Dr. King

Dr. King graduated from Duke University and an MD from Duke University Medical School. He completed a residency in Neurology at Duke University and a molecular biology fellowship in Dr. Jack Keene’s laboratory at Duke. He completed a clinical neuromuscular fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. He is currently professor and vice chair of Neurology at UAB, and chief of neurology at the Birmingham Veterans Administration Medical Center. He is board certified in Neurology with special qualifications in clinical neurophysiology. Dr. King has a passion for music, and plays classical guitar.

Lab Focus

Cytoplasmic translocation of HuR in astrocytes in the epicenter of a mid-thoracic spinal cord contusion 24 hours after injury (J Neurotrauma, 2017)

My laboratory interests have centered on mechanisms of growth factor and cytokine mRNA stabilization/translational efficiency in normal and pathophysiological states within the central and peripheral (neuromuscular) systems.  This level of gene regulation directly controls cytokine production, including major inflammatory factors IL-1b, IL-6 and TNF-a, that affect a wide range of neurological diseases. We have focused on acute (spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, and stroke) and chronic (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) neurological diseases and glioblastoma (GBM) to study the impact of posttranscriptional regulation on disease progression. Our studies center around two major RNA regulators, HuR and TTP, that bind to adenine and uridine-rich elements in the 3′ UTR to regulate the stability and translational efficiency of the mRNA. Posttranscriptional regulation is a major determinant of the inflammatory “profile” of astrocytes and microglia, and targeting HuR, a major RNA stabilizer, may provide a therapeutic effect in a wide range of neurological diseases.  Our research team has developed a class of small molecule inhibitors that block HuR translocation to the cytoplasm in activated glia. This suppresses the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines which drive tissue injury. Our long term goal is to develop these inhibitors for treatment of acute and chronic neurological diseases driven by neuroinflammation.

My clinical interests center on ALS and other neuromuscular diseases, and I oversee a multidisciplinary ALS clinic at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. I have developed a translational research program characterizing ALS muscle biomarkers ranging from proteins to non-coding RNAs. Our goals are two-fold: (1) to identify biomarkers that can track disease progression in ALS patients and assist in assessing the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in clinical trials, and (2) characterizing the biology of these markers to provide insight into mechanisms of disease onset and progression. This work is based on an extensive archive of human ALS and control tissues that I have developed over the past decade.


  • Department of Neurology
  • Birmingham VA Medical Center
  • Department of Genetics
  • Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology
  • Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Comprehensive Neuroscience Center
  • Center for Glial Biology in Medicine
  • Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics (CNET)


Refer to Pubmed, google etc