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Research in Neurology


Research to improve health care for neurological illness is a major mission of the Department of Neurology, which maintains a wide range of basic and clinical research programs.  Below is a listing of the types of neurological diseases researchers in the Department of Neurology are studying. A description of the corresponding Clinical Programs for the neurological disorders can be found at Clinical Programs for Neurological Disorders on this Neurology website.


Research into Neurological Disorders

Autonomic Disorders

The autonomic disorders group conducts research focused on dysautonomias associated with pain such as functional abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, postural tachycardia syndrome, fibromyalgia, and cyclic vomiting syndrome. The aims of current studies are to ascertain the co-morbidities of these disorders, the familial occurrence patterns, and ultimately understand the genetic, epigenetic and environmental changes that influence their emergence across individuals. Another aim of the group is the study of structural disorders of the autonomic nervous system such as diabetic autonomic neuropathy and multiple system atrophy.

Current Autonomic Disorders Research


Investigators in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center conduct research focused on early detection and prevention of epilepsy, fMRI studies of brain mapping for surgical management of epilepsy, clinical trials of anticonvulsant medications, and basic research on epilepsy mechanisms using computational models and cortical slice preparations.

Memory Disorders

Drug trials and imaging research are employed to help those with Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment and other Memory Disorders.

Dementia Research Center

Neuromuscular Disease & ALS

Neurology faculty conduct clinical trials of pharmacological agents for slowing the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases.


The neuro-oncology program carries out clinical trials of chemotherapeutic and other experimental treatments for brain cancer, as well as fMRI studies of tumor angiogenesis aimed at improving early detection. Clinical trials are conducted by Mark Malkin, MD and Jennifer Connelly, MD.


The Neuropsychology Brain Tumor Lab, directed by David Sabsevitz, Ph.D., conducts patient-centered research that seeks to better understand how brain tumor treatment affects cognitive processes and brain neurophysiology.

Neuropsychology Brain Tumor Lab

Movement Disorders

Movement disorders specialists participate in a variety of therapeutic trials of pharmacological agents and deep brain stimulation techniques for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Essential Tremor, Dystonia and other movement disorders.

Stroke and Neurovascular Disease

Neurocritical care services provided by neurointensivist Dr. Ann Helms, and advanced interventional neurology served by Dr. Sam Zaidat, Dr Brian-Fred Fitzsimmons, and Dr. John Lynch  in the Stroke and Neurovascular Center conduct clinical trials of treatments for acute stroke and stroke prevention, as well as basic research on mechanisms of brain ischemia.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Dr. Michael McCrea’s research focuses primarily on the acute and chronic effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI).  He is the principal investigator on several studies that use a multitude of modalities to research the natural course of clinical and physiological recovery after TBI. One of his main areas of interest is the effect of sport-related concussion on athletes competing in contact and collision sports at all competitive levels.  More recently, he has been involved in studying the effects of concussion and traumatic brain injury in soldiers serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Current Traumatic Brain Injury Center Research
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 06/17/2014