The Stanford Movement Disorders Team

The Stanford Movement Disorders Center

Helen Bronte-Stewart, MD, MSE
The John E. Cahill Professor,
Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Director Stanford Movement Disorders Center
Director Stanford Human Motor Control and Balance Laboratory

Dr. Bronte-Stewart received her bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of York in England, her Master's Degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and her MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Following her internship in medicine and residency in neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Bronte-Stewart completed post-doctoral fellowships in movement disorders and in single unit electrophysiology and motor control with Dr. Stephen Lisberger, at the University of California in San Francisco. She is board certified in psychiatry and neurology. Her expertise in single neuronal electrophysiology in primates has been transferred to the operating room where she performs the intra-operative microelectrode mapping during deep brain stimulations (DBS) procedures.

Dr. Bronte-Stewart's research goal is to understand how the brain controls movement. She developed computerized technology to measure human movement and currently uses this in conjunction with recordings of neuronal and neural network activity in the brain to correlate brain signals with different movements in Parkinson's Disease, tremor and dystonia. She and her team have discovered that people with Parkinson's Disease may have signature "brain arrhythmias" in the subthalamic nucleus in the brain. These rhythms are reduced by DBS at intensities that improve movement. She and her team are now investigating whether these rhythms are directly associated with abnormal movement and therefore whether that can be used as a biomarker for demand brain pacemakers, similar to demand cardiac pacemakers. They are also investigating whether this abnormal rhythm comes from the cortex and whether this will be another potential site for electrical stimulation to treat movement disorders. Dr. Bronte-Stewart is also very interested in balance and gait disorders and has an active research program in this area.

Dr. Bronte-Stewart has authored or co-authored over 60 articles, abstracts, book chapters and other materials on Parkinson's Disease, deep brain stimulation, and related issues, and has lectured widely on these topics all over North America. Throughout her career she has held many teaching positions, beginning during her undergraduate years with directorships of 2 dance companies. In addition, she has been a principal investigator in several studies of treatments for Parkinson's Disease. Her research has been supported by the generous donations of the Kinetics Foundation, the Vincent Coates Foundation, the Robert and Ruth Halperin Foundation, the John A. Blume Foundation, and the Cahill Family Foundation as well as by the NIH.

Kathleen Poston, MD, MS
Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Poston received her Bachelor's of Science in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, her Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering and her MD at Vanderbilt University. She completed her Neurology residency training at UCSF, where she was Chief Resident. She also completed a fellowship in clinical Movement Disorders under the mentorship of Dr. Stanley Fahn at Columbia University and post-doctoral training in Functional Neuroimaging with Dr. David Eidelberg at the Feinstein Institute.

Dr. Poston's clinical expertise focuses on Parkinson's disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and atypical Parkinsonian disorders (Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Cortical Basal Syndrome), with a special interest in the cognitive and non-motor symptoms in these disorders. She also treats patients with dystonia and blepharospasm with botulinum toxin.

Dr. Poston's research uses functional and structural imaging biomarkers that (1) aid in understanding the underlying pathophysiology associated with the motor, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms characteristic of Parkinson’s disease and (2) aid in diagnosis and objectivity track disease progression in clinical trials.  She has also been the Principal Investigator for interventional clinical trials in movement disorders, such as Gene Therapy in Parkinson's disease.

Melanie Lising, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Melanie Lising is a board-certified neurologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Stanford University.

Dr. Lising received her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cell Biology with an emphasis in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.  She went on to obtain her MD at Chicago Medical School and completed her residency in Neurology at the University of Southern California  (USC-LAC) where she served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Lising completed her clinical fellowship in Movement Disorders at UCSF and the SF VA medical centers. She now specializes in the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia using deep brain stimulation and botulinum toxin therapy, atypical parkinsonian syndromes, Huntington’s disease, ataxia and other movement disorders.

Her research interests include DBS and neuromodulation for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia and their clinical outcomes. Dr. Lising is also interested in investigating common non‐motor symptoms and cognitive functioning in Parkinson’s disease and its relevance to medical and surgical therapeutics and quality of life. She is interested in a multidisciplinary and supportive care approach, including physical and rehabilitative interventions for the late stages of neurodegenerative diseases such as PD and atypical parkinsonian syndromes.

Hokuto Morita, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Hokuto Morita received a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology with a Neurobiology emphasis at the University of California at Berkeley, subsequently attaining a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, where he did research on cell models of Huntington’s disease and other triplet repeat disorders. Following this, he finished both medical school and internship at Penn State Hershey. He completed his neurology residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He then went on to complete a 2 year movement disorders fellowship with a special emphasis in both DBS and hereditary ataxias and choreas at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Okun. During his fellowship he performed approximately 100 intraoperative microelectrode recordings for DBS surgery.

His initial interest in movement disorders stemmed from his own experiences with a movement disorder, but thereafter fell in love with the underlying science. He was very impressed with Dr. Rodolfo Llinas‘s assertion that movement was a key driving force in the evolution of nervous systems. His interest in movement is not just restricted to abnormal movement, but also appreciates the beauty of movement in all of its forms and enjoys watching athletes, dancers, and animals in movement. He regularly attends dance performances and is excited about the possibilities of dance and other expressive movements for the treatment of movement disorders.

Dr. Morita has clinical expertise in the treatment and diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, atypical parkinsonism, Huntington’s disease, ataxia, tremor, dystonia, myoclonus. He has also written publications related to DBS targeting and management.  Dr. Morita has a special research interest in hereditary movement disorders, particularly familial forms of ataxia and chorea, and hyperkinetic movement disorders.

He enjoys working with nonprofit movement disorder patient organizations and has written several patient education articles.

Veronica E. Santini, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Santini received her Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry at the University of Miami before traveling to Boston to complete a Master’s of Arts and her Medical Doctorate Degree at Boston University, School of Medicine. She continued her training there as a Resident in Neurology, becoming chief resident in her final year, as well as her fellowship in Movement Disorders under Dr. Saint Hilaire.

Dr. Santini is a board-certified neurologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Stanford University specializing in the diagnosis and management of movement disorders including Parkinson's disease and atypical parkinsonism, Huntington's disease, dystonia, tic disorder, tremor, & ataxia. Dr. Santini also has a special interest in disorders of the autonomic nervous system which is the primary focus of her research. She takes a holistic approach to patient care and hope to integrate conservative and alternative therapies where appropriate. She is also proficient in the use of DBS and Botox.

Dr. Santini is passionate about medical student and resident education and has taken multiple leadership roles in these areas. She was the first fellow to take on the role of Assistant clerkship director for the medical student Neurology clerkship at Boston University, School of Medicine and has continued in this role at Stanford University. She has mentored over 30 medical students, residents, and fellows and has a keen eye for curriculum development and novel student centered initiatives.

Dr. Santini also is enthusiastic about global health and started an initiative to bring multidisciplinary teams of attendings, trainees, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists to travel to Haiti and provide much needed neurologic care. She was recently appointed an ambassador to the St. Luke Foundation in Port-au-Prince and hopes to continue working nationally with other neurologists to bring more continuous neurologic care to underserved areas and expand her focus to Africa and South America.

Laurice Yang, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Laurice Yang received her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cell Biology at the University of California in Berkeley.  Subsequently, she earned a master’s degree in Health Administration at the University of Southern California where she received the high honor as a Dean Merit Scholar.  She went on to obtain her medical degree from the University of Vermont and completed her neurology residency at the University of Southern California where she was appointed Neuroscience Chief Resident and spent the year revamping the entire medical student/resident education curriculum.  She completed her clinical training as a movement disorders fellow at the University of California in Los Angeles under Dr. Jeff Bronstein. 

Dr. Laurice Yang is a board certified neurologist, specializing in the diagnosis of movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, atypical parkinsonian disorders, Essential Tremor, and Huntington’s disease.  Dr. Yang has a particular interest in dystonia and spasticity and has been trained to perform botulinum toxin injection under ultrasound guidance to better ensure accuracy and efficacy with each procedure. 

Dr. Yang’s research interest lies in understanding how rehabilitation and sensorimotor retraining techniques could improve dystonia.  Simple interventions such as watching or imagining certain motor tasks can improve motor performance in patients with many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and cerebral palsy, however their use in dystonia remains unclear.  Dr. Yang’s research involves using these unique rehabilitation techniques to alleviate the symptoms of dystonia.