Daniel Geschwind, MD, PhD

Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D. 



Dr. Geschwind conducts research to understand the genetic causes of neurological diseases, such as autism, frontotemporal dementia (a progressive deterioration of the brain’s frontal lobe) and Friedrich ataxia, an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system that results in problems with walking and speech.

The Geschwind lab creates disease system models ranging from genetically engineered mice to stem cell-based disease-in-a-dish models grown in the laboratory to better understand the development of these devastating diseases. They also use systems biology to study the networks of gene expression through systems of cells to understand disease mechanisms and develop new treatments.

Pluripotent stem cells are an exceptional tool for Dr. Geschwind’s research because of their unique ability to become any cell in the body. The flexibility of stem cells provides a rare scientific opportunity to model human neurologic diseases in a petri-dish such as autism spectrum disorder. This allows Dr. Geschwind and his team to better understand the biological manifestation of the diseases and the ability to quickly test for drugs that may reverse the disease process.

Dr. Geschwind is Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Precision Medicine in the UCLA Health System and David Geffen School of Medicine. He holds the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Human Genetics and serves as the Director of both UCLA’s Neurogenetics Program and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). Dr. Geschwind came to UCLA in 1991 after earning his medical degree and PhD at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.

Dr. Geschwind co-chairs the genetics section for Faculty of 1000 Medicine and has seats on the Scientific Advisory Boards for One Mind for Research, NIH Council of Councils (2009-2012), Chair the Neurogenetics Section, American Academy of Neurology (2009-2011), and Allen Brain Institute Scientific Advisory Board (2013-2017). He has been honored with the Derek Denny Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association; the Scientific Service Award from Autism Speaks; the Ruane Prize in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD); the Taking on Tomorrow Innovation Award in the Area: Research/Scientific Breakthrough in Autism from Boston Children’s Hospital; and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  He is on the editorial boards of multiple journals including Science, Cell, and Neuron, as well as Current Opinion in Genetics & Development.

Dr. Geschwind’s research is funded by the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) Network, and the Simons Foundation.