Virtual Walk N’ Roll is Saturday, October 16th!  LEARN MORE

Ask the Ataxia Expert

A monthly series that empowers you with the knowledge you need to live better with Ataxia.


Each month, NAF invites an expert to answer your questions about Ataxia. This is an informal discussion-style webinar without a set topic. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have related to Ataxia. Don’t have a question? Join us to listen in! 

Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 1:00 PM Central

Featuring Dr. Christopher Gomez

Dr. Christopher Gomez has worked in the field of genetic disorders of the neuromuscular junction (congenital myasthenic syndromes) and cerebellum for more than 25 years. He is an expert in neurogenetic disorders, gait and balance disorders, and in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Ataxias. Dr. Gomez established The University of Chicago Ataxia Center in 2006 as a specialty clinic and research center devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of Ataxias, and as focal points for translational and clinical research. Dr. Gomez helped characterize Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 6 (SCA6) and Episodic Ataxia type 2 and discovered SCA26 and SCA32. In the laboratory Dr. Gomez studies the disease process caused by the SCA6, SCA26 and SCA32 mutations and looks for disease and stage-specific biomarkers cerebrospinal fluid of SCA patients.


Susan Perlman, MD

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dr. Perlman is a graduate of Cornell University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine. She did an internship in medicine, her residency in neurology, and a two-year fellowship in Friedreich’s Ataxia at UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Perlman is currently a Clinical Professor of Neurology and Director of the Ataxia Center at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. She has been head of the Ataxia Center at UCLA since 1983. She has worked in Ataxia diagnosis for over 30 years and has networked with other “Ataxologists” across the country and around the world, trying to build better collaboration in the development to treatments and ultimately cures. She helped develop the National Ataxia Database for clinical research. She is participating in 2 natural history studies (for dominant Ataxia and Friedreich’s Ataxia) and has participated in 7 clinical drug trials. Dr. Perlman would like to expand the work being done in non-genetic Ataxia as well. Dr. Perlman authored Evaluation and Management of Ataxic Disorders: An Overview for Physicians which has become a valuable resource for NAF. She serves on NAF’s Medical Research Advisory Board, NAF’s Board of Directors and is NAF’s Medical Director.

Theresa A. Zesiewicz, MD, FAAN

Friday, June 11, 2021

Dr. Zesiewicz is Professor of Neurology and Director of the University of South Florida, (USF) Ataxia Research Center (USF ARC) in Tampa. She also serves as the Director of the Parkinson Research Foundation at USF. She trained at UMDNJ for Medical School in New Jersey,  then did a neurology residency at SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, followed by a movement disorders fellowship at University of South Florida in Tampa. Her interests include movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor, and Ataxia. She has a busy clinical practice and sees over 2,000 patients per year. With her colleague Kelly Sullivan, she conducts clinical research in ataxia, including spinocerebellar ataxia and Friedreich’s ataxia. She became interested in movement disorders after diagnosing her mom with Parkinson’s disease. She lives in the Tampa Bay area with her husband, three children and her mom.

Pedro Gonzalez-Alegre, MD, PhD

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Dr. Gonzalez-Alegre is a physician-scientist with specific interest on movement disorders and clinical neurogenetics. He received his MD and PhD (Neuroscience) degrees from the University of Malaga (Spain). After completing a neurology residency and fellowship on Movement disorders/Neurogenetics at the University of Iowa (UI), he joined the faculty at that institution where he remained for over a decade. Dr. Gonzalez-Alegre joined the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, where he became the founding Director of the of the Neurogenetic Program, which includes that Ataxia Clinic, at the Department of Neurology of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Clinical Programs at the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular & Molecular Therapy at the Children Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition to providing clinical care to those living with Ataxia and their families, Dr. Gonzalez-Alegre is an active researcher and educator. His research efforts are geared towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies for inherited neurological diseases such as Spinocerebellar Ataxia, including development of innovative technology to improve delivery of therapeutic agents to the human brain. These efforts have been recognized with the 2003 S Weir Mitchell Award (American Academy of Neurology), the 2004 Junior Award for Excellence in Basic Research (Movement Disorders Society), the 2012 Jon Stolk Award in Movement Disorders (American Academy of Neurology) and the 2012 Stanley Fahn Award (Dystonia Medical Research Foundation).

Liana S. Rosenthal, MD, PhD

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Dr. Rosenthal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Rosenthal completed medical school at Johns Hopkins with an internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She completed her neurology residency and movement disorder fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and is board certified in psychiatry and neurology.Dr. Rosenthal is also the Director of the Johns Hopkins Ataxia Center. She is also a Medical Director on NAF’s Medical Research and Advisory Board.

Jeremy Schmahmann, MD, FAAN, FANA, FANPA

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dr. Schmahmann is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital where he is the Founding Director (1994) of the Ataxia Unit, Director of the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology, and a member of the Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit. His research and clinical practice focus on the neurology and basic science of the Ataxias and other cerebellar disorders and he pioneered the role of the cerebellum in cognition and emotion. neurology residency and movement disorder fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and is board certified in psychiatry and neurology. 

Interested in appearing as our monthly expert?

We are always looking for knowledgeable Ataxia clinicians to guest-host an Ask the Ataxia Expert session. Contact Lori Shogren, our Community Program and Services Director, at for more information. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Translate »