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Houston Methodist hires international expert to lead neuroscience research

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Tetsuo Ashizawa, M.D., joins the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute on January 11, 2016 as the director of neuroscience research.

Ashizawa, formerly the executive director of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida, organized and developed interdisciplinary neuroscience research programs involving multiple colleges and departments. He also chaired the neurology department at the University of Texas Medical Branch and at the University of Florida, where he supervised the clinical care of and research in a variety of neurological disorders.

As a physician-scientist, some of Ashizawa’s current research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. He is studying neurogenetic disorders caused by expansions of DNA sequences that are connected end-to-end and abnormally repeated, such as myotonic dystrophies, spinocerebellar ataxias, Friedreich’s ataxia, and Huntington’s disease.

Ashizawa received his medical degree from the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo. After moving to the U.S., he completed his neurology residency and Muscular Dystrophy Association fellowships in neurochemistry and clinical neuromuscular disorders at Baylor College of Medicine.

“Dr. Ashizawa is one of the leading translational neuroscientists in the country, and we are fortunate to have him join our team,” said Stanley H. Appel, M.D., director of the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. “His dedication to research on myotonic dystrophy will bring Houston Methodist closer to our goal of finding a cure for this disease.”

Ashizawa is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He serves on multiple grant review panels, including NIH study sections, and on the scientific advisory boards of the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, the National Ataxia Foundation, and the Association Française contre les Myopathies.

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