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SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat

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Josep Dalmau Obrador

Coordinator of the Neuroimmunology Programme at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital and Hospital Clínic

Expert in

Neuro-oncology and Neuroimmunology

You will find me at


Spanish, Catalan and English

I am a neurologist specialising in Neuro-oncology, paraneoplastic syndromes and autoimmune encephalitis. I have discovered 10 autoimmune diseases, known as autoimmune encephalopathies, measured by anti-protein antibodies and cerebral receptors, including anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. 

I have spent a large part of my professional career in the United States where I worked for over 25 years. The projects I have led include research into paraneoplastic syndromes, autoimmune encephalitis and brain tumours, which I started at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and have developed more recently at the University of Pennsylvania. 

I lead the Clinical and Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis Neuroimmunology group of the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) at Hospital Clínic, the University of Barcelona and the Neuroimmunology Unit of SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital. I am an ICREA Investigator (Barcelona), an Associate Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Barcelona, and a Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Since 2017, I have been chair of the Autoimmune Neurology Department of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), and editor of the same Academy's scientific journal, Neurology, Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation. I am also a member of several scientific societies, including the American Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the American Neurological Association (ANA), the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), the Catalan Society of Neurology (SCN), the French Society of Neurology (SFN), the European School of Neuroimmunology (ESNI) and the International Society of Neuroimmunology (ISNI).


  • PhD in Medicine with an extraordinary doctorate prize. Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1993.
  • Residency at the Neurology department of Santa Creu i Sant Pau Hospital, 1979 - 1983.
  • Bachelor's degree in Medicine and Surgery, with honours. Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1978.

International experience

  • Research Consultant at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Washington DC (United States), 2013.
  • Adjunct Professor. University of Philadelphia (United States), since 2011. 
  • Research Associate, Abramson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Philadelphia (United States). 2003 - 2011.
  • Professor of Neurology. University of Philadelphia (United States), 2002 - 2011. 
  • Associate Professor of Neurology. University of Arkansas, Little Rock (United States), 1999 - 2002.
  • Oncology department fellowship. Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, New York (United States), 1992 - 1993.
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (United States), 1993 - 1999   
  • Neurology department cancer research fellowship. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (United States), 1988 - 1992.

Scientific activity

  • Member of CIBERER (Biomedical Research Networking Centre for Rare Diseases).
  • Director of the Catalan Agency for Administration of University and Research Grants (AGUAR) consolidated research group on Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology. Government of Catalonia, since 2014.
  • Director of the paraneoplastic syndrome and autoimmune encephalitis laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania, since 2013.
  • Director of the IDIBAPS Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology Laboratory, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, since 2011.

Awards and honours (selected from a total of 48 accolades)

  • 2017, Rey Jaime I Award for Medical Research - Clinical Medicine.
  • 2017, University of Cincinnati, "Charlie Aring Lecture".
  • 2017, Vanderbilt Medical School, "Flexner Discovery Lecture".
  • 2017, Chair, Section Autoimmune Neurology, American Academy of Neurology.
  • 2016, French Society of Neurology, elected Member of Excellence.
  • 2016, American Academy of Neurology, "George C. Cotzias Award, and Presidential Lecture".
  • 2016, National Academy of Medicine (USA), International Member.
  • 2015, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Pellar Resident Visiting Professorship.
  • 2015, Canadian Neurological Society, "Richardson Lecture".
  • 2015, Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
  • 2014, International Society of Neuroimmunology, "The John Newsom-Davis Lecture".
  • 2013, Catalan Society of Neurology, Career Achievement Award.
  • 2013, European School of Neuroimmunology, Career Achievement Award.
  • 2011, American Society of Biological Psychiatry, "Plenary Lecture".
  • 2010, McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorder Award (with R. Balice-Gordon, PhD).
  • 2010, University of Toronto, "Distinguished Lectureship in Neuroscience".
  • 2010, Association of British Neurologists, "Editors of Brain Lecture".
  • 2010, American Neurological Association, "George W. Jacoby Award".
  • 2009, Univ. Pennsylvania, "Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research".
  • 2005, Residents' Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Pennsylvania.
  • 2000, Charles A. Dana Neuroscience Research Program Award.
  • 1994, American Cancer Society, Clinical Oncology Career Development Award.
  • 1986, Catalan Society of Neurology, Young Researcher Award.


  • Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine. University of Barcelona, since 2013.
  • ICREA Senior Researcher at IDIBAPS. University of Barcelona, since 2011.
  • Professor of Neurology. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (United States); since 2011.
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (United States); 1993-1999.

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