Movement Disorders

UCSF Movement Disorders Fellowship

The goal of the UCSF Movement Disorders Fellowship is to train the next generation of leading academic clinicians that will advance the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other movement disorders. Collegial support, mentorship, and a spirit of collaboration are central to our clinical, research, and educational endeavors. Our program at the UCSF Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Center (MDNC) provides a highly integrated multidisciplinary experience in partnership with the San Francisco VA Parkinson’s Disease and Research Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC). This collaboration gives fellows a comprehensive, extraordinarily rich and varied training, as well as mentorship from highly dedicated movement disorders neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, and nurses. In addition to our historically strong neurophysiology/deep brain stimulation (DBS) program (mentored by faculty including Dr. Jill Ostrem and Dr. Philip Starr), our fellowship has been greatly enhanced in recent years by deeper integration with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (a world-renowned behavioral neurology center conducting cutting-edge dementia and neurodegenerative disease care and research) and the addition of Dr. Caroline Tanner (a leader in PD epidemiology and clinical research) to the UCSF faculty. Our fellows now get in-depth, comprehensive training in design and conduct of clinical trials, basal ganglia physiology, behavioral neurology, observational clinical research, and epidemiology.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) recently recognized our excellence and innovation in fellowship training when it chose UCSF as one of the sites for the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movements Disorders for 2017-2019.

Fellowship Director

Nicholas B. Galifianakis, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Neurology
[email protected]

How to Apply

Our fellowship program participates in the national SFMATCH application service for movement disorders fellowships. New application cycles typically begin in March of the PGY-3 year of neurology residency. Applications are due by May, and interviews are conducted for select candidates in June-August, a full year (12-15 months) before the start date of the fellowship. Therefore, interested applicants should apply through in spring of their PGY-3 year, (providing a CV, personal statement and 3 letters of recommendation). Applicants are also welcome to directly contact the fellowship director, Dr. Galifianakis (email above) with any questions.

The University of California is an AA/EEO employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, including minorities and women.


The goal of the UCSF Movement Disorders Fellowship is to train the next generation of leading academic clinicians that will advance the understanding and treatment of PD and other movement disorders. Mentoring strong, future junior faculty members provides some of the greatest joy to the faculty and is of the highest priority at our center. Early in the fellowship, each fellow identifies at least one primary faculty mentor to help direct and advise the design and conduct of an individual research project, submission of publications, and presentation at scientific meetings. Mentors meet regularly (at least monthly) with fellows to develop their projects. We work with second-year fellows closely to develop where and how they will start their career. Perhaps the strongest evidence of our center’s training excellence, support, and commitment is the success of our former fellows. Our two-year program has trained over 20 movement disorders neurology fellows (and 12 functional neurosurgeons) in the last 15 years. This year’s graduates will join faculty at Rush, Duke, and UCSF, continuing the success of past graduates who are now at academic institutions including UCSF, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Stanford, the University of Florida, and Case Western Reserve (see below).

Clinical Care/Education

Our fellows are immersed in a comprehensive and extraordinarily diverse clinical experience. Multidisciplinary collaboration with neurosurgery, behavioral neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and physical therapy is central. The fellows are deeply involved in the entire course of disease management, from early detection of PD through palliative care. Working in one of most experienced DBS centers in the world, all fellows observe a number of DBS surgeries, but can greatly expand this clinical neurosurgical exposure if this is a major career interest. They gain expertise in all aspects of DBS management; from pre-operative candidacy evaluation, to intraoperative physiology, to the use of interventional-MRI (iMRI) technique of implanting DBS electrodes (which was developed at our center), to post-operative programming. Telemedicine, including video care directly into the home, is routinely used. Fellows participate in the forward-thinking PD palliative care clinics (one of the first developed in North America) with neurologists, palliative care physicians, social work, nursing, and chaplain care. From the first week, our fellows get hands-on experience in our dystonia center’s botulinum toxin injection clinic, utilizing EMG and ultrasound guidance. They develop additional independence by managing their own patients longitudinally for two years in supervised weekly continuity clinics at the San Francisco VA PADRECC. Fellows attend and rotate as presenters at a weekly “fellows conference” (with conferences on rare disorders, neuropathology, neuropsychology, and other recent scientific advances) and weekly video rounds. Fellow “exchanges” of 1-2 weeks with other movement disorders centers are also possible. Our program also supports fellows to attend the Aspen Movement Disorders course and the annual Movement Disorder Society International Congress.


Fellows are encouraged to substantially participate in research and develop their own research project, receiving mentorship from internationally recognized leaders in the field. Fellows have access to data from our clinical research database, and ample protected time in the first and especially the second year of the program to initiate and complete their own research. In terms of research training, they participate in several didactic sessions per year on epidemiology, clinical trial design, and statistical analysis by several faculty who have training and advanced degrees in epidemiology and clinical research design. They attend and present at several journal clubs (e.g. the biweekly Starr Lab basal ganglia journal club, and the monthly joint UCSF/UCLA VA journal club) where they learn to critically evaluate the research literature. Fellows attend and participate in weekly research meetings (on physiology/DBS research, epidemiology, and clinical research, including clinical trials development and management). We involve fellows in cutting edge science to have a relevant and impactful research foundation from which to build a career. For example, current fellows are involved in PD neuroprotection clinical trials, PD biomarker research, and research on the genetics of movement disorders, closed-loop stimulation paradigms, automated DBS programming, chronic electro-corticography (to examine the neurophysiologic basis of movement, cognition, and behavior), impulse control disorders and other behavioral outcomes, investigations of the microbiome and PD, field epidemiologic studies, investigations of prodromal PD, and validating novel clinical care models in palliative care and telemedicine.

In early 2020, the UCSF Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Center will be one of the flagship components of the newly established UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, moving to its new, 8-story, clinical and research center on the Mission Bay campus. UCSF Movement Disorders also recently received a large endowment to establish a clinical and research center for Atypical Parkinsonian disorders in collaboration with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Our center is a Parkinson Study Group (PSG) site, and is a super site for the MJFF-sponsored Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study. The Department of Neurology at UCSF is fully committed to providing an outstanding scientific environment for clinical and translational research and collaboration across disciplines. It provides individualized support from the central administrative and other research cores of the department, and has a superior track-record of success in terms of research funding and contributions to the fields of neurology and neuroscience.

Former Fellows: Where are they now?

Graduation Year, Name, Current Position


Faiza Butt, MD
University of Assistant Professor
University of Oklahoma

Lauren Spiegel, MD (Position Pending)

Fay Gao, MD
Queen's Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii


Melissa Heiry, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia , PA

Jennifer Choi, MD
Kaiser Permanente, San Jose, CA


Mitra Afshari, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Rush University, Chicago, IL

Ethan Brown, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Kyle Mitchell, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Duke University, Durham, NC

Jessica Weinstein, MD
Kaiser Permanente, Antioch, CA


Nijee Luthra, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Cameron Dietiker, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Svjetlana Miocinovic, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Jennifer Chen, MD
Clinical Fellow in Sleep Disorders
Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

Erica Byrd, MD
Movement Disorders Specialist
Sutter Neuroscience Institute, Roseville, CA

Melanie Lising, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

Robert R. Coleman, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Michigan State University, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI

Kelly Mills, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neuromodulation and Advanced Therapeutics Clinic
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Maya Katz, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Camilla Kilbane, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


Jennifer L. Witt, MD
Movement Disorders Specialist
Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Seattle, WA


Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Rima Ash, MD
Movement Disorders Specialist,
Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, CA

Nicholas B. Galifianakis, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Neurology
Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship
UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Lauren Schrock, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Suketu Khandhar, MD
Director, Surgical treatments of PD
Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento, CA

Anthony Mosley, MD
Movement Disorders Specialist
The Parkinson’s Institute, Sunnyvale, CA

Current Fellows

Graduation Year, Name, Neurology Residency

Amir Badiei, MD
Prarthana Prakash, MD
Mai Vuong, MD

Beginning Fellowship July 2020

Kathrine Wong, MD
Meredith Bock, MD
Lauren Hammer, MD