provide major support for neurological disease research and patient care. In honor of the extraordinary commitment of Herbert and Marion Sandler and the Sandler Foundation, our new neurosciences building at Mission Bay has been named the Sandler Neurosciences Center. Read more about this.

Wade Smith has been elected President of the UCSF Medical Staff until June 30, 2016.

William Seeley was awarded the MacArthur Foundation grant in recognition of his work on early-onset dementia. Read the article.

Ying-Hui Fu and Louis Ptáček were the joint recipients of the 55th Faculty Research Lecture (Basic Science). The Academic Senate Faculty Research Lecture was held February 15, 2012.

Stephen Hauser was the senior author on a study published in The Lancet showing that the experimental drug Ocrelizumab led to an 89 percent reduction in the formation of brain lesions in multiple sclerosis and reduced the number of new MS attacks.

Karen Parko received the Committment to Progress Award, an honor given by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California for outstanding accomplishments, services and contributions to epilepsy care and treatment.

Linda Wilbrecht shook hands with President Obama in October 2011 when she received the The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in Washington, DC.

Andy Josephson has published the first neurohospitalist textbook ever, Neurohospitalist Medicine (Cambridge University Press, October 2011).

Aimee Kao won the 2011 Irene Perstein Award, awarded each year by the School of Medicine to an outstanding junior woman clinicial scientist to develop a high caliber clinical or translational science program.

Jill Ostrem and Jonah Chan were elected to the American Neurological Association. They were inducted at the 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Audrey Foster-Barber won the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Academy of Medical Educators.

With colleagues, Steve Hauser and Jorge Oksenberg published the results of a study that identifies 50 genetic "hot spots" that influence one's risk of developing multiple sclerosis.Read more at the UCSF News Center.

Sam Pleasure was awarded the 2011 EUREKA grant ("Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration") to exploit a connection between developing hair follicles and the developing brain. This hair-brain connection may lead to new avenues of treatment for perinatal brain disease.

The Office of Medical Education has again recognized Dr. Ann Poncelet for her unique leadership role in advancing structured and integrated clerkship programs at UCSF.

Ana-Claire Meyer has received a Hellman Family Early Career Faculty Award to investigate health outcomes for individuals with HIV-associated cognitive impairment in Uganda.

Karunesh Ganguly is one of ten scientists in the U.S. and Canada selected to receive the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists this year. He aims to develop methods that will allow disabled patients to exert control over complex neuroprosthetic devices.

James Maas is one of three inaugural recipients of a new Parkinson's Disease Fellowship from The William N. and Bernice E. Bumpus Foundation.

Donna Ferriero became the chair of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, starting May 1, 2011.

Stanley B. Prusiner was awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for science and technology.

Stephen L. Hauser was appointed to serve on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and received the Robert Wartenberg Lecture Award from the American Academy of Neurology in 2011 for excellence in clinically relevant research.

Emmanuelle Waubant published the first book on pediatric multiple sclerosis and related disorders, Demyelinating Disorders of the CNS in Childhood, Dorothee Chabas and Emmanuelle Waubant (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2011. Contributing authors from the Department of Neurology include Ellen Mowry, Daniel Pelletier, Jonathan Strober and Laura Julian.

Bruce Miller and Lennart Mucke won the American Academy of Neurology's 2010 Potamkin Prize for dementia research.

Michael Aminoff has been named Chair of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology. His new book, Brown-Seguard: An Improbable Genius Who Transformed Medicine, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011.

Donna Ferriero received the American Stroke Association's highest honor, the Thomas Willis Award.