Deep Brain Stimulation Program | Our Team
The Departments of Neurology and Neurological Surgery at UC Davis are home to internationally recognized experts in neurological disorders. Our Deep Brain Stimulation Program includes a highly experienced, multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and researchers who utilize state-of-the-art technologies combined with compassionate care to provide the most current and effective treatments for our patients.
Lin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. – Medical Director
Dr. Zhang is a clinical professor of Neurology at UC Davis. His primary clinical and research interests are in Parkinson's disease (PD), tremor, ataxia, and other movement disorders. As the medical director of the DBS program at UC Davis, he is particularly interested in the clinical applications of DBS. Under his direction the DBS program of UCDavis has become a referral center that offers implantation surgery weekly and clinical programming visits daily, serving the greater Sacramento area and northern California.
Kiarash Shahlaie, M.D., Ph.D. – Surgical Director
Dr. Shahlaie is an associate professor of Neurological Surgery at UC Davis, fellowship trained in both Movement Disorders Surgery and Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery. He is Director of Functional Neurosurgery at UC Davis and is an expert in the surgical treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and other movement disorders, as well as patients with certain psychatric and pain conditions. Dr. Shahlaie also directs the Bronte Research Program at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, a research laboratory focused on developing new and innovative deep brain stimulation strategies to improve neurological performance.
Fady Girgis, M.D., Ed.M., F.R.C.S.C.
Dr. Girgis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery. fellowship-trained in functional neurosurgery.professor of Neurology at UC Davis. He is a specialist in the use of Deep Brain Stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders and he also specializes in the surgical treatment of epilepsy, peripheral nerve entrapments and tumors.
Joshua Dayananthan, M.D.
Dr. Dayananthan is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UC Davis Department of Neurology. He specializes in Movement Disorders, with a particular interest in diagnosis and treatment of Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease, including medical therapies and deep brain stimulation.
Alexandra Duffy, D.O.
Dr. Duffy is an assistant clinical professor of Neurology at UC Davis. As a fellowship-trained neurologist specializing in Movement Disorders, she has expertise in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, including deep brain stimulation, and she is experienced in the management of Dystonia, including neurotoxin injection treatment. She also has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of essential tremor, Parkinson's Plus Syndromes, Ataxias, and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Norika Malhado-Chang, M.D.
Dr. Malhado-Chang is an assistant clinical professor of Neurology at UC Davis. Specializing in movement disorders, she has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as Parkinson's disease, focal and generalized dystonia, tremor, Restless Legs Syndrome, and Parkinson's Plus Syndromes.
Laura Sperry, M.S.N., R.N., ANP-C – DBS Program Director
Laura Sperry has been in clinical practice as an adult nurse practitioner since 2004. She started her career working with the U.C. Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Urogynecology. In 2012, she joined the U.C. Davis Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) program. Laura assists patients and families throughout the surgical process, conducting the pre-surgical “On” and “Off” testing and programming the stimulators after the DBS device is implanted. In addition, she is one of the facilitators for the post-DBS Parkinson support group, Staying Healthy with Deep Brain Stimulation.
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Vicki Wheelock, M.D.
Dr. Wheelock is a clinical professor of Neurology at UC Davis. As a neurologist specializing in Movement Disorders, she has special interests in Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ataxia. Dr. Wheelock has expertise in the treatment of Parkinson’s’ disease, including both medical therapies and deep brain stimulation.
Neuropsychology / Psychiatry
Katherine Denny, Ph.D.
Dr. Denny is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at UC Davis. As a neuropsychologist specializing in the cognitive effects of neurological disorders, her work focuses on assessment of cognitive issues affecting patients in both the Deep Brain Stimulation Program and with the Alzheimer's Disease Center.
Sarah Farias, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
Dr. Farias is a board-certified neuropsychologist with experience in the cognitive assessment of clinical populations. She is a Professor of Neurology at UC Davis and co-leads the Clinical Core for the federally funded UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Her research in the area of cognitive aging has been funded by the National Institute of Aging (NIA) for the last 10 years.
Debra Kahn, M.D.
Dr. Kahn is a board certified psychiatrist and an associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. She is also the Director of Psychosomatic Medicine, experienced in treatment of cognitive disorders, substance abuse, affective disorders, and movement disorders. Her collaboration with the DBS program includes pre-op psychiatric evaluations, post-op psychiatric treatment, presentations to the DBS support group, and participation in case conferences.
Kevin O'Connor, Ph.D.
Kevin O’Connor is a neuroscientist with research and clinical interests in sensory processes and motor control. He specializes in single-neuron electrophysiological recording in sensory and motor-related systems and for clinical behavioral evaluation in movement-impaired individuals.
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