Lewis P. Rowland Memorial Lecture

The Lewis P. Rowland Memorial Lecture was established in 2019 in honor of the memory and accomplishments of Dr. Lewis Rowland, who passed away on March 16, 2017 at the age of 91.

Dr. Lewis P Rowland and colleagues looking at the books and talking

Lewis P. “Bud” Rowland was one of the most influential neurologists of his time. He received his BS and MD degrees from Yale University. As a medical student, Bud joined The Association of Interns and Medical Students (AIMS), which advocated universal health insurance, equal care for rich and poor, and increased minority medical school enrollment. After a medical internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, he accepted a position as assistant resident in neurology with H. Houston Merritt at the Neurological Institute of New York. He was also accepted as one of the first group of clinical associates appointed to the newly created National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, the precursor to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It was during his time at the NIH that Bud developed his lifelong interest in the genetics of neurological diseases. In 1967, he left Columbia to become Chairman of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, but quickly returned in 1973 to become the Chairman of Neurology at Columbia, a position he held for 25 years.

Under his leadership, Columbia’s Department of Neurology again became one of the largest and best academic departments in the country, as it had been under Dr. Merritt. Bud’s own clinical interests focused on neuromuscular diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With Dr. Salvatore DiMauro, Bud established the H. Houston Merritt Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy and Related Diseases, which pioneered research in a number of neuromuscular diseases including mitochondrial disorders and spinal muscular atrophy. Bud also founded and co-directed the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center.

Bud was a prolific author, writing or coauthoring 483 manuscripts and 26 books. After Merritt’s death he authored and then edited subsequent editions of Merritt’s Neurology, now in its 13th edition. He was Editor-in-Chief of Neurology (1976-1986) and founding Editor-in-Chief of Neurology Today (2000-2010). Bud served as President of both the American Academy of Neurology(1989-90) and the American Neurological Association (1980-81) as well as the Association of University Professors of Neurology (1978-79). He also served as President (1969-70) and Chairman of the Board (1992-1998) of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Diseases and President and Chairman of the Board of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (1979-2013).

Those of us who had the honor to train with him, work for him or simply attend his teaching rounds can attest to his kindness with patients and his remarkable depth of knowledge of neurological diseases. He was a tireless mentor, beloved and sorely missed by many friends, colleagues and former students around the world.

Most recent 2023 lecture information:

Wake-sleep circuitry and sleep disturbances in neurodegenerative disorders and aging: Are they the same thing?

Clifford B. Saper, MD, PhD

Clifford B. Saper, MD, PhD

Clifford B. Saper, MD, PhD

James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience,
Harvard Medical School

The focus of the Saper laboratory is on the circuits in the brain that control basic life functions such as wake-sleep cycles, body temperature, and feeding. These functions are fundamental for life, and they are closely inter-related (e.g., body temperature falls during sleep and increases in response to eating a meal).  Each of these function is driven by both homeostatic mechanisms (e.g., to maintain a stable body temperature and blood sugar levels) as well as by circadian influences (which allow the functions to vary over the course of the day). We identify the neuronal circuitry that is involved in regulating these responses by using new, genetically based methods to   trace the connections of neurons in a specific part of the circuit; record their physiological activity; and to either activate or silence those neurons in awake, behaving animals.  In addition to identifying this circuitry in experimental animals, we also are interested in determining closely related circuitry in human brains, and in determining how it may be disrupted in specific neurological and psychiatric disorders.