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President, CEO & Scientific Director

Robert Darnell, MD, PhD

Robert Darnell

Robert B. Darnell, M.D., Ph.D., is President, CEO and Scientific Director of the New York Genome Center, a nonprofit organization with the mission of saving lives by creating an unprecedented collaboration of technology, science and medicine.

Dr. Darnell’s career in neurology and genomics spans over 25 years and includes his role as the Heilbrunn Professor at The Rockefeller University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. Darnell is a Senior Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital as well as an Adjunct Attending Neuro-Oncologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).

Dr. Darnell serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and eLIFE. In 2014 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences since 2010. He is also member of the Association of American Physicians and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He 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.

Dr. Darnell’s work at the New York Genome Center is focused on harnessing the revolution created by the recent dramatic cost reduction in genomic sequencing as well as rapidly advancing information and other technology, utilizing those advances to transform healthcare. With 12 Institutional Founding Members and a growing list of Associate Members from academia and industry including IBM, the New York Genome Center is developing the tools capable of analyzing the massive amounts of clinical data genomic sequencing produces.

Dr. Darnell has studied at a number of the New York Genome Center’s Institutional Founding Members, including Columbia University, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Jackson Laboratory and The Rockefeller University. He has been involved with the growth and advancement of the New York Genome Center since its inception in 2010, as a member of the original group of New York scientists that helped to shape NYGC’s early direction.

Previously, Dr. Darnell 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 patient-oriented 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 brains. HITS-CLIP is now the gold standard for the study of RNA regulation, and is being widely applied in neurobiology, cancer biology, immunology and virology.

Go to Darnell Research Page