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Michael S. Rafii, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology
ATR 9860 Mesa Rim Road Health Sciences Campus San Diego
+1 858 964 0638


Michael Rafii, MD, PhD is Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and Clinical Director of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI). He received his MD and PhD degrees from Brown University School of Medicine and conducted neurogenetics research at Harvard Medical School. He holds two patents for protein-based therapeutics resulting from his work while a graduate student.

Dr. Rafii completed his residency in Neurology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was chief resident. He then undertook a fellowship in dementia and cognitive disorders at UC San Diego. He is board-certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. His book, 'First Aid for the Neurology Boards' is one of the most widely used resources in preparation for taking the Neurology Board Examination.

Dr. Rafii’s research focuses on the design and conduct of clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease including Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. Dr. Rafii also serves on the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine. He is ad hoc member of the NIH study section on Developmental Brain Disorders and co-editor of the textbook 'Common Pathogenic Mechanisms between Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease: Steps toward Therapy.'

He previously served as Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), Director of the UC San Diego Memory Disorders Clinic and Director of the Neurology Residency Training program at UC San Diego.

Dr. Rafii holds a joint appointment at UC San Diego.


The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Preziosi Outstanding Neurology Resident Award, 2006

The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Alpha Omega Alpha , 2006

The Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital: Intern of the Year, 2003

Brown University: Aronson Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience, 2002

Brown University School of Medicine: Aronson Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience, 2002


Rafii MS. Targeting tau protein in Alzheimer's disease. Lancet. 2016 Nov 15. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. Improving Memory and Cognition in Individuals with Down Syndrome. CNS Drugs. 2016 Jul; 30(7):567-73. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Aisen PS. Advances in Alzheimer's disease drug development. BMC Med. 2015; 13(1):62. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Wishnek H, Brewer JB, Donohue MC, Ness S, Mobley WC, Aisen PS, Rissman RA. The down syndrome biomarker initiative (DSBI) pilot: proof of concept for deep phenotyping of Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in down syndrome. Front Behav Neurosci. 2015; 9:239. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Baumann TL, Bakay RA, Ostrove JM, Siffert J, Fleisher AS, Herzog CD, Barba D, Pay M, Salmon DP, Chu Y, Kordower JH, Bishop K, Keator D, Potkin S, Bartus RT. A phase1 study of stereotactic gene delivery of AAV2-NGF for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Sep; 10(5):571-81. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Taylor CS, Kim HT, Desikan RS, Fleisher AS, Katibian D, Brewer JB, Dale AM, Aisen PS. Neuropsychiatric symptoms and regional neocortical atrophy in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2014 Mar; 29(2):159-65. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. Pro: Are we ready to translate Alzheimer's disease modifying therapies to people with Down syndrome? Alzheimers Res Ther. 2014; 6(5-8):60. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. Preclinical Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014 Jan 1; 42(0):S545-9. View in: PubMed

Moran JA, Rafii MS, Keller SM, Singh BK, Janicki MP. The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices consensus recommendations for the evaluation and management of dementia in adults with intellectual disabilities. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Aug; 88(8):831-40. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. Update on Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2013 Jun; 8(2):110-8. View in: PubMed

Ness S, Rafii M, Aisen P, Krams M, Silverman W, Manji H. Down's syndrome and Alzheimer's disease: towards secondary prevention. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2012 Sep; 11(9):655-6. View in: PubMed

Rafii M, Taylor C, Coutinho A, Kim K, Galasko D. Comparison of the memory performance index with standard neuropsychological measures of cognition. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2011 May; 26(3):235-9. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Brewer JB. Functional brain imaging in the clinical assessment of consciousness. PLoS Biol. 2010; 8(11):e1000548. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. The pulse of drug development for Alzheimer's disease. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2010 Jan; 5(1):57-62. View in: PubMed

Kovacevic S, Rafii MS, Brewer JB. High-throughput, fully automated volumetry for prediction of MMSE and CDR decline in mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2009 Apr-Jun; 23(2):139-45. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Aisen PS. Recent developments in Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. BMC Med. 2009; 7:7. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Galasko D. Primary care screening for dementia and mild cognitive impairment. JAMA. 2008 Mar 12; 299(10):1132; author reply 1133-4. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Hagiwara H, Mercado ML, Seo NS, Xu T, Dugan T, Owens RT, Hook M, McQuillan DJ, Young MF, Fallon JR. Biglycan binds to alpha- and gamma-sarcoglycan and regulates their expression during development. J Cell Physiol. 2006 Nov; 209(2):439-47. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Hillis AE. Compendium of cerebrovascular diseases. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2006 Oct; 18(5):395-407. View in: PubMed

Mercado ML, Amenta AR, Hagiwara H, Rafii MS, Lechner BE, Owens RT, McQuillan DJ, Froehner SC, Fallon JR. Biglycan regulates the expression and sarcolemmal localization of dystrobrevin, syntrophin, and nNOS. FASEB J. 2006 Aug; 20(10):1724-6. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS. Case 14: a woman with bilateral Bell's palsy. MedGenMed. 2006; 8(4):23. View in: PubMed

Rafii MS, Koenig M, Ziai WC. Orolingual angioedema associated with ACE inhibitor use after rtPA treatment of acute stroke. Neurology. 2005 Dec 27; 65(12):1906. View in: PubMed

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