In the photo, top left to right, Dr. Kathleen Poston, Karen Merchant, RN, CNRN, Dr. Julie Andersen, Dr. Jill Ostrem, Dr. Karl Heilbron, bottom left to right, Taylor Rosealynn Hendershott,  Dr. Melanie Brandabur, Randy A. Hoffman, MACCC, SLP, Dr. Daniel Zwilling, Theresa Najjar, PT, MSPT.

The Women & PD: What’s New? symposium in Redwood City, California at Redwood Shores Library is on October 29, 10:45 – 3 pm. This symposium includes an amazing day of doctors, nurses, specialists and researchers discussing the special needs of women with Parkinson’s disease. Men are welcome to attend! The lineup of eminent speakers includes professionals from the Buck Institute, UCSF, Stanford, 23andMe, the Parkinson’s Institute, and Circuit Therapeutics. There will be plenty of information on hand from MJFF, Stanford, NPF, PDF, and more!  Due to popular demand, we’ve sold out of tickets. But stay tuned for a write-up about the event!


Dr. Julie Andersen, Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, renowned expert on age-related neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Andersen earned her PhD in Biological Chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles in 1989 followed by post-doctoral training in Neurology at Harvard from 1989-1992. Dr. Andersen’s research interests are directed toward understanding age-related mechanisms underlying redox and iron dysregulation and mitochondrial dysfunction as they relate to neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets for the disorder. Dr. Andersen has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the field as well as serving as chair or invited speaker for numerous national and international scientific symposia.

Dr. Kathleen Poston is Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences and (by courtesy) Neurosurgery at Stanford University Medical Center. She is a clinical movement disorders specialist and an imaging neuroscientist. Her research focuses on the development of novel neuroimaging biomarkers to improve diagnostic accuracy and monitor the effects of investigational treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Her current studies focus on cognitive and memory problems in people with Parkinson’s.

Taylor Rosealynn Hendershott is the lab manager of Dr. Kathleen Poston’s lab at Stanford University School of Medicine.  In the Poston Lab she contributes to research focusing on Parkinson’s disease and memory.  She is currently applying to graduate programs in clinical neuropsychology and hopes to continue to study the cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  When not in lab she enjoys cooking and hanging out with her dog (a labradoodle named Padre).

Dr. Karl Heilbron is a post-doctoral computational biologist at 23andME. Karl joined 23andMe in 2016 to study Parkinson’s disease using the vast amounts of genetic and trait data in the 23andMe database. Before 23andMe, he completed his PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford where he performed experimental evolution in populations of hypermutator bacteria, and followed the genomic changes that allowed these populations to adapt to novel environments.

Dr. Jill Ostrem, Professor of Neurology in the UCSF School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the Movement Disorders Society. Dr. Jill Ostrem specializes in the medical and surgical treatments of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia. She is particularly interested in treatments such as deep brain stimulation and gene therapy as well as the use of neurotoxins such as botulinum toxin therapy. Ostrem earned a medical degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and completed a residency in neurology and a fellowship in movement disorders at UCLA Medical Center. She is a professor of neurology in the UCSF School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the Movement Disorders Society.

Dr. Melanie Brandabur, Medical Director, Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals served as the medical director of three separate National Parkinson Foundation Centers of Excellence; at University of Illinois, at Alexian Neurosciences Institute and at the Parkinson’s Institute. As a clinician, Dr. Brandabur offered a multidisciplinary approach, with an emphasis on exercise and nutrition, in addition to medication. She served as an investigator in over 50 clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease. After lengthy experience as a clinician and clinical researcher, Dr. Brandabur accepted a position as Medical Director at Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals, where she works on the development of therapeutic agents for rare diseases.

Dr. Daniel Zwilling, Director of CNS Discovery, Circuit Therapeutics is is one of a team of scientists from Circuit Therapeutics who is doing research on therapeutic neuro-modulation of neural circuitry through the power of optogenetics. Using light-based control of genetically altered neurons, they are opening paths to drug discovery and development, and forging therapeutic applications.

Randy A. Hoffman, MACCC, SLP, has provided speech and language therapy in both acute and outpatient settings; at Northwestern University Medical Center, at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and at University of Illinois at Ravenswood Hospital.  She has provided outpatient speech services at Arenson and Miller, Palo Alto Speech, and at the Parkinson’s Institute.  Randy specializes in the evaluation and treatment of speech, voice, and swallowing problems shown by people with Parkinson’s Disease.  Randy is committed to functional and individualized speech therapy for her patients, and believes a team approach working with a patient, their neurologist, physical therapist, and family creates the best outcomes and improves the well being of the patient.

Karen Merchant, RN, CNRN, is the clinic nurse at the UCSF Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Center.  Early in her nursing career she earned her neuroscience nursing certification and then developed a special interest in movement disorders.  She especially enjoys helping people with Parkinson’s disease maintain their maximum functional potential.

Theresa Najjar, PT, MSPT is a board certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist in physical therapy who has a special interest in movement disorders. She founded Synaptic Physical Therapy, Inc. in 2014 to fill a gap in the outpatient neurologic rehabilitation community. Her practice provides neurofitness, wellness, prevention, and rehabilitation for people with neurologic and orthopedic conditions. She is trained in various techniques including PWR!Moves™, LSVT BIG®, Delay The Disease™, and Tai Chi Fundamentals® and is currently studying to get her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree through Arcadia University.

Thanks to Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Metronic and National Parkinson Foundation for supporting women and PD programs.

The meeting space is provided as a community service by the City of Redwood City. The City neither sponsors nor endorses this event nor the presenting individual or organizations.

About Parkinson’s Women Support: The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

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