Ray L. Watts, M.D.
President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Professor of Neurology
Professional Background: M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, 1980
On Feb. 8, 2013, Ray L. Watts, M.D. was named president of UAB. Prior to that Dr. Watts served as Senior Vice President for Medicine at UAB and Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB since August 2010. Dr. Watts was also the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chairman of Neurology from July 1, 2003 to September 30, 2010. He succeeded the late Dr. John N. Whitaker, who chaired Neurology from 1985 to 2001. He has also served as the President of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation. Visit the President's page for more information.
A native of Birmingham, Dr. Watts earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from UAB in 1976 and was valedictorian of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1980. He completed internship, residency and fellowship training at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Before joining UAB, Dr. Watts served a two-year fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and was a member of Emory University faculty. At Emory Dr. Watts and his colleagues built an internationally renowned Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Research and Clinical Center.As Chairman of the UAB Department of Neurology, Dr. Watts greatly expanded the department by recruiting a team of world renowned clinicians and scientists dedicated to providing the best possible diagnosis and treatment options available to neurology patients. His leadership led to the establishment of a strong interdisciplinary research program centered on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurological disorders with an ultimate goal of translating findings into new treatments and potential cures. "I believe we are at the beginning of the ‘Century of the Brain,' and this is a very exciting time in neuroscience," says Dr. Watts. "We are poised to gain greater understanding of how the brain works and to develop innovative treatments for neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and brain cancer, just to name a few."
UAB is at the beginning of an unprecedented period of growth and acceleration of research advances in the Neurosciences. Dr. Watts played an integral role in planning and establishing the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. Through the vision laid out in the UAB School of Medicine Research Strategic Plan, the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center represents a collaboration of efforts by physicians and researchers within the UAB Neuroscience Community. This new center will bring together outstanding faculty from many Departments, Divisions, Programs, and Centers to define the future of research, education and clinical efforts in Neuroscience at UAB.
Specialty Treatments: Deep brain stimulation surgery for movement disorders and new medical treatments for movement disorders.