The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders — a collaboration between The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and longtime partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation — launched in 2014 to address a growing need for movement disorder specialists (neurologists with additional training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders).
Every year, the program awards funding to five top-tier medical centers worldwide to each train a new movement disorder clinician-researcher over a two-year period. The movement disorder specialists trained through this program can deliver expert patient care and, at the same time, lead research to better understand and treat their patients’ diseases.
member of MJFF Board of Directors
To date, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders has graduated 16 movement disorder clinician-researchers across the world. Each of these specialists is making significant contributions to the patient, medical and research communities through targeted outreach and meaningful investigations.
Class of 2020
Juliana Coleman, MD
Instructor, Department of Neurology
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Juliana diagnoses and treats patients with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. She focuses on deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery and programming. She plans to pursue a career as a clinician-educator. She currently designs curricula and teaches medical students to perform the neurologic exam more effectively
Grace Crotty, MD, MB BCh BAO, MRCPI
Instructor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School
Attending Neurologist, Assistant in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital
Grace cares for people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Her research explores the interaction between genes and the environment. A better understanding of this relationship could identify disease-modifying therapies for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and lead to the development of preventative trials in at-risk genetic carriers.
Eric Jackowiak, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor in Neurology
Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Eric provides expert, comprehensive clinical care to people living with Parkinson disease. In doing so, he enjoys building connections with patients and their loved ones. His research during the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship examined the impact of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease on the caregiver experience.
Greg Kuhlman, MD, MBA
University of Cincinnati Department of Neurology & Rehabilitation Medicine
Greg’s clinical work is focused on movement disorders with an interest in Parkinson’s disease. His research involves a qualitative and quantitative assessment of existing web-based educational tools for people with Parkinson’s disease and care partners.
Kimberly Kwei, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Movement Disorders Division
New York, New York
Kimberly evaluates and treats patients with a multitude of movement disorders but has a special interest in the various gait disorders that affect patients with Parkinson's disease. Her research centers on examining the underlying neuronal pathways that cause gait dysfunction via neuromodulation systems.
Anne Weissbach, MD
Junior Group Leader, Movement Disorders Unit
Institute of Neurogenetics
Anne has a strong research interest in the neurophysiology of patients with monogenic dystonia and Parkinson’s such as Parkin and PINK1-associated Parkinson’s. She uses transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate motor network alterations and analyzes how they can be modified by therapeutic approaches such as dopaminergic treatment and deep brain stimulation.
Class of 2019
Katie Amodeo, MD
Assistant Professor in Neurology
New York Medical College School of Medicine
Valhalla, New York
Neurologist, MidHudson Regional Hospital, Poughkeepsie, New York and Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York
Katherine evaluates and treats patients with neurological disorders, with a focus in movement and cognitive disorders. Her research focuses on identifying modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment with the goal of mitigating risk for dementia in those with Parkinson’s disease and prodromal dementia with Lewy bodies.
Sarah Horn, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
University of Texas Medical School
San Antonio, Texas
Sarah cares for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Her comparative effectiveness outcomes research focuses on determining which interventions work best for patients to improve the quality of care.
Katherine Leaver, MD
Division of Movement Disorders
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
New York, New York
Katherine diagnoses and manages patients with complex movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism. She also runs several clinical trials. Her main research interests include examining LRRK2 mutation Parkinson’s disease and deep brain stimulation outcomes.
Jessica Weinstein, MD
Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center
San Francisco VA Medical Center
San Francisco, California
Jessica’s medical practice focuses on care for underserved and relatively rural populations in California. She is the only trained movement disorder in the area and actively involved in the sole Parkinson’s disease support group in the region. Jessica is interested in the management of motor, non-motor and palliative care needs of people living with movement disorders.
Natalie Witek, MD, MS
Division of Movement Disorders/Neurology
Natalie divides her time between treating patients with Parkinson’s disease and other immune-mediated movement disorders and researching biomarkers (objective measures to diagnose and track disease). She is particularly focused on studying immune markers in patients with Parkinson’s to help target individuals who might respond better to certain types of treatments.
Class of 2018
David P. Breen, MRCP (Neurol), PhD
Honorary Consultant Neurologist and Senior Clinical Research Fellow
University of Edinburgh
David treats movement disorder patients while leading research into their conditions. He is developing a new program at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic to care for people and connect them to research studies. His research looks to understand genetic and environmental risk factors for Parkinson's as well as the influence of sleep on brain health and how it impacts risk of developing diseases such as Parkinson's.
Marissa Dean, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Marissa evaluates and treats people with all types of movement disorders, including Parkinson's, Huntington's, ataxia and others. She also runs several clinical trials. Her main research interests are the genetics of movement disorders, underrepresented populations in Parkinson's studies, including African-Americans, and the education of patients, families and medical students about Parkinson’s
Lenora Higginbotham, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Lenora divides her time between treating people with movement disorders in the clinic and researching biomarkers (objective measures to diagnose and track disease) in the lab. She is particularly focused on biomarkers for Parkinson’s and atypical parkinsonisms, conditions that can mimic Parkinson’s disease and, like Parkinson’s, do not yet have diagnostic tests.
Christine Kim, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
New Haven, Connecticut
Christine evaluates and treats patients with movement disorders and, at the same time, directs research into these conditions. Her work centers on focal dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions and postures in one body part. She’s especially interested in understanding and treating musicians’ dystonia because of her background as a violinist.
Gerrit Machetanz, MD
University of Tübingen
Gerrit treats patients with Parkinson’s and similar diseases in the Atypical Parkinsonian Disorders Outpatient Ward, a clinic he helped establish. He also serves as an investigator on Parkinson's and other movement disorder trials and is working on separating the different underlying mechanisms of Parkinson's to advance personalized treatment approaches.
Fellows in Training
At the current time, 11 physicians are in training with world-renowned movement disorder specialists at esteemed institutions across the world. During fellowship, individuals hone their diagnostic and treatment skills as well as their investigational abilities so that upon graduation they are experts in both patient care and research.
Whitley Aamodt, MD, MPH
Whitley completed medical school at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio, Texas and neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her research interests include neuroepidemiology, healthcare disparities and the development of community health initiatives for patients with movement disorders. She plans to explore barriers to health care access in underserved populations and to develop interventions to improve care for patients with Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.
Amir Badiei, MD, MS
Amir completed medical school at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri and neurology residency at the Harvard Medical School Neurology Residency Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Within movement disorders, his research interests lie in atypical parkinsonisms, the neurocognitive effects of parkinsonism and brain mapping.
Christopher Caughman, MD
Christopher completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia and neurology residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is eager to expand his knowledge and clinical practice in movement disorders and to contribute to new research opportunities in the field.
Neil Shetty, MD
Neil completed medical school at the University of Illinois in Peoria, Illinois and neurology residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Neil hopes to gain a deeper insight into the experiences of people with Parkinson’s disease, acquire the knowledge and skills to optimally treat patients, and to support participation in clinical trials on disease modifying therapies.
Judith van Gaalen, MD
Judith completed medical school at Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands and neurology residency at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She hopes to gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-level care to patients with movement disorders and is concurrently pursuing a PhD in cerebellar ataxia, which she will complete in 2020.
Aditya Boddu, MD
Aditya completed medical school at Gandhi Medical College in Hyderabad, India and neurology residency at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. As a resident, his interactions with Parkinson’s patients offered profound insights into the human condition and showed him the impact that a well-trained and compassionate physician can have on the lives of patients and their families. As a fellow, he intends to build his clinical acumen as a neurologist and engage in research to further understanding of complex movement disorders.
Conor Fearon, BE, MB, BCh, BAO, MRCPI, PhD
Conor completed medical school at University College Dublin and neurology residency at Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. His PhD focused on understanding the mechanisms involved in freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease. He enjoys the diagnostic challenge of movement disorders, as well as the close relationship one develops with patients. Coming from a technical background, Conor is particularly interested in how technology can be used to better understand Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. He looks forward to becoming part of the growing global network of movement disorder specialists and advance critical research in this area.
Eoin Mulroy, MB, BCh, BAO
Eoin completed medical school at University College Dublin and neurology residency at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since 2018, he has worked as a movement disorder clinical and research fellow at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, England. He is passionate about movement disorder neurology and actively involved in clinical research and has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Chintan Shah, MD
Chintan completed medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas and neurology residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Chintan hopes to continue his growth as a neurologist and focus on building lasting relationships with patients living with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. The fellowship will facilitate his commitment to bridging the gap between basic and clinical research and its clinical application to patients.
Juan Toledo, MD, PhD
Juan completed medical school at University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain and neurology residency at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. During fellowship, Juan hopes to achieve clinical expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders and to start building his career as a movement disorder physician-scientist. He hopes to characterize pre-symptomatic diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and design strategies for the characterization of disease subtypes that could lead to personalized treatments and prognosis.
Pavan Vaswani, MD, PhD
Pavan completed medical school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland and neurology residency through the Harvard Neurology Residency Program at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. He plans to advance the treatment of patients with Parkinson disease and other movement disorders by gaining expertise during his fellowship and conducting clinical research to improve early diagnosis and expand available treatment options.
The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders
Building the Global Base of Movement Disorder Specialists.