Alvaro Pascual-Leone (Director)

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, is Professor of Neurology and an Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research at Harvard Medical School. He serves as the Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and is a practicing behavioral neurologist.

Dr. Pascual-Leone received his M.D. in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology in 1985, both from Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany. Following an internship in Medicine at Staedtisches Klinikum Karlsruhe in Germany and residency in Internal Medicine at Hospital Universitario de Valencia in Spain, Dr. Pascual-Leone completed a Neurology residency at the University of Minnesota, and then trained in Clinical Neurophysiology and Human Motor Control at the University of Minnesota and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He joined Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1997, after several years at the Cajal Institute of the Spanish Research Council.

The overarching goal of Pascual-Leone's research is understanding the mechanisms that control brain plasticity across the life span to be able to modify them for the patient's optimal behavioral outcome, prevent age-related cognitive decline, reduce the risk for dementia, and minimize the impact of developmental disorders such as autism.

Dr. Pascual-Leone is a world leader in research and development, clinical application, and teaching of noninvasive brain stimulation. Dr. Pascual-Leone's work has been fundamental in establishing noninvasive brain stimulation as a valuable tool in clinical and cognitive neurosciences, increasing knowledge about its mechanisms of action, critically improving the technology and its integration with several brain-imaging methodologies, and helping to create the field of therapeutic brain stimulation. In clinical trials, Dr. Pascual-Leone’s team has provided proof-of-principle evidence for the efficacy of noninvasive brain stimulation in treating various neurologic and psychiatric conditions, including epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, autism, and drug-resistant depression. Dr. Pascual-Leone has authored more than 500 scientific papers as well as several books, and is listed inventor in several patents. His work is highly regarded for its innovation and quality and is highly cited. Dr. Pascual-Leone ranks number 1 among authors worldwide in the specific field of "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation" and "Noninvasive Brain Stimulation" (http://www.authoratory.com/).

Dr Pascual-Leone is the recipient of several international honors and awards, including the Ramón y Cajal Award in Neuroscience (Spain), the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany), and the Jean-Louis Signoret Prize from the Ipsen Foundation (France). He is an elected member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Science (Farmacia). His work also has wide general public appeal and outreach through dissemination in articles in the lay press (Time Magazine, Newsweek, New Scientist, National Geographic) and documentaries on television and radio (Scientific American, 60 minutes, CNN, BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, etc.)

Dr. Pascual-Leone is a dedicated mentor, recognized with a K24 NIH award and various distinctions, including the Daniel Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator Award from Harvard Medical School. He directs an intensive mini-fellowship in noninvasive brain stimulation at HMS that has trained over 400 people in the past 10 years, and the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation Fellowship in the Clinical Neurosciences .