Movement Disorders Research in the Department of Neurology

Investigations in the Movement Disorders Division are currently grounded in clinical research. Faculty members are leading clinical trials and groundbreaking studies addressing both common and rare conditions. These studies are geared towards improving quality of life for patients and their families as well as discovering new long-term treatment options. 

Studies are regularly conducted through the Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence and the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence clinics, as well as the integrative Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) clinic. Other areas of research are also often conducted within other divisions of Neurology and cross-departmentally, including the Cognition and Movement Lab. In addition to the specific projects outlined below, the Division of Movement Disorders is actively involved with clinical trials in Parkinson's disease, Huntington’s disease, Wilson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, essential tremor, spasticity, and dystonia.

The Movement Disorders Division regularly receives funding from such institutions as the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson’s Foundation, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and more.

Faculty members in the Movement Disorders Division are leading research in the following areas:  

Parkinson’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Conditions

Dr. John Fang
Dr. Tom Davis

Dr. Fang frequently conducts clinical trials with the goal of delaying the progression to disability in neurodegenerative conditions. Through a combination of local and international studies, his research work is geared towards identifying early interventions that may lessen disability over time, as well as studying technologies that may allow for better diagnostic accuracy. Dr. Davis’ research is patient-oriented and primarily involves various aspects of Parkinson's disease including outcomes research, markers of disease progression, and experimental therapeutics.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Dr. Fenna Phibbs
Dr. Travis Hassell

Dr. Phibbs leads several research studies focusing on the use of DBS as a treatment for movement disorders. Dr. Hassell focuses on the intersection of engineering and the treatment of movement disorders, and currently is leading clinical trials studying DBS devices. 

Non-motor Symptoms in Tourette syndrome

Dr. David Isaacs

Dr. Isaacs currently oversees longitudinal studies assessing non-motor manifestations of Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette syndrome; each of these projects are actively enrolling subjects. He is employing event-related potentials and quantitative EEG to detect novel brain-based indicators of sensory dysfunction in Tourette syndrome, with the ultimate intent to identify and validate translational neurophysiologic biomarkers.