Dr. Brenda Banwell

Chief of the Division of Child Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics

photo of Dr. Brenda Banwell

Dr. Brenda Banwell is the Chief of the Division of Child Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Banwell is the lead investigator of the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Program (CPDDP; 5 Principal Investigators, 47 collaborating researchers, 15 site investigators), with co-investigators (Drs. Bar-Or, Arnold, Marrie and Yeh) funded by the Multiple Sclerosis of Canada (2004-2020). Dr. Banwell’s research focuses on the clinical features of MS and related disorders, as well as the neuroimaging, biomarker and outcomes features of children. Dr. Banwell served as the pediatric neurologist on the 2010 and now 2017 International MS Panel on MS Diagnosis (“McDonald criteria”), the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials of New Drugs in Multiple Sclerosis, and the National Institute of Health Common Data Elements in MS committee. She is the Director on the Board of the American Academy of Neurology and serves on the Medical Advisory Board for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and on the Medical Advisory Board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.

Learn more about Dr. Banwell

How did you become interested in MS research? What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?

I was inspired by the 5 children with MS who entrusted me with their care at a time when no pediatric MS programs existed worldwide.

What do you enjoy most about doing research and what are some of the challenges you face?

I believe that clinical excellence is predicated on evidence-based care.

Describe the importance and level of collaboration in your research?

My entire career has been collaborative. Pediatric MS is rare-necessitating multi-site teams. Comprehensive research programs require intellectual partnerships.

How important is the support from the MS Society in enabling you to conduct research?

Critical. The MS Society has funded my work continuously since 1999.