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Spotlight: Tim Benke, MD, PhD

Tim Benke

In honor of our 10th anniversary, here is a spotlight on Dr. Tim Benke who is Ponzio Family Chair in Neurology Research and Professor of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Neurology, and Otolaryngology at University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Where do you work?

University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Tell us about your research. (Assume we know nothing!)

I moved to Denver and joined the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO) in 2002 where I am Research Director of the Neuroscience Institute. My “wet” lab studies the mechanisms of early-life seizures to cause intellectual challenges and the role of CDKL5 on synaptic function. I initiated the multi-disciplinary Rett Clinic in 2011 at CHCO, where I am the Medical Director. This clinic is supported by NIH, the Rocky Mountain Rett Association (RMRA) and recognized and supported as an International Foundation for CDKL5 Research (IFCR) and RettSyndrome.org (RSO) Center of Excellence (COE). I serve as a board member of RMRA, advisor to IFCR and LouLou Foundations and medical advisor to RSO.

In my “dry” lab, I lead the IFCR COE CDKL5 natural history initiative, am site Primary Investigator for the NIH funded Natural History Study of Rett, CDKL5 and FOXG1, and I participate in clinical trials in RTT and CDKL5. The goal of my “dry” lab is to understand the natural history of CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, find better treatments and, eventually, cures for this and other developmental encephalopathies.

What interests you most about your area of study?

I’m passionate about understanding how the brain works, how to fix it when it goes wrong, and taking care of patients and families along the way there.

When was the moment you first fell in love with science?

I fell in love with science and medicine when I got a microscope and pickled frog for Christmas when I was 8.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I think about this stuff even when skiing, hiking, and running.