Combs named chair of Department of Basic Sciences

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Colin Combs, Ph.D., has been named the chair of the Department of Basic Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Combs is a professor in the department and has worked at the School since 2000.

Combs is a research scientist noted for his study of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. His research is supported by the highest-level grant funding awarded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

“Dr. Combs is an outstanding researcher and teacher,” said Joshua Wynne, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “His focus as chair will be to develop the research and teaching portfolio of each faculty member in the department, grow the research enterprise, and optimize the student experience for learners.”

Combs earned his doctorate from the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester, New York.

As a teacher at the UND SMHS, Combs has received five Block Instructor Awards from medical students in recognition of his outstanding performance in the encouragement, enrichment and education of tomorrow's physicians. His most recent award was in 2015. In 2009, he received the H. David Wilson Academic Award in Neuroscience as well as the UND Spirit Award. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society for Neurochemistry, the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, and the International Society for Neurochemistry.

Combs has collaborated with other researchers and received U.S. and international patents on treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke. He serves on the editorial boards of nine scientific journals dedicated to the study of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and is an invited lecturer for dozens of local, regional and national scientific conferences. He is a grant reviewer for the Alzheimer’s Association, U. S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Science Foundation, the NIH, as well as the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom and the Czech Science Foundation.