Fellowship Program Director: Leonardo Cohen, MD
This is an interactive program that trains Fellows in clinical and bench-to-bedside research focused on understanding mechanisms of behavioral, cognitive and motor disability associated with stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Fellows study the mechanisms underlying learning and other plastic changes in the human central nervous system in health and disease, the function of the human reward system, and novel therapeutic approaches for recovery of cognitive and motor functions.
Instruction is given on the use of techniques in the context of investigations using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and direct current (tDCS) stimulation, structural MRI, TMS in combination with fMRI, MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), PET scanning, and magnetoencephalography (MEG). These techniques are learned to understand mechanisms of neuroplasticity, memory formation and consolidation and to facilitate human brain function leading to more successful neurorehabilitation and cognitive improvements. Advances in this understanding in healthy volunteers are subsequently applied to patients with neurological conditions such as stroke and memory disorders.
This is a two-year fellowship program designed for physicians planning a career in academic neurology with a focus on the clinical neurophysiology and neuroimaging of recovery of function after stroke and other cortical injuries. Additional features of this program include the development of Clinical expertise in diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders. Trainees will develop expertise in at least one branch of clinical neurophysiology (for example transcranial magnetic stimulation) or neuroimaging (functional MRI or PET). Research will focus on the physiology and pathophysiology of recovery of function after injury including mastering the technique of transcranial magnetic stimulation, EEG analysis or functional neuroimaging. By the end of the first year, an original research protocol should be written that would be executed in the second year. Fellows are expected to attend the weekly journal club and the weekly unit meeting where they are exposed to the different protocols and techniques utilized in the unit. They are also expected to attend the meetings of the NIH integrative neuroscience interest group. Written evaluation of performance will be at 6-month intervals. Fellows should take the NIH Clinical Center course in clinical research (Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research) in their first year. At least one additional course should be taken in biostatistics. Fellows attend the Branch's outpatient clinic each Monday afternoon which focuses on movement disorders and also the Stroke Neurorehabilitation Clinic.