Paul Larson was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1965. He grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and attended Arizona State University as an undergraduate, where he received his degree in Zoology. He then entered The University of Arizona School of Medicine and the Program in Neuroscience, graduating in 1995. He completed an internship in General Surgery and residency in Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, under the mentorship of Henry Garretson and Christopher Shields. Dr. Larson completed his residency in 2001 and was recruited to the University of California, San Francisco by Mitchel Berger as an Assistant Professor. He is currently Professor and Vice Chair of Neurological Surgery at UCSF, Chief of Neurosurgery at the San Francisco VA Health Care System and Surgical Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC). He specializes in functional neurosurgery, specifically deep brain stimulation and MRI-guided procedures.
Dr. Larson’s research program is built around three core areas of study. He has a long-standing interest in interventional MRI-guided surgery, and is one of the originators of the iMRI technique for stereotactic surgery currently being used for DBS placement, laser ablation and drug delivery. He has had continuous funding for device development and/or clinical trials in interventional MRI since 2003. His group at UCSF has also been at the forefront of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease; they have had a leadership role in more than half of the human trials done worldwide to date, with new programs starting in other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Larson, in collaboration with Dr. Krys Bankiewicz, was the first to perform convection enhanced iMRI-guided delivery of gene therapy to the CNS for Parkinson's disease. Finally, Dr. Larson has a significant interest in the neurobiology of phantom auditory disorders including tinnitus. His team's work led to the discovery of an area in the caudate that is involved in the perception of phantom sounds, and resulted in an NIH-funded phase 1 clinical trial of caudate DBS for tinnitus.