Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better

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Research Synergies (Recorded at Boston Children’s Hospital)

Participants:
Phillip L. Pearl, MD
Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD

About the Speakers

Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD

Christopher A. Walsh, MD, PhD

Dr. Christopher Walsh is Chief of the Genetics Division at Boston Children’s Hospital. He completed his B.S. degree at Bucknell University in chemistry and his MD (1985) and PhD (1983) in neurobiology at the University of Chicago.  After completing residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Walsh became a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, during which time he performed some of the first direct studies of cell lineage and cell migration in the developing cortex of mammals. In 1993 Dr. Walsh established his own lab focusing on identifying and analyzing the genes that regulate the development and normal function of the human cerebral cortex.  Most of the genetic work of the lab has benefited from worldwide collaborations, especially with physicians in countries where marriage between cousins is common because this creates genetic effects that greatly simplify the identification of rare, recessive mutations.

As Chief of the Genetics Division at BCH, Dr. Walsh is working to leverage his lab’s gene discovery efforts to harness new technology to improve genetic diagnosis in the clinical setting, as well as to collaborate with other members of the Division to develop improved treatments for children with neurological disorders. He has been fortunate to receive a number of awards, including the Derek Denny-Brown Award (American Neurological Association), Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award (American Academy of Neurology), Jacob Javits Distinguished Investigator Award (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), Epilepsy Research Award (American Epilepsy Society), and Jacoby Research Award (American Neurological Association).  In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2013, Dr. Walsh was elected to the Institute of Medicine. He has been a featured speaker at several past CNS Annual Meetings.


Philip L. Pearl, MD

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 NeurologyEpilepsiaMusic 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.