Welcome New Faculty!

New Clinicians and Basic Scientists Join Columbia Neurology

Meet Dr. Matthew Harms

Neuromuscular Medicine Specialist

The Department of Neurology welcomes Dr. Matthew Harms as assistant professor of neurology in the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine. Dr. Harms graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and received his medical doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine.  He remained at UCSF for neurology residency, serving as chief resident in his final year.  Fellowship training in neuromuscular medicine and clinical neurophysiology at Washington University in St. Louis led Dr. Harms into the laboratory of Dr. Robert Baloh, where his post-doctoral research identified the genes responsible for two orphan human diseases: dominant spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) with lower extremity predominance and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1D.  Dr. Harms joined the neuromuscular medicine faculty at Washington University in 2009 and assumed leadership of the Washington University Neuromuscular Genetics Project in 2011.  There, he honed his research focus on harnessing emerging genetic technologies to understand the causes of inherited neuromuscular diseases, particularly motor neuron disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), SMA, and hereditary motor neuropathies.  Dr. Harms efforts have helped identify more than five novel disease genes.  Here at Columbia, Dr. Harms will continue these efforts, directing an international, multi-site effort using whole genome and transcriptome sequencing to bring precision medicine to ALS.  His laboratory efforts will be centered in two of Neurology’s collaborative research partners, the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease and the Institute for Genomic Medicine.

For an appointment with Dr. Harms, please call 212-305-1319.

Meet Dr. Kelly Janke

Neuropsychology Specialist

The Department of Neurology welcomes Dr. Kelly Janke as assistant professor of neuropsychology at CUMC in the Divisions of Cognitive Neuroscience and Child Neurology.  Dr. Janke obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She completed a child psychology internship with specialized neuropsychological training at the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and subsequently completed a lifespan neuropsychology fellowship at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute at North Shore—LIJ. Clinically, Dr. Janke will be involved in expanding the pediatric neuropsychology service in Neurology. She will see patients with a variety of neurodevelopmental and medical conditions from birth through young adulthood. Dr. Janke’s research has focused on the neurocognitive profile of children with genetic disorders, particularly Neurofibromatosis-1. More generally, her clinical research interests include examining the development of executive functioning and other neuropsychological skills in children with medical issues in early childhood.

For an appointment with Dr. Janke, please call 646-42-NEURO (646-426-3876).


Meet Dr. Dritan Agalliu

Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Specialist

The Department of Neurology welcomes Dr. Dritan Agalliu as assistant professor of pathology and cell biology in the Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease.  Dr. Agalliu obtained his PhD in Genetics and Development in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Jessell at Columbia University, where he investigated the mechanisms of neuronal fate specification and connectivity in the developing spinal cord.  He subsequently continued his training in Neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Ben Barres at Stanford University, where he investigated the mechanisms of blood-brain barrier development and the role of Wnt signaling in this process. As an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Agalliu has investigated several fundamental issues in the biology of the mammalian blood-brain barrier (BBB).  His work is funded by several public agencies including the NIH, National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, American Heart Association, Foundation Leducq, and privately from Newport Equities LLC. The arrival of Dr. Agalliu promises to enhance the overall research program in the department.  


Meet Dr. Arezou Heshmati

Child Neurology Specialist

The Department of Neurology welcomes Dr. Arezou Heshmati as assistant professor of neurology at CUMC in the Division of Child Neurology.   Dr. Heshmati completed medical school at Tehran University of Medical Sciences.  She underwent pediatric neurology residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and fellowship training in Sleep Medicine at Wayne State University.  Dr. Heshmati has been practicing pediatric neurology and sleep medicine as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where she developed a clinical and research interest in pediatric sleep disorders and narcolepsy patients.  She is board certified in Pediatrics, Sleep Medicine, and Neurology with special qualification in Child Neurology.  Dr. Heshamti will be seeing inpatient and outpatient pediatric neurology patients and is interested in developing and expanding a Pediatric Neurology Sleep program.

For an appointment with Dr. Heshmati, please call 646-42-NEURO (646-426-3876).


Meet Dr. Inna Kleyman

Multispecialty Neurology Specialist

Inna Kleyman, MD, former neurology resident and clinical neurophysiology fellow, has been promoted to assistant professor of neurology at CUMC in the Division of Multispecialty Neurology.  Dr. Kleyman will be seeing general neurology and neuromuscular patients in the Neurological Institute of New York and the Corlear/Riverdale locations.  She will also be attending in the resident clinic weekly.

For an appointment with Dr. Kleyman, please call 646-42-NEURO (646-426-3876).


Meet Dr. Kiran Thakur

Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology Specialist

The Department of Neurology welcomes Dr. Kiran Thakur as assistant professor of neurology in the Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology. Dr. Thakur completed her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she served as chief resident. She subsequently completed fellowship training in neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She will be attending on the consult service, the Merritt service and the Allen Hospital.  Her clinical interests include the neurological complications of systemic disease, tropical neurology, neurological aspects of HIV, infectious and immune-mediated encephalitides, transplant neurology, multiple sclerosis, and transverse myelitis.

Dr. Thakur has focused her research on neuroinfectious diseases in resource-poor settings, specifically studying tuberculous meningitis and cerebral malaria. Her clinical work and research projects have been based in Malawi, South Africa, and India. She additionally serves as a Medecins Sans Frontieres and WHO consultant.