Ben A. Barres, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Neurobiology, Developmental Biology and Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Barres earned his B.S. degree at MIT, his M.D. at Dartmouth Medical School, did his internship and residency in neurology at the Cornell Cooperating Hospitals Program, his Ph.D. with David Corey at Harvard Medical School and his postdoctoral fellowship with Martin Raff at University College London.  

Dr. Barres presently serves as chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University and serves on many editorial boards, including those of Neuron, eLife, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Development and the Journal of Cell Biology. He has won many teaching awards at Stanford, including the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching and the Kaiser Award for Outstanding Contributions to Medical Education. Dr. Barres is the creator and director of the master’s of science in medicine program (, a new program at Stanford University to train Ph.D. students about human biology and disease. He is a founding member of the Myelin Repair Foundation, which focuses on translational research to develop new drugs for multiple sclerosis, and a co-founder of a new company, Annexon Biosciences Inc., that is developing new drugs for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  

Dr. Barres is transgendered, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science and the National Academies of Science and Medicine, as well as an activist for the rights of women and minorities. His lab focuses on the role of neuron-glial interactions in the central nervous system (CNS), with present emphasis on understanding the basis of CNS neurodegenerative disease, axon regenerative and remyelinative failure, and the role of astrocytes at synapses in health and disease.


Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Understanding Reactive Astrocytes and Their Roles in Alzheimer’s Disease

We are investigating the mechanisms that cause neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. Our recent studies have led us to realize that a toxic protein is unexpectedly secreted by a class of brain cells called astrocytes in the setting of Alzheimer’s disease. Our goal in this proposal is to identify this protein so that, in future studies, we can test whether drugs that block the production or action of this protein will be useful as new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

2015 to 2016


Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.
Yang Shi, Kaoru Yamada, Shane Antony Liddelow, Scott T. Smith, Lingzhi Zhao, Wenjie Luo, Richard M. Tsai, Salvatore Spina, Lea T. Grinberg, Julio C. Rojas, Gilbert Gallardo, Kairuo Wang, Joseph Roh, Grace Robinson, Mary Beth Finn, Hong Jiang, Patrick M. Sullivan, Caroline Baufeld, Michael W. Wood, Courtney Sutphen, Lena McCue, Chengjie Xiong, Jorge L. Del-Aguila, John C. Morris, Carlos Cruchaga, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Anne M. Fagan, Bruce L. Miller, Adam L. Boxer, William W. Seeley, Oleg Butovsky, Ben A. Barres, Steven M. Paul, David M. Holtzman, ApoE4 markedly exacerbates tau-mediated neurodegeneration in a mouse model of tauopathy, Nature, 20 Sep 2017