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David R. Benavides, MD, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):



110 S. Paca Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Office: 410-328-5605. Fax: 410-328-5425. Lab: 410-706-5799. Benavides Laboratory: 670 W Baltimore, HSFIII - Room 9150, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Education and Training

B.S., Biology, St. Mary’s University (Summa Cum Laude)       

Ph.D., Neuroscience, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

M.D., The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center   

Internship, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Residency, Neurology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Fellowship, Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Dr. Benavides joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Neurology in April 2017. He earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. As a neuroscience graduate student in the laboratory of James A. Bibb, Ph.D., he employed a multidisciplinary approach using biochemistry, electrophysiology, transgenic rodent models, and animal behavior to study reward signaling, learning and memory, and mood-related behavior. Dr. Benavides completed adult neurology residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland followed by fellowship training in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He also completed postdoctoral fellowship training in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins in the laboratory of Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., where he used neuronal culture models to investigate the effects of autoantibodies on intracellular signal transduction cascades. Dr. Benavides directs a translational clinical neuroscience research program to investigate immune regulation of neuronal function, with particular interest in autoimmune encephalitis. The research program uses cell culture, primary neuronal culture, and rodent animal models combined with a multidisciplinary approach involving pharmacology, protein biochemistry, proteomics, cell biology, and molecular biology. The unifying goal of this research program is to identify novel therapeutic targets for neurologic diseases. Dr. Benavides holds board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is involved in the Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Clinical Neuroscience, Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammatory and Demyelinating Diseases, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), Transverse Myelitis (TM), Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE), Neuronal Plasticity, Signal Transduction

Highlighted Publications

Dean CA, Metzbower SR, Dessain SK, Blanpied TA, Benavides DR. Regulation of NMDA receptor signaling at single synapses by human anti-NMDA receptor antibodies. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 2022 Jul 28;15:940005. 

Metzbower SR, Joo Y, Benavides DR, Blanpied TA. Properties of individual hippocampal synapses influencing NMDA-receptor activation by spontaneous neurotransmission. eNeuro. 2019

Williams TJBenavides DR, Patrice KA, Dalmau JO, de Avila ALR, Le DT, Lipson EJ, Probasco JC, Mowry EM. Association of autoimmune encephalitis with combined immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment for metastatic cancer. JAMA Neurology. 2016;73(8):928-933. Co-first authors.

Hawasli AHBenavides DR, Nguyen C, Kansy JW, Hayashi K, Chambon P, Greengard P, Powell CM, Cooper DC, Bibb JA. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 governs learning and synaptic plasticity via control of NMDAR degradation. Nature Neuroscience. 2007;10(7):880-886. Co-first authors.

Additional Publication Citations

Venkatesan A, Benavides DR. Autoimmune encephalitis and its relation to infection. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. 2015;15(3):1-11.

Probasco JC, Benavides DR, Ciarallo A, Sanin BW, Wabulya A, Bergey GK, Kaplan PW. Electroencephalographic and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography correlates in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor autoimmune encephalitis. Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports. 2014;2:174-178. 

Benavides DR, Quinn JJ, Zhong P, Hawasli AH, DiLeone RJ, Kansy JW, Olausson P, Yan Z, Talyor JR, Bibb JA. Cdk5 modulates cocaine reward, motivation and striatal neuron excitability. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2007;27(47):12967-12976.

Awards and Affiliations

2020                Baltimore Magazine "Top Doctor" in Neurology - Multiple Sclerosis

2022                Faculty Success Program, National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity

2023                Elected Fellow, American Academy of Neurology

2023                Baltimore Magazine "Top Doctor" in Neurology - Multiple Sclerosis

Links of Interest

Benavides Laboratory