Center Researchers

Thomas J. Montine, M.D., Ph.D.


Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology
Stanford University

Dr. Montine is the Center Director and Project 1 Leader. He is a Stanford Medicine Professor in Pathology and Chair of the Department of Pathology. He is an Adjunct Professor of Neurology at OHSU and maintains interactions with NIH scientific leadership and administration, other Centers in the Udall Centers program, and other Parkinson’s disease-focused efforts nationally and internationally. Dr. Montine is the founding director of the Pacific Udall Center and has an outstanding record of NIH-funded research in the neurobiology of neurodegenerative diseases.

Kathleen Poston, M.D., M.S.

poston-kathleen-mdAssociate Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, and (by courtesy) Neurosurgery
Stanford University

Dr. Poston is the Center Co-Director and Stanford Clinical Core Leader. She is a movement disorders neurologist and neuroimaging specialist. Her research uses a systems neuroscience approach to investigate the dysfunctional brain networks underlying cognitive and behavioral symptoms characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.  She holds joint appointments in Movement Disorders and Memory Disorders and is a founding member of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), which focuses on early cognitive dysfunction in both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  She is also a Steering Committee member for the Imaging core of the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI).

J. William Langston, M.D.

Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Stanford University

Dr. J. William Langston originally gained national and international recognition when he discovered the cause of parkinsonism in a group of young heroin addicts in Northern California. The chemical causing their parkinsonism was a contaminate known as MPTP. This discovery has had a major impact on research that continues to this day. Dr. Langston has published nearly 400 scientific papers on PD, and has received numerous national awards for his work, including the Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson’s Research awarded by the Michael J Fox Foundation, and most recently the Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievements in Parkinson’s disease Research. He is the Associate Director of Stanford Udall Center, where brings his experience and in depth understanding of PD to virtually all aspects of the program, with a focus on how the rapidly changing concepts of the disease are affecting virtually all areas of research, from the clinic to laboratory.

Brenna Cholerton, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist, Department of Pathology
Stanford University

Dr. Cholerton’s Pilot Award investigated an emerging therapy for AD in Parkinson’s disease participants with cognitive impairment. The Pacific Udall Center recognized her exceptional talents and potential to be a leader in the neuropsychology of Parkinson’s disease, and recruited her to our Clinical Core, first at the University of Washington, and currently with Stanford University. Within the core, Dr. Cholerton focuses on harmonization of the cognitive protocol and diagnostic criteria across the multiple sites involved in the Pacific Udall Center Clinical Consortium, analysis of Clinical Core cognitive data, and serves as the Pacific Udall Center representative to the Movement Disorders Society Parkinson’s disease-MCI Study Group.

Karen Edwards, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology
University of California, Irvine

Dr. Edwards is a founding member of the Pacific Udall Center and continues in the Analytical Core. She built the two-site Center database between UW and OHSU, and a remote entry system for Parkinson’s disease Cognitive Genetics Consortium (PDCGC) collaborators. She has considerable expertise in leading and participating in broad interdisciplinary research projects, and as a genetic epidemiologist brings additional statistical expertise to the Center.


Thomas J. Grabowski, M.D.

Professor, Departments of Neurology and Radiology
University of Washington

Dr. Grabowski is the Project 2 Leader and brings functional imaging and cognitive neuroscience expertise to the field of Parkinson’s disease-related cognitive impairment. As Director of UW Integrated Brain Imaging Center, he received an ARRA RC4 award that developed new imaging partnerships at UW, including the Pacific Udall Center. His Pilot Award investigated functional connectivity fMRI in Parkinson’s disease participants, and their response to pro- cholinergic medication. He mentored junior faculty member Dr. Madhyastha, PhD, whose work developed the novel approaches proposed in Project 2. Dr. Grabowski is also the Director of the UW Alzheimer Disease Research Center, where he conducts functional imaging research that is synergistic with Project 2.

Fay Horak, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurology
Oregon Health and Science University

Dr. Horak, Professor of Neurology at OHSU, is the Project 3 Leader and a Clinical Core co-investigator. She received two Pacific Udall Center Pilot Awards focused on cognition and quantitative measures of balance and gait (B&G). One demonstrated that Parkinson’s disease with freezing of gait (FoG) has impaired cognitive response inhibition but not set-switching or executive function compared to Parkinson’s disease without FoG. The other showed that Parkinson’s disease+FoG had significantly reduced structural but increased functional connectivity in a circuit associated with cognitive response inhibition. The strong relationships between cognition and gait led us to include innovative B&G testing in the Clinical Core and Project 3.

Shu-Ching (Gene) Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
University of Washington

Dr. Hu is a movement disorder neurologist and founding member of the Pacific Udall Center Clinical Core. He contributed to a number of epidemiologic and genetic studies of Parkinson’s disease, and in recognition of his growing expertise as a clinical researcher, Dr. Hu was selected as principal investigator of the Seattle site for Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). He also is co-Medical Director of the Information and Referral Center of the WA American Parkinson’s Disease Association, a liaison between the community and medical professionals.

Jodi Lapidus, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biostatistics
Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Lapidus is a Professor of Biostatistics in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, and also directs the Biostatistics and Design Program (BDP) – OHSU’s statistics collaboration and consulting unit. Particularly relevant to the Pacific Udall Center is her experience in incorporating data from new technologies (e.g., B&G measures) into research, and her development of diagnostic biomarker signatures. Dr. Lapidus is a member of the Analytical Core where her expertise complements the genetics and epidemiology expertise of Dr. Edwards.

Tara Madhyastha, Ph.D.

tara-madhyastha-phdResearch Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Washington

Dr. Madhyastha is developing sensitive methods for quantifying alterations in spatiotemporal dynamics of functional connectivity in collaboration with Dr. Grabowski. She is a co-investigator in Project 2, where she is testing whether these measures are more sensitive and informative than either existing imaging markers or stationary functional connectivity at predicting future cognitive decline. In addition, she is the PI of an R01 that is linked to the Pacific Udall Center that uses EEG and fMRI to assess how functional connectivity differences in PD are related to task performance.

Ignacio Fernandez Mata, Ph.D.

Assistant Staff, Genomic Medicine Institute, Lerner Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Dr. Mata was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Zabetian’s lab at the inception of the Pacific Udall Center. He was appointed UW faculty in 2011 and transitioned to Cleveland Clinic in September 2018. Dr. Mata is a well-published neurogeneticist focused on Parkinson’s disease and cognitive impairment who co-authored 26 Pacific Udall Center publications (10 as first author), and who has been at the forefront of Pacific Udall Center genetic research during the inaugural award. Dr. Mata has established many international collaborations, including the Latin American Research Consortium on the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease (LARGE-Parkinson’s disease), and since 2012 has brought 5 visiting fellows to UW). He is a co-investigator in the Analytical Core and Project 1.

Jay Nutt, M.D.

Professor, Departments of Neurology & Physiology
Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Nutt is Professor of Neurology and Physiology at OHSU and previous Director of the Parkinson’s Center of Oregon, Dr. Nutt has been part of the Pacific Udall Center from its founding. He was awarded the prestigious Movement Disorders Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology for his leadership in proof-of-concept drug trials for Parkinson’s disease. He collaborates closely with Dr. Horak in relating specific types of executive function deficits and locomotor circuitry disorders to B&G disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Nutt has extensive experience in clinical research and neurology training to the Pacific Udall Center and is a Co-Investigator in Project 3.

Joseph F. Quinn, M.D.

Professor, Department of Neurology
Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Quinn is the Clinical Core Leader and has been engaged in VA and NIH-funded translational research in neurodegenerative disease for over 15 years. His focus was AD until the initial funding of the Pacific Udall Center, when he assumed the role of Clinical Core Site PI at OHSU, and subsequently overall Clinical Core Leader. In recognition of his success with the Pacific Udall Center, Dr. Quinn subsequently was appointed Director of the VA’s Northwest Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) and Director of the Parkinson’s Center of Oregon.

Veronica E. Santini, M.D., M.A.

Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Stanford University

Dr. Veronica Santini is a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and management of movement disorders, including the treatment of Parkinsons disease and atypical parkinsonism, tremor, tic disorder (including Tourette’s syndrome), dystonia, chorea, and ataxia. Dr. Santini has specialized training in disorders of the autonomic nervous system and has a particular interest in the management of Multiple System Atrophy. In her early training, she was a member of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), a role she has resumed years later as part of the clinical core of the Stanford University ADRC. As part of the Pacific Udall Center, Dr. Santini is an investigator in the Clinical Core at Stanford.

Lu Tian, ScD

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Data Science
Stanford University

Dr. Tian is an Associate Professor of the Department of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University. He received his Sc.D. in Biostatistics from Harvard University. Dr. Tian has rich experience in conducting statistical methodological research, planning large epidemiological studies, running data management for randomized clinical trials and conducting applied data analysis. His current research interest is in developing statistical methods in personalized medicine, causal inference, survival analysis and high throughput data analysis. Dr. Tian is co-investigator in the Analytical Core.

Laurice Yang, M.D., M.H.A.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Stanford University

Dr. Laurice Yang is a movement disorder neurologist who specializes in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, chorea, myoclonus and tics. Dr. Yang has a particular interest in dystonia and spasticity and has been trained to perform botulinum toxin injection under ultrasound guidance to better ensure accuracy and efficacy with each procedure. She currently serves as an investigator in the Stanford University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) as well as the Pacific Udall Center Clinical Core.

Cyrus P. Zabetian, M.D., M.S.

zabetianProfessor, Department of Neurology
University of Washington

Dr. Zabetian, Analytical Core Leader and Seattle Clinical Core Site PI, spearheaded the creation of the Parkinson’s disease Cognitive Genetics Consortium (PDCGC). He is co-Director of the UW Movement Disorders Fellowship Program. Dr. Zabetian serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association and on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

Jing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Shaw Professor, Department of Pathology
University of Washington

Dr. Zhang is a leader in proteomics-based discovery and targeted validation of biomarkers related to Parkinson’s disease and AD. In addition to his participation in the Analytical Core, Dr. Zhang leads a U01 that is linked to the Pacific Udall Center and is part of the NINDS Parkinson’s disease Biomarker Program. Indeed, this U01 is directly dependent on the samples from the Pacific Udall Center Clinical Core. Additionally, Dr. Zhang is a part of the task force of biomarker programs associated with PPMI, funded by Michael J. Fox Foundation, and also linked to the Clinical Core.