William T. Dauer, MD
Photo: William T. Dauer






Elected 2009
After receiving his M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Dauer worked with Dr. Steve Hyman on the LIF/CNTF-induced molecular switch that converts adrenergic neural crest derivatives to a cholinergic phenotype. Following a medical internship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, he completed a neurology residency at Columbia University followed by fellowship training in movement disorders with Dr. Stanley Fahn. During Dr. Dauer’s fellowship, the identification of mutations responsible for familial forms of primary dystonia and Parkinson disease led him to pursue postdoctoral work with Dr. Rene Hén where he discovered that synuclein knockout mice are resistant to the Parkinsonian neurotoxin MPTP, indicating that environmental and genetic forms of parkinsonism may utilize common molecular pathways. Dr. Dauer began an independent laboratory at Columbia University in 2001, and over the next several years published a series of papers establishing a function for the DYT1 protein torsinA within the nuclear envelope that is disrupted by the disease mutation. The molecular pathogenesis of DYT1 dystonia continues to be a central theme of Dr. Dauer’s research, and in recent years he has pursued similar investigations into the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in LRRK2-related PD. Dr. Dauer’s work has been recognized by many awards, including the Fahn Award for excellence in dystonia research and the Harold and Golden Lamport Award for excellence in clinical science research, and he has been generously funded by the NINDS, DMRF, PDF and March of Dimes Foundation.