2017 Annual Report — Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Parkinson’s Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic. To commemorate this important milestone, all fellows who have trained at the PDCMDC, many of whom have become internationally recognized leaders in the field, have been invited to contribute to a special commemorative book with their bios, photographs and reflections. We currently have four movement disorders fellows, all of whom are graduates of the Baylor Neurology Residency Program, testifying to the high regard for the PDCMDC training program among our residents. Indeed, I am delighted that Arjun Tarakad, M.D., an alumnus of our residency and fellowship program, just joined the PDCMDC faculty. To further enhance our patient care and other services, we also hired a nurse practitioner, Lisa Tian, N.P.

Nov. 15 has been designated National Philanthropy Day to promote and celebrate giving. As founder and director of the PDCMDC, this special day gives me an opportunity to express my deep gratitude to our patients for the privilege to participate in their care and to our generous donors and loyal supporters for their contributions to the PDCMDC’s research and educational endeavors. This annual letter also provides me an opportunity to highlight our accomplishments over the past year.

2017 Highlights

Joseph Jankovic, M.D.

- As president of the International Neurotoxin Association, Dr. Jankovic presided over the TOXINS 2017 conference in Madrid, Spain.

- Dr. Jankovic presented findings from the first immunotherapy trial for Parkinson’s disease at the 13th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease in Vienna, Austria, and at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  

- He also was invited to lecture at the 3rd International Conference on Functional (Psychogenic) Neurological Disorders in Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as conferences in Vietnam, China and other locations. 

- Dr. Jankovic received the 2017 Texas Neurological Society Lifetime Achievement Award.

Joohi Jimenez-Shahed, M.D.

- Dr. Jimenez-Shahed received the Fullbright & Jaworski LLP Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching and Evaluation, awarded to Baylor faculty who meet designated standards to receive recognition for their exemplary educational contributions to the College.

- She was named chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Houston Area Parkinson Society.

- Dr. Jimenez-Shahed served as a course co-director for the “Texas Tourette Symposium: What Makes Them Tic?,” which provided continuing education credits for healthcare practitioners and practical information for patients and families living with Tourette syndrome.

- She was invited to lecture at the American Academy of Neurology, the 2017 Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Think Tank and the 2017 DBS Leaders Forum.  

- Through a national competition, Dr. Jimenez-Shahed was selected to participate in the year-long American Academy of Neurology Women Leading in Neurology Program.

Joshua M. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D.

- Dr. Shulman’s research team, in collaboration with the International Parkinson Disease Genomics Consortium, discovered several promising new Parkinson’s disease susceptibility genes related to the established risk factor, glucocerobrosidase.  These results will be published in the prestigious journal, Brain.

- Dr. Shulman presented his research findings at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston, Massachusetts, the 13th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease in Vienna, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored symposium titled “Innovation in Parkinson’s Disease Target and Pathway Identification,” in Miami, Florida. 

- Dr. Shulman also received grant support from the NIH for his complementary research on Alzheimer’s disease.  His laboratory will integrate cutting-edge studies of human postmortem brain tissue with simple but powerful fruit fly models to pinpoint new Alzheimer’s drug targets.

Arjun Tarakad, M.D.

- Dr. Tarakad spoke at the annual symposium of the Houston Area Parkinson Society on the role of technology in Parkinson's disease.

Christine B. Hunter, R.N., B.S.N.

- Ms. Hunter serves as the coordinator representative on the Executive Committee of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG).  She is developing a mentoring program for coordinators across the PSG sites.

- She also serves on the task force for the Mentoring Program Committee of the National Parkinson Foundation.

- She continues to serve on the executive board of the Tourette Association – Texas Chapter.

- Ms. Hunter was honored by HELP 4 HD International for her many years of helping families with Huntington’s disease.

I hope you agree that our brief recap of scholarly activities and other achievements over the past year show that the PDCMDC continues to be at the forefront of research into Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative and movement disorders.  Our focus is on the best clinical care and research into genetics, experimental therapeutics and surgical treatments for movement disorders as well as training future experts and leaders in the field.  However, we need your generous support to advance our clinical, research and educational mission. 

Finally, our thoughts are with those who have suffered hardships as a result of Harvey.  The resilience shown by individuals and organizations in the storm’s aftermath has been most inspiring. 

With warm appreciation, 

Joseph Jankovic, M.D.