Michael Gordon Kaplitt, MD, PhD
Photo: Michael G. Kaplitt



Elected 2015
My research has focused upon the development and use of gene therapy in the nervous system for the past 25 years. As a PhD student, I explored the use of a form of herpes simplex virus, called an amplicon system, as a viral vector and reported the first use of this system in an animal brain. I then moved to adeno-associated virus (AAV), reporting in 1994 the first application of an AAV vector for gene transfer into the mammalian central nervous system. In 2003, I performed the first human procedures for AAV-mediated gene transfer in the brain, and helped design and oversee the subsequent multi-center trial of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, which was the first gene therapy study in the brain to show efficacy compared with sham surgery control patients. My basic science lab continues to concentrate on the use of viral vectors to manipulate genes of interest in models of Parkinson’s disease, depression, addiction and metabolic disorders, while my clinical research focuses upon further development of gene therapies for Parkinson’s disease, pediatric genetic disorders, pain and Alzheimer’s disease. I also study novel applications of electrical deep brain stimulation and have both a basic science and clinical research interest in the evolving field of focused ultrasound and other non-invasive therapies for functional brain disorders.