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UC San Diego Names William Mobley Chair of Neurosciences


February 26, 2009  |  

William C. Mobley, MD, PhD – a clinician and researcher who is internationally known for his work on degenerative diseases of the central nervous system and the neurobiology of Down syndrome – has been selected the new chair of the department of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  Mobley, currently the John E. Cahill Family Professor in the department of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University Medical Center, is expected to begin at UC San Diego on April 1.

Mobley, MD, PhD

William C. Mobley, MD, PhD

“We are truly fortunate that Dr. Mobley will be at the helm of the prestigious team of researchers and physicians in UC San Diego’s neurosciences department, one of the top-ranked neurosciences departments in the nation for NIH funding,” said David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.  “It takes a unique person, one with expertise in patient care, research and leadership, to direct this department. Bill Mobley is one of these rare people, and we expect him to play a key role both here at UC San Diego and within the area’s neurosciences community.”

UC San Diego’s neuroscience department is unique in that it includes both clinical neurologists and basic scientists.  Together, they work in the diagnosis, management, and research of neurodegenerative diseases – in particular Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease – stroke, epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders, metabolic disorders and neuro-developmental disorders, including autism.

“UC San Diego’s neurosciences department has the ability to change the game for people with neurological diseases, and we intend to do just that,” said Mobley.  “The researchers and clinicians here are the best in the world at what they do.”

Mobley’s research relates to the biological study of the nervous system, particularly actions and signaling that influence the survival of neurons, looking at how dysfunction of neuronal signaling mechanisms can contribute to developmental and age-related disorders of the nervous system.  His special interest in the neurobiology of Down syndrome has brought important new insights to that disorder, including the identification of possible treatments. 

Mobley has successfully held leadership positions at UC San Francisco and then at Stanford, where he had earned both MD and PhD degrees and served an internship in pathology and a residency in pediatrics.  Following that, he was a resident and fellow of neurology and then chief resident of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Early in his career, he served in the U.S. Army for three years as a research neurologist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington.  He left active duty in 1985, remaining in the US Army Reserve until 1994, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 

Mobley has been at Stanford since 1997, as professor and chairman of the department of neurology and neurological sciences (1997-2005) and professor of pediatrics.  In 2001, he was appointed director of Stanford’s Center for Research and Treatment of Down Syndrome and professor of neurological surgery.  He was also chosen as founding director of the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford (2003-present).

Mobley has received numerous honors and awards, among them both the Zenith and Temple Awards for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Cotzias Award from the American Academy of Neurology and the Christian Pueschel Memorial Award for Research in Down Syndrome from the National Down Syndrome Congress.  He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In 2004, Mobley was named a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. 

He has published widely, has served on the editorial board of several major professional publications and was editor of the journal Neurobiology of Disease.  In addition, he has served on the scientific advisory committees or boards of a long list of national organizations, ranging from the National Association for Autism Research to the Hillblom Foundation.  He served on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NINDS) Council from 2003 to 2007 and was recently named a member of the Committee on Committees of the Society for Neuroscience.  While at Stanford, he served as president of the Association of University Professors of Neurology, president of the Professors of Child Neurology and president of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience.

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Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163,

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