Get to know the people of the Shaikh Lab in the Department of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Our interdisciplinary team of lab members—engineers, physiologists, and clinicians—aim to bring together clinical neurology, computational neuroscience, and neural engineering to find new ways to enhance brain health.
Dr. Aasef Shaikh
Aasef G. Shaikh, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist who has significantly contributed to neurology, movement disorders, neuroscience, and biomedical engineering. He is a staff neurologist and researcher at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. He is a professor of neurology and biomedical engineering and the Penni and Stephen Weinberg Chair in Brain Health at Case Western Reserve University. He has dedicated his career to advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care through his groundbreaking research and pioneering inventions.
Dr. Shaikh has demonstrated exceptional expertise in diagnosing and managing movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and tremors. His compassionate and patient-centric approach to care has earned him a reputation as a leading neurologist known for his exceptional clinical acumen and dedication to improving the lives of his patients. Aasef directs the National VA Parkinson’s Consortium Center in Cleveland, Ohio. His impact extends far beyond the clinic, as he is also recognized for his pioneering research in basic neuroscience, translational neuroscience, and biomedical engineering. His innovative work has resulted in the development of novel neuromodulation technologies and deep brain stimulation interfaces, which have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of movement disorders and other neurological or neuropsychiatric conditions.
Dr. Shaikh’s scientific contributions and potential to become a leader in the field have been widely recognized, with numerous awards and honors to his name, including the prestigious American Academy of Neurology Alliance Founders Award, American Neurological Association Grass Foundation Award in Neuroscience, American Academy of Neurology Jon Stolk Award for movement disorders, American Academy of Neurology Career Development Award, and American Parkinson’s Disease Association George C Cotzias Memorial scholarship. Beyond his clinical and research endeavors, Aasef is also deeply committed to mentoring and inspiring the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals. He serves as a mentor and advisor to aspiring researchers and engineers, nurturing their talents and guiding them in their pursuit of excellence.
In summary, Dr. Shaikh is a distinguished physician-scientist, leader, and mentor who has significantly contributed to neurology, movement disorders, neuroscience, and biomedical engineering.
Hanieh Agharazi, PhD, Staff Scientist, Cleveland VA Medical Center (mentor) - present
Agharazi is a biomedical research engineer who joined the lab in March 2022. She received her PhD in systems and control engineering from Case Western Reserve University with backgrounds in computational data analysis, information theory, machine learning, modern optimization, power systems and stochastic processes. Her main research focuses on visuospatial navigation in disorders of the nervous system such as dystonia and Parkinson’s disease. She is also interested in applying signal processing and computational techniques to study nystagmus, latent nystagmus and amblyopia.
Mohommad Elkasaby - Assistant Professor of Neurology, Clinical Fellow Alumni
Dr. Mohamed Elkasaby is a movement disorder and cognitive neurology specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. He is an assistant professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. His special interests include Parkinson’s disease, dementia, tremor, dystonia, botulinum toxin injections, deep brain stimulation.
Dr. Elkasaby earned his medical degree from Ain Shams University in Egypt, where he completed his internship. He completed his neurology residency in Germany and worked as a neurology specialist there. He is German board-certified in neurology. He is a fellow of the European Board of Neurology.
He completed two years of clinical fellowship in movement disorders and neuromodulation at University Hospitals and a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at University Hospitals.
Dr. Elkasaby has written several peer-reviewed articles, abstracts and book chapters focusing on movement disorders and dementia. Dr. Elkasaby has also served as a reviewer for prominent medical journals focusing on movement disorders and dementia. He is a steering committee member at the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) which is a part of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Neuroscience’s effort to facilitate the discovery, development, and testing of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and is a part of Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Initiative as well. Dr. Elkasaby is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the European Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorder Society and the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment.
Alex Wang - Assistant Professor of Neurology, Clinical Fellow Alumni
Alexander Wang, MD, is a neurologist in the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center within the Neurological Institute and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Wang completed a BA in molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley. He completed medical school at University of Toledo College of Medicine. He came to Cleveland in 2016 where he completed internship, neurology residency, and movement disorders fellowship at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. He joined as faculty in neurology in 2022. He sees patients at UH Medina and the main campus.
Dr. Wang specializes in the treatment of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, tremor, and dystonia. Additionally he performs botulinum toxin injections, as well as programming of deep brain stimulators. He participates in resident and fellowship education through clinical rotations, resident continuity clinic, and didactics.
He has published several articles pertaining to movement disorders in peer reviewed journals. He is involved in ongoing research projects pertaining to dystonia and Parkinson’s disease, and he is in the process of co-authoring textbook chapters. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and Movement Disorders Society (MDS).
Palak Gupta, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, January 2020 – present
Gupta is an electronics engineer currently pursuing a PhD. in biomedical engineering. Her PhD is focused on understanding the effects of electrical stimulation on visuo-spatial navigation and visuo-motor deficits in movement disorders (primarily Parkinson’s disease). She has a strong background in signal processing, computational modeling and human perception studies, and extensive experience in bio-signal analysis (VOG, EEG, and EMG), and mathematical modeling and simulation; eye tracking, and deep brain stimulation (DBS).
She loves exploring new restaurants, hiking, puzzling, and reading obscure historical trivia.
Joshi completed her undergraduate education in 2017 at Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India. She’s currently studying in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, and started in August 2021.
Her PhD project focuses on understanding the effects of proprioceptive modulation on basal ganglia circuitry. She is particularly interested in using electrophysiological measures such as single-unit recordings, local field potential recordings along with EEG to understand the interactions between the basal ganglia and other parts of the brain. The project aims to understand these effects and use them as a tool for developing non-invasive disease interventions.
Aratrik Guha, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, August 2022 – present
Guha is researching deficits in spatial navigation of Parkinson's patients who are both on a clinically viable dosage of Levodopa and bilaterally implanted with deep brain stimulators (DBS). 70% of fatalities within this patient population stems from backwards falling in visually noisy environments. We believe the chief suspect is a mismatch in sensory encoding of vestibular and ocular signals. To test this, we will utilize a battery of varying neuromodulation using Medtronic's DBS: Percept, from which we will acquire local field potentials, and psychometrics, which we are investigating using a 6-axis flight simulator (vestibular stimulus) and a VR headset with 200 Hz eye tracking (visual stimulus). Previous work suggests that Parkinson's patients have compromised visual and vestibular sensation without pairing stimuli, hence the question, how do these stimuli affect perception in concert.
Ibrahim Quagraine, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, August 2022 - present
Quagraine is working collaboratively with Dr. Aasef Shaikh and Dr. Fatema Ghasia on research focused on investigating how visual search, reading and depth perception is affected in Parkinson and Amblyopia patients using eye tracking paradigms in dichoptic scene exploration, neuromodulation of visual priors/neuronal pathways and other psychophysical techniques in Virtual Reality (VR).
Stephanie Ezeoke, Research Health Science Specialist/Research Coordinator/Lab Manager Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Study Coordinator
Ezeoke recently completed her master of science in medical physiology, housed within the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. She has years of experience in research spanning from psychology, women's health, outcomes research in anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Brain study and more. She has also presented several posters at different medical and academic conferences in the U.S. and Canada. She currently spends her time in the Ocular Motility Laboratory and the Functional Electrical Stimulation under Dr. Shaikh. Ezeoke is passionate about youth mentorship, community engagement and providing care to underserved populations. She will be furthering her education as a medical student to pursue a career as a physician.
Varun Reddy Gopu, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, January 2023 – present
Reddy Gopu’s research is based at the Cleveland Clinic and the Veterans Affairs Hospital and focuses on research techniques involving eye movement analysis to predict amblyopia using stacked Machine Learning models, which includes the combination of Random Forest, SVM, and Gradient Boost Classifier. To achieve this, we have identified nine different strategies, such as quick phase, microsaccades, staircase, and primary saccades. His project aims to find a pattern to recognize the correlation between the velocity and amplitude of saccades, as well as to identify the role of the central nervous system in the pathophysiology of abnormal eye movements, gaze holding deficits, and strabismus. Additionally, at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, we plan to predict the pattern of falls and freezing gait and establish a relationship between eye movements and fall patterns in Parkinson's patients by gathering and analyzing data from wearable devices.
Krishna Mukunda, Undergraduate, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins, September 2021-present.
Mukunda, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is currently an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University. He is pursuing a BS and master's degree in biomedical engineering. Krishna's research focuses on vestibular and oculomotor disorders at his university. His aims are to attend medical school. In his leisure time, he finds pleasure in playing tennis and honing his culinary skills.
Ariel Alberto, medical student, researcher in the Shaikh Lab
Alberto was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Florida. He is currently a medical student at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining CWRU, he completed his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Central Florida. During his undergraduate education, he researched neuromuscular adaptations to resistance training at the Neuromuscular Plasticity Lab at his university. His current academic interests include the science of movement disorders and how different therapies can improve patient outcomes. Outside of academic pursuits, Alberto enjoys strength training, black coffee and bad jokes.
Ayaan Ahmad, undergraduate student in neuroscience, Case Western Reserve University, October 2022 – present
Ahmad is pursuing a major in neuroscience with a minor in psychology at Case Western Reserve University. In particular, he is interested in how specific parts of the brain affect specific behaviors, like eyesight, as well as the brain's role in consciousness and experience. After college, he hopes to attend medical school and continue learning more about the human brain to help others.
Kathrine Flannery, undergraduate summer student, Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC, summer 2022, and summer 2023
Flannery is a student at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) studying biomedical engineering with a minor in mathematics. She has experience in coding languages such as MATLAB and Python and has spent several semesters in a microfluidics laboratory at Duquesne University. She spent summer 2022 working in the Ocular Motility Laboratory as an intern under Dr. Shaikh, where she studied the effects of STN DBS on the gait of those with Parkinson’s disease. She has co-authorship on a published article and has presented several posters at different conferences. She is an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Pi Kappa Epsilon (National Health Sciences Fraternity), Pi Mu Epsilon (National Math Honors Society), and the Society of Women Engineers. She holds several leadership positions and has served on the executive board for the Society of Women Engineers during her junior and senior years. Katherine hopes to attend graduate school to further her education after receiving her bachelor’s degree in May 2024.
Aaron Velez, high school student, research assistant in the Shaikh Lab
Velez is a volunteer research assistant at the Ocular Motility Laboratory. He is a high school student at University School, hoping to venture into scientific research. He is exploring system neuroscience and hopes to pursue a career in neuroscience, continuing his education and volunteer experience.