Ralph H.B. Benedict, PhD, is the 2021 Stockton Kimball Award honoree.

Neuropsychology, MS Expert Wins Stockton Kimball Award

Published June 9, 2021

story by bill bruton

Ralph H.B. Benedict, PhD, professor of neurology, has received the 2021 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific achievement and service.


International Recognition

“Dr. Benedict more than fulfills the criteria for the Stockton Kimball Award that recognizes a professional career of consistent academic accomplishment, a national and international recognition for scholarship, and significant research contributions,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in presenting the award.

“Dr. Benedict is widely recognized for his impactful research on the altered psychological, behavioral and cognitive consequences of multiple sclerosis (MS),” Cain added. “His work has had a major impact in the development of groundbreaking neuropsychological tests, and defining the correlation of brain pathology detected with MRI imaging to cognitive dysfunction in patients with MS.”

Benedict’s novel and innovative research on cognitive dysfunction in MS has led to new understanding and the means to quantify this understudied aspect of the disease.

He is also a consultant to the National Hockey League and the National Football League for neuropsychological dialogue pertaining to head trauma.

Lauded for Creative Scholarship, MS Research

Benedict has more than 30 years of research experience in clinical neuropsychology. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles in his field. He helped develop several neuropsychological tests that show his ability to conduct research on problems that are central to the field but also meet practical need.

His collaboration with brain imaging experts at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center and the Jacobs Institute connected MRI and multiple spheres of psychological function in MS, including personality, psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairment.

Benedict’s work was the first to clearly show that deep gray matter atrophy is the primary driver of cognitive dysfunction in MS. His continuing work extended the observations and confirmed the contributions of brain region atrophy to predicting neuropsychological impairment in MS patients.

Benedict was the first to quantify cognitive decline and recovery associated with relapse activity in MS. The tool used for this research has brought cognition into the phase 3 clinical trial space for disease modifying therapy.

He led a landmark study accounting for mental/cognitive and physiological measures that can predict the quality of life for MS patients. He also had a leading role in the development of the Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in MS, and the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS, both gold standards in clinical practice and research. He has successfully used these tools to help MS patients manage employment problems.

Trainees Earn Prestigious Research Awards

Benedict joined the UB faculty as an assistant professor in 1992 and rose through the ranks to professor of neurology in 2006.

His teaching experience at UB includes lectures in neuroscience and advanced neurology courses, participation as an instructor in fellowship mentoring, clinical practica and other graduate research supervision.

His trainees have been recognized by the Bacelli Award for the most outstanding research by a medical student and the Nelson Butters Award from the International Neuropsychological Society.

He is a senior member of the graduate faculty and director of the UB clinical neuropsychology program.

He has earned local, national and international honors for his research on MS, including being named the 2016 recipient of the International Neuropsychological Society Mid-Career Award.

Benedict received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in scholarship and creative activities in 2015.

Benedict received his bachelor of science degree in psychology from Ohio State University, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Arizona State University. He completed postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in clinical neuropsychology, received his diploma from the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, and is board certified by the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology.

Award Honors Former Medical School Dean

Benedict accepted the honor June 1 at the M&T Auditorium during the Jacobs School’s Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards celebration.

He will deliver the Stockton Kimball Lecture in 2022.

The award and lecture recognize an outstanding scholar and researcher who has also contributed significantly to the school. It is named in memory of Stockton Kimball, MD ’29, dean of the medical school from 1946 to 1958.