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Stuart Lipton, MD/PhD

Adjunct Professor of Neurology

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Stuart Lipton, MD/PhD



Neurologist/neuroscientist Stuart Lipton, MD, PhD is a renowned expert in dementia. He was trained at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. In addition to running a basic-science laboratory, he has an active clinical neurology practice focusing on dementia and general neurology. Lipton completed his PhD thesis research with John Dowling at Harvard, followed by clinical residency and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard with Torsten Wiesel during the time that Wiesel won the Nobel prize. He was then on the Harvard faculty for over 20 years before moving to La Jolla as founding director of a new neuroscience center in 2000. He is best known for first describing the mechanism of action and contributing to the clinical development of the FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug, memantine (Namenda®), and for discovering the posttranslational redox modification, protein S-nitrosylation.

Recently, Lipton combined memantine with S-nitrosylation chemistry to produce a new drug called NitroSynapsin, which displays disease-modifying activity in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, both protecting synapses and improving neurobehavioral deficits. Lipton’s group also characterized HIV-related pathways to neuronal damage, discovered the NR3 (now known at GluN3) family of modulatory NMDA receptor subunits, characterized the molecular pathways for protecting neurons with Erythropoietin, and discovered the transcription factor MEF2C. His group showed that MEF2C activity is regulated by S-nitrosylation and serves as a master switch for neurogenesis from human neural stem cells. Dysregulated MEF2C is involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism-Spectrum Disorder, and Vascular dementia. Lipton was awarded the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine and is an elected fellow of the AAAS. He recently received an Alzheimer’s Disease Association Award, a Michael J. Fox Foundation Grant, and an NIH Director’s Grant Award.

Education & Training

  • Research Fellow
    Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Neurobiology (1983)
  • Board Certification
    American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology (1982)
  • Resident and Chief Resident in Neurology
    Brigham & Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital (1981)
  • Intern in Medicine
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School (1978)
  • MD/PhD
    University of Pennsylvania, Biochemistry & Biophysics (1977)
  • BA
    Cornell University, Neurobiology and Immunology (1971)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
NIH Director's Grant AwardNational Institutes of Health/NIDA2016
Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of ScienceAAAS, Neuroscience section2011
Ernst Jung Prize in MedicineErnst Jung Foundation2004
Alpha Omega Alpha1974
Phi Beta Kappa1971

Professional Service

Society for NeuroscienceChair of Education Committee and Neurobiology of Disease Workshops2000 - 2008
American Academy of NeurologyFellow2000 - Present
American Neurological AssociationElected Fellow1987 - Present

Departments & Organizations