Movement Disorders Laboratory Members
Helen M. Bronte-Stewart, MD, MSE
The John E. Cahill Professor,
Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Director Stanford Movement Disorders Center
Director Stanford Human Motor Control and Balance Laboratory
Dr. Bronte-Stewart received a Master of Science in Bioengineering and her MD degree from University of Pennsylvania Schools of Engineering and Medicine respectively. Dr. Bronte-Stewart did her internship in medicine and a residency in neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She completed post-doctoral fellowships in movement disorders in single unit electrophysicology and motor control with Dr. Stephen Lisberger, at the University of California, San Francisco.
Her expertise in single neuronal electrophysiology in primates has been transferred to the operating room where she performs the intra-operative microelectrode mapping of basal ganglia nuclei during deep brain stimulations (DBS) procedures for the treatment of patients with Movement Disorders. Dr. Bronte-Stewart's research focus is on elucidating the mechanisms of abnormal brain activity that contribute to abnormal movement and balance disorders in Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia. She has developed new technology to measure human motor control such as a MIDI keyboard, which has been developed by Intel's division of Healthcare Technology. In the Stanford Human Motor Control & Balance laboratory, Dr. Bronte-Stewart and her colleagues are investing the effects of interventions such as DBS and/or exercise on specific aspects of balance and upper extremity movement in Parkinson's disease. In the operating room, she and her colleagues record electrical signals directly from the human brain and have demonstrated that DBS suppresses an abnormal rhythm in the brain and may act like a brain pacemaker.
Dr. Bronte-Stewart's passion for understanding how the brain controls movement comes from a background in classical and modern dance.
Bruce C. Hill, PhD
Bruce C. Hill, PhD performs calculations to assist the interoperative navigation during DBS surgery and oversees technical quality assurance for the program. He insures that the various computer, electronic, and mechanical systems used in the clinic and operating room are operating correctly. He also collaborates with a number of the program's neurological and neurosurgical research efforts. Dr. Hill received his BA in Physics (summa cum laude) from Rice University.
He received his doctorate in Applied Physics from Stanford University and his residency training in Medical Physics from the University of California, San Francisco. He also performed biomedical research and instrument development for fifteen years as a Principal Investigator on National Institutes of Health grants and was a Visiting Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.
Ross Anderson, Ph.D.
Ross graduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio in 2007 with a B.S. in Physics (with a concentration in Biophysics) and a minor in Mathematics. He followed on to complete his Ph.D. in the Physiology and Biophysics department at CWRU in 2014 in the laboratory of Dr. Ben Strowbridge studying the role of subthreshold oscillations and persistent activity in the rodent hippocampus, a region of the brain thought to be responsible for short term memory and spatial navigation. He then did postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Cameron McIntyre developing computational models of evoked activity in the motor cortex in response to deep brain stimulation and now is excited to be moving full circle as an electrophysiologist to be developing new technology and therapeutic biomarkers for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease through deep brain stimulation. Outside of the lab, Ross enjoys the great Bay Area outdoors through swimming, running, biking and hiking as well as tinkering with model steam engines, amateur electrics, and printed circuit boards.
Anca Velisar, MS
Anca Velisar received an MS in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania in 1996 and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2001. She then joined the Rehabilitation R&D Center (later renamed Bone and Joint Center) in the VA Palo Alto. Anca has been a part of the Movement Disorders Center in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University since 2011. She is interested in understanding how the brain controls body movements. She loves to travel and is a film aficionado.
Amaris Martinez, BA
Amaris graduated from the University of San Diego in 2016 with a B.A in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies. Throughout her undergraduate career at the University of San Diego, she collaborated in research at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where she studied visual processes during reading and neural underpinnings of vision in patients with Synesthesia. Her other research experiences at the University of San Diego include her senior thesis project in which she investigated the role of visual learning and motor movements in zebrafish models. Her future academic endeavors include pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Psychology.
Outside the lab she enjoys training for marathons, learning about nutrition, and leisure reading.
Muhammad Furqan Afzal, MS
Furqan graduated with an MS in Electrical Engineering (Computational Neuroscience focus) from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. His research there focused on developing a neurodynamical model for motor control and its representation in the neural substrate. He also worked at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center at the same time, developing an automated strategy for visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) using corneal reflection eye tracking. He joined the lab in 2016 and is interested in applying his skills from electrical engineering and computer science to understand human motor control/ disorders and develop novel techniques for their cure. In his free time, he enjoys reading, and playing soccer and racquetball.
Varsha Prabhakar, BA
Varsha graduated from Smith College in 2017 with a B.A. in Neuroscience. She spent her summers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) studying the potential therapeutic benefit of a novel drug for the treatment of Huntington’s Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. During her undergraduate career, Varsha volunteered with Global Brigades to bring health care to rural communities in South America and with the local hospice care. She is excited to continue working to understand movement disorders here at Stanford and hopes to attend medical school in the future. Outside of the lab, Varsha enjoys reading, finding new hiking spots and spending time with family and friends.
Raumin Neuville, BS
Raumin graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2017 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. During his time at UC Davis, he studied the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injuries through examination of the excitotoxic cascades affecting cell survival and behavior. Alongside research, Raumin volunteered for Willow Clinic, a student-run clinic focused on serving the homeless population of Sacramento, and Alzheimer’s Buddies, which pairs university students with Alzheimer’s residents. He joined the lab in August 2017 and hopes to attend medical school in the near future. Outside the lab, Raumin likes to hit the gym for an intense workout, listen to music, hike, and cook, which further entails his enjoyment of eating food.
Johanna O’Day, MS
Johanna received her M.S. in Bioengineering from Stanford University in 2017. She hails from Boston, and has a B.S. in Biochemistry from her first alma mater, Boston College. She did research for two years in a Chemical Biology laboratory, and completed an independent research project in Neuroscience as an undergraduate at Boston College. At Stanford, she is working to better understand the biomechanical and neural mechanisms underlying pathological movement. Outside of the lab, Johanna can be found ascending rock walls with friends, running, writing, hiking and swimming.
Mandy Koop, PhD
M.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2001 B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1999 Mandy is interested in quantifying muscle activity and movements in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to determine the mechanisms that impair movement speeds during repetitive tasks. Her goal is to develop mathematical criteria, based on kinematic and electromyography data, which can characterize specific phenomena within PD movement symptoms. Clinicians could potentially use the information to group patients and optimize patient specific treatments. She enjoys hiking and camping along the California coast, traveling and visiting family and friends, cooking, reading, and sewing.