Leslie M. Thompson, PhD

Co-director, UCI Institute for Precision Health
Donald Bren Professor and Chancellor’s Professor, Psychiatry & Human Behavior, School of Medicine
Donald Bren Professor and Chancellor’s Professor, Neurobiology & Behavior, School of Biological Sciences

IPH co-director Leslie Thompson has studied Huntington’s disease for most of her scientific career and was a member of the international consortium that identified the causative gene for Huntington’s in 1993, for which she received the National Medical Research Award of the National Health Council. She also co-identified the mutation causing achondroplasia, the most common genetic form of short-limbed dwarfism, in 1994. Since that time, Thompson has been actively engaged in investigating mechanisms involved in Huntington’s disease as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism to identify new treatment strategies.  She has also been focused on using stem cell-based therapies for Huntington’s disease.

A member of the HD-CARE scientific advisory board, Thompson is chair of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America scientific advisory board and vice chair of the Hereditary Disease Foundation scientific advisory board. She’s also the founding co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Huntington’s Disease and the principal investigator of the multi-omics core of the Answer ALS program, which is a precision medicine approach to understanding ALS. Thompson was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013.

Thompson is among the earliest trailblazers in developing personalized treatment strategies for neurodegenerative diseases, and under her co-direction, IPH will continue to shed light on the pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative and other diseases for which there are currently no treatments. Thompson earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. at UCI.