Dr. Gleeson received his bachelor's degree at UCSD and his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He next completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, and in neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He was then Chief Resident in Child Neurology at Children's Hospital Boston. His postdoctoral work was with Dr. Christopher A. Walsh at Harvard Medical School. He has been on the UCSD Neurosciences faculty since 1999.
Dr. Gleeson has been honored for his research on inherited brain disorders with the Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society, the Searle Scholar Program, the Merck Award in Developmental Disabilities, the Klingenstein Award in the Neurosciences, the Burroughs Wellcome Award in Translational Research, the Ray Thomas Edwards Award, and the Research Advocacy Award from the Joubert Syndrome Foundation. He was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine in 2013.
In 2007 Dr. Gleeson was 1 of 15 patient-oriented physician-scientists selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for appointment as a HHMI Investigator, part of a special, competitive initiative that underscores Dr. Gleeson's commitment to and excellence in translational science. The primary interests of the Gleeson lab include neuronal development and the application of human genetics, mouse models, and cell biology to neuronal development problems.
Dr. Gleeson's research in genetic disease involves extensive travel in the Middle East, where he studies family members affected by developmental brain disorders to better understand the genetics behind diseases with complex inheritance patterns, such as intellectual disabilities, brain wiring defects, and epilepsy. Dr. Gleeson is the Director of the UCSD Center for Cerebellar Malformations, which coordinates diagnosis and treatment of children with these abnormalities; and the Director of the UCSD Neurosciences Microscopy Imaging Core, which evaluates the function of genes in neurons and neural tissue utilizing state-of-the-art microscopy systems.
In addition, he heads the Neuroscience Seminar Series and is a member of the Dean's Research Council and the Neurology Residency Training Program.
View a video about Dr. Gleeson and his work.
See the lab website.
Dr. Gleeson is actively involved in UCSD’s Pediatric Neurology clinical program. His patient responsibilities include both inpatient and outpatient activities at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Gleeson’s current research looks at the cellular, molecular and genetic causes of pediatric developmental brain abnormalities.
His laboratory seeks to identify the chromosomal location of each condition, identify the gene that is mutated in each chromosomal locus, and finally characterize the function of the critical gene in normal brain development. Specifically, the laboratory is looking at both lissencephaly (a severe disorder of neocortical development) and Joubert Syndrome (the most common inherited congenital ataxia syndrome). Resulting publications from his recent research efforts have appeared in top journals, including Neuron and Nature Neurosciences.
The Gleeson laboratory is also expanding their human genetics program to encompass other pediatric brain diseases (approximately 20 other diseases) and to develop collaborative research efforts. The result of recruitment efforts has yielded over 500 Middle Eastern families (who provide optimized genetic mapping strategies) for analysis, with approximately 20% of such families identified as appropriate for gene identification projects. The goal is to perform genome-wide linkage scans to identify the diseased chromosomal interval, and then identify the gene that is mutated in the particular family.