About PSG

Get to know Parkinson Study Group.

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Parkinson Study Group (PSG) is continually interested in expanding our clinical trial sites as opportunities for new Parkinson’s Disease studies become available. Regardless of location (hospital, community-based, academic, or private practice), the PSG seeks trained Parkinson’s disease investigators who are committed to and experienced in clinical trials.

Michael Schwarzchild
MD, PHD, CHAIR (2018-2024)

Dr. Schwarzschild is a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. After Parkinson’s disease fellowship training at MGH he developed a translational research program focusing on the role of purines — adenosine, caffeine and urate — among environmental and genetic influences in animal models and clinical studies of PD. He has developed and led phase 2/3 clinical trials toward disease-modifying therapy for people with Parkinson’s. At MGH he works with Parkinson’s patients and their families in a weekly movement disorders clinic.

Grace S. Bwala
MBBS, MPH

Grace was initially raised in the United Kingdom and then in Nigeria where she trained as a primary care physician. During her training, her rotations were spread across many fields of medicine where she learned to manage the overall wellbeing of families. She often worked with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that helped fund healthcare resources as they served patients in the local villages that could not afford to travel or pay for healthcare. To her this was very gratifying as it geared her thoughts towards public health. This interest led her to obtain her master’s degree in public and global health from New York Medical College about 9 years ago. Overall, her diverse interactions with patients of all age groups have taught her the importance of humility, sacrifice, hard work and creativity. This also gave her insight to explore other ways of building her knowledge through research as those were resources not available in her home country.

Grace joined the Movement Disorders team at MGH in 2007 as a research coordinator where she had the opportunity to focus her time and energy on the care of patients with Parkinson’s Disease. She has coordinated a variety of PSG studies which has given her the opportunity to serve and build great relationships with patients, their families, other study coordinators, monitors and other executive committee members. She currently serves as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator at MGH, the coordinator for the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, and also as a visiting primary care physician in my home country aiding patients that do not have access to healthcare. Being involved with the PSG has given me the opportunity to participate in research studies with which she is proud to be associated, and to learn from many mentors and colleagues.

Joohi Jimenez-Shahed
MD

Dr. Jimenez-Shahed is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Medical Director, Movement Disorders Neuromodulation and Brain Circuit Therapeutics. After completing her undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Jimenez-Shahed received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Neurology residency training at Duke University Medical Center. She then completed a fellowship in Movement Disorders at the Parkinson’s Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinical (PDCMDC) at BCM. Her research interests lie in investigating the intraoperative neurophysiology of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders and the application of wearables and digital health technologies to the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Jimenez-Shahed joined the PSG fresh out of fellowship in recognition of the networking opportunities it afforded as well as the chance to participate in the latest important clinical research in Parkinson’s disease (PD). As her professional interests developed in the arena of neuromodulation, she sought to develop her ideas within the Functional Neurosurgical Working Group (FNSWG).

As Co-Chair and Chair of the FNSWG, along with her co-I Jim McInerney, she established RAD-PD (Registry for the Advancement of Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s disease). Funded by MJFF, it is the first official study and database established within the FNSWG. Other FNSWG activities under her leadership have included shepherding several projects to publication or presentation at national meetings and formation of a Neuropsychology Focus Group.

Her additional service to PSG has included serving on the Credentials committee and Nominations committee, mentorship of junior members, and faculty participation at the PSG CME program from 2018-2020. Dr. Jimenez-Shahed has had varied roles in clinical trials over her career including: PI for several DBS investigator-initiated studies; Site Principal Investigator in multiple clinical trials across a variety of movement disorders; Site co-I, sub-I or rater for many more clinical trials; Key Advisor and Opinion Leader for Industry-sponsored trials; Development and implementation of a rater training program for an international clinical trial.

As a result of these activities, she is not only knowledgeable about clinical trials and research, but also about PSG infrastructure and resources, and the multi-faceted benefits the PSG offers to members.

M. Maral Mouradian
MD (2020-2023)

Dr. Mouradian is Distinguished Professor of Neurology, William Dow Lovett Endowed Chair for Parkinson’s Research, Founding Director of the Institute for Neurological Therapeutics, and Chief of the Movement Disorders Division at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She also serves as Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. She is a physician-scientist trained in both clinical neuropharmacology at the NINDS intramural program and in molecular biology under the tutelage of the Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg at NHLBI. Before assuming her current posts at Rutgers, she directed the Genetic Pharmacology group of the Experimental Therapeutics Branch of NINDS conducting translational research in Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. She is a member of the Association of American Physicians and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neurotherapeutics.

Aleksandar Videnovic
MD, MSC (2023-2026)

I have been a PSG member since 2007. I am an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Director of the Program on Sleep, Circadian Biology, and Neurodegeneration. As a clinician-scientist trained in Movement Disorders and Sleep Medicine, I have devoted my research to (i) clinical trials in neurodegenerative disorders and (ii) the interface of sleep, circadian biology, and neurodegeneration. I have expertise and experience in clinical research, including study design and implementation, which spans all phases of clinical development and includes common and rare neurological disorders. I am a Co-PI of the Clinical Coordination Center at MGH for the NINDS NeuroNEXT clinical trials network.

I am MGH PI for the PPMI and serve on its Executive Steering Committee. I am MGH PI for the North American Prodromal Synucleinopathy (NAPS) RBD Consortium, where I also serve as a Co-Lead of the Recruitment, Education, and Outreach Core. I served as Chair of the PSG Other Non-Motor Features Workgroup. It would be a privilege to serve on the PSG Executive Committee. I thank the PSG for the honor of this nomination.

As Co-Chair and Chair of the FNSWG, along with her co-I Jim McInerney, she established RAD-PD (Registry for the Advancement of Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s disease). Funded by MJFF, it is the first official study and database established within the FNSWG. Other FNSWG activities under her leadership have included shepherding several projects to publication or presentation at national meetings and formation of a Neuropsychology Focus Group.

Her additional service to PSG has included serving on the Credentials committee and Nominations committee, mentorship of junior members, and faculty participation at the PSG CME program from 2018-2020. Dr. Jimenez-Shahed has had varied roles in clinical trials over her career including: PI for several DBS investigator-initiated studies; Site Principal Investigator in multiple clinical trials across a variety of movement disorders; Site co-I, sub-I or rater for many more clinical trials; Key Advisor and Opinion Leader for Industry-sponsored trials; Development and implementation of a rater training program for an international clinical trial.

As a result of these activities, she is not only knowledgeable about clinical trials and research, but also about PSG infrastructure and resources, and the multi-faceted benefits the PSG offers to members.

Hubert Fernandez
MD, CO-CHAIR (2018-2024)

Hubert H. Fernandez, MD, is Professor of Neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University; Chair/Director of the Center for Neurological Restoration at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the holder of the James and Constance Brown Family Endowed Chair in Movement Disorders. He received both his BS in Biology and MD degree from the Philippines. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at University of Pennsylvania/Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; his residency in Neurology at Boston University Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts; and his fellowship in Movement Disorders at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Dr Fernandez is an internationally recognized expert in movement disorders who has been voted one of the Best Doctors in America by his peers. After completing his medical training, he joined the faculty of Brown University School of Medicine as Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. In 2003, Dr Fernandez relocated to the University of Florida, where he eventually became Director of the Clinical Research Unit for Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders, Vice Chair of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Neurology before joining Cleveland Clinic. An active and productive researcher, he has led or participated in over 150 clinical trials and has published his findings in over 300 articles on Parkinson disease, DBS, behavioral and non-motor features of PD, cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, and other movement disorders. He has written a dozen books and has published 50 book chapters. He is currently the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, and has served on the editorial board of Movement Disorders and several other peer-reviewed journals.

Dr Fernandez is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association. He is currently elected for his second term as the Co-Chair of the Parkinson Study and Secretary of the International Association for Parkinsonism and Related Disorders.
He served his third term as Co-Medical Editor of the Movement Disorders Society Website, which received the Standard of Excellence Award twice by the Web Marketing Association during his tenure. He has been a Councilor for the AAN Movement Disorders Section, Secretary of the MDS Pan-American Section, Executive Committee Member of the Parkinson Study Group and Dystonia Study Group and served as the President of the Florida Society of Neurology and World Neurology Foundation. He was awarded the Most Outstanding Alumnus by his medical school in 2008, and the Presidential Distinguished Service Award by the Movement Disorders Society at the 16th International Congress for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Dublin, Ireland in 2012.

Cindy Casaceli
MD (2020-2023)

Ms Casaceli has directed the Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC) for over 10 years with more than 25 years experience in the operational conduct of an academic research organization. She has overseen the conduct and compliance of clinical trials that have led to the FDA approve of seven compounds. She has served as the Administrative PI for 8+ studies including NIH funded SURE-PD3, Michael J. Fox Nilo-PD and FoxBioNet, and PDGENE with the Parkinson Foundation. She holds a BS in Biochemistry, MBA in Computer/Information Systems & Accounting, and a Leadership Coaching Certficiate.

Eric Macklin
(2021-2024)

Dr. Macklin is an Assistant in Biostatistics at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research interests focus on neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases with an emphasis on clinical trial design.

He is an Executive Committee member of the Parkinson Study Group and an academic advisor for the Critical Path for Parkinson’s Consortium. He was an organizing member and the lead biostatistician for the Airlie House Clinical Trials Guidelines for ALS research. He is a lead biostatistician for the Healey ALS Center Platform trial, for the phase 3 SURE-PD3 trial in Parkinson disease, and for the Autism Treatment Network. In addition to his work in neurology, he has a long and ongoing interest in evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine, serving as PI or statistician for trials of acupuncture, Tai Chi, and mind-body practices.

Ruth B. Schneider
MD (2023-2026)

Dr. Ruth Schneider is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester, where she also holds an appointment with the Center for Health & Technology and is the Director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence. After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Brown University in 2006, she completed medical school, neurology residency and movement disorders fellowship at the University of Rochester. Her research interests include the design of remote clinical research studies, development of digital disease measures, and study of neuropsychiatric features of Parkinson’s disease.

She has led several externally-funded, investigator-initiated studies, has served as a medical monitor, and has served as a site investigator for several multi-center studies. She is the co-PI for one of the University of Rochester’s Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research core studies – VALOR-PD – which is a remote, observational study of ~275 LRRK2 carriers. Since joining the PSG in 2015, she has been actively involved as an investigator, working group member, speaker, and Mentorship Committee member. Dr. Schneider also leads the team responsible for conducting study visits for AT-HOME PD, a remote, observational PSG study of ~225 former STEADY-PD III and SURE-PD3 participants.

Allison Willis
MD, MS (2021-2024)

Dr. Willis is an Associate Professor of Neurology and of Epidemiology (with tenure), a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and a Faculty Scholar at the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology Research Training at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) School of Medicine. She is also the Co-Director of the UPenn Resource Center for Minority Aging Research.

Upon completing an adult neurology residency at the Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Willis pursued a clinical fellowship in movement disorders and a research training program focused on analytical epidemiology, biostatistics, geographical information systems (spatial epidemiology), pharmacoepidemiology, and health outcomes research (culminating in a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation). She uses analytical epidemiology methods to pursue research questions relevant to clinical decision-making and health policy for neuroimaging populations through two complementary investigative paths. Her health services research program focuses on the complex ways patient factors (such as race, sex, comorbid disease, and geographical location) affect the interactions older adults with neurological diseases have with the U.S. healthcare system. Her pharmacoepidemiology research program focuses on the bidirectional relationships between neurological disease and CNS drug effects- such as whether neurological disease predisposes to specific adverse drug reactions and whether CNS-acting drugs influence neurological disease phenotype or progression.

Dr. Willis has been privileged to serve in several roles in the PSG since joining as a fellow, including Co-Chair of the Healthcare Outcomes and Disparities Working Group, Member of the Mentoring Committee, and Member of the Nominating Committee. She has also enjoyed and benefited from the research, collaboration, and mentoring opportunities made possible through the PSG at every stage of her career to date. As a fellow/ junior faculty member of the PSG, she has benefitted from PD-focused career development sessions at PSG meetings and learned to affectionately call herself a “Parkinsonologist.” Her cross-training and cross membership in the neurology, epidemiology, aging, and health services research communities requires that she communicate her research credibly for use by multiple stakeholders, varied audiences. Through formal and informal speaking opportunities at the PSG, she learned (and continues to learn) how to communicate her research for use by the academic PD community. Throughout Dr. Willis’s career, PSG members have guided and shaped her research ideas into work with the potential to advance our scientific conversations about health outcomes and disparities in Parkinson disease populations. Finally, the PSG has provided her with multiple opportunities to pursue her favorite teaching activity- mentoring, and has led to successful research collaborations, valued personal and professional connections.

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