International Medical Advisory Board | The Dysautonomia Project

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International Medical Advisory Board

Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D.

Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology & Transplantation, University of Minnesota

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Kamal R. Chemali, M.D.

Kamal R. Chemali, M.D.

Associate Professor of Neurology, Eastern Virginia Medical School Director, Sentara Neuromuscular & Autonomic Center

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David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D.

David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator, NINDS Attending Physician, NIH Clinical Center

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Alan Pocinki, M.D.

Alan Pocinki, M.D.

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington University

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Steven Vernino, M.D., Ph.D.

Steven Vernino, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor & Academic Vice Chair, Department of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics, UT Southwestern Medical Center

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Satish Raj, M.D., M.S.C.I., F.A.C.C.

Satish Raj, M.D., M.S.C.I., F.A.C.C.

Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Autonomic Dysfunction Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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Julian Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.

Julian Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, Physiology & Medicine Director, Center for Hypotension, New York Medical College

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 Pradeep Chopra, M.D.

Pradeep Chopra, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Alpert Medical School at Brown University Director, Interventional Pain Management Center of Rhode Island

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 Charles R. “Randy” Thompson, M.D.

Charles R. “Randy” Thompson, M.D.

Director Center for Autonomic Disorders, Pensacola, Florida

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Trusted Board Members

This section is currently under construction as each trusted board member would like to write a personal description. Please check back shortly, thank you!

LAWRENCE B. AFRIN, M.D.

Dr. Afrin earned a B.S. in Computer Science at Clemson University in 1984 and then an M.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 1988, where he also pursued internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology clinical and research fellowships. While on faculty at MUSC 1995-2014, he was active in undergraduate and graduate medical education, educational and IT administration, and practice and research in hematology/oncology and medical informatics. Since the mid-’00s, his clinical work has increasingly focused in hematology, especially mast cell disease; he also directed MUSC’s myeloproliferative neoplasms clinical trials program. He joined the University of Minnesota in 2014. He has served on national panels on oncology education and quality care and speaks widely in his areas of focus. He has an extensive record of peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial boards for several journals and on the Medical Advisory Board for The Mastocytosis Society.

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Kamal R. Chemali, M.D.

Dr. Chémali is a specialist of neurology at Sentara Medical Group in Norfolk, VA with a subspecialty in autonomic medicine. He earned his medical degree from the Lebanese University Faculty of Medical Sciences after also attending medical school at the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix in Namur, Belgium. He completed internships at Lebanese University Faculty of Medical Sciences and Staten Island University Hospital, and his neurology residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Chémali then completed fellowship training in Clinical Neurophysiology, Electromyography and Neuromuscular Diseases at Cleveland Clinic.

As a Conservatory-trained pianist, he developed a special interest in Music Medicine and Neurological Music Therapy, using music as a therapeutic tool in improving pain perception and gait disorders, helping language recovery in stroke, enhancing the healing process, reducing anxiety and stress, and stimulating cognitive skills, among others. He is an inter- nationally-invited speaker in the field of Music and Medicine.

Dr. Chémali is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Among his many leadership roles and professional affiliations, Dr. Chémali is a member of the American Academy of Neurology where he serves a Course Director, the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, the American Autonomic Section of the American Academy of Neurology.

Sentara Neurology Specialists

Mon. – Fri., 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

600 Gresham Drive, Suite 8630 Norfolk, VA 23507

Kamal R. Chémali, MD Neurology

757-388-6105 To schedule appointments: 1-877-310-8713

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David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Goldstein conducts patient-oriented research about autonomic and catecholamine-related disorders. He received a B.A. from Yale College in 1970 and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University in 1976. He joined the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 1978, obtained tenure in 1984, transferred to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in 1990, and in 1999 founded and since then has directed the Clinical Neurocardiology Section. An authority on clinical autonomic function testing and catecholamine neurochemistry, his research has been published in 546 papers to date, including 118 first-authored, original research articles, and has been cited more than 20,000 times.

Dr. Goldstein has developed numerous clinical laboratory methods, including liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection for plasma levels of catechols and 18F-dopamine scanning to visualize sympathetic innervation of the heart. His discoveries include cardiac sympathetic denervation in Parkinson disease, differential regulation of the sympathetic noradrenergic and adrenomedullary systems in stress and distress, sympathoadrenal imbalance preceding syncope, autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, and a shift from vesicular uptake to oxidative deamination as a pathogenetic mechanism in Lewy body diseases.

He has received two NINDS Merit Awards, the Presidential Executive Director’s Award of the National Dysautonomia Research Foundation, the Pioneer Award of the Bakken Heart-Brain Foundation, the Laufberger Medal of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Investigator Award of the Society for Clinical and Translational Science, and the NIH Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award. His career goals are to develop biomarkers, elucidate mechanisms, and test new treatments of Parkinson disease and other catecholamine-related disorders, direct a world-class catecholamine resource laboratory, and introduce and test concepts of scientific integrative medicine.

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Alan Pocinki, M.D.

Dr. Pocinki is a general internist in private practice in Washington, D.C. His interest in Ehlers-Danlos and related autonomic and sleep problems over the past decade grew out of his experience studying chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) since 1987. He has found that virtually all of his CFS patients (and fibromyalgia patients as well) have hypermobile joints, and autonomic and sleep problems similar to those of EDS patients.

He has received a variety of awards and recognition for service to his profession as well as for the quality of his practice, and speaks and writes regularly about these conditions. He is a Clinical Associate Professor at George Washington University Medical Center; and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College.

ALAN G. POCINKI, MD, FACP

2141 K Street, NW, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20037

Telephone: 202-223-2283

FAX: 202-887-0150

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Steven Vernino, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Vernino is Professor and Academic Vice-Chair in the Department of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He also holds the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation Distinguished Chair in Neuromuscular Disease Research. Dr. Vernino is the director of the clinical autonomic laboratory and clinic at UT Southwestern.

He has been involved with research related to autonomic disorders for the past 20 years. His major contribution to the field was the discovery of ganglionic AChR antibodies and the role of these antibodies as a cause for autonomic failure (autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy). He has also contributed to research studies aimed at the treatment of autonomic disorders and autoimmune neurological disorders such as paraneoplastic syndromes and autoimmune encephalitis.

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Satish Raj, M.D., M.S.C.I., F.A.C.C.

Satish R Raj MD MSCI grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Medicine (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) in 1993. He then completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Queen’s University before moving on to a clinical and research fellowship in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of Calgary.

In 2002, Dr. Raj moved to Nashville, Tennessee as a Research Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he also successfully completed a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Investigation, graduating in 2004. He stayed on as a clinical researcher at Vanderbilt University, rising to the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University (with tenure) and an Attending Physician at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, working primarily with the Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center.

In July 2014, he moved back to the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada) to set up an Autonomic Center of Excellence. He is currently Associate Professor of Cardiac Science at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute and the University of Calgary.

He is currently Board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, and Autonomic Disorders.

His primary research interests relate to understanding the cause and finding more effective treatments for the postural tachycardia syndrome and neurally mediated syncope, as well as disorders of autonomic nervous system failure.

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Julian Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Stewart obtained his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Chicago. He had an internship and residency in Pediatrics at NYU and a fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at Cornell-New York Hospital. He spent some years as a clinical pediatric cardiologist during which he also learned integrative physiology of large mammals in the physiology laboratory of Dr. Thomas Hintze, and became a C++ programmer in order to process circulatory signals. Thereafter, he applied what he had learned to studies of the integrative physiology of orthostatic intolerance.

Dr. Stewart’s laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health to study orthostatic intolerance for more than 15 years with a particular focus on acute and chronic orthostatic intolerance (OI) in younger patients. Acute OI is postural vasovagal syncope (faint) while chronic OI is known as postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). In the lab Dr. Stewart has performed studies using intradermal microdialysis and laserDoppler flowmetry to test hypotheses concerning molecular and microvascular mechanisms which are then validated systemically in conscious humans. Many contributions to the literature have been made regarding measurements of peripheral vascular compliance and capacitance as well as microvascular filtration. Dr. Stewart has published widely in the field and has discovered connections between ventilation, angiotensinII, nitric oxide, oxidative stress, cognition, cerebral blood flow autoregulation, peripheral modulation of sympathetic activity, and impaired splanchnic vasoconstriction and venoconstriction in OI patients. Recently, Dr. Stewart obtained cerebral blood flow correlates of “brain fog” defined by impaired awareness, confusion, lightheadedness, mental fatigue, and cognitive deficits which point towards mechanism and effective treatment of these disabilities.

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Pradeep Chopra, M.D.

Chopra MHCM is a Pain Medicine specialist with a special interest in complex pain conditions such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in adults and children.

Dr. Chopra completed his residency in Anesthesia and Critical Care from Harvard Medical School. He completed his Fellowship in Pain Medicine from Harvard Medical School. He is now an Assistant Professor (Clinical) at Brown Medical School, Rhode Island, USA and the Director, Multidisciplinary Pain Management Center.

He is the recipient of many awards including The Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award 2013.

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Charles R. “Randy” Thompson, M.D.

Dr. Charles R. Thompson is known as “Randy” to most all of his patients. He received his MD from University of Alabama, Birmingham. He is board certified in internal medicine and began his practice in 1988, in Pensacola, Florida. After a sudden onset of dysautonomia himself, he studied for 1 year under Cecil Coughlan of UAB, one of the founding fathers of Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction who gave Dysautonomia its name. After his fellowship with Dr. Coughlan, Randy opened the Center for Autonomic Disorders in Pensacola, Florida. Over the course of the last 15 years he has seen more than 1500 patients with dysautonomia from more than 40 states and 3 other countries. These are patients desperate for answers flying and driving to Pensacola, Florida hoping to find someone who can help.

Randy is a hero to many of his patients. One mother of a patient who has followed with Randy for years said this:

Dr. Randy is the most knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring doctor I’ve ever met. We instantly felt at ease with him and knew our daughter was in good hands with him. We felt so scared, helpless, and somewhat hopeless in helping our daughter before we met Dr. Randy, but we felt so much better and less lonely knowing he was managing her care. Because he had POTS himself, he also knew firsthand how debilitating and unpredictable POTS can be and was very empathetic and supportive, and this made him work even harder to help her. We’re definitely fans for life of Dr. T. -The Steers Family

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