School of Medicine

Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, appointed chair of UCI Department of Neurology

Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil
UCI School of Medicine
Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, has been appointed as the new chair for the UCI School of Medicine Department of Neurology.

Irvine, CA – Sept. 10, 2020 – After a nationwide search, Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, has been appointed as the new chair for the UCI School of Medicine Department of Neurology, effective October 1, 2020.

The UCI School of Medicine Department of Neurology is among the top-ranked in the country, and is home to world class neurologists and neuroscientists.

“What makes UCI so attractive is the chance to work with teams at the forefront of neuroscience, integrative medicine, engineering, public health and many other areas, in a remarkably collaborative and collegial environment,” said Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil. “To succeed in translating new advances in research into better neurological care is going to take a strong interdisciplinary team approach.”

Henchcliffe is an internationally recognized clinician and researcher in neurological disorders, and has served for the last 7 years as vice-chair for clinical research in neurology, and as chief of neurodegenerative disorders in the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY, and as attending neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

A veteran with more than 20 years of experience, she led a clinical research program focused on developing new therapeutic approaches to Parkinson’s disease, including stem cell-based regenerative therapy and gene therapy. Henchcliffe led the NINDS-funded NeuroNEXT clinical trials network team at Weill Cornell Medical College and has been involved on a national level in neurology education with a strong emphasis on faculty development.

“We are entering a new era of neurology. Research advances, for example in stem cell technology, antibody therapies, and genetic therapies, allow us to reimagine future care for people living with complex neurological disorders,” said Henchcliffe. “UCI’s Department of Neurology has an outstanding clinical trial infrastructure. It will be exciting to grow those efforts and, at the same time, support our translational researchers as they develop a pipeline of technologies and treatments for the future.”

Henchcliffe will work alongside colleagues at the UCI Medical Center, located in Orange, California, to meet the growing community needs for neurological care. She will also lead the department in combining compassionate and patient-centered care with transformative research. Henchcliffe is a strong proponent of mentorship for trainees, faculty, and staff, and is committed to expanding the department’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas.

“In addition to serving those with neurological disorders, there’s also a need for us to expand our efforts on keeping brains healthy as people age,” said Henchcliffe. “This is an area in which UCI neurologists lead.”



Henchcliffe earned her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and completed a residency in neurology, and a fellowship in movement disorders at the Neurological Institute of New York.  Henchcliffe completed her DPhil in molecular and cell biology at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, and post-doctoral fellowship in genetics at Cambridge University and UC Berkeley.

About the UCI School of Medicine: Each year, the UCI School of Medicine educates more than 400 medical students, and nearly 150 doctoral and master’s students. More than 700 residents and fellows are trained at UCI Medical Center and affiliated institutions. The School of Medicine offers an MD; a dual MD/PhD medical scientist training program; and PhDs and master’s degrees in anatomy and neurobiology, biomedical sciences, genetic counseling, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and biophysics, and translational sciences. Medical students also may pursue an MD/MBA, an MD/master’s in public health, or an MD/master’s degree through one of three mission-based programs: the Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM), the Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC), and the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). The UCI School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Accreditation and ranks among the top 50 nationwide for research. For more information, visit