Robert Bowser, PhD

Director, Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Research Center

Barrow Neurlogical Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (a Dignity Health Member)

Dr. Robert BowserDr. Robert Bowser is an internationally-recognized leader in ALS research. He has contributed to pioneering efforts to discover and validate biomarkers for ALS. These biomarkers can be useful as diagnostic indicators of disease, predictors of disease progression, and also in determining the effectiveness of drugs in clinical trials. Dr. Bowser has extensive experience in the translation of basic science discoveries to the clinic to impact patient care.

As Director of the ALS Research Center, Dr. Bowser directs research to determine the underlying mechanisms of ALS, identify new targets for drug treatment, develop improved therapies for ALS, and lead clinical research studies performed in numerous medical centers throughout North America.

Dr. Bowser is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and obtained his PhD from Yale University. He performed fellowship training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh from 1994 to 2011, rising through the ranks to full Professor. He joined the faculty at Barrow in 2011.

Education, Training and Previous Positions

  • 2011–present: Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology, Barrow Neurological Institute
  • 2011–present: Adjunct Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • 2008–2011: Associate Professor, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2007: Certificate of Entrepreneurship, Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2005–2011: Director, University of Pittsburgh Center for ALS Research
  • 2004: Co-Founder, Knopp Biosciences
  • 2003–2011: Member, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2001–2011: Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2001–2011: Associate Professor of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1997–2011: Director, University of Pittsburgh ALS Tissue Bank
  • 1997–2006: Director, Graduate Training Program in Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1994–2001: Assistant Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1992–1994: Post-doctoral Fellowship, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Pathology
  • 1987–1992: PhD, Yale University
  • 1983–1987: BS, Carnegie Mellon University

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Society for Investigative Pathology
  • American Association of Neuropathologists
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • ALS Research Group
  • International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Motor Neuron Diseases

Selected Honors and Awards

  • 2011: Scientific Advisory Board, Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium
  • 2010: Guest Editor, International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • 2009 – 2011: Science Council, Association Francaise contre les Myopathies
  • 2008: ALS Association “Walk to D’Feet ALS” Service Award
  • 2008: University of Pittsburgh Innovator Award
  • 2006: University of Pittsburgh Innovator Award
  • 2005: Pittsburgh Magazine “40 under 40” Award for young people shaping the region
  • 2004: ALS Association Lou Gehrig’s Challenge Award
  • 2003: University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award
  • 2002: ALS Association Public Service Award
  • 2000: Scientific Organizing Committee: 7th International meeting on Neurodegenerative Disorders
  • 1997: Stanley Foundation Research Award
  • 1995: Alzheimer’s Disease Association Faculty Scholar Award
  • 1987: Carnegie Mellon Award for Most Outstanding Undergraduate Research

Selected Publications


  1. Sherman A, Bowser R, Grasso D, Power B, Milligan C, Jaffa M, Cudkowicz M. Proposed BioRepository platform solution for the ALS research community. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. Jan 2011;12(1):11-16.
  2. Ganesalingam J, An J, Shaw CE, Shaw G, Lacomis D, Bowser R. Combination of neurofilament heavy chain and complement C3 as CSF biomarkers for ALS. J Neurochem. May 2011;117(3):528-537.
  3. Bowser R, Turner MR, Shefner J. Biomarkers in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: opportunities and limitations. Nat Rev Neurol. Nov 2011;7(11):631-638.
  4. Wilson ME, Boumaza I, Lacomis D, Bowser R. Cystatin C: a candidate biomarker for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. PLoS One. 2010;5(12):e15133.
  5. Ryberg H, An J, Darko S, Lustgarten JL, Jaffa M, Gopalakrishnan V, Lacomis D, Cudkowicz M, Bowser R. Discovery and verification of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis biomarkers by proteomics. Muscle Nerve. Jul 2010;42(1):104-111.
  6. Liu-Yesucevitz L, Bilgutay A, Zhang YJ, Vanderweyde T, Citro A, Mehta T, Zaarur N, McKee A, Bowser R, Sherman M, Petrucelli L, Wolozin B. Tar DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) associates with stress granules: analysis of cultured cells and pathological brain tissue. PLoS One. 2010;5(10):e13250.
  7. Liu J, Akhavan A, Lu M, Gruzman A, Lingappa VR, An J, Bowser R. Carbonic Anhydrase I Is Recognized by an SOD1 Antibody upon Biotinylation of Human Spinal Cord Extracts. Int J Mol Sci. 2010;11(10):4051-4062.
  8. Levine TD, Bowser R, Hank N, Saperstein D. A pilot trial of memantine and riluzole in ALS: correlation to CSF biomarkers. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. Dec 2010;11(6):514-519.
  9. Ganesalingam J, Bowser R. The application of biomarkers in clinical trials for motor neuron disease. Biomark Med. Apr 2010;4(2):281-297.
  10. Caltagarone J, Hamilton RL, Murdoch G, Jing Z, DeFranco DB, Bowser R. Paxillin and hydrogen peroxide-inducible clone 5 expression and distribution in control and Alzheimer disease hippocampi. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. Apr 2010;69(4):356-371.