Kuo Laboratory

Sheng-Han Kuo, MD, Principal Investigator 
Assistant Professor, Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

The goal of our lab is to study the role of the cerebellum in neurological disorders. In particular, we focus on tremor and cerebellar ataxia, two very disabling conditions leading to incoordination of the hand and the gait. We use multiple approaches to study the disease mechanism of these disorders: patient brain pathology, animal models, human physiology, and stem cell-derived human neurons. Our studies aim to further our fundamental understanding of how movements are controlled by the cerebellum, toward the ultimate goal of rapidly translating this basic science knowledge into clinical use.


Tremor

Tremor is the most common form of abnormal movement. People who have tremor can suffer from discoordination of the hands, head, and voice. Tremor can impair one’s ability to perform daily activities, such as writing, drawing, drinking, and eating. In addition, tremor can cause embarrassment. Essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common tremor disorders, with millions estimated to be affected by these disorders in the United States alone. In our lab, we study the pathology of essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, focusing on the cerebellum and related brain regions. We established animal models with these pathological alterations to investigate how the morphological changes in the cerebellum can lead to disturbed cerebellar physiology and tremor. By understanding the disease mechanism and physiology, we will be able to rationally design and test medications that may alleviate the tremor. 


Ataxia

Ataxia is caused by cerebellar dysfunction, which leads to imbalance, loss of hand dexterity, slurred speech, and vision problems. The causes of cerebellar ataxia are many, including immunological disturbance, nutritional deficiency, and genetic abnormalities. We are interested in the genetic and immunological causes of cerebellar ataxia. We study mouse models and patients of ataxia with an aim to understand the disease mechanism. We also actively participate in natural history and clinical trials of spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) along with other ataxia centers. Collectively, we hope to discover new therapy for ataxia.


Current clinical studies:

1.   Cerebellar pathological features in tremor disorders and cerebellar ataxias.
2.   Clinical trial for spinocerebellar ataxia 
3.   Natural history study for spinocerebellar ataxia
4.   Physiological (EEG) study of tremor and ataxia
5.   Blood biomarker study for multiple system atrophy

To learn more about these ongoing studies and other research activities, please visit the Kuo Laboratory website.

Additional information is available for the 2nd International Tremor Congress, co-founded by Drs. Sheng-Han Kuo at Columbia University, Elan D. Louis at Yale University, and Ming-Kai Pan at National Taiwan University.


Publications:

- PubMed
- Google Scholar


Lab members:

Sheng-Han Kuo, MD
Principal Investigator
sk3295@cumc.columbia.edu


Yong-Shi Li, MS
Lab Manager

Chun-Lun Ni, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Project: cerebellar physiology in tremor mouse models


Shi-Bing Wong, MD, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Project: abnormal brain physiology in tremor and cerebellar disorders


Shi-Rui Gan, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Project: clinical features and progression of spinocerebellar ataxias


Xioabo Li, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Project: human induced pluripotent stem cells in cerebellar degenerative disorders

Chen-Ya Yang, MD
Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Project: behavioral study of sensorimotor adaptation

Darya Tomsline, MS
Study Coordinator

Priya Mans, BS
Medical Student


Collaborators:

Ming-Kai Pain, MD, PhD, National Taiwan University
Phyllis Faust, MD, PhD, Columbia University
Aiqun Li, PhD, The New York Stem Cell Foundation
Catarina Quinzii, MD, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Jordan Taylor, PhD, Princeton University


Former lab members:

Chi-Ying Lin, MD
Current position: Neurology Resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center
Yi Quan, PhD
Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University
Ji Wang, PhD
Current position: Vice Chair and Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at Nanjing University, China


Job opening:

Our lab is always looking for highly-motived individuals who are interested in science in motor controls and cerebellar disorders. Please email Dr. Sheng-Han Kuo directly at sk3295@cumc.columbia.edu for any opportunities.