Management Team

Carrolee Barlow, MD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

Carrolee Barlow, MD, PhD—renowned expert in neuroscience and neurodegeneration—joined the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in February 2014. Dr. Barlow is the second CEO in the Institute’s 25 year history. She takes the reins from Dr. J. William Langston, who founded the organization in 1988.

Dr. Barlow’s previous work has spanned clinical care, laboratory and clinical research, academia, and industry. She is the former Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer of BrainCells, Inc. in San Diego, California, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of small molecules that stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disease using human neural stem cell technology. Prior to BrainCells, she served as the Director of Molecular Neuroscience and Therapeutic Area Head for Stroke and Neurodegeneration at Merck Research Laboratories where she was responsible for neuroscience biology, global exploratory, licensing, and full-phase efforts. Dr. Barlow has held a faculty position in the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. She also serves as an advisory board member for several biotechnology companies and disease foundations advancing therapies for rare diseases and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).

Dr. Barlow received her MD from the University of Utah, did her residency in Internal Medicine at The New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, and went on to obtain a PhD in molecular and developmental biology at the Karolinska Medical Nobel Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Shortly thereafter, she joined the National Institutes of Health and completed medical sub-specialty training in the field of endocrinology and a postdoctoral fellowship in neurogenetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

J. William Langston, MD
Founder, Chief Scientific Officer, Movement Disorder Specialist

Dr. Langston is a graduate of the University of Missouri, School of Medicine. He served as a faculty member at Stanford University Medical School and was Chairman of Neurology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California before founding the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. Dr. Langston gained national and international recognition in the 1980s for the discovery of the link between a tainted “synthetic heroin” and parkinsonism. The bad batch of heroin proved to contain a substance known as MPTP, which is selectively toxic to the same nerve cells in the brain that die in Parkinson’s disease. The discovery of the biologic effects of this compound led to a renaissance of the basic and clinical research in Parkinson’s disease. He has authored or co-authored 360 publications in the field of neurology, most of which are on Parkinson’s’ disease and related disorders. Dr. Langston’s current research interests include the study of mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, the etiology of Parkinson’s disease, the development of new strategies to slow or halt disease progression, and ways to identify the disease in its earliest “pre-motor” stages. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from Modern Medicine, the Sarah M. Poiley Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the James Parkinson 30th Anniversary Award from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the Distinguished Clinical Investigator Award from Roche Pharmaceuticals, the Movement Disorders Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology, and the Robert M. Pritzker Prize from The Michael J. Fox Foundation in recognition of his lifetime leadership in Parkinson’s disease research and his exceptional commitment to mentoring the next generation of Parkinson’s researchers. He is the founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he continues to serve on.

Michelle Knapik
Chief Financial Officer

Michelle Knapik joined the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in 2012. She has been promoted twice in her tenure, culminating in the role of Chief Financial Officer. She brings a commitment to continuous improvement and bottom-line results. Ms. Knapik’s contributions have centered on clinical operational program improvements, research operational improvements including rework of the support provided to the researchers, development and delivery of user friendly financial reports. But more importantly, they focused on building lasting, loyal relationships with team members, and developing capabilities of staff, program, and processes to meet the demands of the Institute’s strategic plan. Ms. Knapik is highly respected by her peers.

Ms. Knapik is a former Executive Director for both the Respite and Research for Alzheimer ’s disease from 2010 to 2012 and the Peninsula Volunteers Properties, Inc., from 2004 to 2010. A believer in using her knowledge and skills for the betterment of others Ms. Knapik has held financial leadership roles at several other not-for-profit organizations including Eastern Virginia Medical School Department of OB/GYN, University Medical Services Association, Benevolent Society of NSW in Australia, and EMQ Children and Family Services. She earned her B.S. in Accounting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1988, and her CPA license in 1991. She spent the early years of her career gaining valuable experience in not-for-profit and healthcare financial reporting, grants management, budgeting and more.

Rohit Dhall, MD, MSPH
Director of Clinical Studies and Movement Disorders Specialist

Dr. Rohit Dhall joined the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center from the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona where he was Associate Professor of Neurology, Medical Director of Neuromodulation, and Director of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

Dr. Dhall trained in medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) the premier medical training institution in India. He went on to complete a 6 month post-doctoral training in psychiatry at AIIMS and then relocated to the United States where he completed his residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Dhall also completed a fellowship in clinical movement disorders and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) while at UAB. Dr. Dhall has a Masters of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health and completed his internship in medicine at the University of Texas at Houston Department of Internal Medicine.

As Medical Director of Neuromodulation at the Barrow Neurological Institute, Dr. Dhall’s responsibilities included evaluating people living with Parkinson’s disease for appropriateness of DBS surgery, intraoperative neurophysiology support for 3 functional surgeons, and post-implantation care. Under Dr. Dhall’s leadership, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute ascended to one of the top three surgical DBS programs in the country (by volume of new implants) and established a robust pipeline of industry sponsored and investigator initiated trials. Trials included the evaluation of a new device for DBS which assesses the effects of target selection on cognition and gait in people living with Parkinson’s who have mild cognitive impairment, and the evaluation of safety, feasibility, and effectiveness of strictly stereotactically guided or non-microelectrode recording (MER) based lead delivery—also known as asleep DBS. Dr. Dhall has also been involved in several investigator initiated protocols for advancement of DBS applications including evaluation of the role of variability of internal capsule anatomy and effects of DBS, quantitative evaluation of gait and balance changes with reducing frequency of DBS stimulation, and exploration of effects of pharmacologic modulation of other subcortical/brainstem nuclei including the inferior olivary nucleus and the parvocellular red nucleus in an animal model. His other clinical research interests include therapeutic approaches to address DBS refractory motor and non-motor challenges in Parkinson’s disease.

As Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Dr. Dhall along with several other NPF Centers of Excellence (including the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center) has been involved in the NPF Quality Improvement Initiative which assesses the underlying factors and treatment response in Parkinson’s disease through the spectrum of disease severity and with the goal of continually improving care for people living with Parkinson’s and their carepartners. Dr. Dhall also provided oversight and direction to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center’s outreach, education, and support program for over 1,000 people living with Parkinson’s and their families. Additionally, Dr. Dhall worked with the Arizona State University (ASU) Biomedical Informatics and Bio-Engineering Departments to develop feedback systems to improve gait and excursion amplitude, as well as a self evaluation tool using smartphones.

As an educator, Dr. Dhall shares the Parkinson’s Institute’s deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of Parkinson’s disease researchers and Movement Disorders Specialists. He has mentored 4 movement disorders fellows who are now in practice and 2 who are currently in training. Dr. Dhall has also mentored 11 neurology residents throughout their 6 month outpatient clinic blocks, a doctoral student at ASU who now is working for industry, and a University of Arizona medical student during his mentored clinical research project.

Rita Gandhy, MD, MPH
Movement Disorder Specialist

Dr. Gandhy joined the Clinical Center in January of 2015 and brings to the Parkinson’s Institute over 10 years of experience partnering with and caring for people living with Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. Her care philosophy is very much aligned with that of the Institute—in order to provide best in class care, we must care for the whole person and not just their disease. Dr. Gandy believes that comprehensive care includes not only access to the latest innovations in therapies and treatments, but also the thoughtful understanding and management of the many emotions experienced by people living with Parkinson’s and their family members that impact attitude, behavior, and ultimately quality of life. Dr. Gandhy has expertise in the uses of Botulinum Toxin and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) as therapeutic interventions for Parkinson’s. She has also been involved with levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG) as treatment for Parkinson’s and is excited about the potential benefits of the apomorphine pump.

Most recently, Dr. Gandhy was with Marshall University in West Virginia where she established their movement disorders program with a goal of introducing a comprehensive care model to the community. Her program included the care for and treatment of both motor and non-motor or non-movement related features of Parkinson’s disease, DBS, LSVT Loud® and LSVT Big®, and other exercise therapies.

Dr. Gandhy received her BA from the University of Rochester in New York; her master’s degree in Public Health from St. Louis University in Missouri; and her MD from Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois. After a year of physical medicine and rehabilitation training at Stanford University, Dr. Gandhy did her neurology residency at the University of California at San Diego. She completed her neurology movement disorder fellowship at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and during that time was very involved with clinical research.


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