Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence Fellows - Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence

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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence Fellows

 

Mentors of national stature provide guidance to VA fellows in rich learning environments. Graduates are expected to be role models in leading, developing, conducting, and evaluating innovative research, education, and clinical care in the fields related to MS. 

Current Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence Fellows

Christopher Hollen

Christopher Hollen, MD
VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow (July 2019 - current), Portland, OR

Dr. Hollen received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. He obtained his medical degree and completed neurology residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He is now completing a fellowship in MS at the Portland VA and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). During his MS fellowship, along with providing quality care to Veterans at the Portland VA and OHSU, he plans to submit at least one abstract for a poster at a national conference, author a review paper for publication, and develop presentations for noon conferences and journal clubs within OHSU for other health care providers.

  • Lane M, Hollen C, Reder AT. Tumefactive Demyelinating Lesions. Medlink Neurology. Updated February 20, 2020. www.medlink.com/article/tumefactive_demyelinating_lesions.
  • Hollen C. Vascular Disease Risk Factors in MS. Neurodiem. Published January 14, 2020. https://www.neurodiem.com/news/ vascular-disease-risk-factors-in-multiple-sclerosis-3dJjVKNZtCIWH93bJPngEe.
  • Hollen C, Paz Soldán MM, Rinker JR 2nd, Spain RI. The Future of Progressive MS Therapies. Fed Pract. 2020 Apr;37(Suppl 1):S43-S49.
  • Hollen C, Spain R. When Tissue is an Issue: Trident Sign Diagnoses Isolated Neurosarcoidosis. Abstract for ACTRIMS 2020, West Palm Beach, FL. Feb 2020.
  • Hollen C, Spain R. When Tissue is an Issue: Trident Sign Diagnoses Isolated Neurosarcoidosis. Abstract for American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada. April 2020. (Conference canceled)
  • Hollen C, Spain R. Exploring Effects of Lipoic Acid on Activated Microglia with TSPO PET and on Oxidative Stress with MR Spectroscopy in Progressive MS. Abstract for OHSU Neurology Research Day, Portland, OR. May 2020.
  • Hollen C. MS-Related Fatigue: How to Swim in A Fur Coat. VA MS Patient Newsletter. Spring 2020;7-8.
  • Hollen C. Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Diagnosis: A Case-Based Discussion. Presentation at OHSU 3rd Annual MS and CNS Neuroimmunology Symposium: Advances and Updates, Portland, OR. Sep 2020
Lindsey Knowles

Lindsey Knowles, PhD
National MS Society Fellow (July 2019 - current), 
Seattle, WA

Dr. Knowles earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Columbia University. She earned her master’s degree in secondary education from Arizona State University while working as a member of the AmeriCorps Teach for America program. Lindsey also earned a certification in mindfulness facilitation from the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona and completed her clinical internship/residency at the University of Washington-Seattle (UW). She is currently completing the National MS Society Mentor Based Research Fellowship in Rehabilitation Research at VA Puget Sound HCS and UW under the mentorship of Aaron Turner, PhD, Dawn Ehde, PhD, and Kevin Alschuler, PhD. Her previous research examined a biopsychosocial model of bereavement-related grief and clinical intervention research to improve coping with grief. He current research interests include examining biopsychosocial factors influencing pain, fatigue, and mood problems in MS and the pathways by which they interact to influence other important outcomes such as quality of life and physical and social function. Building on this research, Lindsey aims to develop and optimize behavioral interventions for pain, fatigue, and mood problems in persons with MS.

  • Turner AP, Knowles LM. Behavioral Intervention in MS. Fed Pract. 2020 Apr;37(Suppl 1):S31-S35.
  • Knowles LM, Arewasikporn A, Kratz AL, Turner AP, Alschuler KN, Ehde DM. (Under Review) Early treatment improvements in depression are associated with overall improvements in fatigue impact and pain interference in adults with MS.
  • Eisma MC, Stelzer EM, Lenferink L, Knowles LM, Gastmeier SK, Angelopoulou M, Doering BK, O’Connor MF. (Under review). Wish you were here: The Dutch, German and English yearning in situations of loss short form.
  • Knowles LM, Yi JC, Crouch MC, Syrjala KL (In Press). Rate of Sarcopenic Obesity and Association with Functional Measures and Cardiometabolic Biomarkers in Long-term Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) Survivors without Major Comorbidities. Poster presentation at “Achieving Health Equity: Opportunities for Psychosomatic Medicine” the 78th Annual Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, Long Beach, CA. Mar 2020. (Conference canceled)
  • Knowles LM, Turner AP, Alschuler KN, Ehde DM. Does increasing physical activity mediate the effects of a cognitive behavioral intervention on pain and depression in people with MS? Poster presentation at Annual Rehabilitation Psychology Conference, San Diego, CA. Feb 2020.
  • Knowles LM, Turner AP, Alschuler KN, Ehde DM. Does physical activity increase following a self-management intervention for pain and/or depression in people with multiple sclerosis? Abstract at National MS Society Tykeson Fellow Conference, Atlanta, GA. Nov 2019. 
Mark Leekoff

Mark Leekoff, MD, MPH
VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow (July 2019 - current), Baltimore, MD

Dr. Leekoff earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University and his master’s degree in public health from Drexel University. He attended West Virginia University School of Medicine. Dr. Leekoff completed his neurology residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center. One unique fact about Dr. Leekoff is that he was born profoundly deaf and was one of the first pediatric cochlear implant recipients. As a product of the successes of medicine, Dr. Leekoff felt a strong need to give back and contribute. Neurology, particularly MS is a field that is near and dear to his heart and he looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to the field of MS with the VA MS Center of Excellence-East in conjunction with the MS Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

  • Leekoff ML, Reddi A, Wallin, MT, Culpepper WJ. Impact of Comorbid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on Outcomes in MS Patients: A Pilot Cross-Sectional Study. Abstract for National MS Society Tykeson Conference. Atlanta, GA. Nov 2019.
Jessica Rice

Jessica Rice, MD
VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow (July 2018 - current), Portland, OR

Dr. Rice earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Colorado College, before earning her medical degree from Creighton University. She completed her neurology residency at Oregon Health & Science University, where she served as Chief of Quality Improvement in her final year.

Fellowship Accomplishments

  • Rice J, Cameron M. Cannabinoids for Treatment of MS Symptoms: State of the Evidence. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2018 Jun 19;18(8):50.
  • Rice J, Woltjer R, Stienstra N, Sun E, Yadav V. Pearls and Oy-sters: Primary angiitis of the central nervous system presenting with recurrent intracranial hemorrhage. Neurology. (in press)
  • Rice J, Nagel S, Randall J, Hinson HE. Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell-Related Neurotoxicity: Mechanisms, Clinical Presentation, and Approach to Treatment. Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2019 Jul 20;21(8):40.
  • Hugos C, Rice J, Cameron M. Cannabis Use in People with MS and Spasticity: A cross-sectional analysis. Poster presented at AAN Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. May 2019.
  • Hugos C, Rice J, Cameron M. Cannabis Use in People with MS and Spasticity: A cross-sectional analysis (platform). Poster presented at Rehabilitation in MS Annual Meeting, Ljubljana, Slovenia. June 2019.
  • Rice J. Oral vs IV steroids: A Case Based Approach. Platform presentation at OHSU MS and CNS Neuroimmunology: Advances and Updates Symposium, Portland, OR. March 2019.
  • Rice J, Yadav V. Rituximab for Treatment of Aggressive MS During Pregnancy: A Case Series. Poster presented at ACTRIMS Forum 2019, Dallas, TX. February 2019.
  • Rice J, Yadav V. Rituximab for Treatment of Aggressive MS During Pregnancy: A Case Series. Poster presented at AAN Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. May 2019.
  • Rice J. CAR-T Neurotoxicity: A Literature Review. Poster presentation at OHSU Department of Neurology Research Day, Portland, OR. October 2018.
  • Hugos C, Rice J, Cameron M. Cannabis Use in People with MS and Self-Reported Spasticity. Presented at OHSU Research Week, Portland, OR. May 2019.
  • Rice J, Hildebrand A, Spain R, Orban A, Silbermann E, Wooliscroft L, Yadav V, Hugos C, Cameron M. A Cross-Sectional Survey of Cannabis Use by People with MS in Oregon and Washington, States Where Cannabis is Legal for Medical and Recreational Use. Presented at ECTRIMS, Stockholm, Sweden. September 2019.
  • Hollen C, Rice J, Park M, Yadav V. Rituximab for Severe MS Relapses During Pregnancy. Submitted for publication April 2020.
  • Silbermann E, Senders A, Wooliscroft L, Rice J, Cameron M, Waslo C, Orban A, Chase E, Yadav V, Bourdette D, Spain RI. Cross-Sectional Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Used in Oregon and Southwest Washington to Treat MS: A 17-Year Update. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020 Mar 7;41:102041.
  • Rice JW, Hugos CW, Hildebrand AW, Cameron MW. Cannabis Use in People with MS and Spasticity: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020 Feb 11;41:102009.
  • Rice JW, Woltjer R, Stienstra N, Sun E, Yadav VW. Pearls & Oy-sters: Primary angiitis of the CNS presenting with recurrent intracranial hemorrhage. Neurology. 2020 Mar 3;94(9):e992-e995.
  • Clark G, Wooliscroft L, Waslo C, Senders A, Silbermann E, Orban A, Rice J, Yadav V, Spain R, Cameron M. Demographic and health related factors associated with use of exercise and mind-body therapies in people with MS. Abstract for OHSU Neurology Research Day, Portland, OR. May 2020.
  • Silbermann E, Orban A, Senders A, Wooliscroft L, Rice J, Cameron M, Waslo C, Yadav V, Spain R. Use and perceived benefit of complementary and alternative therapies for MS in the Western United States: a 17-year update. Abstract for National MS Society Tykeson Fellow Conference, Atlanta, GA. Nov 2019.
  • Rice J, Hugos C, Cameron M. Cannabis Use in People with MS and Spasticity in Oregon. Abstract for Gait and Balance, Denver, CO. Oct 2019.
  • Rice J. Identifying and Treating CNS Vasculitis: A Case Based Discussion. Presentation for OHSU 3rd Annual MS and CNS Neuroimmunology Symposium: Advances and Updates, Portland, OR. Sep 2020.
Tyrell Simkins

Tyrell Simkins, DO, PhD
VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow (July 2019 - current), Portland, OR

Dr. Simkins was born in Utah, but has lived across the United States. He earned his bachelor's in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Boise State University. He then moved east to Lansing, MI to attend Michigan State University, where he earned his PhD in Neuroscience and Environmental Toxicology and medical degree, DO. He completed his Neurology residency at UC Davis Medical and was elected to Chief Resident of Education in his final year. Given his interest in Neuroimmunology and MS, he gladly accepted the opportunity for Fellowship at the Portland VA in conjunction with Oregon Health & Science University. During the fellowship, Dr. Simkins will have the opportunity to continue to participate in the clinical treatment of neuroimmunologic disease, but also engage in translational research intended to bring new treatments for these disorders from the lab to the clinic. For this he will be working with Kelly Monk, PhD and Ben Emery, PhD on researching basic mechanisms of myelination, in particular how they are controlled by the protein Fbxw7. A devoted husband and father, Dr. Simkins also enjoys athletic training, meditation, philosophy, music, the outdoors, and wood building. 

  • Simkins TJ, Collins H, Li H, Emery B, Monk K. Investigating the role of Fbxw7, an E3 ubiquitin ligase recognition protein, in oligodendrocyte function. Presented at National MS Society Tykeson Fellow Conference (2019), Atlanta, GA.
  • Simkins TJ, Collins H, Li H, Emery B, Monk K. Investigating the role of Fbxw7, an E3 ubiquitin ligase recognition protein, in oligodendrocyte function. Presented at OHSU Neurology Research Day Conference (2020), Portland, OR.

Past Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence Fellows

2018 - 2020, Ryan Mitzell, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2017 - 2020, Elizabeth Silbermann, MD (National MS Society Fellow) Portland, OR
2017 - 2020, Lindsey Wooliscroft, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2016 - 2019, Anne Arewasikporn, PhD (National MS Society Fellow) Seattle, WA
2017 - 2018, Wei Zheng, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2016 - 2018, Michael Lane, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2016 - 2017, Shannon Seals, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2016 - 2017, Samer Saleh, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2015 - 2017, Frank Bittner, DO (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2015 - 2017, Meena Kannan, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2015 - 2017, Meredith Frederick, MD (National MS Society Fellow) Portland, OR
2014 - 2016, Ghadah Altowaijri, MD (Oregon Health & Science University Fellow) Portland, OR
2014 - 2016, Abbey Hughes, PhD (National MS Society Fellow) Seattle, WA
2014 - 2015, Edward Gettings, DO (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2013 - 2015, Lucas McCarthy, MD, MSc (University of Washington Fellow, Biomedical Informatics) Seattle, WA
2013 - 2014, Narineh Hartoonian, PhD (National MS Society Fellow) Seattle, WA
2013 - 2014, Amanda Farag, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2013 - 2014, Aruna Ganesh Geeta, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2012 - 2013, Aram Zabeti, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2011 - 2012, Sean Burke, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2011 - 2013, Shannon Overs, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2010 - 2012, Diana Vargas, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2009 - 2011, Andrew Solomon, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2009 - 2011, Troy Desai, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2009 - 2010, Christina Hughes, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Seattle, WA
2009 - 2010, Rebecca Spain, MD, MSPH (National MS Society Fellow) Portland, OR
2008 - 2009, Michelle Cameron, MD, PT, MCR (National MS Society Fellow) Portland, OR
2007 - 2008, Olukemi Ajayi, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2006 - 2009, Edward Kim, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2006 - 2007, Oh Sangjin, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Baltimore, MD
2005 - 2007, Maureen Carney, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Seattle, WA
2004 - 2006, Laura Schaben, MD (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2003 - 2007, Jesus Lovera, MD, MsPH (VA Office of Academic Affiliations Fellow) Portland, OR
2001 - 2004, Vijayshree Yadav, MD, MCR (VA Research Enhancement Award Fellow) Portland, OR
2001 - 2003, Lynne Shinto, ND (National MS Society Fellow) Portland, OR
2001 - 2003, Bridget Bagert, MD, MPH (VA Research Enhancement Award Fellow) Portland, OR