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Barbara Jobst Named the Louis and Ruth Frank Professor in Neuroscience

Barbara Jobst, MD, PhD (Photo courtesy of Dartmouth-Hitchcock)

Barbara C. Jobst, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine and section chief in the department of neurology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, has been named the Louis and Ruth Frank Professor in Neuroscience. An internationally recognized pioneer in the treatment of epilepsy and associated memory disorders, Jobst has led the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Epilepsy Center since 2008 and the Epilepsy and Cognition Lab at Geisel since 2013.

“With her innovative research, outstanding patient care, and dedication to educating future physicians and researchers, Barbara embodies the ideals of our medical school and the Louis and Ruth Frank Professorship,” says Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine.

Jobst was one of the principal investigators on a brain stimulator device that reduces seizure activity in patients who do not respond to medication, and her work on the use of brain stimulation to improve memory is part of a larger Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiative for the Department of Defense. She is currently developing cognitive behavioral therapies and self-management tools that help adult patients manage the memory issues that frequently accompany epilepsy. “All of my research,” Jobst says, “benefits the patients I see in clinic.”

The Louis and Ruth Frank Professorship in Neuroscience was established through a generous gift from Brigadier General Louis Frank, his wife, Ruth, and their daughters, Terry Thompson and Lynda Sanders. Following a distinguished career in the military, General Frank returned to his hometown of Lincoln, New Hampshire, in 1959, and was involved in a number of successful business ventures, including the development of Loon Mountain ski area. The Frank family funded the professorship in honor of neurologist James Bernat, MD, in appreciation of the attentive care he and others at Dartmouth-Hitchcock gave to Louis and Ruth over the years. Bernat, now an emeritus professor of neurology and of medicine, was the inaugural holder of the professorship.

One of the highest honors in academic medicine, endowed professorships support the work of key faculty in their multiple roles of physician, teacher, and researcher. While many professorships place an emphasis on research, the Louis and Ruth Frank Professorship in Neuroscience celebrates the importance of preparing young physicians to become exceptional clinicians by supporting excellence in teaching and patient care.

As an instructor and mentor, Jobst works with fellows, residents, medical students, and graduate students at Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, as well as Dartmouth College undergraduates, to develop effective research strategies and to “see the beauty in medicine.”

“I’m very honored to be named the Louis and Ruth Frank Professor of Neuroscience,” says Jobst. “Dr. Bernat was a role model for whom I have great respect, and I look forward to following in his footsteps.”

Originally from Germany, Jobst attended Dartmouth Medical School (now Geisel) for four months as a medical exchange student in 1992. Impressed with teachers such as Dr. Bernat and the academic medical center’s emphasis on clinical care, she returned to the United States in 1996 after earning her medical degree and PhD from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.  She completed her training in neurology and epilepsy at Dartmouth-Hitchcock under Dr. Peter Williamson and built her career here. With Jobst at its helm, the Epilepsy Center was recognized in 2010 as a Level 4 epilepsy center, offering more extensive treatment than any other facility in Northern New England. Additionally, Jobst established the Women’s Seizure Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Jobst serves on the editorial boards of Epilepsia, Neurology, and Epilepsy Currents. She holds or has held leadership positions in several national professional societies, including the American Epilepsy Society, the American Academy of Neurology, the Society of Neuroscience, the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, and the Northern New England Neurological Society.