Positions

Overview

  • Ray L. Watts, M.D., UAB's seventh president, has demonstrated visionary leadership in education, research and patient care throughout his career.

    A Birmingham native and graduate of West End High School, Dr. Watts earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering at UAB in 1976. The collaborations he had with biomedical engineering students as an undergraduate sparked an interest in medicine and, four years later, he graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as valedictorian of his class.

    Dr. Watts completed a neurology residency, medical internship, and clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a two-year medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Thereafter he joined the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was part of a team that created an internationally renowned research and clinical center for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

    Dr. Watts returned to UAB in 2003 as the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. There he led the development of an interdisciplinary research program aimed at translating scientific breakthroughs into promising new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and played a key role in the establishment of the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. He also was named president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation.

    In 2010, Dr. Watts accepted the position of Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine at UAB, and later was named to the James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair. As dean, Dr. Watts – in partnership with UAB Health System and Health Services Foundation leaders – initiated the AMC21 strategic plan to make UAB “the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century,” which has led to the recruitment of outstanding faculty, the launch of programs to accelerate research and drug discovery, and establishment of a third regional medical campus in Montgomery, among other successes.

    Dr. Watts was named president of UAB in February 2013 by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. He initiaited and is leading UAB's most comprehensive-ever strategic planning process with campus- and community-wide partnership. During his tenure, UAB has made tremendous strides in all areas of its mission, including record enrollment and development of novel academic programs, substantial growth in research funding and the university's international competitiveness, impactful service to the local and global community, and construction of new state-of-the-art facilities and campus beautification as part of the UAB Campus Master Plan.

    Dr. Watts and his wife Nancy, who worked at UAB as a nurse before retiring, have five grown children.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2017 The effect of unilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation on depression in Parkinson's disease 2017
    2015 Spatial topographies of unilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation efficacy for ipsilateral, contralateral, midline, and total Parkinson disease motor symptoms 2015
    2015 Gene delivery of neurturin to putamen and substantia nigra in Parkinson disease: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial 2015
    2014 Novel, high-intensity exercise prescription improves muscle mass, mitochondrial function, and physical capacity in individuals with Parkinson's disease 2014
    2014 Effects of deep brain stimulation frequency on bradykinesia of Parkinson's disease 2014
    2014 A randomized clinical trial of high-dosage coenzyme Q10 in early parkinson disease no evidence of benefit 2014
    2013 The relationship between clinical phenotype and early staged bilateral deep brain stimulation in Parkinson disease: Clinical article 2013
    2013 Impaired financial abilities in Parkinson's disease patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia 2013
    2012 Reliability of a new scale for essential tremor 2012
    2012 Short latency activation of cortex by clinically effective thalamic brain stimulation for tremor 2012
    2012 Short latency activation of cortex during clinically effective subthalamic deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease 2012
    2012 High-frequency deep brain stimulation of the putamen improves bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease 2012
    2012 Unilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation improves sleep quality in Parkinson's disease 2012
    2011 High-frequency deep brain stimulation of the putamen improves bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease 2011
    2011 Comparison of weight changes following unilateral and staged bilateral STN DBS for advanced PD 2011
    2011 Intrastriatal transplantation of microcarrier-bound human retinal pigment epithelial cells versus sham surgery in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease: A double-blind, randomised, controlled trial 2011
    2011 Activation of subthalamic neurons by contralateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation in parkinson disease 2011
    2011 The effects of deep brain stimulation on sleep in Parkinson’s disease 2011
    2010 Gene delivery of AAV2-neurturin for Parkinson's disease: A double-blind, randomised, controlled trial 2010
    2010 A long-term study of istradefylline in subjects with fluctuating Parkinson's disease 2010
    2010 Striatal overexpression of ΔFosB reproduces chronic levodopa-induced involuntary movements 2010
    2010 Onset of dyskinesia with adjunct ropinirole prolonged-release or additional levodopa in early Parkinson's disease 2010
    2010 Construction of relational topographies from the quantitative measurements of functional deep brain stimulation using a 'roving window' interpolation algorithm 2010
    2010 Quality of life in parkinson's disease patients following adjunctive tolcapone therapy: Results of an open-label, multicenter, community-based trial 2010
    2009 Relief of acquired stuttering associated with Parkinson's disease by unilateral left subthalamic brain stimulation 2009
    2009 Weight changes associated with unilateral STN DBS and advanced PD 2009
    2009 Bilateral effects of unilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation on parkinson's disease at 1 year 2009
    2009 The contribution of executive control on verbal-learning impairment in patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia and Alzheimer's disease 2009
    2009 Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry identification of proanthocyanidins in rat plasma after oral administration of grape seed extract 2009
    2008 The Gly2019Ser mutation in LRRK2 is not fully penetrant in familial Parkinson's disease: The GenePD study 2008
    2008 Brain metabolism differs in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease dementia 2008
    2008 Medical decision-making capacity in cognitively impaired Parkinson's disease patients without dementia 2008
    2008 Huntington CAG repeat size does not modify onset age in familial Parkinson's disease: The GenePD study 2008
    2008 Replication of association between ELAVL4 and Parkinson disease: The Gene PD study 2008
    2008 Haplotypes and gene expression implicate the MAPT region for Parkinson disease: The GenePD Study 2008
    2008 Spheramine for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease 2008
    2008 A founding LRRK2 haplotype shared by Tunisian, US, European and Middle Eastern families with Parkinson's disease 2008
    2008 A pilot clinical trial of creatine and minocycline in early parkinson disease: 18-month results 2008
    2008 Brain N-acetylaspartate is reduced in Parkinson disease with dementia 2008
    2007 Notice of redundant publication: "Transdermal rotigotine: Double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Parkinson disease" (Arch Neurol. 2007;64[5]:676-682). In reply [3] 2007
    2007 Ten-year follow-up of Parkinson's disease patients randomized to initial therapy with ropinirole or levodopa 2007
    2007 Erratum: Randomized, blind, controlled trial of transdermal rotigotine in early Parkinson disease (Neurology (2007) 68, (272-276)) 2007
    2007 Transdermal rotigotine: Double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Parkinson disease 2007
    2007 Glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms and onset age in α-synuclein A53T mutant Parkinson's disease 2007
    2007 A randomized clinical trial of coenzyme Q10 and GPI-1485 in early Parkinson disease 2007
    2007 Corticobasal degeneration 2007
    2007 Randomized, blind, controlled trial of transdermal rotigotine in early Parkinson disease 2007
    2007 Randomized, blind, controlled trial of transdermal rotigotine in early Parkinson disease (Neurolgy (2007) 68, (272-276)) 2007
    2007 Screening for Lrrk2 G2019S and clinical comparison of Tunisian and North American Caucasian Parkinson's disease families 2007
    2006 Herbicide exposure modifies GSTP1 haplotype association to Parkinson onset age: The GenePD study 2006
    2006 Report from a U.S. conference on essential tremor 2006
    2006 Clinical features of Parkinson disease patients with homozygous leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 G2019S mutations 2006
    2006 Influence of heterozygosity for Parkin mutation on onset age in familial parkinson disease: The genePD study 2006
    2006 A randomized, double-blind, futility clinical trial of creatine and minocycline in early Parkinson disease 2006
    2005 BDNF genetic variants are associated with onset age of familial Parkinson disease: GenePD Study 2005
    2005 Intrastriatal implantation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells attached to microcarriers in advanced Parkinson disease 2005
    2005 Occupation and parkinsonism in three movement disorders clinics 2005
    2005 Absence of previously reported variants in the SCNA (G88C and G209A), NR4A2 (T291D and T245G) and the DJ-1 (T497C) genes in familial Parkinson's disease from the GenePD study 2005
    2005 Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, short-term trial of ropinirole in restless legs syndrome 2005
    2004 Levodopa and the progression of parkinson’s disease 2004
    2004 The evolving role of monoamine oxidase inhibitors in the treatment of Parkinson's disease 2004
    2004 Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of entacapone in levodopa-treated patients with stable Parkinson disease 2004
    2004 Implantation of Spheramine® in advanced Parkinson's Disease (PD) 2004
    2004 Treatment of depression in Parkinson's disease 2004
    2004 Erratum: Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 modifies age-at-onset of Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease (Human Molecular Genetics (2003) vol. 12 (3259-3267)) 2004
    2004 Ophthalmologic features of Parkinson's disease 2004
    2003 Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 modifies age-at-onset of Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease 2003
    2003 A haplotype at the PARK3 locus influences onset age for Parkinson's disease: The GenePD study 2003
    2003 Stereotaxic intrastriatal implantation of human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells attached to gelatin microcarriers: A potential new cell therapy for Parkinson's disease 2003
    2003 The effect of coenzyme Q10 therapy in Parkinson disease could be symptomatic [4] 2003
    2003 Association study of Parkin gene polymorphisms with idiopathic Parkinson disease 2003
    2003 Slower progression of Parkinson's disease with ropinirole versus levodopa: The REAL-PET study 2003
    2003 Benefits and risks of pharmacological treatments for essential tremor 2003
    2003 Parkin mutations and susceptibility alleles in late-onset Parkinson's disease 2003
    2003 Genetic polymorphisms of the N-acetyltransferase genes and risk of Parkinson's disease 2003
    2003 Mitochondrial polymorphisms significantly reduce the risk of Parkinson disease 2003
    2003 Assessment of sleepiness and unintended sleep in Parkinson's disease patients taking dopamine agonists 2003
    2002 Effects of coenzyme Q 10 in early Parkinson disease: Evidence of slowing of the functional decline 2002
    2002 Depression associated with Parkinson's disease: Clinical features and treatment 2002
    2002 Epidemiologic study of 203 sibling pairs with Parkinson's disease: The GenePD study 2002
    2002 Age at onset in two common neurodegenerative diseases is genetically controlled 2002
    2002 PARK3 influences age at onset in Parkinson disease: A genome scan in the GenePD study 2002
    2001 Association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the tau gene with late-onset parkinson disease 2001
    2001 Complete genomic screen in parkinson disease evidence for multiple genes 2001
    2001 Genome-wide scan for Parkinson's disease: The GenePD study 2001
    2001 Randomized trial of tolcapone versus pergolide as add-on to levodopa therapy in Parkinson's disease patients with motor fluctuations 2001
    2001 An algorithm (decision tree) for the management of Parkinson's disease (2001): Treatment guidelines 2001
    2001 Corticobasal degeneration 2001
    2001 Complications of gamma knife surgery for Parkinson disease 2001
    2000 Synthesis, biodistribution, and primate imaging of fluorine-18 labeled 2β-carbo-1'-fluoro-2-propoxy-3β-(4-chlorophenyl)tropanes. Ligands for the imaging of dopamine transporters by positron emission tomography 2000
    1999 Juvenile Parkinson's disease with REM sleep behavior disorder, sleepiness, and daytime REM onset 1999
    1999 The α-synuclein gene is not a major risk factor in familial Parkinson disease [2] 1999
    1999 Comparison of MPTP-induced changes in spontaneous neuronal discharge in the internal pallidal segment and in the substantia nigra pars reticulata in primates 1999
    1997 Polymer-encapsulated PC-12 cells demonstrate high-affinity uptake of dopamine in vitro and 18F-dopa uptake and metabolism after intracerebral implantation in nonhuman primates 1997
    1997 The role of dopamine agonists in early Parkinson's disease 1997
    1997 Corticobasal degeneration: Neuropathologic and clinical heterogeneity 1997
    1997 Effect of stereotaxic intrastriatal cografts of autologous adrenal medulla and peripheral nerve in Parkinson's disease: Two-year follow-up study 1997
    1997 Fluorine-18-FPCT: A PET radiotracer for imaging dopamine transporters 1997
    1996 Event-related potential P3 change in mild Parkinson's disease 1996
    1996 Cognitive estimation in patients with Alzheimer's disease 1996
    1996 Depression and disability in Parkinson's disease 1996
    1995 Disruptive Nocturnal Behavior in Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease 1995
    1995 Intrastriatal cografts of autologous adrenal medulla and sural nerve in MPTP-induced parkinsonian macaques: Behavioral and anatomical assessment 1995
    1994 Progressive supranuclear palsy: Neuropathologic and clinical heterogeneity 1994
    1993 Mitochondrial dna variants observed in alzheimer disease and parkinson disease patients 1993
    1992 Core assessment program for intracerebral transplantations (CAPIT) 1992
    1992 Early Experience with Autologous Intrastriatal Adrenal Medulla/Nerve Cografting in Parkinson’s Disease 1992
    1992 Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation defects in Parkinson's disease 1992
    1992 Quantifying Improvement Following CNS Transplantation in Hemiparkinsonian Monkeys Using Operant Behavioral Tasks 1992
    1992 Reply 1992
    1992 The role of motor cortex in the pathophysiology of voluntary movement deficits associated with parkinsonism 1992
    1991 Electrophysiologic analysis of early Parkinson's disease. 1991
    1991 Autologous adrenal medulla-to-caudate grafting for Parkinsonism in humans and in nonhuman primates 1991
    1991 Clinical improvement in parkinsonian patients undergoing adrenal to caudate transplantation is not reflected by chromogranin a or basic fibroblast growth factor in ventricular fluid 1991
    1991 Clozapine is beneficial for psychosis in parkinson's disease 1991
    1991 Electrophysiologic analysis of early Parkinson’s disease 1991
    1991 Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation defects in parkinson's disease 1991
    1991 United parkinson foundation neurotransplantation registry on adrenal medullary transplants: Presurgical, and 1– and 2–year follow–up 1991
    1990 Changes in Endocrine Function after Adrenal Medullary Transplantation to the Central Nervous System 1990
    1990 Effect of adrenal-caudate transplantation on CSF levels of salsolinol sulfate in patients with Parkinson's disease. 1990
    1990 Movement amplitude choice reaction time performance in Parkinson's disease may be independent of dopaminergic status 1990
    1990 Preliminary report on adrenal medullary grafting and cografting with sural nerve in the treatment of hemiparkinson monkeys 1990
    1990 Preliminary report on adrenal-brain transplantation for parkinsonism in man 1990
    1990 Waht is it? Case 1, 1990: Progressive unilateral rigidity, bradykinesia, tremulousness, and apraxia, leading to fixed postural deformity of the involved limb 1990
    1989 Adrenal Medullary Autografts in Patients with Parkinson's Disease 1989
    1988 Dopaminergic effects on simple and choice reaction time performance in Parkinson’s disease 1988
    1986 Elastic properties of muscles measured at the elbow in man: I. normal controls 1986
    1986 Elastic properties of muscles measured at the elbow in man: II. Patients with Parkinsonian rigidity 1986

    Book

    Year Title Altmetric
    2004 Movement Disorders: Neurologic Principles & Practice, Second Edition 2004

    Chapter

    Year Title Altmetric
    2005 Depression, psychosis, and cognitive dysfunction in parkinson's disease.  237-250. 2005
    2003 Management of neurobehavioral symptoms in Parkinson’s disease.  159-177. 2003

    Education And Training

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Internship 1981
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Residency 1984
  • Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, Postdoctoral Fellowship 1986
  • Full Name

  • Ray Watts