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 10 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 2019
Katie Amodeo, MD
Assistant Professor in Neurology, with a secondary appointment in psychiatry
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
Katie evaluates and treats patients with movement disorders, with a focus in memory care. She is the director of a Duopa center and serves as an investigator for several clinical trials. Katie’s research focuses on identifying modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment with the goal of mitigating risk for dementia.
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 launched 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
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 Breen, BSc (Hons), MBChB, MRCP (Neurol), PhD
Honorary Consultant Neurologist
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 and underrepresented populations in Parkinson's studies, including African-Americans.
Lenora Higginbotham, MD
Senior Associate of Movement Disorders
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
Instructor 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, 16 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.
Juliana Coleman, MD
Juliana completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia and neurology residency at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. As a medical student, Juliana learned about the personal relationship between patients with neurologic diseases and their physicians. She says, “Patient experiences are imbued with mystery and our ability to improve their lives depends on our ability to listen to their stories and interpret their exams.” She plans to hone her listening and interpreting skills to help people with movement disorders.
Grace Crotty, MB, BCh, BAO, MRCPI
Grace completed medical school at University College Cork in Ireland and neurology residency through the Harvard Neurology Residency Program at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. She plans to not only become well-versed in recognizing and treating her patients’ conditions, but also to explore environmental factors that influence the development of Parkinson’s and potential biomarkers for those not yet diagnosed.
Eric Jackowiak, MD
Eric completed medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana and neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eric’s exposure to a movement disorders clinic in medical school led him to a career in neurology. He plans to pursue the clinical care of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders and conduct clinical research that furthers field-wide knowledge and improves patient care.
Greg Kuhlman, MD, MBA
Greg completed medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio and neurology residency at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Virginia. He hopes to gain expertise in diagnosing and treating various movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Ultimately, he plans to pursue a career as a clinician-educator and is enhancing his teaching skills by educating Parkinson’s patients, care partners and care providers.
Kimberly Kwei, MD, PhD
Kimberly completed medical school and neurology residency at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, New York. Her positive experiences with older patients in medical school fueled her interest in the neural basis of aging and cognition. She plans to pursue research that expands available therapies for patients with movement disorders and understanding of the basic physiology of neurodegenerative diseases.
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.
Anne Weissbach, MD
Anne completed medical school at the University of Lübeck in Lübeck, Germany and neurology residency at the University Clinic of Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, Germany. She has researched Parkinson’s and dystonia using non-invasive brain stimulation and is interested in expanding this work and her clinical expertise to help patients with movement disorders.
The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders
Building the Global Base of Movement Disorder Specialists.