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UCSF neurologist William Seeley, M.D., named MacArthur Fellow
Date:9/21/2011

humans and are particularly abundant in humans, the discovery supports the concept that evolution has rendered the human brain vulnerable to disease, including frontotemporal dementia, and, possibly, disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Moreover, because the disease erodes aspects of social behavior and emotions self awareness, moral reasoning and empathy that are highly developed in humans, the finding suggests that the cells may play a role in what makes humans "human."

"Bill's investigation of the evolutionarily new von Economo neuron, shows us how we are connected to other big-brained social species like elephants and whales," Miller said.

"Beyond his scientific brilliance," he said, "Bill retains a remarkable humility and decency and integrates a full life as a neurologist, scientist, pathologist, teacher, colleague, husband and now father. Our community is lucky to have him working among us."

Stephen Hauser, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, concurred. "Bill is a wonderful, collaborative colleague, and represents the mission of all of us here to find answers to these terrible neurological diseases while continuing to provide the best patient care for our patients."

Seeley is the fourth UCSF scientist to be named a MacArthur Fellow, and the first clinical researcher. Victoria Hale, PhD, was named a fellow in 2006, while she was an adjunct associate professor of biopharmaceutical sciences. She founded the Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH), a nonprofit pharmaceutical company with a mission to develop affordable drugs for neglected diseases that plague the world's poorest populations.

Joseph DeRisi, PhD, was named a fellow in 2004, for his development of microarray tools for exploring the activity of genes and using them to make major advances in understanding such infectious diseases as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and malaria.

The late Ira Herskowitz, PhD, a UCS
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Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jennifer.obrien@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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