Director's Corner

Walter J. Koroshetz

Director of NINDS

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Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., serves as Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He joined NINDS in 2007 as Deputy Director and has held leadership roles in a number of NIH and NINDS programs, including co-leading the NIH BRAIN Initiative, the NIH RECOVER Initiative in the study of Post Acute Sequelae of COVID-19, the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience, the Traumatic Brain Injury Center collaboration between the NIH intramural and the Uniformed Health Services University, the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, and the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. He co-leads a number of the NIH Common Fund’s programs including the Acute to Chronic Pain Transition programs, Somatic Gene Editing program, and the Accelerating Leading-edge Science in ALS (ALS2) initiative. Dr. Koroshetz was also instrumental in founding the NIH Office of Emergency Care Research.

Before joining NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz served as Vice Chair of the neurology service and Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He was a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 to 2007. Over that same period, he co-directed the HMS Neurobiology of Disease Course with Edward Kravitz, M.D., and Robert H Brown, M.D.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and Massachusetts General Hospital. He then trained in neurology and neuroscience at MGH and in neurobiology at Harvard, focusing on how synaptic mechanisms might contribute to neuronal death. His early research in the lab and clinic focused on Huntington’s disease. With the team at MGH, he performed the first study of pre-symptomatic testing based on linkage analysis. A major focus of his clinical research career was the development of measures in patients that reflect the underlying biology of their conditions. This led to the development and validation of imaging techniques including magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy in Huntington’s disease; diffusion/perfusion MR and CT x-ray angiography, and perfusion imaging in stroke. These stroke imaging tools are the standard of care for stroke. Guided by these tools, Dr. Koroshetz pioneered techniques in acute clot removal for acute stroke patients with large artery occlusion, which is now practiced at comprehensive stroke centers around the country. Through his work with the American Academy of Neurology, American Stroke Association, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, he played a significant role in the revolution in acute stroke care in the U.S. and the growth of the neurointensive care field.


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Cristina Nigro
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