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Meet Our Team

  • William Mobley, MD, PhD

    William Mobley, MD, PhD

    Center Director

    William Mobley is associate dean of neurosciences initiatives and a Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He serves as executive director of UC San Diego's Down Syndrome Center for Research and Treatment and holds the Florence Riford Chair of Alzheimer’s Disease Research. He came to UC San Diego in 2009 from Stanford University, where he served as the John E. Cahill Family Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and was founding director of the Neuroscience Institute. Mobley’s research is focused on degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, especially Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. He and his colleagues have for many years explored the hypothesis that deficient axonal transport of neurotrophic factor signals contribute importantly to the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration.

    Mobley is past president of the Association of University Professors of Neurology; the Professors of Child Neurology and the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He received both the Zenith Award and Temple Award from the Alzheimer's Association and the Cotzias Award from the American Academy of Neurology. In 2007, he received the Christian Pueschel Memorial Research Award, and in 2011 was honored with the International Sisley-Jérôme Lejeune Prize by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation for his research contributions to Down syndrome and genetic intellectual disabilities. He was inducted into the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2014. He currently serves as chair of the Science and Clinical Advisory Committee of the National Down Syndrome Society.

  • Douglas Nitz, PhD

    Douglas Nitz, PhD

    Chair, Scientific Board Review

    Douglas Nitz is professor and chair in the Department of Cognitive Science. His current research concerns how neural signals in cortex, subiculum, and hippocampus together form a distributed ‘cognitive map’ of location in the environment and the structure of available pathways within it. His background is in systems neuroscience as also applied to the problem of the control of rapid eye movement sleep, episodic memory, and motor control. Nitz teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in systems neuroscience, the neurophysiology of attention, and the neurophysiology of space and time perception. He has enjoyed working with 100’s of undergraduate research interns, four postdoctoral researchers, and has been mentor to 5 PhD students. 

    Prior to joining UCSD, Nitz was a senior fellow of the Neurosciences Institute where he advanced new ways to study the function of the posterior parietal cortex in understanding route spaces and discovered gamma-frequency clock-like pacing of neural activity in the cerebellum of behaving animals. Nitz finished his PhD at UCLA in 1995 studying brainstem mechanisms for sleep. He then spent 3 years at the University of Arizona as a post-doctoral researcher, changing directions from the study of sleep to that of spatial cognition.

    Curriculum Vitae

  • Catherine Christian

    Catherine Christian

    Research Program Coordinator

    Catherine Christian is the Research Program Coordinator for the T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion (TDSIEC). In this role, she provides project management support to research programs within the Center for Research in Empathy and Compassion.

    Before joining TDSIEC, Catherine coordinated clinical research with a focus on active-duty and retired military personnel at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catherine facilitated the base’s experimental treatment efforts in conjunction with the Office of the Surgeon General.

    Prior to her time at Camp Lejeune, Catherine served as a Clinical Research Coordinator in Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. While in Houston, Catherine coordinated a large-scale community health initiative that provided behavioral healthcare to over 3,000 Texans affected by natural disasters. Catherine also worked closely with city school districts to increase behavioral healthcare options in area high schools.

    Catherine is passionate about improving healthcare quality and accessibility in underserved communities. She holds a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University.