The following experts on Parkinson’s disease are available to speak with reporters:

Michael Okun

Co-director, Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases at UF Health; chair, department of neurology, UF College of Medicine; Adelaide Lackner professor of neurology; national medical director of the Parkinson’s Foundation

Research interests: 
Cognitive, behavioral and mood effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS); non-motor basal ganglia brain features

Okun is co-director of the Fixel Center, a unique hub comprised of more than 45 interdisciplinary faculty members dedicated to care, outreach, education and research.


Nick McFarland

Chief of UF’s movement disorders division; assistant professor; Wright/Falls/Simmons professor in PSP/Atypical Parkinson’s

Research interests: 
Understanding pathological mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders, in particular the role of alpha-synuclein in cell toxicity and neurodegeneration; current studies use both cellular and preclinical models to study genes and molecules that may enhance or ameliorate alpha-synuclein toxicity.


Irene Malaty

Director, Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at UF; Barbara Padgett Dein Professor in Parkinson’s; president, Florida Society of Neurology

Research interests:
Improving quality of care in Parkinson’s disease; non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including depression and psychosis; Duopa pump therapy for Parkinson’s disease; Tourette syndrome; non-motor comorbidities, pharmacologic and behavioral management; Botulinum toxin injection for movement disorders

Malaty is a primary investigator of a number of trials in Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, Huntington disease and dystonia.


Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora

Associate professor of neurology; director of clinical trials at the Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases

Research interests:
Clinical trials and neurotherapeutics in neurology, investigating novel deep brain stimulation surgical and programming techniques in movement disorders; understanding the neurophysiological brain changes observed in these conditions; and use of neuromodulation for the treatment of uncommon neurological diseases.


Melissa Armstrong

Assistant professor of neurology; director, Mangurian Clinical-Research Center for Lewy Body and Parkinson’s disease dementia

Research interests:
Cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia and atypical Parkinsonisms; ways to assess and treat cognitive impairment and improve quality of life for patients with cognitive impairment and their caregivers/carepartners and families; and engaging patients directly to understand questions relevant to their daily lives


Aparna Wagle Shukla

Associate professor of neurology, director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory and co-director for clinical trials in essential tremor, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Tourette syndrome

Research interests:
Elucidating the mechanisms underlying deep brain stimulation surgery in DYT1 dystonia and understanding the pathophysiology of cervical dystonia.