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UR Medicine



Robert Griggs

Robert Griggs has led in the development of new treatments (e.g., initial use of azathioprine for inflammatory myopathies; treatment of hypokalemic periodic paralysis with dichlorphenamide; \use of acetazolamide for myotonia and episodic ataxia; use of corticosteroids in Duchenne muscular dystrophy; use of beta 2 agonists in muscular dystrophy). For 40 years, he has been continuously funded as principal investigator on federally-funded multicenter, randomized, controlled trials in neuromuscular disease, including: periodic paralysis, episodic ataxias, nondystrophic myotonia, inclusion body myositis, and Duchenne, facioscapulohumeral, and myotonic dystrophies. His clinical trials were the pivotal studies for FDA approval of dichlorphenamide for periodic paralysis and deflazacort for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Dr. Griggs has supervised the training of over 90 fellows in clinical investigation.

Robert Holloway

Robert Holloway has been Chair of the Department of Neurology since July 2012. He provides strong leadership, direction, and management of the ETND Program. As a general neurologist, he has published extensively across many disease areas within neurology, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, dementia, and neuropalliative care. He has experience as Chair and Member on Data Safety Monitoring Boards,has held leadership positions both in clinical trials and research training, has served as PI of the UR Clinical Site within the NeuroNEXT Network of Clinical Trials, was a PI on the NINDS-funded STEADY PD3 trial, which investigated the efficacy of isradipine to slow progression of PD.  He is committed to mentoring and was awarded the URMC Junior Faculty Mentoring Award in 2008. Dr. Holloway prioritized diversity and inclusion in his Department Strategic Plan, including approaches within the training program.

Michael McDermott

Michael McDermott as over 30 years of experience as a biostatistician in collaborative studies in neurologic diseases. He is Associate Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, has served as Director of the Statistics PhD program for the past 20 years, and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. Dr. McDermott is the Lead Biostatistician and a Mentor. He oversees the quality and rigor of the principles of experimental design, assists trainees in the design and statistical analysis of their research projects. He has been a member of many national and international collaborative groups conducting basic and clinical research in Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, various muscular dystrophies and other muscle diseases, HIV dementia, multiple sclerosis, pain, and idiopathic intracranial hypertension. He has immense clinical trial experience and has served as Principal Investigator for coordination, data management, and biostatistics centers for multiple NINDS-funded clinical trials.

Ania Busza

Ania Busza is Assistant Director. Dr. Busza is a recent graduate of the program, is now NIH-funded, and serves as an Emerging Mentor in the T-32 program. Dr. Busza meets 1-2 times per year with trainees to provide guidance or course selection and research project planning, as well as lunching with them informally once a month to discuss any matters they may bring up.  She also meets with residents and other applicants to the program. The overarching goal of Dr. Busza’s research is to translate recent developments in human-computer interfaces into new medical tools for improving stroke patient function and quality of life.

Gretchen Birbeck

Gretchen Birbeck is the Edward A. and Alma Vollertsen Rykenboer Professor in Neurology and Director of Epilepsy Research. Dr. Birbeck is a global health neurologist who is R0-1 funded to conduct clinical trials in resource-poor regions in Africa.