Meet a PennMedicine Researcher


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Josep Dalmau, M.D., Ph.D.Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD

Josep Dalmau, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology, is an internationally recognized leader in the biology of paraneoplastic syndromes, which are autoimmune diseases associated with cancer. Dr. Dalmau’s work has established that the nervous system is uniquely susceptible to antibodies against cellular antigens, and he has set the stage for specific treatment of these perplexing neurological syndromes.

Dr. Dalmau was educated in Spain and came to New York in 1988 to work with
Dr. Jerome Posner’s group at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to investigate the underlying molecular biology of paraneoplastic syndromes. Dr. Dalmau joined the faculty at MSKCC after completing his fellowship with Dr. Posner. He then went to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where, with Dr. Myrna Rosenfeld, he created a first class neuro-oncology program. Dr. Dalmau also continued his exploration of the immunology of paraneoplastic syndromes. His discovery of the Ma antibody, which is associated with testicular cancer, is now a standard laboratory test.

Dr. Dalmau was recruited to Penn in 2002 as an Associate Professor of Neurology, and was subsequently promoted to Professor. His work at Penn has resulted in remarkable discoveries, including the discovery of antibodies against certain types of glutamate receptors, first found in young women with tetromas and subsequently in other patients. This finding has opened an entire area of clinical treatment and research.