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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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LEAP Program Class of 2022

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Nomena Finiavana Rasaholiarison, MDEman Abdeldayem, M.Sc, PhD
Ain Shams University

My name is Eman Hamid Abd ELdayem. I am 38 yrs old, Egyptian, and living in Cairo (the capital). I was born and lived in Saudi Arabia for 13 yrs, then I moved back to Egypt where I completed preparatory and high school years. I graduated, masterized, and had my PhD from faculty of medicine, Ain Shams University - the third-oldest non-sectarian native public Egyptian university that was founded in July 1950- where I currently work as Lecturer of Neurology and a member of movement disorder unit. My subspecialty and research field are movement disorder and neurorehabilitation. Since 2018, I was a member of International Parkinson & Movement Disorders Society (MDS). I have participated as a speaker in many scientific events (eg. IBRO-MDS at AUC twice 2018). I had a great opportunity to be a coordinator of MDS organized events; 1st African school of movement disorder (2019), and first multicenter African movement disorders webinar 2020, 2021, and 2022, as well as the course director of MDS Africa Pediatric Movement Disorder Course (November 2021). I am a reviewer at the Egyptian journal of neurology, psychiatry & neurosurgery. Beyond my working hours, I enjoy drawing, travelling, and reading books especially literary novels.


Marcelle Smith, Neurologist FCNeurol(SA)

Walaa A. Kamel ElSayed, MBBCI, MSc, MD, FEBN
Beni-Suef University

I was born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised in UAE then returned to Egypt at age 13, to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I completed my degree from the Beni-Suef Faculty of Medicine, in 2005.
I completed my training in 2010. I obtained my master's and MD degrees in Neurology from Cairo University.

I was fortunate enough to have the help of my colleagues in Kuwait to establish a movement disorder clinic with the introduction of DBS, device-aided therapies. Following my pursuit, I gained a mini-fellowship from the University of Nebraska in 2020, and a  degree in medical research(GCSRT)  from Harvard medical school in 2021. I then returned to Egypt as an associate professor of Neurology and movement disorders. Realizing the gap between the field of movement disorders(MD) and genetics, I opted for a fellowship in the genetics of MD. 

Exposure to diverse communities since my childhood helped me to accept others. With learning is my first love. reading, and exercising are my favorite leisure activities.

With the help of my family and colleagues, hopefully, I can establish a distinguished center for movement disorders and genetic studies in Egypt.


Marcelle Smith, Neurologist FCNeurol(SA)

Adrian Mugenyi Kakooza, PT
The Rehab Clinic

I am born and raised in Kampala Uganda ( The Pearl Of Africa) . I attended St, Marys for my secondary school and later joined the only physiotherapy program in Uganda then for 3 year Diploma course (Paramedical Training Institute School of Physiotherapy)and Upgraded to BPT at Ecuri Physiotherapy program. 

I have keen interest in Neurology Rehabilitation and Pain management. I have majorly practiced in private facilities and i would consider myself as an ambassador of physiotherapy in my country. I am actively invested in physiotherapy profession growth in Uganda. Through mentor-ship and public awareness of the role of physiotherapy in various medical conditions. Through lobbying we have managed to increase the quotas to rehabilitation and built a firm physiotherapy professional body. 

I love photography, art and concerts. A good evening over cup of tea and biscuits would be amazing.


Marcelle Smith, Neurologist FCNeurol(SA)

Louis Vlok, MD
Constantiaberg Hospital, Cape Town
South Africa

I was born in Cape Town, South-Africa. I initially studied psychology at the University of Stellenbosch. During my time in the psychology department, I was fortunate enough to have been selected as a lecturer for the first-year psychology students. 

It was during my final year of psychology that my interest in the developed for the functional pathways of the brain, including the motor pathways, was piqued. This led me to move to Johannesburg, where I attained my undergraduate medical degree.

I then returned to Cape Town and eventually received a bursary to study neurology at the University of Stellenbosch. I was fortunate enough to have worked under Professor Jonathan Carr, who is South-Africa’s foremost movement disorder specialist. 

Following the completion of the neurology program, I started my own private practice in Cape Town in 2020 with the aim to provide a comprehensive deep brain stimulation service.

In my free time I enjoy trial running and spending time with my wife and daughter



Shazma Khan MBBS, FCPSDivya K P, MD, DM
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology

I, Dr Divya K P, completed my residency in Neurology from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum , India, an institute of national importance   and then joined the same as consultant. Currently working as Associate Professor in The Comprehensive Care Centre for Movement disorders, I have been enthusiastic in expanding the movement disorders services at my workplace which  includes botulinum toxin clinic and a functional neurosurgery program. I have special interest in the field of Neuronal brain iron accumulation, neurogenetics and deep brain stimulation especially for indications beyond Parkinson’s disease. I am an active member of the Movement Disorders Society of India. I have 74 publications and I am actively involved in clinical research. In my spare time, I am engrossed in Zentangle.


Shivam Mittal, MD

Elie Matar, BSc(Adv), MD, PhD, FRACP
University of Sydney 

I am a neurologist, sleep fellow and clinical academic based at the University of Sydney. I completed my neurology training in 2021 in Sydney, which included a 2-year neurodegenerative disease fellowship (Parkinson’s / Atypical Parkinson’s / Cognitive neurology) with Prof Simon Lewis. I completed my PhD under Prof Glenda Halliday. My research interests are the phenomenology, pathophysiology and progression of Lewy body disease across the continuum from RBD, PD and Lewy body dementia. My work has a strong translational focus, having led an Australian first biobanking program for prodromal PD (IRBD). I've also contributed work dedicated to understanding hallucinations, cognitive fluctuations and freezing of gait. 

In 2023 I'm undertaking a Movement Disorders clinical research fellowship at Queen Square London. My vision is to take up a leadership role within the research field and MDS as a clinical academic, contributing to understanding sleep disturbance and related biomarkers of PD, improved phenotyping and clustering, and implementing future personalized symptom and disease-modifying therapies in clinical practice to help the lives of patients with synucleinopathies. 

Outside of work I love spending time with my family (2 small kids), running, travelling, eating good food and playing football.


Gerard Saranza, MD

Jung Hwan Shin, M.D., Ph.D.
Seoul National University Hospital
South Korea

I was born and grew up in South Korea. I received my medical degree from Seoul National University and was trained as a neurologist in Seoul National University Hospital, Department of Neurology. After resident training, I completed my Ph.D. in the systems Neuroscience lab (PI: MW Jung) at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Following the Ph.D. degree, I was a clinical Fellow at the movement disorder center at SNUH and was trained to be a movement disorder specialist under the supervision of Professor BJ.

I am particularly interested in translational research which targets to develop novel treatment strategies (novel paradigm of deep brain stimulation and medications) that can restore pathological neural network in movement disorders. Currently, I am working on cell-type specific neural circuits in the basal ganglia that can rescue parkinsonian motor symptoms in Parkinsonian animal models. I am interested in developing Artificial intelligence-based digital health care applications and digital biomarkers. 

I enjoy traveling with my wife and my son Jay (aged 5). I am also studying and playing Dinosaurs which my son is into. I also enjoy listening to music, cooking and watching old TV shows from the 80s.

Laura Williams, MB BCh BAO, MRCPI, MD

Eloise Watson, MBChB, FRACP, BMedSci(Hons)
Wellington Hospital, NZ
New Zealand

I completed my medical degree (MBChB) at the University of Otago, and an honours year (BMedSci HonsI) investigating molecular mechanisms underlying reward-related learning. I worked in a variety of areas including primary, rural, emergency and intensive care, encompassing clinical experience in Australia, Germany and Northern India, ultimately training in Internal Medicine and Neurology and receiving my FRACP in 2019. These varied experiences and perspectives continue to impact my practice and prompt reflections on career and life.

Following Neurology training, I undertook a fellowship with Professor Carolyn Sue in Sydney, Australia, encompassing Neurogenetics, Mitochondrial Disease and Movement Disorders. The early opportunity to integrate laboratory science into my medical degree dovetailed neatly with this bench-to-bedside fellowship, where integration of laboratory research and clinical medicine is significantly progressing these fields, creating an exciting collaborative space to embark on my PhD with Professor Carolyn Sue and Dr Ryan Davis. I continue research remotely as we raise our young family in NZ, enjoying trail running, tramping and nurturing adventure.


Valentina Leta, MDVanessa Carvalho, MD
Hospital Santa Maria

Vanessa was born and grew up in Vidago, in the North of Portugal. She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto in 2014. She completed her training in Neurology at Hospital Pedro Hispano in Matosinhos in 2021. During her training, she did fellowships in Movement Disorders at Hospital Santa Maria and at University College of London in 2018 and 2020.  

She joined the Resident and Research Fellow Section (RRFS) Board of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in 2018 and was Chair in 2020/2021. She currently works with the Guideline Production Group and at the Coordinating Panel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of the EAN and at the Young Neurologists Sub-Committee of the Education Committee of the World Federation of Neurology.  

Since 2021 she is a Neurologist at Hospital Santa Maria, in Lisbon, working at the Neurogenetics clinic. She is also a PhD student, doing research in genetics in Parkinson’s disease. Her main fields of interest are rare neurological disorders, particularly chorea and ataxia, and sex and gender differences in neurological disorders. 

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, drawing, painting, and attending live music concerts. 


Diana Angelika Olszewska, MD, MRCP, PhD

Natalia Szejko, MD, PhD
Medical University of Warsaw

After Natalia is neurologist from Poland where she has completed her residency at Department of Neurology, Medical University of Warsaw (2022). She has also completed PhD dedicated to clinical phenomenology of tics at the same University in 2020. Her main area of professional practice and research are tics, Tourette syndrome and functional movement disorders. She has extensive international experience with fellowships completed in Spain, Germany, Austria and the United States. In 2020 has completed a year postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale University. She is the current Board Member and Secretary of the European Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome, the member of MDS Tic Disorders and Tourette Syndrome Study Group and the first author of newest European Guidelines for the Treatment  of Tourette syndrome and Assessment (parts dedicated to treatment with deep brain stimulation and assessment). She is co-author of more than 40 articles and book chapter dedicated to TS. For her achievements she has been awarded numerous national and international awards, in 2022 she received Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Tourette Syndrome funded by the Tourette Assocation of America and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology.


Iva Stankovic, MD

Anne Weissbach, MD
University of Lübeck

Dr. Anne Weissbach is a clinician-scientist and research group leader at the Institute of Systems Motor Science and the Institute of Neurogenetics at the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein and the University of Lübeck, Germany. 

She studied Medicine at the University of Lübeck and finished her residency in Neurology at the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry in Lübeck, Germany. During her scientific education, she was trained in molecular genetic techniques (e.g., whole-exome sequencing) at the Institute of Neurogenetics of Christine Klein, as well as in neurophysiological techniques (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation and blink reflex conditioning) at the Krembil Research Institute at the research laboratory of Robert Chen and Anthony Lang at the University of Toronto, Canada and the Institute of Systems Motor Science of Alexander Münchau. She finished an Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and was awarded the David Marsden Award and the Oppenheim prize.

Anne received funding from the DFG, the DMRF, the EKFS, and the MJFF and focuses on the combination of neurophysiological and sensor-based video examination in monogenic myoclonus-dystonia and dystonia-Parkinson syndromes. She is leading a clinical trial in functional movement disorders.

She is the mother of two young daughters.


Jennifer Zitser-Koren, MDRezzak Yilmaz, MD
Ankara University School of Medicine Department of Neurology

Rezzak Yilmaz was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. He finished his residency at the Ankara University School of Medicine Department of Neurology. After residency, he worked as a researcher in Germany for five years at the Universities of Tuebingen and Christian-Albrechts Kiel under the mentorship of Prof. Daniela Berg. In 2019 he returned to Ankara University, where he currently works as an assistant professor at the Movement Disorders Unit and as a board member at the Brain Research Center. 

His clinical practice mainly consists of patients with Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. His area of focus is Parkinson’s disease, especially the prodromal stage and diagnostic biomarkers. He also does research on a variety of subjects in which cultural/genetic differences matter and data diversity is a global unmet need. He enjoys tango dancing and playing electric guitar.


Camila Aquino MD, MSc, PhDMitra Afshari, MD, MPH
Rush University

Dr. Mitra Afshari was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the US where she and her family made Chicago, Illinois their home. She completed her undergraduate (Biomedical Engineering), medical school, and residency training at Northwestern University. She completed her fellowship at the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF), where she received comprehensive training in neuromodulation and her research interest in technology-enabled care and health services was realized.

Mitra's independent research aims to develop and test innovative and accessible clinical care solutions for patients with PD by interfacing technology and clinical care, reflecting her training in Biomedical Engineering, Public Health, and Movement Disorders Neurology. Currently, she is developing and testing a fall prevention program for PD patients that is delivered via teleconferencing. Mitra is also interested in education research and enhancing Movement Disorders education, serving as the Associate Movement Disorders Fellowship Director and Deep Brain Stimulation Fellowship Director at Rush University.

At Rush University, she serves as a clinical neurointerventional specialist and Director of Community Engagement and Outreach in her division. At MDS, she is the Junior Co-Chair of the MDS Telemedicine Study Group. At home, she loves traveling, crafting, and exploring all cuisines with her daughter, husband, and close family and friends.


Xiomara Garcia, MD, MScErick González Delgado, MD
MedicalCenter Neurocenter

I grew up in Havana, Cuba with my family. My father being a neurologist I met the medical arts at a very young age. I went to medical school at the University of Havana and obtained my specialty as a Neurologist in the same institution in 2013.

Within neurology I became interested in movement disorders after evaluating several patients with this pathology. I was lucky enough to witnessed firsthand how a precise and adequate treatment can change our patient’s life for the better.

In 2015 I moved to Bolivia where I have been working as a general neurologist and as an associate professor at various Universities. I have also participated in several courses and training provided by the MDS to increase my knowledge and provide a better care for my patients. I currently participate in the Pan-American Education Committee of the MDS.

It is my personal goals to improve the care provided to patients with movement disorders pathologies in my country, improving quality of life, accessibility to medication, as well as achieving an initial DBS surgery program.

During my free time I enjoy traveling and getting to know new cultures as well as spending time with my family.


Karlo Lizárraga MD, MScCarolina Gorodetsky, MD, MSc
University of Toronto

I grew up in a small city, Safed, in Israel. I received my undergraduate degree from Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel, and my medical degree from Technion, Haifa, Israel. Upon completion of medical school, I pursue a general pediatric residency at the Technion in Haifa, Israel. In 2017, I moved to Canada to complete a three-year training as a core pediatric neurology fellow at SickKids Hospital, Toronto followed by two years combined fellowship in pediatric and adult movement disorders and neuromodulation at SickKids and Toronto Western Hospitals. Over this time, I was pursuing novel research in the field of wearable technology and artificial intelligence in pediatric movement disorders. In 2022, I completed an MSc through the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto.
I am currently working as a pediatric movement disorder neurologist at SickKids hospital in Toronto where I am leading the pediatric deep brain stimulation and movement disorder programs. My areas of interest include pediatric genetic and metabolic movement disorders as well as neuromodulation in the pediatric population. 

Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, traveling around the world, and spending time with my two beautiful children.


Abhimanyu Mahajan MD, MHSSara Schaefer, MD, MHS
Yale School of Medicine

I grew up in Maryland and attended Brown University and The Ohio State University College of Medicine before completing internship, residency, and movement disorders fellowship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I joined the faculty at Yale and serve as the Neurology Residency Associate Program Director and Movement Disorders Fellowship Director. I completed a Masters in Health Sciences with a focus on medical education through the Yale School of Medicine Teaching and Learning Center.

My primary interest is medical education with a particular focus on curriculum. My MHS thesis involved creating interactive, patient video-based, online movement disorders modules for neurology residents, which I continue to expand. I am passionate about finding new ways to educate, and am involved in multiple educational podcasts including Neurology Nuts and Bolts: Constructing your Career (founder, editor-in-chief), MDS Podcast (founder, deputy editor), and Neurology Exam Prep Podcast (guest interviewee). I am currently working on a pilot multi-high school neurology club curriculum that will include lectures, career panels, and hands-on activities with the goal to foster interest in neurology in a diverse group of young learners.

Outside of work, I am married with two young kids, which keeps me very busy!


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