Interim chair: Carol Lippa, MD
As director of the Alzheimer's disease and dementia program at Drexel University College of Medicine, Dr. Lippa's clinical interest involves neurologic changes that occur in aging. Her clinical work focuses on the management of cognitive and behavioral problems that occur in Alzheimer's and non Alzheimer's dementia patients and patients with milder forms of memory loss. Dr. Lippa is also involved in clinical drug trials for memory loss and dementia. Dr. Lippa collaborates with major research institutions throughout the world. Dr. Lippa has conducted extensive research in the neurobiology of aging and dementia. Her laboratory correlates clinical data from dementia patients with genetic immunohistochemical and molecular biologic data. One aim is to develop better methods for classification and early diagnosis of this patient group. Another aim is to find better ways to prevent or intervene with the disease process. Her laboratory work identifies and characterizes protein abnormalities that occur in the brain in dementia subjects to aid with developing therapies that prevent or treat the various dementia subtypes.
Vice-chair: Terry Heiman-Patterson, MD
Dr. Heiman-Patterson's research program encompasses many aspects of neuromuscular disorders. Using human muscle cell cultures derived from biopsies, her laboratory studies the cell and molecular biology of muscle development and disease. Major research programs focus on 1) developing the use of hemin to upregulate expression of dystrophin and related proteins as a therapeutic for muscular dystrophy and 2) investigating the cellular mechanisms of free radical damage in neurons. In addition, a linkage study is currently underway to find the gene(s) responsible for hereditary spinal paraplegia, as are clinical research trials of potential treatments for ALS.
Guillermo Alexander, PhD
Dr. Alexander's current research focuses on the study of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, amino acids, neuroactive peptides and biogenic amines found in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)/reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). These studies could shed light on the mechanisms that bring about exaggerated pain and could aid in the development of more effective treatment modalities. In another series of studies he is utilizing a transgenic mouse model for ALS to study the effect of genetic background on the severity of the disease.
Enrique Aradillas Lopez, MD
Dr. Aradillas Lopez specializes in pain medicine and neurology. He is experienced in ultrasound/X-ray guided interventional pain procedures as well as outpatient/inpatient medication use for pain. He performs fluoroscopic facet, epidural, brachial plexus and greater occipital nerve injections. Dr. Aradillas also sees patients for general neurological problems.
Laura Brennan, PhD
Dr. Laura Brennan is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology. She holds a master's degree and a PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel University, and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Temple University. She completed a predoctoral internship at the University of California San Diego. Her research interests include mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Parkinson's disease.
Jocelyn Cheng, MD
Dr. Cheng specializes in neuromuscular diseases, epilepsy and sleep. Her interests are status epilepticus, continuous EEG monitoring, and sleep disorders in epilepsy. She performs NCS/EMG studies. She is the neurology clerkship director for the fourth year students.
Anahita Deboo, MD
Dr. Deboo's area of interest is neuromuscular disease and electromyography. She has participated in clinical trials of the treatment of pain in diabetic polyneuropathy. She is involved in ongoing clinical projects and treatment trials in ALS patients at the MDA/ALS Center. In the basic science lab, electromyographic techniques are being developed for use in animal models of ALS.
Tania Giovannetti, PhD
Dr. Giovanetti is a neuropsychologist. She evaluates elderly patients with cognitive impairment at the Fairmount office.
Yuesong Gong, PhD
Dr. Gong is a member of the Alzheimer's disease and dementia program at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Gong's research interest involves molecular pathological changes that lead to synapse loss or synapse dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease and non-Alzheimer's disease brains. Dr. Gong's lab identifies and characterizes the protein abnormalities from different patient groups with dementia by proteomics, to screen compounds to block these aggregated protein formations, and to develop the immunotherapy to clean these abnormal proteins. Dr. Gong collaborates with other research institutions to develop these novel compounds and immunotherapy further to protect synapse function and to improve memory that occur with these patients.
John Grothusen, PhD
Dr. Grothusen's background is biochemistry and bioanalytical methods. In the past he has been involved in animal research in neurodegenerative diseases and pain using techniques such as intracerebral microdialysis. His present area of interest is chronic pain and the use of non-invasive methods for sensory and autonomic nervous system testing in humans. He runs the clinical quantitative sensory and autonomic nervous system testing laboratory for the department.
David J. Libon, PhD
Dr. Libon is a clinical neuropsychologist with a specific interest in dementia. Recent publications have focused on the co-morbid effect of MRI-white matter alterations in Alzheimer's and how MRI-white matter alterations change the phenotypic presentation of Alzheimer's disease from an amnesic disorder to a dysexecutive disorder. Other work has shown that Alzheimer's disease patients reaching a certain criterion for MRI-white matter volume respond better to medication. Additional work has revolved around neuropsychological studies that chart the longitudinal course in patients with frontotemporal dementia. This work has shown that the initial phenotypic expression in frontotemporal dementia remains stable over the duration of the illness. These data are important within the context of the emergence of disease altering pharmacological medication to treat frontotemporal lobe dementia. Dr. Libon is also involved in the Department of Neurology pain program where patient are seen for neuropsychological evaluation.
Carla LoPinto-Khoury, MD
Dr. LoPinto-Khoury is an epileptologist. She participates in the comprehensive epilepsy center at Hahnemann University Hospital. Dr. LoPinto-Khoury has experience with patients who have treatment-resistant epilepsy. She also has experience with pre-surgical evaluations of patients, intraoperative and intracranial monitoring, and intensive care unit video EEG monitoring. Dr. LoPinto-Khoury also sees patients for general neurological problems, such as headache and movement disorders. She is the neurology pathway director for senior students.
Seema Nair, MD
Dr. Seema Nair is a board-certified general neurologist. She has a particular interest in patients with headache, multiple sclerosis and stroke. Dr. Nair is also board certified in internal medicine. Her research interests include stroke, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. She is currently investigating the etiology of idiopathic epilepsy based on anthropometric measurements, and the etiology of multiple sclerosis. She is the faculty liaison for the residents' monthly journal club and co-director of the residency program.
Jyoti Pillai, MD
Dr. Pillai is director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. She is trained in neurophysiology and epilepsy. Her main research interests include surgical and medical management of refractory epilepsy and bone loss in patients on anti-epileptic drugs, as well as women's health issues related to epilepsy. She is involved in the Neurophysiology Lab, which includes reading EEGs and evoked potentials, monitoring during carotid endarterectomy, as well as Wada testing. She is also involved in various drug trials in epilepsy.
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