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  • Core Faculty

    • Associate Professor; Clinical Chief of Movement Disorders, Neurology ; Director , Comprehensive Parkinson Disease Program

      Veronica Santini, MD distinguishes herself as able to manage the most complex patients with a particular specialization in the multidisciplinary care of Huntington disease and ataxia patients, and in autonomic dysfunction in movement disorders, including multiple system atrophy. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she directed the Stanford Multidisciplinary Huntington Disease and Genetic Ataxia Clinic, an HDSA Center of Excellence, where she oversaw a large and dedicated team of specialists providing truly holistic, patient-centered care. Under her leadership, the clinic received and maintained the prestigious designation as a Huntington Disease Society of America, Center of Excellence since 2015. With a similar multidisciplinary approach, Dr. Santini provided movement disorders patients with innovative therapies, such as initiation of the Stanford Parkinson Disease Duopa Therapy program, pursuit of unified, seamless care for patients with multiple system atrophy, clinical trial investigation (and eventual FDA approval) for focused ultrasound thalamotomy for essential tremor, and therapeutic and neuroprotective trials for PD, MSA, and HD. With this experience, Dr. Santini was recruited to the Yale Clinical Chief of the Movement Disorders Division and Inaugural Director of the Comprehensive Parkinson Disease Care Program. Driven by social justice and providing equitable healthcare, Dr. Santini combines her clinical and educational efforts to launch global neurologic programs. She created a longitudinal, team-based clinical and educational program to provide care to the impoverish nation of Haiti through collaboration and funding from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). This program has delivered increased access to care and continuity of care, as well as expansion of the clinical services and provider expertise since 2013. Education is a paramount component of the program focused on growing the knowledge of local providers and of medical students at the state university. This initiative began the first global health residency training program in Neurology at Boston University, now a training pathway with additional sites in China and India and was a substantial addition to the residency and fellowship programs at Stanford University. In recognition of her leadership and advocacy work, Dr. Santini was selected as a 2016 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Emerging Leader and a 2015 AAN Palatucci Advocate, and now as Chair of the Early Career Leadership Subcommittee. Additionally impassioned about medical education, Dr. Santini has extensive experience as a medical educator. At Stanford, she taught all disciplines to medical students from their first to their graduating years at Stanford, as an Educator 4 C.A.R.E., and as Director of the Required Neurology Clerkship. Dr. Santini has also been an influential educator for neurology residents and fellows and for the expert learner as the Chair of the Continuing Medical Education Committee and a member of the Congress Scientific Programming Committee of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, and a member of the Meeting Management Committee and the eLearning Subcommittee of the AAN. Her national efforts have focused on increasing student understanding of neurologic disease and increasing the medical student pipeline into neurology to fill gaps in neurologic patient care. Due to her efforts, she has won numerous teaching awards, including the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Pre-Clinical Teaching, the Lawrence H. Mathers Award for Exceptional Commitment to Teaching and Active Involvement in Medical Education, the Stanford award for Excellence in Promotion of Humanism, and the Lysa Forno Excellence in Teaching award. With her transition to Yale, she hopes to transform the care of movement disorders patients, building new methods of diagnostic evaluations, multidisciplinary care models, and integrated programmatic community outreach, while growing the faculty in expertise and diversity, elevating the training of movement disorders fellows, continuing to train the next generation of physicians, and magnifying research opportunities that lead to disease modification and impact quality of life
    • Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Neurology) and Neurology; Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Cellular & Molecular Physiology; Director, Pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic, Pediatrics

      Dr. Bamford is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics and Neurology. He attended medical school at the University of Utah and completed his residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical; Center, receiving specific training in general pediatrics and pediatric neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York and Columbia University. He received a professorship at Columbia University and later worked as a physician-scientist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. After spending 13 years in Seattle, he moved to Connecticut in 2015, where he cares for children with neurological disease at Yale University School of Medicine. As Section Chief of Pediatric Neurology, Dr. Bamford oversees a growing and expanding division that is dedicated to serving the children of New England.Dr. Bamford is an NIH-funded physician-scientist who spends time investigating the cause and treatment of neurological diseases in children. Dr. Bamford specializes in the treatment of children with movement disorders and uses novel optical techniques, electrophysiology, and behavioral experiments in the laboratory to determine how part of the brain called the basal ganglia, encodes normal learning and disturbances in movement. The basal ganglia represent a part of the brain that is involved in a number of debilitating neuropsychological diseases, including Tourette syndrome, tic disorder, Parkinsonism, Huntington disease, and substance dependence. He is examining the synaptic mechanisms that underlie these diseases and is evaluating pharmacological alternatives that will help improve treatment for those in need.
    • Instructor

      A 1978 YSM graduate, I am a neurologist/clinical trialist with sub-specialty in Movement Disorders. After 7 years heading the Parkinson and Movement Disorders program at New York-Hospital Cornell, I have spent the majority of his career as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, leading teams in the areas of neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric and retinal disorders at Regeneron, Elan, Cytokinetics and Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Most recently I led a team at Biogen that advanced 3 new compounds into the clinic for potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease. At Biogen I also established a clinical research program in inherited ataxias. My research activities have encompassed efforts to develop novel clinical outcome measures and biomarkers, including digital health technologies for clinical trials. I have served as chair of the ADNI Private Partner Scientific Board, the Industry Scientific Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation-sponsored Parkinson Progression Markers Initiative, and as industry co-chair of the Critical Path for Parkinson’s consortium.  I have authored or-co-authored over 100 papers and book chapters, mostly in the area of neurological and opthalmological therapeutics , especially therapeutic development for Movement Disorders
    • Assistant Professor

      Dr. Hawong is a Movement Disorders Neurologist. She treats patients with various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease, essential tremor, tic disorders/ Tourette’s syndrome, dystonia, ataxia, chorea, etc. Dr. Hawong also has a strong background the areas of Deep brain stimulation (DBS), MRI-guided focused ultrasound, and botulism toxin injection administration. Dr. Hawong is closely involved in the Yale Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Multidisciplinary Deep Brain Stimulation Clinic. She is very proficient in programming the various platforms of DBS such as Abbot, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic. Dr. Hawong also engages in researching the role of deep brain stimulation in patients with levodopa induced dyskinesia in the setting of Parkinson’s Disease. She is currently involved in AAV-GAD gene therapy for advanced Parkinson’s Disease as well. Dr. Hawong’s interest in Neurology became apparent at a young age when her beloved grandmother, who raised her, developed Alzheimer’s Disease. She admired her grandmother who taught her about the value of helping others. Dr. Hawong also recants that “During the Korean War, my city was the only one that survived from the North Korean attack and my grandmother cooked for hundreds of people. “She always said that helping others was a noble thing.”. The memory of her grandmother’s gift of helping others shaped her path to enter the physician scientist program in medical school. Dr. Hawong was able to garner the clinical skills to treat patients and research the genetic therapy in Parkinson’s Disease using AAV-parkin. As an osteopathic physician Dr. Hawong strongly believes in the whole body and mind approach to care. “I treat the patient rather disease process and try to learn about them as much as I can. I also try to understand their lifestyle, support systems, and adversities,” she says. Dr. Hawong speaks Korean and English fluently. Her hobbies include ballet, yoga, and hiking.
    • Associate Professor; Director, Sleep Medicine Laboratory at Connecticut Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Medicine; Director, Yale Center for Restless Legs Syndrome

      A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA, 1995) and Tufts University School of Medicine (MD, 2001), Dr. Koo joined the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine faculty in 2008 and was subsequently recruited to Yale University in 2013. Dr. Koo’s primary clinical and research interest lies at the intersection between neurology and sleep medicine. Dr. Koo is particularly interested in the restless legs syndrome (RLS) and REM sleep behavior disorder and conducts patient-oriented clinical research to determine the underlying pathophysiology of these disorders. Dr. Koo is an international expert in the diagnosis, treatment, and investigation of restless legs syndrome and and treats patients with RLS from across the tri-state area. Currently, Dr. Koo's work focuses on assessing the role of the pro-opiomelanocortin-derived neuropeptides in RLS, and the role of autoimmunity in REM sleep behavior disorder. Other areas of research interest for Dr. Koo include the association between obstructive sleep apnea and wake-up stroke and the effects of cluster headache on quality of life. Dr. Koo is director of the sleep laboratory at the Connecticut Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and the director of the Yale Center for Restless Legs Syndrome, an RLS Foundation sponsored Quality Care Center. Dr. Koo sees patients with sleep disorders at both Yale and the West Haven VA and is dedicated to the care of patients with both neurologic and sleep disorders.
    • Staff Affiliate - YNHH

      Leron is a Physician Assistant in the Functional Neurosurgery and Movement Disorders sections of the departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology, respectively. She sees patients who are considering neuromodulation, in particular deep brain stimulation (DBS), to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. She works closely with patients throughout the DBS evaluation process and does post-surgical DBS programming, ensuring a holistic and comprehensive approach to patient care. She also sees patients who are considering surgical options for functional pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia.
    • Associate Professor of Neurology

      Dr. Patel is a board-certified Neurologist with subspecialty training in Movement Disorders. He obtained his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency in Neurology and served as Chief Resident. He subsequently completed a 2 year fellowship in Movement Disorders at Mount Sinai Hospital. He treats patients with a variety of complex movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, tics, myoclonus and chorea. He has a particular interest in the use of Deep Brain Stimulation and botulinum toxin in the treatment of movement disorders.
    • Assistant Professor of Neurology

      Alice Rusk, MD is a neurologist at the Yale School of Medicine who specializes in movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and gait disorder.Dr. Rusk strives to give patients as much face-to-face time as possible. “It takes time to understand what each person is going through,” she says. She finds it helpful to have a conversation with patients about treatment options so they will feel comfortable and invested in the plan, which is tailored to each person. “Patients will be treated differently based on the different symptoms they might have,” she says. “And I try to provide as much information as possible, including strategies they can use to manage their condition,” she says. Dr. Rusk’s goal is for patients to feel comfortable enough to ask questions. “I want them to know we’re working as a team.”
    • Assistant Professor of Neurology; Associate Program Director, Neurology Residency, Neurology; Program Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship, Neurology

      Dr. Schaefer is a graduate of Brown University and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and an alumna of the Yale Neurology Residency Program. She completed 2 years of subspecialty training in movement disorders at Yale. She has a particular interest in medical education, and completed a Masters of Health Sciences with a focus on medical education in 2019. She has designed an interactive, video-based online training curriculum in movement disorders for residents and medical students that is used by learners all over the world. She serves as co-founder and deputy editor of the MDS podcast, launched January 2019, founder and producer of Neurology Nuts and Bolts: Constructing your Career podcast, launched February 2022, serves as the Movement Disorders Section Head of the Annual Academy of Neurology Resident In-Service Training Examination (RITE) Committee, and as the CME editor for the Movement Disorders Journal.
    • Associate Professor of Neurology

      Dr. Tinaz attended medical school at the University of Istanbul Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey. As a clinical research fellow at the Behavioral Neurology and Movement Disorders Division at the Department of Neurology, Istanbul University, she was an associate investigator and member of the clinical team of the first epidemiological study on Alzheimer's disease in Turkey. She expanded her skills to include neuroimaging as a graduate student of the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory at Boston University. She completed her residency training in Neurology at the Boston University Medical Center. During her fellowship in the Human Motor Control Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, she was involved in the clinical evaluation and care of patients with the full spectrum of movement disorders including Parkinson's disease, dystonia, Tourette's syndrome, essential tremor, and psychogenic movement disorders. She was also the lead investigator of several multimodal neuroimaging projects using functional and structural MRI, and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Dr. Tinaz is a board-certified neurologist and treats patients with various movement disorders with a particular interest in Parkinson's disease. She also conducts multimodal neuroimaging research in movement disorders.
    • Assistant Professor

      Dr. Vives-Rodriguez is a movement disorders and cognitive-behavioral neurologist at Yale Medicine. She cares for patients with various movement disorders such as tremor, Parkinson’s disease, tics, and dystonia. She also specializes in treating patients with memory and other cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementias. Dr. Vives-Rodriguez grew up and completed her medical and residency training in Costa Rica, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Costa Rica. She spent time prior to her fellowship as an attending physician in neurology at the Max Peralta Hospital in Cartago, Costa Rica. In 2018, she completed a 2-year subspecialty training in movement disorders at Yale New Haven Hospital. After her fellowship at Yale and motivated by a further understanding of neurodegenerative disorders, she pursued training in cognitive behavioral neurology in Boston. She then completed 3 years of subspecialty training in cognitive behavioral neurology at Boston University/VA Medical Center. During her training, Dr. Vives-Rodriguez focused on translational and clinical neuroscience research of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Wilson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease focusing on structural and functional brain changes and their relation to clinical manifestations. Dr. Vives-Rodriguez is particularly interested in the behavioral and cognitive aspects of movement disorders and early diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Collaborators

    • Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience

      Sreeganga S. Chandra received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Purdue University. In her postdoctoral research, she pursued her interest in neuronal cell biology and neurodegeneration in the lab of Thomas C. Südhof at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience.
    • Associate Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging; Director, NeuroPET Imaging Program, Radiology and Biomedical Imaging; Medical Director, Yale Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center

      I am a board certified psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist with research work that has been translational in nature and focused on elucidating the underlying pathology of brain conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, substance abuse and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., Parkinson's disease) with an aim to find effective clinical treatments guided by molecular neuroimaging. Studies have included using in vivo PET imaging to investigate the role of neuroreceptors such as dopamine D3, serotonin 1B and 6, MGlur5 and kappa opioid systems, neuroinflammation, and most recently, synaptic density (SV2A) in clinical and nonclinical populations. Ongoing interests include imaging neuropsychiatric and addictive disorders and the demographic, social and environmental factors influencing our brain.
    • Assistant Clinical Professor, Neurology; Director, National VA Parkinson Disease Consortium , West Haven

      Dr. Richardson is an integral member of our esteemed faculty in the Department of Neurology. She serves as the Director of the Movement Disorder’s Division based at Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital at West Haven, a Yale School of Medicine Affiliate. She initially joined the faculty and established her clinical practice at the West Haven VA in 2007 and at Yale in 2008. Dr. Richardson later made a shift from Yale to the VA to assume the full time role as Director of the Movement Disorders Program. Since the inception of the Parkinson's Disease Consortium at the VA in West Haven in 2008, Dr. Richardson has established and maintained a thriving clinical practice specializing in Parkinson’s Disease and other Movement Disorders. She is also a lead injector in the administration therapeutic botulinum toxins. As an injector, she is recognized amongst her peer for her level of expertise. As a sub-specialist in Movement Disorders, she receives many referral s from Neurologist in the state of CT, NY, MA and RI. Dr. Diana Richardson is considered a leader in her field both locally and nationally. Nationally, she has served as the interim Medical director for the National American Parkinson’s Disease Association Connecticut Chapter. She is the Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Consortium at West Haven which functions under the auspices of the national VA Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers network. Locally she has been coordinator of clinical Research- for the Yale Neurology Movement Disorders Division, 2008-2015. Dr. Richardson is regularly invited as a guest lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine (Physician and Physician’s Assistants programs); Yale school of Nursing; and, Yale and West Haven VA Departments of Medicine, Geriatrics and Neuropsychology. Dr. Richardson has been also been an advocate to encourage healthcare providers, patients and caregivers to be active participants in management of medical illnesses. She promotes education and support group activities within the medical and non-medical communities. At several of these programs has been the guest speaker.
    • Senior Director, Clinical Research, Translational Research; Director, Clinical Research, Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders; Assistant Clinical Professor

      Dr. Russell is a neurologist specializing in movement disorders, dementias, and other neurodegenerative disorders. He is working full-time within a clinical research institute, devoted entirely to clinical research on diseases with major unmet needs. As a former director of the Yale Movement Disorders Consultation Clinic, he continues to work closely with other area neurologists and researchers to try to help improve the future for people with these diseases. Referrals to the Institute for Negenerative Disorders for potential research participation can be made most efficiently through the patient's treating neurologist or other physician.
    • George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Depression Research Program; Co-Director, Yale New Haven Hospital Interventional Psychiatry Service

      Dr. Sanacora completed an NIH sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the State University New York at Stony Brook, earning his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics in 1992 and his M.D. degree in 1994. He then moved to Yale University where he completed his internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program Residency in the Department of Psychiatry, and an NIH funded Neuroimaging Scientist Training Program Fellowship. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of the Yale Depression Research Program. Dr. Sanacora’s work is concentrated largely on elucidating the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with mood and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Much of his recent research has focused on identifying the contributions of the amino acid neurotransmitter systems (GABA and Glutamate) to the neurobiology of mood disorders and the mechanism of antidepressant action. Specifically, his basic science laboratory employs rodent models to explore the effects of chronic stress on cellular and molecular biology, and examines the molecular, cellular and behavioral effects of novel treatment strategies targeting these affected systems. His clinical laboratory employs novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy methodologies and pharmacological challenge paradigms to identify abnormalities in the function of the amino acid neurotransmitter systems in individuals suffering from mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, he is involved in several early phase clinical trials designed to test the clinical efficacy of newly developed therapeutic agents.
    • Professor of Medicine; Medical Director, Adult Liver Transplant, Yale New Haven Transplantation Center

      Michael Schilsky, MD, became medical director of liver transplantation at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2007, with appointments in medicine and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Schilsky received his medical degree from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency and fellowship in gastroenterology and research training in liver diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. His clinical and research interests include transplant hepatology, inherited metabolic disorders of the liver, Wilson disease and hemochromatosis. Dr. Schilsky previously served as director of the liver medicine clinic at the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center and medical director for liver transplantation at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he developed a comprehensive program for the care and evaluation of liver transplant patients. Dr. Schilsky coauthored the AASLD practice guidelines for Wilson disease and is author of numerous original manuscripts and reviews.
    • Associate Professor of Neurology; Division Chief, Neuropsychology; Associate Training Director, Postdoctoral Residency Program, Neuropsychology

      Dr. Sharp is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and associate professor in the Department of Neurology. She obtained her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California and completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at VA Boston Healthcare System. She is committed to providing excellent quality care to patients and the families of individuals who have experienced cognitive changes. As both a clinician and a researcher, she is broadly interested in aging and cognition including neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia as well as exceptional aging. Her research has focused on the relationship between cognitive engagement and cognitive decline with specific interest in interventions designed to delay and reduce the functional implications of cognitive impairment. More recent research has examined psychometric properties of screening measures for dementia and the relationship between novel neuroimaging techniques and neuropsychological measures of cognition.
  • Movement Disorders Current Fellows

  • Administrative Staff