June 2, 1998
John Griffin, M.D., professor of neurology and one of the world's leading experts in peripheral nerve disorders, has been named director of the Department of Neurology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine effective June 1.
"We're confident that Dr. Griffin will maintain the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as a leader in the development of new and innovative therapies for neurologic disorders," said search committee chairman George Dover, M.D., director of pediatrics.
Griffin, who served as interim director, has conducted research into how nerves respond to injury and how they regenerate and recover their function. He has focused on diseases of the peripheral nerves, which are among the most frequent neurologic diseases and can result from a wide variety of causes, including diabetes, immune system dysfunction, toxins and other medical conditions such as AIDS.
Griffin has been a leading figure in studies of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease in which the immune system attacks nerves that can lead to rapidly evolving paralysis of the legs, arms, face and breathing in previously healthy individuals. He has led trials of the use of plasmapheresis -- removal, cleansing and replacement of blood plasma to eliminate immune system components that contribute to Guillain-Barré syndrome. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, he has recently studied the immunological mechanisms that produce the disease.
Griffin, 55, a native of Lincoln, Neb., earned his M.D. from Stanford University in 1968, completed his medical internship and residency there, and came to Hopkins for his neurology residency, completed in 1973. After two years at the National Institutes of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, he returned to Hopkins in 1975. He was named Hopkins professor of neurology and neuroscience in 1986, and in 1989 became associate director of the Department of Neurology.
Past awards include the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professors Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1986, and the Jacob K. Javits Award of the National Institutes of Neurological Diseases and Stroke in 1987.
Griffin is chairman of the Long-range Planning Committee and first vice president of the American Neurological Association, and a member of the medical advisory board of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is also a member of Hopkins' clinical scientists' award, faculty practice reorganization and professorial promotion committees.
He lives in Hunt Valley, Md., with his wife, Diane Griffin, M.D. An electronic copy of a photograph is available.