Udall Center Director
Ted M. Dawson, MD, PhD, attended Montana State University and received a B.S. in Premedicine in 1981 with highest honors. He received an M.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1986 from the University of Utah where he also completed an Internship in Internal Medicine. At the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he completed a Neurology Residence in 1990. After postdoctoral training with Solomon H. Synder and a clinical movement disorder fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he joined the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience in 1994 and became Professor in 2000.
From 1996 to 2010 he was director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center. He founded the Neuroregeneration Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering in 2002 and became the Director of the Institute for Cell Engineering in 2011.
He is currently the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor in Neurodegenerative Diseases. He is the Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board of the Bachman-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation and serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and is a member of the Faculty of 1000 Biology Neurobiology of Disease and Regeneration Section of the Neuroscience Faculty.
He is a member of numerous editorial boards including the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cell. Dr Dawson’s honors include the Derek Denny-Brown Young Neurological Scholar Award, the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar Award, the Santiago Grisolia Medal and the ISI Highly Cited Researcher Award. He was elected to the Association of American Physicians and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is world-renowned for his novel contributions on the role of nitric oxide in neuronal injury. He has published over 400 publications.
Ted Dawson has dedicated his career to deciphering the mechanisms that control neurodegeneration and neuronal cell death. His most recent work has focused on the genetic pathways responsible for familial and acquired Parkinson’s disease.
Many advances in the neurobiology of disease have stemmed from Dr Dawson's identification of the mechanisms of neuronal cell death and the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. He pioneered the role of nitric oxide in neuronal injury in stroke and excitotoxicity and elucidated the molecular mechanisms by which nitric oxide and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and apoptosis inducing factor kills neurons. His studies of nitric oxide led to major insights into the neurotransmitter functions of this gaseous messenger molecule. He discovered the neurotrophic properties of non-immunosuppressant immunophilin ligands.
Dr Dawson has been at the forefront of research into the biology and pathobiology of the proteins and mutant proteins linked to Parkinson’s disease. These studies are providing major insights into understanding the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and are providing novel opportunities for therapies aimed at preventing the degenerative process of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.