Ben Philpot, PhD

Kenan Distinguished Professor
Associate Director of the UNC Neuroscience Center
UNC-Chapel Hill

Education and Training

University of Virginia, PhD
Brown University and MIT, Postdoctoral

Areas of Interest

Identification and validation of novel therapeutics for the treatment of monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders. My lab is passionate about identifying novel treatments for monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders such as Rett, Pitt-Hopkins, and Angelman syndromes. To do this, we work in collaboration to perform small molecule screens to identify compounds to normalize gene expression. My lab has developed a novel high-throughput approach for screening compounds in primary neurons, which have many properties that are not mirrored in dividing cell types.

Understanding the molecular, cellular, and electrophysiological basis for the pathophysiology underlying monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders. A number of neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by mutations in different genes (e.g. – MECP2, UBE3A, TCF4) yet these disorders nonetheless have similar phenotypic manifestations. This suggests that these disorders have similar underlying cellular phenotypes, or perhaps a convergence only at the circuit level. We employ an array of modern scientific approaches to understand the pathophysiology underlying monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders, with the expectation that this knowledge will lead to novel drug treatment strategies.

Awards and Honors

1992 Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University; 1992 Magna Cum Laude, Duke University
1992 Honorable mention, N.S.F. graduate awards
1992-1994 Presidential Fellowship, University of Virginia
1995 Graduate Research Scholarship, American Psychological Foundation
1995 Phillip H. Presley Scholarship, Carl Zeiss, Inc.
1995-1997 National Research Service Award, N.I.M.H.
1998-2001 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Research Associate, Brown University
2002-2006 Whitehall Foundation research grant
2006 UNC Junior Faculty Development Award
2006 University Research Council Award
2006-2008 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
2007-2008 Whitehall Foundation research grant
2008-2010 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
2010 Daniel X. Freedman Award, an award given for outstanding basic research achievement by a NARSAD Young Investigator
2010-present Simons Foundation Investigator
2013 recipient of the Dr. Claudia Benton Award for Scientific Research, awarded by the Angelman Syndrome Foundation for demonstrating strong commitment to advancing the scientific knowledge as it pertains to Angelman Syndrome.


Curriculum in Cell Biology and Physiology
Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
Neuroscience Center

Ben Philpot