Neuroscience Leadership

Dr. Kamran Khodakhah Named Chair of Neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

May 10, 2016—(BRONX, NY)—Albert Einstein College of Medicine has named Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D. chair of the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience. Dr. Khodakhah, who has been interim chair of the department since 2013, will assume his new role immediately.

Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D.
Kamran Khodakhah, Ph.D.
“Over the past three years, Kamran has proven his talent for steering a complex department that is central to the future of Einstein and Montefiore,” said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein. “An exceptional investigator and demonstrated leader, Kamran’s appointment is a critical step in the launch of a major strategic initiative in brain research at Einstein and Montefiore.”

Dr. Khodakhah will be a key leader of the Brain Science Initiative, which will reinvest in and reinvigorate brain research at Einstein and Montefiore. It will spur a range of investigations led by faculty members from both clinical and basic science departments at the institutions. Research programs will focus on fundamental neurosciences and a wide range of diseases, from autism and neurodegenerative disorders to addiction and obesity. In addition to Dr. Khodakhah’s appointment, searches are underway for chairs for the departments of neurosurgery and of psychiatry & behavioral health. These chairs are expected to play important roles in this initiative, which will include establishing a Montefiore Einstein Center of Excellence in Neuroscience.

“It is an honor to be entrusted with this position,” said Dr. Khodakhah. “These are exciting times for brain research. Einstein has a long and storied history in neuroscience excellence and is home to a cadre of internationally recognized leaders in the field. I look forward to expanding our department, fostering collaborations between basic science, translational and clinical investigators and departments, and building Einstein and Montefiore into a preeminent center for brain research.”

Dr. Khodakhah, who also holds the Harold & Muriel Block Chair in Neuroscience, joined the Einstein faculty in 2001 as assistant professor of neuroscience. He became a full professor in 2007 and later received secondary appointments in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, where he is now vice chair of research.

“An exceptional investigator and demonstrated leader, Kamran’s appointment is a critical step in the launch of a major strategic initiative in brain research at Einstein and Montefiore.”

– Allen M. Spiegel, M.D, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean

Dr. Khodakhah’s laboratory studies the role of two brain regions, the cerebellum and basal ganglia, in motor coordination and movement disorders such as ataxia (uncoordinated movement) and dystonia (involuntary muscle contraction). He and his colleagues combine basic science and clinical approaches, including behavioral studies, electrophysiology, genetics and optogenetics. Dr. Khodakhah received his first independent research grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2001 and has been continuously funded since.

An active member of the scientific community, Dr. Khodakhah has been on the roster of, or chaired, six different NIH study sections. He has been on grant review boards for the Wellcome Trust (UK), Italian Teleton Foundation, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) amongst others. He has been on a range of advisory boards of numerous organizations, including the Simons Foundation, the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia Foundation, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the Grass Foundation, and the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Autonoma de Barcelona.

At Einstein, Dr. Khodakhah was the recipient of the LaDonne H. Schulman Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007.