Souhel Najjar, MD
Dr. Najjar has achieved international recognition for his clinical, research and teaching expertise. He was featured in the New York Times’ best-selling novel “Brain on Fire,” a memoir written by New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan, who was diagnosed by Dr. Najjar with a rare autoimmune disease in which the body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history. Featured in several nationally syndicated broadcast interviews, Dr. Najjar has been profiled in TLC’s “Mystery Diagnosis” show about a case of microglial-driven epilepsy, and on NBC-TV’s “Today” show and ABC-TV’s “Katie Couric Show” regarding autoimmune encephalitis. He has also been featured in national magazines such as Oprah magazine and Forbes magazine, and has been listed in “Best Doctors” issues published by US News and World Report and New York magazine. He was also honored with Exceptional Parent Magazine’s Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his contributions to the care of children with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, movement disorder and related disabilities.
Prior to his new appointment at the medical school, Lenox Hill and SIUH, Dr. Najjar had served as SIUH’s director of neurosciences and director of stroke since 2006. Previously, he served as director of epilepsy quality assurance and associate professor of neurology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. Dr. Najjar was also director and founder of the Epilepsy Center Division of the NYU Department of Neurology’s Neuroinflammation Research Group.
Dr. Najjar received his medical degree from Damascus Medical School in Syria, and completed residencies in pathology and neurology at Albany (NY) Medical College. In addition, he completed fellowships in neuropathology at the NYU School of Medicine, and epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at NYU’s Hospital for Joint Diseases.
Dr. Najjar has written extensively on topics related to epilepsy, neuroinflammation-related neuropsychiatric disorders and autoimmune disorders of central nervous system, including such peer-reviewed journals as: Trends in Neuroscience, Archives of Neurology, Journal of Neurology, the Journal of Neuroinflammation, Epilepsy & Behavior, Epilepsia, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Research, British Journal of Psychiatry, Journal and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE. In addition, he has spoken at numerous international conferences and symposia. He serves as a reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals and co-director of the Scientific Planning Committee of the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance, Durham, North Carolina.