Pediatric neurologist selected as first holder of Once Upon a Time Foundation Professorship

By Remekca Owens

Dr. Juan Pascual, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, Physiology, and Pediatrics, has been named the inaugural holder of the Once Upon a Time Foundation Professorship in Pediatric Neurologic Diseases.

Dr. Juan Pascual, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Juan Pascual, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Pascual’s research, patient care, and passion for treating children with some of the most rare, complex, and severe pediatric neurological diseases has earned him the distinction. An internationally renowned neurologist and researcher, he also serves as Principal Investigator of the Rare Brain Disorders Clinic and Laboratory.

“I am so honored to be the first recipient of this professorship,” Dr. Pascual said. “I also see it as a wonderful challenge to me and my colleagues to continue producing impactful research. This type of support is so important because it allows us to do the kind of research that we typically would not have the resources to investigate.”

Dr. Pascual’s efforts focus on identifying mostly young, but also adult, patients from around the world with undiagnosed genetic and degenerative brain diseases. His other clinical and basic research interests include synaptic physiology, glucose metabolism, mitochondrial and multi-organ disorders, human brain development, MRI of the brain, and brain metabolism.

“Dr. Pascual is an extraordinary clinician and brain scientist,” said Dr. Mark Goldberg, Chairman of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Director of the Beatrice Menne Haggerty Center for Research on Brain Injury and Repair in Strokes. “His work advances our understanding of rare neurologic diseases and offers hope for new therapies.”

Dr. Pascual received his medical degree from the Universidad de Granada in Spain and his Ph.D. in molecular physiology and biophysics from Baylor College of Medicine. His postdoctoral research was conducted at the Center for Molecular Recognition, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and at the Colleen Giblin Research Laboratories for Pediatric Neurology at the same institution under a Neurological Sciences Academic Development Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Dr. Pascual completed his residency in pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine/St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and in neurology and pediatric neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York/Columbia University Medical Center. He has also received certification in neurology with special qualification in child neurology from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has been inducted into several professional academies for his interests in the humanities in general, and in philosophy in particular. 

Since 2002, the Once Upon a Time Foundation has made gifts and pledges of more than $4.1 million in support of UT Southwestern. The medical center’s neurology programs received a gift of $1 million in 2006 to accelerate efforts to study epileptic seizures and the nerve cell loss caused by multiple sclerosis.   

Dr. Goldberg holds the Linda and Mitch Hart Distinguished Chair in Neurology.