Dr. Darnell is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Cancer Biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City, where he serves as the Director for Science Programs at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. He is Senior Physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital and is an Adjunct Attending Neuro-Oncologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
Dr. Darnell is a leading expert in the emerging area of RNA genomics. As a physician, he has studied patients with paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes, rare disorders triggered by an immune system response to common cancers, together with his clinical colleague Dr. Jerome Posner at MSKCC. These studies led him to discover that neurons have unique mechanisms governing the regulation of RNA, the transcribed copies of our genes. He went on to pioneer the development of a new method, termed HITS-CLIP, to study RNA regulation in intact brain. HITS-CLIP is now the gold standard for the study of RNA regulation, and is widely applied in neurobiology, cancer biology, immunology, and virology, as well as used to explore the “dark matter” of the human genome. Dr. Darnell has received numerous awards, including the Derek Denny-Brown Young Neurological Scholar Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research, the Emerald Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award, and an NIH Directors Transformative Research Award. He also holds several patents and has been involved in Investigational New Drug applications.
Dr. Darnell serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and eLIFE. In 2010, he was elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, member of the Association of American Physicians, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Darnell currently serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Jackson Laboratory and the NINDS Advisory Council.