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Spotlight on Research Supported by PDF

Cynthia Comella, M.D.
Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Movement Disorders Section
Rush University Medical Center

This year, Dr. Cynthia Comella marks her 15th anniversary as a member of the Movement Disorders Section at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) in Chicago. During this time, Dr. Comella has earned a reputation as an outstanding clinician, scientist and academic leader among both patients and peers - so much so that it is hard to imagine how she fits all of her activities, including managing a full patient load, into her daily schedule.

Her life as a scientist, which is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), the Dystonia Study Group and the pharmaceutical industry, includes a range of investigations of experimental treatments for Parkinson's disease. Most recently, Dr. Comella has been involved with clinical trials that test possible Parkinson's treatments such as adenosine A2A receptor antagonists, the drug Stalevoģ for nocturnal sleep disruption and newly-developed drugs for hallucinations in PD. Her other work includes in-depth investigations of the treatment of dystonia with botulinum toxins.

Dr. Comella has lectured on her work with botulinum toxins, motor fluctuations and sleep disorders in Parkinson's at major national and international conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorder Society (MDS) and academic institutions across the country. Her research findings have been published in nearly 70 journal articles and numerous books, chapters and reviews. Dr. Comella also continues to serve as an ad hoc reviewer for such respected academic journals as Neurology, Journal of Neurology, Movement Disorders and Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Comella was a co-founder and chairman of the Dystonia Study Group and a founding member of the Tremor Research Group. She has served as a member of the executive committees of PSG and the Movement Disorder Society. She has served on the Science Committee, the Movement Disorders Awards Committee and the Continuum editorial board of the American Academy of Neurology. In addition, through her work on the Continuing Medical Education (CME) Advisory Board for WE MOVE, and as the current Chairman of the MDS education program, Dr. Comella has played an important role in setting standards for the education of movement disorder specialists of the future.

Dr. Comella's work is supported as part of PDF's matching grant to Rush University Medical Center. For fiscal year 2006, PDF's grant of $250,000 is matched dollar-for-dollar by Rush's own private fundraising.