Dr. Ronald J. Mandel was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Duke University, where he obtained a BS in psychology. He then went to the University of Southern California where he studied the behavioral pharmacology of striatal dopamine receptors for his PhD work.
After his PhD, Dr. Mandel did his first post-doctoral fellowship with Drs. Leon Thal and Rusty Gage at University of California, San Diego, where he worked on models of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Mandel became interested in neural transplantation and took a second post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Anders Björklund in Lund, Sweden, where he began studying Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.
In 1991, Dr. Mandel took a job at the University of Illinois as an assistant professor. Shortly thereafter, he took a position at the start-up biotechnology company Somatix Therapy Corporation to aid in developing a gene therapy for Parkinson's disease. He has continued this line of research since 1992, moving back to Sweden for one year in 1998 to complete an important part of this research. This brief return to Sweden was followed by taking an associate professorship in neuroscience and in the Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida in 1998. He was promoted to professor in 2004.