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Robert H. Brown

Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology, UMass Chan Medical School

Dr. Robert Brown is the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center. An internationally known researcher and physician, Dr. Brown has led the quest to cure neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for more than two decades. Renowned for groundbreaking research focused on inherited and genetic underpinnings of neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, Dr. Brown has recorded significant discoveries in identifying gene defects that elucidate how ALS cause neurons to die. In 1993, a team of researchers led by Dr. Brown discovered the first gene linked to the inherited form of ALS, called SOD1. ALS is a fundamentally untreatable disease, and its cause is still not entirely understood. It is estimated that roughly 10 percent of ALS cases arise through inherited genetic defects. Brown has also identified disease genes in other inherited neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases such as hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, Miyoshi muscular dystrophy and hereditary sensory neuropathy. Dr. Brown previously served as a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital.