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Huntington's Disease Center Staff

Karen Marder, MD, MPH (Center Director)
Sally Kerlin Professor of Neurology (in the Sergievsky Center, Taub Institute and Psychiatry); Division Chief, Department of Neurology, Division of Aging and Dementia
Dr. Marder has been the director of the Center since its inception in 1991. She heads the Clinical Correlates Working Group at the Huntington Study Group and is past member of the HSG Executive Committee. She lectures regularly on Huntington's disease, conducts clinical research and mentors academics in all disciplines involved in caring for people with HD.
Karen Marder, MD, MPH (Center Director)
Elan Louis, MD, MSc
Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology (in the Sergievsky Center and the Taub Institute)
Dr. Louis is a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of patients with movement disorders. He has been affiliated with the HD center since 1993 and he is also a member of the Huntington Study Group.  His principal academic interest is in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system (especially disorders of involuntary movement).  His research in HD relates to the types of movements that patients exhibit.
Elan Louis, MD, MS
Steven Frucht, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology
Dr. Frucht is a neurologist and movement disorder specialist at the Columbia University Department of Neurology.  He has been affiliated with the HD Center since 2004 and is a member of the Huntington Study Group. Dr. Frucht has a special interest in patients with unusual or rare movement disorders, including such conditions as myoclonus, dystonia and paroxysmal disorders. He performs clinical trials of new drugs for the treatment of involuntary movements.

Steven Frucht, MD
Carol Brown Moskowitz, MS, APRN-C, CNRN
Neurological Nurse Practitioner
Ms. Moskowitz is a board certified neuroscience nurse specialist and primary care nurse practitioner, specializing in movement disorders since 1981.  In addition to her patient caseload, Carol coordinates most clinical research trials offered at the center and organizes and directs the annual week-long summer camp for people with HD.  Ms. Moskowitz continues to promote educational opportunities for health care professionals interested in learning more about how to help patients with HD.  She is the primary contact person for the national HD brain donor program, part of the New York Brain Bank at Columbia.
Carol Brown Moskowitz
Mark Groves, MD
Attending Psychiatrist
Dr. Groves has been the psychiatrist in the Center since 2002. He completed a psychiatry residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a fellowship in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, both at Columbia University Medical Center. He currently is the Attending Psychiatrist in the Movement Disorders Clinic at Beth Israel Medical Center/New York and also has a private practice in NYC.  He lectures extensively about HD to psychiatrists in the New York region.
Mark Groves, MD
Deborah Thorne, LCSW
Director of HD Clinical Services and Social Worker
Ms. Thorne has been the HD Center social worker since 1991.  She currently oversees all of the clinical and administrative activities of the Center, supervises most of the staff and trains new staff members.  Ms. Thorne continues to provide comprehensive psychosocial evaluation and treatment planning, as well as counsel and assist patients and families with accessing entitlements, community resources, and completing advanced directives. Ms. Thorne co-leads the monthly patient support group, and supervises other HD support group facilitators.  In addition, she educates individuals on disease progression and its impact on family functioning.  Her special interest is how to help children talk about and gain a meaningful understanding of HD.
Deborah Thorne, CSW
Jennifer Williamson-Catania, MS
Genetic Counselor
Ms. Williamson-Catania manages the Center’s comprehensive genetic testing and counseling program.  Jennifer provides counseling for those interested in genetic testing and learning about family planning options including prenatal testing and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, in collaboration with Deborah Thorne and Drs. Marder, Louis, Frucht, and Chung.  She counsels individuals at the Center, trains graduate students in genetic counseling, and lectures regularly regarding the genetics of HD.
Jennifer Williamson-Catania, MS
Ronda Clouse, R.N.
Research Nurse/Study Coordinator
Ms. Clouse joined the HD team in 2004.  She has 25 years of research experience working with cognitively impaired neurological and psychiatric patients.  Ms. Clouse coordinates the COHORT research study, a multi-center observational study organized by the HSG.  She provides general support for several HD research protocols and the HD Center clinic, and will coordinate the upcoming clinical trial 2Care.
Ronda Clouse
Jeanne Thomson, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Ms. Thomson evaluates speech and swallowing disorders at the HD Center.  In addition, she has volunteered at the annual Huntington's camp for many years where she supervises graduate students in the care of individuals affected by HD.  Ms. Thomson is employed as a Clinical Specialist by the Visiting Nurse Service of NY where she treats adults with neurogenic speech and swallowing disorders. 
Jeanne Thompson, MS, CCC-SLP
Ashwini K. Rao, EdD, OTR
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Movement Sciences
Dr. Rao is an occupational therapist and movement scientist who has worked at the HD center since 2002. In addition to doctoral and post-doctoral training in movement sciences, he has fifteen years experience working in neurological rehabilitation. Dr. Rao's research program involves examination of sensorimotor impairments in movement disorders, understanding mechanisms underlying motor impairments, and design of rehabilitation techniques.
Ashwini Rao
Lisa Muratori, PT, EdD
Clinical Assistant Professor, SUNY- Stonybrook 
Lisa Muratori is a physical therapist and completed her doctoral work in movement science in 2005. Dr. Muratori has 15 years of clinical experience with a focus on neurological rehabilitation.  Her current research interests include: components of gait related to disease progression in HD in conjunction with Dr. Rao, and the role of vision in movement dysfunction in HD.  Dr. Muratori is also active in adaptive sports and has been a ski instructor with the Adapative Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain for 13 years.
Lisa Muratori
Paula Leber Wasserman, MA
HD Center and Research Coordinator, G.H. Sergievsky Center
Ms. Wasserman has worked for the HD center since 2001.  She manages the day-to-day operation of the HD Center, and conducts all new patient intakes.  Currently, Ms. Wasserman coordinates two HSG sponsored research studies, PREDICT and RESPOND, and provides organizational and recruitment support for several research protocols at the center.  In addition, she co-leads the monthly patient support group with Deborah Thorne, LCSW.  She continues to serve as the primary neuropsychological tester for the Center.
Paula Leber, MA
Diana Ruiz, BA
Research Assistant, G.H. Sergievsky Center
Ms. Ruiz is a recent graduate of Hunter College, and has worked part time at the HD Center since 2002.  As part of her senior year project, Ms. Ruiz developed educational materials and compiled an updated list of programs to assist our Spanish-speaking families gain access to available community resources.  We are pleased she has decided to stay on at the Center, as her Spanish translation, proficiency with our database, and her rapport with patients have rendered her invaluable. 
Diana Ruiz
Rafael J. Santiago

Administrative Coordinator, G.H. Sergievsky Center 
Since 2001, Mr. Santiago has been responsible for assisting Dr. Karen Marder in balancing her administrative, teaching, clinical and research roles. He serves as liaison on many of her projects, including the HD Center.

Rafael Santiago
Pietro Mazzoni, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology
Co-Director, Motor Performance Laboratory 

Dr. Mazzoni studies the motor manifestations of Huntington's disease using quantitative analysis of reaching and pointing hand movements in the Motor Performance Laboratory and in the Functional MRI Center. The goal of his research is to understand how the brain degeneration caused by HD leads to impairments of movement and motor learning. This research may lead to various future applications, including: 1) establishing the earliest manifestations of HD, so that the effects of potentially neuroprotective treatments may be measured before the disease has caused significant impairment; 2) guiding the choice of structures to be targeted by possible neurosurgical treatments, analogous to deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease; 3) developing rehabilitation techniques specifically helpful to people with HD. Dr. Mazzoni's lab website can be visited at Motor Performance Laboratory.

Pietro Mazzoni, MD, PhD

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Clinical Genetics 
Dr. Chung is a clinical and molecular geneticist who works closely with Ms. Williamson-Catania, Ms. Thorne and Drs. Marder, Louis, and Frucht to assist couples with HD or at risk for HD with reproductive options. We offer comprehensive genetic services including disclosing and non-disclosing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, donor egg or sperm, and amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
Wendy Chung
Katie Berry, LCSW

At Risk Support Group Facilitator 
Ms. Berry has worked with families and children for more than 25 years, and has in recent years begun to expand her practice into facilitating support groups.  In January of 2007 she took over the at-risk support group at Columbia. Ms. Berry has an avid interest in the issues of the HD patient and she collaborates closely with Deborah Thorne and Jennifer Williamson in her role as support group facilitator.

Katie Berry
Ann Gaba, Ed.D., RD

Registered Dietitian, and Certified Diabetes Educator 
Dr. Gaba is available to consult with HD patients who have nutritional concerns. She has conducted a clinical study of energy metabolism and calorie needs in people with early to mid-stage HD. She is the author of the HDSA - Guide for Families booklet on Nutrition.

Ann Gaba

Consultants to staff:

Stanley Fahn, MD
H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology

Robert Klitzman, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (in Sociomedical Sciences)

Richard Mayeux, MD, MSc
Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Public Health 

Harold A. Sackeim, PhD
Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Radiology)
Chief, Department of Biological Psychiatry

Yaakov Stern, PhD
Professor of Clinical Neurology (Neuropsychology)

Jean Paul Vonsattel, PhD
Professor of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology
Director, Neuropathology Core New York Brain Bank

Nancy Wexler, PhD
Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology 

Lori Quinn, EdD, PT
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, New York Medical College

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Columbia University Medical Center : Department of Neurology : Last updated 27-Jun-2009