Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) guides the Tourette Association of America in defining the strategic direction for our grant funding, promotes our funding calls among the scientific and medical community, reviews proposals, and ultimately makes recommendations for grant funding to the TAA’s Board of Directors.
Carol Mathews, M.D.,
McKnight Brain Institute
Dr. Mathews is a board-certified psychiatrist with clinical and research expertise in Tourette Syndrome (TS), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research focuses on how genes, environment, and culture interact to cause/influence the expression of neuropsychiatric disorders, including TS. Dr. Mathews is the co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Tourette Syndrome Association International Consortium for Genetics (Tourette AssociationICG). Clinically, she directs the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Clinic at UCSF and co-directs the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at UCSF.
Aryn Gittis, Ph.D.
Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Aryn Gittis studies the organization and function of neural circuits in the basal ganglia in order to understand the role that region of the brain plays in learning, movement, and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and dystonia. Her lab uses a variety of techniques including electrophysiology, optogenetics, histology and behavior to understand how circuits in the basal ganglia affect motor control.
Gittis is the recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to study the neuronal mechanisms that underlie compulsive behavior. She was a finalist for The Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology, an international prize that encourages the work of promising young neurobiologists.
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Postdoctoral Appointment, Gladstone Institute for Neurological Disease
Kristina Simonyan, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Med.
Massachusetts Eye & Ear
Dr. Kristina Simonyan received her medical degrees (M.D. and Dr. med.) from Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia and Georg-August University in Goettingen, Germany, as well as a PhD degree in Neurobiology from TiHo University of Hannover, Germany. She completed her medical residency in otolaryngology and clinical research fellowship in movement disorders, neurolaryngology and neuroimaging. Dr. Simonyan studies the neural mechanisms of normal and diseased speech production and other complex voluntary motor behaviors. Her clinical research program is focused on focal dystonia, a debilitating neurological movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in different body regions. Her methodological approach bridges brain imaging, computational neuroscience, genetics and clinical trials for identification of objective diagnosis, prediction of risk, and treatment of dystonia. Her recent studies have mapped the large-scale neural architecture underlying speech production and its impairments in focal dystonias. This work has led to identification of potential neural markers of laryngeal dystonia (or spasmodic dysphonia) as well as the assessment of new therapeutic options for the treatment of this disorder. Her research is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD and NINDS), Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Amazon Web Services.
Scott Compton, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center
Dr. Compton is the Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Michelle E. Ehrlich, M.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY
Michelle E. Ehrlich, M.D., received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York. She completed her pediatrics residency at Babies Hospital, Columbia University, and her Child Neurology residency at The New York Hospital, where she then spent a fellowship year training in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her clinical research program is focused on treatment and pharmacogenomics of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome, for which she is also developing a mouse model to study the pathophysiology and sequelae of NOWS. The major research focus of Dr. Ehrlich’s laboratory is the transcriptional regulation of the phenotype of the medium spiny neuron, the most abundant neuronal subtype in the striatum, during health and disease. Using molecular cloning, creation of recombinant mouse models, and next generation sequencing of the transcriptome, she is identifying how transcriptional dysregulation contributes to disease of the striatum, including Huntington’s disease and genetic dystonia. A major goal is to identify final common, potentially druggable pathways leading to dystonia. Dr. Ehrlich also has an active collaborative program using many of the same molecular approaches to study potential targets for therapeutic modification of Alzheimer’s disease.
Donald Gilbert, M.D., MS, FAAN, FAAP
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Donald Gilbert, MD, earned his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University, where he majored in philosophy. He subsequently earned his MD at the University of Michigan and spent a year at the National Institutes of Health as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar. Dr. Gilbert did his pediatrics and neurology training at John Hopkins in Baltimore and is board certified in neurology with special competence in child neurology. Dr. Gilbert has an MS in clinical research design and statistical analysis from the University of Michigan.
Movement disorders; Tourette Syndrome; Sydenham’s chorea; kernicterus; dystonia; ataxia; clinical research; transcranial magnetic stimulation
Clinical trials in Tourette’s syndrome and associated ADHD; epidemiology of Tourette Syndrome and PANDAS; clinical effectiveness of multi-drug treatments in Tourette Syndrome; transcranial magnetic stimulation in Tourette Syndrome and pediatric movement disorders; functional neurosurgery for pediatric dystonia
H. A. (Buz) Jinnah, M.D., Ph.D.
Emory University School of Medicine
H. A. “Buz” Jinnah, MD-PhD is Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics at Emory University. He sees patients with all types of Movement Disorders in his clinic, with a special interest in neurogenetic disorders.
His research focusses on the biological foundations of dystonia and several specific neurogenetic disorders, and the translation of scientific discoveries into novel treatments, with more than 200 articles published to date.
Tanya Murphy, M.D.
Rothman Center for Pediatric Neuropsychiatry
St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. Murphy is the Director of the Rothman Center for Pediatric Neuropsychiatry, and holds the Maurice A. and Thelma P. Rothman Endowed Chair in Developmental Pediatrics with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry.
After graduating from the College of Medicine at the University of Florida, Dr. Murphy stayed at UF to complete her residency in general psychiatry and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. As a member of the Department of Psychiatry faculty, she served as Director of the UF Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Program, Director of the UF Child Anxiety & Tic Disorder Clinic, and Medical Director for the UF Autism Unit. From 2005 – 2008 she was Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UF.
Dr. Murphy is board-certified in psychiatry and child psychiatry. She also holds a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation. She has received several major grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. Her current research focuses on understanding the role of infections and the immune system in the onset of childhood psychiatric disorders and pharmacological and psychological treatments for Tourette Syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She holds leadership positions with several national Tourette Syndrome groups and serves on the scientific advisory board for the Regional Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.
Rosalinda Roberts, Ph.D.,
University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Medicine
Dr. Rosalinda Roberts received her Ph.D. in biological sciences in the department of Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of California, Irvine in 1986. There she studied an animal model of epilepsy using anatomical and behavioral methods. She then went to Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Neurology, where she studied an animal model of Huntington’s Disease. In 1990, Dr. Roberts went to the University of Maryland at Baltimore to join the Department of Psychiatry at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) as an Assistant Professor. Her lifetime research focus began here as she turned her focus to the neuropathology in schizophrenia in human postmortem brain and on the effects of antipsychotic drugs in rodent models. In addition, Dr. Roberts played a major role in the management of the Maryland Brain Collection, and directed the collection for many years. During this time Dr. Roberts was the principal investigator on four NIH R01s and several foundation grants and has published over 130 manuscripts and books. In 2007 Dr. Roberts joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology as the second holder of the Kathy Ireland Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL where she continues her research on ultrastructural changes in the brain in schizophrenia. She started and directs the Alabama Brain Collection and is the Tissue Coordinator for the TSA Brain Tissue Program.
Jeremiah Scharf, M.D., Ph.D.,
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Jeremiah Scharf is a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatric geneticist who works as the interface between neurology and psychiatry, employing genetics and clinical research tools to investigate the etiology and pathogenesis of Tourette Syndrome and related disorders as model neuropsychiatric illnesses. His research lab is focused on genetic and non-genetic factors that predispose individuals to TS and its common comorbidities, specifically obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Scharf is the co-chair of the Tourette Association International Consortium for Genetics Steering (Tourette AssociationICG) Committee and principal investigator of the Tourette AssociationICG multicenter U01 grant from the NINDS. Dr. Scharf is also Director of the Partners Neurology Tic Disorders Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, which currently sees over 75 new cases a year and provides comprehensive clinical assessments and ongoing management of TS patients referred from local, regional, national and international sources.
Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D.
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar (Honors ScB Brown University 1986; MD/PhD Washington University 1994) is the President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, where he also holds the Zanvyl Krieger Faculty Endowed Chair and is a Professor of Neurology and of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to moving to Baltimore in August 2018, Dr Schlaggar was the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Professor of Developmental Neurology, in Neurology, and Professor of Neurology, Radiology, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics, at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. In 1999, he completed his pediatric neurology residency training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University. From 2014-2018, he served as the Head of Pediatric & Developmental Neurology, co-Director of the Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research Center, and Neurologist-in-Chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He served as the Pediatric Neurology Residency Director from 2005-2013. He has received numerous awards for research, mentorship, clinical care, and community service, including the Philip R Dodge Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society, the Norman Geschwind Award for Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Frank Hatch Award for Outstanding Community Service from the John Merck Foundation. Dr. Schlaggar’s research efforts, funded primarily by the NIH, have been directed at understanding the development of the brain’s functional network architecture in typically and atypically developing children. Dr. Schlaggar’s clinical expertise is in pediatric movement disorders, including Tourette syndrome, as well as developmental disorders of language and cognition.
Marc F. Schmidt, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Marc Schmidt is currently Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania where he studies the neural circuits involved in acoustic communication using songbirds as a model system. His work has focused on the motor control of song production and the role of behavioral state on sensory processing. Because the specialized circuits involved in vocal communication rely on the same basal ganglia circuitry that is affected in TS, this work allows the study of sensorimotor integration and processing within a natural behavior. Dr. Schmidt is also director of the Biological Basis of Behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Having an adult daughter with TS, Dr. Schmidt has been heavily involved in TS outreach. He founded Waffles for Tourette, which raises awareness of TS at local Farmers Markets, and runs a workshop twice a year in collaboration with the Integrative Health Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This workshop was funded by a TAA/CDC seed grant and consists of a one-day workshop for parents and teens blending education and advocacy with mindfulness and theater improvisation techniques to address TS.
Kim Seroogy, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati
Dr. Kim Seroogy is currently Professor of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. Dr. Seroogy earned his BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and received his PhD in neurobiology from the University of California-Irvine, where he studied the organization of neuromodulatory proteins in brain dopamine systems. Following postdoctoral training at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Dr. Seroogy spent 12 years in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology at the University of Kentucky as assistant/associate/full professor investigating neurodegeneration and neuroplasticity in the basal ganglia. In 2003, he joined UC as Professor of Neurology and Director of The Selma Schottenstein Harris Laboratory for Research in Parkinson’s Disease. His research involves deciphering the neurochemical and neurotrophic events underlying Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and depression, focusing on the neuroprotective and neurorestorative roles of select growth factors. His research, published in more than 110 scientific papers, review articles and book chapters, has been funded by the NIH, NSF, Department of Defense, and several national foundations. Dr. Seroogy is past Vice Chair of Basic Research in Neurology and past Director of the UC Neuroscience Graduate Program. He currently serves on a grant advisory panel for NIH and on the editorial board of the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience.