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. Helen Bronte-Stewart is the John E Cahill Family Professor in the department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences. She is a neurologist, neurophysiologist and movement disorders specialist, who has used her training in mathematics and physics, bioengineering, neurology, movement disorders, and single unit electrophysiology in primates to develop a rigorous translational program in motor control research in human subjects with movement disorders. Dr. Bronte-Stewart is the Director of the Stanford Comprehensive Movement Disorders Center, the Co-Director of the Stanford Balance Center, and the Division Chief of Movement Disorders in the department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences. She directs the Stanford Human Motor Control and Balance Laboratory, where she has developed computerized, quantitative measurements of motor behavior, which are being implemented in a wide range of Movement Disorders. Her research investigates the brain’s contribution to abnormal movement in human subjects, using synchronous brain recordings and quantitative kinematics, and how these are modulated with different frequencies and patterns of neurostimulation. Dr. Bronte-Stewart’s team was the first in the United States to implant a sensing neurostimulator, from which they can record brain signals directly, and use the patient’s own neural activity to drive the first closed loop neurostimulation studies in Parkinson’s disease. This work has led to the first multicenter national clinical trial in closed loop deep brain stimulation for people with Parkinson’s disease, which Dr. Bronte-Stewart will lead. 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, PhD
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.
Matthew Petrucci, PhD
Matt obtained a MS in mechanical engineering and PhD in neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BS/BA in mechanical engineering from the University of San Diego. His dissertation research primarily focused on improving gait initiation in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and freezing of gait (FOG) using a powered ankle foot orthosis. During his graduate career, he also worked on projects that examined the application of a powered ankle foot orthosis for gait assistance in persons with multiple sclerosis and perception vs. action coupling in firefighters wearing protective gear. He was awarded a MnDRIVE Neuromodulation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2016 to develop quantitative measures of the mechanical and neurophysiological components of rigidity in PD. In 2017, he was awarded the Parkinson’s Study Group Mentored Clinical Research Award to evaluate an automated closed-looped algorithm to rapidly optimize deep brain stimulation settings for people with PD.
Outside of lab, Matt is a sports enthusiast who enjoys baseball, golf, rock climbing, hiking, and all things outdoors. He also enjoys playing the guitar and piano.
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.
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.
Jordan Parker, BA
Jordan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Spanish and African and African American Studies. During her time at Stanford, she worked closely with the Bronte-Stewart Lab as a research assistant during the summers of 2016 and 2017. As a Bio-X fellow in the Bronte-Stewart Lab, Jordan studied the effect of augmented reality on gait in Parkinson’s Disease and put her heart into working with the Dance for PD program in various locations in the Bay Area. Outside of the classroom, Jordan enjoys philanthropy, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. Jordan joined the Bronte-Stewart Lab in the fall of 2018 and hopes to eventually pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology. She aspires to research disparate health outcomes in neurology and psychiatry for women of color.
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.