Division of Neuro-Epidemiology | NYU Langone Health

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Department of Neurology Divisions & Centers Division of Neuro-Epidemiology

Division of Neuro-Epidemiology

The Division of Neuro-Epidemiology, part of NYU Langone Health’s Department of Neurology, investigates populations and groups with neurological conditions. Under the leadership of Heidi Schambra, MD, division director, we provide continuity between the disease-related divisions in neurology with regard to departmental research strategy, clinical research content and methodologies, and training the next generations of clinician–investigators.

Our division also works closely with NYU Langone’s Concussion Center, Department of Population Health, and Neuroscience Institute and NYU College of Global Public Health, enabling us to directly collaborate with and serve the needs of faculty and, even more importantly, trainees within the clinical department.

Our affiliation with the Department of Population Health provides us with a unique emphasis on training and expertise in clinical research methodologies and study design. This differs from the public health approaches of other neuro-epidemiology programs in the United States, many of which are housed within schools of public health.

Our Goals

Goals of the Division of Neuro-Epidemiology encompass furthering research through a variety of programs.

At our monthly neuro-epidemiology seminars, we seek to develop the research talents of our faculty. These didactic and hands-on sessions cover a wide array of topics to improve the academic skillsets of our faculty. For example, topics have included designing databases in RedCap, talking with program officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), interpreting and responding to grant review summary statements, preparing for an institutional review board (IRB) audit, speaking with the media, and developing an academic writing habit.

We support clinical research by faculty and trainees in the Department of Neurology with methodologic expertise in areas such as study design, biostatistics, formulating research questions, interfacing with the IRB and sponsored programs for protocols and grant submissions, and ethical and responsible conduct of research.

Our division trains faculty, residents, fellows, and research coordinators in clinical research methods and logistical elements, including our Patient-Oriented Research Curriculum, a one-of-a-kind program in the United States for teaching residents and other neurology trainees.

We support neurology faculty and coordinators who execute research by providing hands-on help with grant preparation, including offering a quarterly K-Club for faculty submitting NIH K awards or first faculty grants.

Additionally, we serve as methodologic mentors for trainees at all levels pursuing scholarly projects, master’s degrees, and K award applications.

Our division has also created a web-based “toolbox” of educational and grant-related resources for departmental faculty, coordinators, and staff.

Training and Development for Physician–Scientists

The Division of Neuro-Epidemiology emphasizes training and development of young physician–scientists. This is in accord with the overall Department of Neurology research strategy of cultivating a tradition of young investigators as the focal point of our research mission. As such, there are currently three junior faculty with NIH K awards and three more applying. K awards are the first faculty grants for clinical research that provide substantial dedicated time for research and related training, with the support of content and methodologic mentors.

At earlier levels of training, team members working with Thomas M. Wisniewski, MD, have an NIH T32 training grant to support fellows who seek specialized neuro-epidemiology and basic science training in neurodegenerative disease.

A team led by Laura J. Balcer, MD, MSCE, in collaboration with the Department of Population Health and NYU College of Global Public Health, will submit a T32 training grant application that focuses on epidemiologic and global health research in neurology. Dr. Balcer also collaborates with NYU School of Medicine vice deans and associate deans for research in submitting grants and implementing programs that facilitate young investigators in their career development, such as the Doris Duke Clinical Research Foundation.

A year-long intensive research experience for neurology residents and fellows is also available through the Physician–Scientist Training Program (PSTP) at NYU Langone’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The PSTP is a highly competitive award that provides funding for one year of basic and/or translational research. It is designed to help highly qualified young clinicians become successful physician–scientists. Often, the research year serves as a bridge between the end of clinical training and appointment as junior faculty. At least 90 percent of a candidate’s time must be devoted to research during the PSTP year.

Our Faculty

Our diverse faculty include individuals from most of the Department of Neurology’s clinical areas and divisions. A common thread among our faculty is that most have completed or are pursuing a master’s level degree or higher in epidemiology or public health. A biostatistician from the Department of Population Health also works closely with our division and Department of Neurology faculty.

Division faculty include the following members:

Heidi Schambra, MD
Director, Division of Neuro-Epidemiology and Mobilis Laboratory
Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine
Specialties: neurorehabilitation; stroke recovery; brain stimulation

Laura J. Balcer, MD, MSCE
Vice Chair and Professor, Department of Neurology
Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Population Health
Specialties: multiple sclerosis; concussion

Bernadette Boden-Albala, PhD
Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: stroke epidemiology and health disparities research

Leigh E. Charvet, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: multiple sclerosis

Jacqueline A. French, MD
Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: epilepsy guidelines, practice parameters, and clinical trials

Daniel Friedman, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: epilepsy and databases

Anli A. Liu, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: epilepsy and memory function

Mengling Liu, PhD
Associate Professor, Departments of Environmental Medicine and Population Health
Specialties: biostatistics

Aaron S. Lord, MD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Specialties: neurointensive care; stroke

Arjun V. Masukar, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience and Physiology
Specialties: Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; memory loss

Mia T. Minen, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Population Health
Specialties: headache

Sujata P. Thawani, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
Specialties: neuromuscular diseases and measurement scales

Thomas M. Wisniewski, MD
Associate Chair for Research, Department of Neurology
The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman Professor of NYU Langone’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology
Professor, Departments of Pathology and Psychiatry
Specialties: Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; memory loss

Contact Us

For more information about the Division of Neuro-Epidemiology, please contact Dr. Schambra, division director, at heidi.schambra@nyulangone.org.