David Benavides head shot

See Dr. Benavides' faculty profile.

David R. Benavides, MD, PhD – Principal Investigator

Dr. Benavides directs the translational clinical neuroscience research program to investigate immune regulation of neuronal function, with particular interest in autoantibody-mediated neurological syndromes.

Dr. Benavides joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Neurology in April 2017. He earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. As a neuroscience graduate student in the laboratory of James A. Bibb, Ph.D., he employed a multidisciplinary approach using biochemistry, electrophysiology, transgenic rodent models, and animal behavior to study reward signaling, learning and memory, and mood-related behavior.

Dr. Benavides completed adult neurology residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland followed by fellowship training in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He also completed postdoctoral fellowship training in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins in the laboratory of Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., where he used neuronal culture models to investigate the effects of autoantibodies on intracellular signal transduction cascades.

Andres Chavez-Barragan, BS – Research Assistant

Andres received a BS in Molecular Biology from University of Pittsburgh in 2019. He is a medical student in the Class of 2025 at UMSOM.

He joined the Benavides Laboratory in 2022 and works on an animal model of anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

Laboratory Alumni

Postdoctoral Trainees

  • Yuyoung Joo, PhD (2018-2021); Current Position: NIH

Predoctoral Trainees

  • Anna Lin, BS (Spring 2022)
  • Charles A. Dean, BA, MS (2018-2021)


  • Hien Vu, BS, MS – Laboratory Research Technician (2018-2022)
  • Tia Douglass, BS – Laboratory Research Assistant (2017-2018)


  • Niki Gooya, undergraduate student – Research Volunteer (Summer 2020)
  • Julian Peregoff, HS & undergraduate student – Research Volunteer (Summer 2018 & 2020)
  • Sophia Liu, undergraduate student – UM Scholars Program (Summer 2019)
  • Xavia Lemott, undergraduate student – Research Volunteer (Fall 2017)