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Guy Mead McKhann

Portrait of Guy Mead McKhann
Guy Mead McKhann
Date: 1993
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 42 x 34 in.
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Guy Mead McKhann

1932 -

McKhann, professor of neurology and neuroscience, and founding chairman of the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins, was born in Boston. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1951 and his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1955. McKhann completed an internship at New York Hospital in 1956 and served as assistant resident in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins from 1956-1957. From 1957 to 1960, he served in the United States Public Health Service at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness.

McKhann returned to Boston in 1960 to become assistant resident in neurology and then a resident in pediatric neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1963, McKhann moved to Stanford University School of Medicine to become assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine; he was promoted to associate professor in 1965.

In 1969, McKhann came to Johns Hopkins to become Kennedy Professor of Neurology and neurologist-in-chief, positions he kept until 1988. In 1987, he became founding director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University. In 2000, he left the Mind/Brain Institute to become associate director for clinical research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The author of over 200 publications, McKhann is co-editor of the neurology textbook, Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology, now in its third edition. He and his colleague (and wife) Marilyn Albert have published a book about aging and the brain for the general public, Keep Your Brain Young. In 1984, McKhann made headlines for participation in a national clinical trial showing that plasmapheresis, a process that replaces the plasma of the blood with artificial fluid, sped recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome. His most recent research is in the assessment of cognitive and neurologic outcomes after cardiac surgery.

McKhann has been involved with a number of scientific organizations, having been president of the American Neurological Association. He is scientific advisor to the Charles A. Dana Foundation and was formerly chairman of the Scientific Advisory Group for the United Cerebral Palsy. In addition to his work in this country, McKhann has been involved in research in China related to epidemics of a paralytic disease in children, work which earned him an honorary M.D. from Hebei University . He has also been an advisor to the Vatican on issues relating to the end of life, particularly brain death.

McKhann in 2011 co-chaired a panel that updated diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease first created in 1984. In 2016, he received the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Mentor Award from Johns Hopkins Medicine Dean/CEO Paul Rothman.