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Kevin Ess

Ess to Begin Tenure as Neurology Section Head on Oct. 15

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Dr. Kevin Ess has been an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Cell and Developmental Biology, the Gerald M. Fenichel Chair in Neurology, and Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurology at Vanderbilt University. As Division Director, he also served as the Neurologist-in-Chief at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ess has been at Vanderbilt since joining their faculty as Assistant Professor in 2006. Kevin received his PhD in developmental biology (1996) and his medical degree (1998) from the University of Cincinnati. He completed a one-year pediatric internship at the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado in 1999. Kevin received his residency training in pediatric neurology (1999-2002), clinical neurophysiology fellowship (2002-2004), and laboratory-based post-doctoral fellowship (2003-2005) at the Washington University School of Medicine and  St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Upon completion of his clinical and research training, he was appointed to the faculty at Washington University as an Instructor in the Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics (2004-2006).

Dr. Ess is an internationally recognized expert in rare diseases including tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a multi-organ disorder caused by mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes. His basic and translational research work has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) since 2007. His track record of extramural awards includes a Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Awards (K08-NS050484) and multiple NIH and DOD research project grants including his current award (R01-NS118580) focusing on altered signaling pathways in various cell types of the human brain. More recent research projects include leukodystrophies and Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC).

He has founded and directed several multi-disciplinary specialty clinics at Vanderbilt including those for patients with TSC, AHC, Adrenoleukodystrophy, and Fabry Disease. Dr. Ess is also a passionate educator and mentor of medical and graduate students, residents, fellows, and early career faculty. At Vanderbilt, he has served as the Child Neurology Residency Program Director, been a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program Faculty Advisory Committee, and provided research supervision for trainees at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, medical school, post-doctoral, residency, and fellowship levels.

We are grateful for the outstanding service of Dr. Kelly Knupp who has skillfully led the Section in an interim role since September 2020. Dr. Knupp has done an outstanding job in maintaining the positive trajectory of the Section and we are fortunate that she will remain a key member of the Section and its senior leadership.