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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. Dr. Rafii’s research focuses on 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.' His book, 'First Aid for the Neurology Boards' is one of the most widely used resources in preparation for taking the Neurology Board Examination. 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 School of Medicine: Aronson Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience, 2002


Cerebral amyloid angiopathy in Down syndrome and sporadic and autosomal-dominant Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2017 Apr 29. View in: PubMed

Outcome Measures for Clinical Trials in Down Syndrome. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2017 05; 122(3):247-281. View in: PubMed

PET Imaging of Tau Pathology and Relationship to Amyloid, Longitudinal MRI, and Cognitive Change in Down Syndrome: Results from the Down Syndrome Biomarker Initiative (DSBI). J Alzheimers Dis. 2017; 60(2):439-450. View in: PubMed

Dissociation of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease effects with imaging. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2016 Jun; 2(2):69-81. View in: PubMed

Improving Memory and Cognition in Individuals with Down Syndrome. CNS Drugs. 2016 07; 30(7):567-73. View in: PubMed

Targeting tau protein in Alzheimer's disease. Lancet. 2016 12 10; 388(10062):2842-2844. View in: PubMed

Active Immunotherapy for Alzheimer's Disease: The Road Ahead. J Prev Alzheimers Dis. 2015 Jun; 2(2):78-79. View in: PubMed

Advances in Alzheimer's disease drug development. BMC Med. 2015 Mar 25; 13:62. View in: PubMed

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

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

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

Pro: Are we ready to translate Alzheimer's disease modifying therapies to people with Down syndrome? Alzheimers Res Ther. 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

Preclinical Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014; 42 Suppl 4:S545-9. View in: PubMed

An expanded role for neuroimaging in the evaluation of memory impairment. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Nov-Dec; 34(11):2075-82. View in: PubMed

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

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

Down's syndrome and Alzheimer's disease: towards secondary prevention. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2012 09; 11(9):655-6. View in: PubMed

A phase II trial of huperzine A in mild to moderate Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 2011 Apr 19; 76(16):1389-94. View in: PubMed

Comparison of the memory performance index with standard neuropsychological measures of cognition. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2011 05; 26(3):235-9. View in: PubMed

Functional brain imaging in the clinical assessment of consciousness. PLoS Biol. 2010 Nov 30; 8(11):e1000548. View in: PubMed

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

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

Recent developments in Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. BMC Med. 2009 Feb 19; 7:7. View in: PubMed

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

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

Case 14: a woman with bilateral Bell's palsy. MedGenMed. 2006 Oct 31; 8(4):23. View in: PubMed

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

Biglycan regulates the expression and sarcolemmal localization of dystrobrevin, syntrophin, and nNOS. FASEB J. 2006 Aug; 20(10):1724-6. View in: PubMed

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

Agrin and microvascular damage in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2000 Mar-Apr; 21(2):349-55. View in: PubMed

Agrin in Alzheimer's disease: altered solubility and abnormal distribution within microvasculature and brain parenchyma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 May 25; 96(11):6468-72. View in: PubMed

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