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Research by Faculty


John Fink, M.D., Professor, Department of Neurology
Director, Neurogenetic Disorders Program

John K. Fink, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Neurology and director of the Neurogenetic Disorders Program in the University of Michigan Medical School. He directs basic science laboratory research focused on identifying genes and mechanisms responsible for age-dependent neurologic degeneration; and on developing treatments for these conditions.

Dr. Fink's laboratory investigates the molecular basis of inherited neurologic and psychiatric disorders. His clinical expertise focuses on inherited and degenerative disorders of the nervous system. Dr. Fink evaluates individuals of all ages, from infancy through senescence with these disorders, which include lysosomal storage disorders (such as Gaucher disease, Niemann-Pick disease and Fabry disease), ataxias (including Friedreich's ataxia), leukodystrophies (such as Krabbe, CADASIL and adrenoleukodystrophy), familial dystonia, primary lateral sclerosis, Wilson's disease, familial motor neuron disease (including familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), familial dementia, and a group of inherited spinal cord disorders known collectively as the Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias (HSPs).

Dr. Fink came to the U-M in 1990 as an assistant professor of neurology and director of the Neurogenetic Disorders Clinic. The program provides care and evaluation for individuals and families with inherited and degenerative neurologic disorders; and clinical and molecular laboratory training for physicians and scientists studying these disorders. He was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and professor in 2005.

Board-certified in neurology and medical genetics, Dr. Fink received his medical degree in 1980 from the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. Following internship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he completed a neurology residency in 1984 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Subsequently, he trained in developmental and metabolic neurology and medical genetics at the National Institutes of Health.

Associate editor of Seminars in Neurology, Dr. Fink also has served as an ad hoc reviewer for several publications, including Brain Research, Human Genetics, the Journal of Medical Genetics, Neurology and the New England Journal of Medicine. His national service activities include the Data and Safety Monitoring Board/Observational Study Monitoring Board of the National Center for Research Resources, Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, and medical advisor to the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation.

A member of the American Society of Human Genetics, American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association and the American College of Genetics, Dr. Fink received the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association in 2002. In addition, he has been elected by peers to Best Doctors in America annually since 2001.