Jamie Capal, MD, has been selected the next chief of the Division of Child Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Golisano Children’s Hospital. Capal—who specializes in intellectual and developmental disabilities—joins a program that has, though more than 50 years of clinical innovation and research, transformed care for children with neurological disorders.
“Jamie has an exciting vision to lead our pre-eminent program in Child Neurology to even greater heights,” said Bob Holloway, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Neurology. “She will use her prior experiences to mentor faculty, providers, trainees, and staff to build and support successful teams around the many priority programs within the division and across the Medical Center. She will also play an instrumental role in intellectual and developmental disabilities research and the growth of our rare disease and gene therapy clinical trials operations.”
Capal will hold the Frederick A. Horner, MD, Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Pediatric Neurology and will also have an appointment in the Department of Pediatrics. She will also serve as co-director of the Human Clinical Phenotyping and Recruitment Core of the University of Rochester Intellectual Developmental Disability Research Center (UR-IDDRC). She will start her new position on July 1, 2024.
“Intellectual and development disabilities are one of the cornerstones of the University’s neuroscience research enterprise, and we are only one of a handful of institutions that hold the three major federally-funded centers of excellence in research, training, care, and community partnership in this field,” said John Foxe, PhD, director of the University of Rochester Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience and co-director of the UR-IDDRC. “These are some of the most complex and challenging diseases in all of medicine, and Dr. Capal’s clinical research experience will enable us to continue to build bridges between the research and clinical programs, and ultimately improve care.”
Capal’s focus is the development of comprehensive research programs around diagnosis and multi-pronged therapeutic interventions, which couple pharmacological approaches with cognitive and behavioral therapies, and community support and services. She has worked collaboratively across multiple disciplines, including neurology, pediatrics, neuroscience, genetics, and psychiatry to create specialized care programs for children and families with neurological and behavioral conditions.
“Dr. Capal arrives in Rochester as a transformative wave of promising gene therapies, many of which our researchers had a hand in developing, are changing how we care for these rare and devastating childhood diseases,” said Jill Halterman, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Her leadership and experience in integrating new therapies and clinical research into comprehensive family-focused clinics will help us meet these new opportunities, improve care for our patients, and build new national models of care.”
URMC’s pediatric neurology programs first took form half a century ago, and Medical Center researchers have played a central role in efforts to understand and improve the treatment of a range of childhood disorders, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, Batten disease, fragile X syndrome, and Autism spectrum disorders. The Medical Center’s pediatric neuromuscular, Batten disease, multiple sclerosis, concussion, epilepsy, and movement disorders clinical programs are recognized for their excellence in care and draw patients from across upstate New York. URMC’s Child Neurology residency program is considered one of the top programs nationally and recruits from a highly competitive pool of candidates.
“The Division of Child Neurology should be so proud of what you have all created here in Rochester,” said Capal. “It is amazing and I feel both blessed and honored to be part of this journey going forward. My goal is that we all thrive together, as we advance the neurological health and well-being of children and their families everywhere.”
Capal is a native of Malone, NY, attended Ithaca College as an undergraduate and received her medical degree from Albany Medical College. She completed her residency in child neurology and fellowship in neurodevelopmental disabilities at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she was also appointed to the faculty.
In 2020, Capal moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an associate professor where she helped lead efforts to create the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) Clinical Trials Program. She oversees multiple clinical trials in Angelman syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), including a recently funded Department of Defense grant to evaluate a remote behavioral intervention in school-aged children and adolescents with TSC. She is also associate editor of the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research and chair-elect of the Section on Neurology of the American Academy of Pediatrics.