Stephen A. Back, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine
  • Clyde and Elda Munson Professor of Pediatric Research, Pediatrics, School of Medicine
  • Pediatric Neurology Residency Program


Dr. Stephen Back received his M.D. and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of California, Irvine. He completed a Pediatric Residency at UC Irvine and trained in Pediatric Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. While in Boston, Dr. Back developed his interest in neonatal neurology and brain injury in the premature infant through fellowship training in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Volpe and a clinical fellowship in cerebral palsy supported by the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation. While studying with Dr. Volpe, Dr. Back undertook a series of studies that have defined cellular and molecular mechanisms related to the pathogenesis of cerebral white matter injury and PVL in premature infants. Dr. Back's studies of the causes of brain injury in premature infants are ongoing in his laboratory at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Pediatric Research Laboratories at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). These studies are currently supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association. 

Dr. Back is internationally recognized for pioneering studies that have identified the oligodendrocyte progenitor as the major cell type that is killed in regions of cerebral white matter damage in survivors of premature birth. A central concept that has emerged from his studies is that cellular maturational factors account for the timing and distribution of injury to the developing cerebral white matter. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including a Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society, a Bugher Award from the American Heart Association and a Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology and Anesthesiology at OHSU, the Director of the Pediatric Neurosciences Research Program and on the staff of Shriner's Hospital in Portland where his clinical practice focuses on care of children with cerebral palsy and other chronic neurological disabilities. 

Education and training

    • M.D., 1990, University of California at Davis School of Medicine
  • Residency

    • University of California, Irvine Medical Center
  • Fellowship

    • Fellowship in pediatric neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Certifications

    • Pediatric neurology, 1997

Areas of interest

  • Research on mechanisms of brain injury due to prematurity


Elsevier pure profile


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