A Conversation with Dr. Phillip L. Pearl (Recorded at Boston Children’s Hospital)
Phillip Pearl, MD
Phillip L. Pearl, MD is the division director of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology and William G. Lennox Chair and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Following residencies in pediatrics and pediatric neurology at Baylor College of Medicine (mentors were Ralph Feigin and Marv Fishman), he completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital (mentored by Greg Holmes).
From 1990-2013, Dr. Pearl was in Washington, DC, where he joined the faculty at Children’s National Medical Center, served as its training program director, and then was chief of the Child Neurology division at Children’s National and Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, and Music at George Washington, along with a research appointment at NINDS/NIH in the clinical neurophysiology laboratory.
Dr. Pearl returned to Boston Children’s Hospital in January 2014. His academic focus has been on biomarker development and clinical trials for patients with rare neurotransmitter disorders and inherited metabolic epilepsies. That work has been supported by a parent advocacy group (Pediatric Neurotransmitter Disease Association), philanthropic family whose child and grandchild he cared for at Children’s National (Delman Family Fund for Pediatric Neurology Research), and the NIH (NICHD and NINDS). The Delman Fund supported 1-3 post-baccalaureate premedical student research assistants every year for ten years; Dr. Pearl proudly points out that each has gone on to medical school and is thriving in his and her own trajectory.
Dr. Pearl is currently President of the Child Neurology Society. He previously served as President of the Professors of Child Neurology from 2012-2014, during which time he spearheaded successful funding of the Philip Dodge Young Investigator Award and initiation of the Annual Blue Bird Circle Outstanding Training Program Director Award. He co-directs the annual CNS John M. “Jack” Pellock Residents’ Seminar on Epilepsy with Renee Shellhaas and Elaine Wirrell.
Dr. Pearl completed a six year term as an ACGME RRC member and served on the accreditation board of the UCNS. He is currently Chief of the AAN Section of Child Neurology and serves on the accreditation board of the ASET for EEG laboratories. Dr. Pearl has authored or edited five books, including two editions of Inherited Metabolic Epilepsies and Neuro-Logic: A Primer on Localization. Dr. Pearl is a member of the editorial board of the journals Annals of Neurology, Epilepsia, Music and Medicine, and Neurology, is associate editor for Journal of Child Neurology, and is a co-editor on the recently published sixth edition of Swaiman’s Pediatric Neurology.