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About Robert Brown Jr., DPhil, MD

Robert H. Brown Jr., MD, DPhil, is director of the Program in Neurotherapeutics at the UMass Chan Medical School. Prior to joining the Medical School in May 2008, Dr. Brown was professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also served as Director of the Day Neuromuscular Laboratory and of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic at Mass General Hospital.

Born in Boston, Dr. Brown graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College in 1969 with a degree in biophysics. In 1973 he completed a doctorate of philosophy in neurophysiology at Oxford University and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1975.  Following medical school, Dr. Brown completed his internship in internal medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and a residence in neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. From 1980 to 1983, Dr. Brown was a research a fellow in neuroscience at Children's Hospital in Boston. In 1975, Brown joined Harvard Medical School as a clinical fellow and rose to the rank of professor of neurology in 1998.

Dr. Brown is an internationally known researcher and clinician leading the quest to cure neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Dr. Brown founded the Day Neuromuscular Laboratory in 1984 to investigate neuromuscular diseases and continues his work with the Day Lab today at the UMass Chan Medical School. In 1993, a team of researchers led by Dr. Brown discovered the first gene linked to the inherited form of ALS, a protein anti-oxidant known as superoxide dismutase, or SOD1.

In addition to his work with ALS, Dr. 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 is well known for his work with patient advocacy groups and charitable organizations, such as Project ALS and the ALS Therapy. He is also a founding member of the Northeast ALS Study Consortium and is president of the ALS Therapy Alliance's Board of Directors. Among the many honors Dr. Brown has received for his research and clinical work with neuromuscular diseases are the National A.L.S. Foundation Fellowship from 1980 to 1982; Plenary Lecturer at the American Academy of Neurology in 2002 and 2007. Dr. Brown is a member of the American Neurological Association and has been inducted into the Institute of Medicine. In 2011 he was named a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP).