Clinical Science Subcommittee


Clinical Science Subcommittee  


Michael Okun, MD

David Standaert, MD, PhD


Oscar Bernal, MD

Per Borghammer, MD, PhD  

Nabila Dahodwala, MD
Susan Fox, PhD  

Vanessa Hollanda, MD, PhD

Benzi M. Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN

Daniel Martinez-Ramirez, MD

Joy Milne, RN

Jose Obeso, MD

Per Odin, MD, PhD

Genko Oyama, MD, PhD

Maria Cecilia Peralta, PhD

Mayela Rodríguez Violante, MD

Susan Schneider, MD

Maria Stamelou, MD

Jun Takahashi, MD, PhD

Eduardo Tolosa, MD

Daniel Weintraub, MD

Caroline Williams-Gray, MD

Fred Woodleif, DDS

Michael Okun

Michael Okun, MD received his M.D. with honors from the University of Florida. He was fellowship trained by Mahlon DeLong, Jerrold Vitek and Ray Watts at Emory University in Atlanta GA before moving to found the movement disorders program at the University of Florida. He is currently Chair of Neurology, Professor and Executive Director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at the University of Florida Health College of Medicine. The UF institute he co-founded with Kelly D. Foote, M.D. is unique in that it is comprised of over 100 interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research. Dr. Okun was instrumental in the construction of a one-stop patient-centered clinical-research experience for national and international patients seeking care at the University of Florida.  This change in care and research delivery has since been named the service and science hub model of care. The UF based center draws national and international visitors interested in deploying this innovative clinical-research model. Dr. Okun has served as the National Medical Director for the Parkinson’s Foundation since 2006 and as the Medical Advisor for Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure. He has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Smallwood Foundation, the Tourette Association of America, the Parkinson Alliance, the Bachmann-Strauss Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Dr. Okun has an active research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features and currently holds two NIH R01 grants and several foundation grants exploring various aspects of deep brain stimulation and neuromodulation. Dr. Okun has been an integral part of some of the pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of brain stimulation and since 2005 his laboratory has been working to uncover the electrical brain signals associated with human tic. He has also partnered with Dr. Ayse Gunduz and Kelly Foote to develop a first generation of closed loop adaptive deep brain stimulation approaches. Dr. Okun was the founding PI for the International Database and Public Registry for Tourette Deep Brain Stimulation. He and his group have contributed data to support the FDA approval of several device related approaches now used to treat human disease. Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Professorship in Neurology and has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles.  He is a poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995) and his book, Parkinson's Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life, was translated into over 20 languages. Dr. Okun was recognized in a 2015 White House ceremony by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for Parkinson’s Disease.

David StandaertDavid Standaert, MD, PhD  graduated from Harvard College and received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. Following Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, he was appointed a Howard Hughes Fellow and completed a three-year research and clinical fellowship in Movement Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School from 1995 to 2006 and then relocated to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Currently he is the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology and a senior member of the faculty of the Division of Movement Disorders. He is Director of the Alabama Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson Research, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Parkinson Disease Association, an Associate Editor of the journal Movement Disorders, a Fellow of both the American Neurological Association and the American Academy of Neurology, a Councilor of the Association of University Professor of Neurology, and a member of the NIH/NINDS Board of Scientific Counselors. His laboratory works on understanding both the root causes of Parkinson’s disease as well as the origin of the disabling symptoms that appear after long term treatment of the disease.  


Oscar Bernal, MD

Per Borghammer

Per Borghammer, MD, PhD is a professor of Nuclear Medicine & Neuroscience, Medical Faculty of Aarhus University. He specializes in clinical imaging of neurodegenerative disorders, in particular Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Borghammer’s research involves understanding the early and prodromal phase of Parkinson’s disease (PD). His research focuses mainly on the etiopathogenesis of PD, in particular the prion-like spreading of alpha-synuclein and whether PD in some cases originates in the peripheral autonomic nervous system. Dr. Borghammer employs a highly multi-disciplinary approach, including in depth characterization of patient cohorts using multi-modality imaging, histological studies of archived patient tissues, epidemiological studies, and mechanistic studies in experimental animal models of PD. In addition, his group is developing a range of PET tracers and other objective imaging markers to study non-motor dysfunction in PD. Most notably, he pioneered the development of novel PET imaging techniques to quantify the loss of parasympathetic innervation to internal organs.
Dr. Borghammer’s research is funded by the Lundbeck foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Danish Research Council, and Danish Parkinson Association. 

Nabila Dahodwala, MD

Susan Fox, PhD

Vanessa Hollanda, MD, PhD

Daniel MartinezBenzi M. Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN is a Professor of Neurology and Medicine and Founding Director of the Palliative Care Research Center and Neuropalliative Care Division at the University of Rochester. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering efforts in the emerging field of neuropalliative care, particularly for his work in applying palliative care principles in the care of people living with Parkinson's disease. He has also led research to improve our understanding and treatment of nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease, specifically fatigue and cognitive impairment. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Department of Defense.
Daniel Martinez

Daniel Martinez-Ramirez, MD currently works as a Clinical and Research Professor of Neurology at Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. He is distinguished by the National System of Researchers as Level II and Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. He is currently a member of the Moving Along Editorial Board. Dr. Martinez-Ramirez received his MD from the UANL, Mexico in 2005. He completed an internship at BUAP and his Neurology residency at Tecnologico de Monterrey in 2012. He trained in Movement Disorders at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Mexico for one year and at the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, University of Florida for two additional years. He is a former University of Florida Assistant Professor. Dr. Martinez-Ramirez has published over 60 research articles and is co-author of the Amazon Best-seller Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life (Spanish version). His research interest is focused on non-motor aspects of Parkinson’s disease.

Joy MilneJoy Milne, RN has been given the title of “Super Smeller”. It is a genetic trait of Hyperosmia with Synesthesia, resulting in an acute sense of smell, with related effects. Living with Parkinson’s disease for over 32 years, Joy first smelt a change in her Husband’s odor twelve years before he was diagnosed. It was only while attending their first Parkinson’s UK meeting that Joy realised that the other people in the room with Parkinson’s had the same smell. As a Doctor and a Nurse Joy and Les realised the importance that this could have in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Since that time, Joy’s ability has inspired research at the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh. She is currently working part time as a Research Associate in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, on BBSRC and Research England funded programs to produce a confirmatory diagnostic test for PD. She has made numerous media appearances and is an advocate for patients and for YoPD.

Jose ObesoJose Obeso, MD  graduated in Medicine and also obtained his PhD at the University of Navarra, specialized in neurology and neurophysiology. He was trained as a neurologist and researcher in Parkinson's disease and Movement Disorders with Professor C. David Marsden at the Institute of Psychiatry and Kings College Hospital, London (United Kingdom). He has developed much of his career at the University of Navarra, and, in the last 5 years, is the Director of CINAC, Center for Integrative Neurosciences, located at the Puerta del Sur hospital (Móstoles) as part of HM Hospitals group. He heads one of the most significant laboratories in the world on the pathogenesis and treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD), recently focused on the origin of cell's vulnerability. Dr. Obeso has also contributed to the education of future neuroscientists. To date, he has trained more than 70 young people and PhD students in Neurology and Movement Disorders, as well as in Neurosciences. In his role as a neurologist, he has been responsible for the neurology clinical teaching of medical students and supervisor of young doctors. Currently, he is full Professor of Neurology at the CEU San Pablo University.
Per Odin, MD, PhD finished medical school at the Uppsala University, Sweden 1982, then presented his PhD thesis at the same university in 1987. He became specialist in Neurology 1993 at the Lund University, Sweden and got his first Professorship at the Medical School Hannover, Germany in 1998. Odin is now Professor of Neurology and head of the Division of Neurology at Lund University, Sweden. Odin has focused his interest on Movement Disorders since 1987 and his main research areas concern continuous dopaminergic stimulation, pump therapies for Parkinson´s disease (PD), non-motor PD symptoms and cell transplantation in PD. Odin is chair of the Scandinavian Movement Disorder Society and scientific secretary of the Swedish Movement Disorder Society.
Genko Oyama

Genko Oyama, MD, PhD is an associate professor of the Department of Neurology at Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine. He has been a courtesy Associate professor of the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida.
Dr. Oyama graduated from Saitama Medical University in 2002 and completed his residency in neurology at Juntendo University Hospital and affiliated institutes in 2006 under Professor Yoshikuni Mizuno. He studied neurophysiological analysis of genetic mice model of Parkinson’s disease under Professor Nobutaka Hattori, and obtained his PhD degree from Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine in March 2010. He completed his movement disorder fellowship under Professor Michael Okun at the University of Florida, Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration. USA, from 2009 to 2011. He has participated in movement disorders unit at Juntendo University.
Dr. Oyama’s research interests have been focused on the neuromodulation technology, particularly deep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders and neuromodulation using optogenetic and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). In addition, he is also conducting research projects for information communication technology and telemedicine for movement disorders. He has been a member of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) since 2009. He was elected a member of International LEAders Program for young movement disorder neurologists (MDS LEAP Program) in 2015, and has served as a member of Continuing Medical Education (CME) committee and LEAP steering committee since 2017. He has been a fellow of American Academy of Neurology (AAN) since 2018.

Maria Cecilia Peralta

Maria Cecilia Peralta, PhD  is an associate professor of the Department of Neurology at CEMIC University Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Peralta completed his residency in neurology at the Centro Neurológico Dr. Thomson, French Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the direction of Professor Oscar Gershanik. She continued her movement disorders fellowship under the direction of Professor Werner Poewe at the Medical University of Innsbruck from 2003 to 2005. She developed research projects on Vascular Parkinsonism, the relationship of the use of Dopaminergic Agonists in Parkinson´s Disease (PD) and the occurrence of heart valve disease and the association between PD and Restless Legs. Currently she is the Head of the PD and Movement Disorders Clinic at CEMIC University Faculty of Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Peralta’s research interests have been focused on clinical research in PD, Atypical Parkinsonism and Neuroimaging in Movement Disorders. She conducted the first research study using FDOPA-PET imaging in PD in Argentina. In addition, she is also conducting research projects on deep brain stimulation for PD and movement disorders focusing on the non-motor symptoms response. She has been a member of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) since 2005. She has served as a member of the MDS-Neuroimaging Study Group since 2015 and as a member of the Pan American Section- MDS Executive Committee since 2019.

Mayela Rodríguez ViolanteMayela Rodríguez Violante, MD is an attending neurologist at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City. Movement disorders training at the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona. Master in Sciences granted by the UNAM. Member of the National Research System (SNI level 3). Adjunct Secretary 2019-2020 of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. Councilor of the Mexican Board of Neurology. Principal Professor of the Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorders high specialty course. Member of the IPMDS International Executive Committee 2017-2021.
Susanne Schneider

Susanne Schneider, MD is a consultant neurologist, movement disorders expert and Professor at the LMU University of Munich. She obtained her medical degree from the University in Freiburg, Germany, and a Ph.D. degree from UCL London. Having gained clinical experience in England (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Charing Cross), the US (Duke Unversity), France (Pitie Salpetriere Paris and CHU Poitiers), Austria (Vienna) and Switzerland (Lucerne) she has a broad clinical and academic experience. She has a great passion for research into the pathophysiology of (Mendelian) genetic disorders and continues her keen research interest in clinically-applied genetics. Lately, she has been working on lysosomal storage diseases and their associated risk for developing late-onset neurodegenerative disease. She has published more than 170 papers, 30 chapters and co-edited four books and serves on the boards of several international societies and journals. 

Maria Stamelou

Maria Stamelou, MD completed medical studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2002), and after a mandatory rural medical service in Greece (2003-2004), completed Neurology training (2005-2010) and Doctoral studies (2005-2009) at the University Neurology Clinic in Marburg, Germany. She has been assistant Professor (2010-2014), and Professor (since 2017). From 2010 to 2013, having received a research fellowship from the European Federation of Neurological Societies, she specialized in Parkinson’s disease and other Movement Disorders as a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, Queen Square, UK. Currently, she is the Head of Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorders Department at HYGEIA Hospital, Athens, Greece, where, with my team, we maintain a large clinic of patients with Movement Disorders and conduct clinical trials. Our research focuses on the study of pathophysiology, differential diagnosis and biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases, mostly Parkinson's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, but also clinical genetics of Parkinsonism and other Movement Disorders. She is a writer or co-author of more than 150 articles in international journals (h-index: 41) and have edited books in Movement Disorders. She has been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences on Parkinson's disease and other Movement Disorders.

Jun Takahashi

Jun Takahashi, MD, PhD is a professor and deputy director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. He graduated from the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine in 1986 and thereafter started his career as a neurosurgeon at Kyoto University Hospital. After he earned his Ph.D. from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Salk Institute (Dr. Fred Gage), CA, U.S.A., where he started research work on neural stem cells. After returning to Kyoto University Hospital, he conducted functional neurosurgery including deep brain stimulation and also research work on stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease. In 2012, he became a full professor at CiRA, pursuing stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease patients. As a physician-scientist, he has laid the groundwork for the clinical application of iPS cells by developing effective differentiation protocols to dopaminergic neurons, selective sorting of the differentiated dopaminergic progenitor cells, and optimization of the host brain environment to maximize the survival and function of the transplanted cells in rodent and monkey brains. Based on these achievements, he started the world’s first clinical trial for Parkinson’s disease using iPS cells in 2018.

Eduardo Tolosa

Eduardo Tolosa, MD obtained his MD degree from the University of Barcelona and received his neurological training at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He is a founding member and past President of the Movement Disorder Society. He is also past President of the Spanish and of the European Neurological Society.  He is the recipient of the  American Academy of Neurology  2014 Movement Disorders Research Award. Prof. Tolosa is currently Vice Director of Research of the Centro de Investigacion en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Spain,  Emeritus Professor at the University of Barcelona and Neurology consultant Hospital Clinic Universitary.

Professor Tolosa’s research interests are in movement disorders. He was involved in pioneering studies defining the mechanisms underlying levodopa-related motor fluctuations and  the role of DAT SPECT in the diagnosis of Parkinson disease  and his team has been among the first in Europe to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease, such as subthalamic nucleus stimulation, subcutaneous dopamine agonist infusions and intraduodenal infusions of levodopa. Areas of current research include assessment of non-motor  symptoms in asymptomatic  carriers of Parkinson-associated  genetic mutations and the study of diagnostic  biomarkers in premotor  Parkinson disease.

Daniel Weintraub

Eduardo Tolosa, MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Psychiatrist at the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.  A board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, he conducts clinical research in the psychiatric and cognitive complications of Parkinson’s disease.  He serves on multiple task forces and working groups of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (IPMDS), chairs the Cognitive-Behavioral Workgroup of the Fox Foundation-funded Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, is an Advisor to the Critical Path for Parkinson’s Consortium (CPP), and is Associate Editor of Movement Disorders Journal.

Caroline Williams-Gray

Caroline Williams-Gray, MD is an MRC Clinician Scientist and Honorary Consultant Neurologist based in the UK. She completed undergraduate medical training at the University of Cambridge and then Oxford Clinical School in 2001, and obtained her PhD from Cambridge in 2008. She is now a Principal Investigator in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Cambridge University. The overarching aim of her research is to better understand the clinical heterogeneity of Parkinson’s disease and the underlying biological basis of this, with the ultimate goal of developing more targeted therapies for different Parkinson’s subtypes. Using epidemiological, functional neuroimaging and genetic approaches, her work to date has defined and characterised distinct cognitive syndromes in PD, and developed predictive tools for dementia risk and poor outcome which can be used on an individual patient basis. Her research group now primarily focuses on the role of the immune system in mediating clinical variability in PD and PD dementia; through studying blood and CSF-based markers, PET neuroimaging and neuropathology in stratified PD cohorts. She is also leading a clinical trial of the immunosuppressive drug, azathioprine, for Parkinson’s disease.

Fred Woodleif

Fred Woodleif, DDS was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia.  After receiving a biology degree at The College of William and Mary, he completed his D.D.S. training at The Medical College of Virginia in 1976.  Most of his 33 year career was spent practicing family and cosmetic dentistry in a large multi-specialty group practice until his retirement in 2009.  He holds Fellowship and Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, a worldwide organization emphasizing continuing dental education.  He was an adjunct clinical professor for 10 years at the MCV/VCU School of Dentistry. Dr. Woodlief was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 56.  Dr. Woodlief is a member of the Richmond Movers and Shakers.In 2016 he began what has become a yearly involvement with the PD SELF program (Self Efficacy Learning Forum out of Denver as the lead facilitator for this 9 month course for new PD patients.


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