Movement Disorders Research

The Division of Movement Disorders is world-renowned for its tradition of clinical care and research excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. We are committed to providing patients and their families with thorough, considerate, state-of-the-art care.  Our goal is to further progress in the field of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, in terms of both patient care and cutting-edge research.  We are continuously investigating better diagnostic test and improved therapeutic options for patients and their families.

Areas of Research

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Apoptosis
  • Astrocytes
  • Bioinfomatics
  • Biomarkers, genetic and epidemiology of Parkinson's disease
  • Cell biology
  • Disease
  • High-throughput screening
  • Learning and behavior
  • Microglia
  • Mitochondria biology and disease
  • Mitophagy
  • Molecular and cellular biology of neurodegeneration
  • Motor neuron biology and diseases
  • Motor systems
  • Necroptosis
  • Neural degeneration and repair
  • Neurobiology of disease
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurodegeneration and repair
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neurosurgical treatment using deep brain stimulati
  • Novel targets for neuromodulation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinson's disease and movement disorders
  • Parkinson's disease biomarkers
  • Physiology of the basal ganglia
  • Protein trafficking
  • Roles of macroautophagy in the healthy and diseased CNS
  • Stem cell biology
  • Synapses and circuits
  • Use of tractography for the understanding of neuromodulation

Studies and Trials

These studies are designed to help find new and more effective ways to diagnose, treat and, ultimately, cure Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. Your participation in a research study may not only improve your quality of life but also make a difference for generations of patients in the future.

To learn more about participation in research studies, please visit the Office of Clinical Trials at Columbia University.

Should you decide to participate in a research study, our team of subspecialty-trained neurologists, nurses, coordinators, and genetic specialists will work closely with you before, during, and upon completion of your valued participation, to make certain you receive the best possible care. 

Here are clinical trials and research studies that are currently open to patient participation:

I-STEP Istradefylline Study of Safety & Treatment Efficacy in Parkinson's Disease

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Istradefylline for reducing the total hours per day of OFF time in patients with moderate to severe PD with motor fluctuations and dyskinesia. Patients who meet the following criteria could be eligible to participate:

  • Male or female, 30 years of age or older at the time of enrollment
  • Diagnosed with idiopathic PD
  • Treatment with levodopa therapy for at least 1 year
  • Taking total daily levodopa dosage of at least 400 mg plus at least 1 adjunctive medication approved to treat PD (Dopamine Agonist, COMT or MAO-B)
  • Subjects who have documented end-of-dose wearing-off and who have experienced levodopa-induced dyskinesia

The study will enroll approximately 609 patients at 95 sites. Study participation will consist of 7 total visits, 2 screening visits and 5 treatment visits, over a period of about 14 weeks. Patients will be randomized to one of three treatment groups below in a 1:1:1 ratio.

  • Group 1: Study treatment 20 mg/d
  • Group 2: Study treatment 40 mg/d
  • Group 3: Placebo

Study enrollment is currently active. Enrolled patients may be compensated for travel and meals. If you are interested in knowing more about this clinical trial, please contact:

Study Coordinator

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Study

Study to Assess the Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics, Biomarker Effects, Efficacy, and Effect on Microglia Activation, as Measured by Positron Emission Tomography, of AZD3241 in Subjects with Multiple System Atrophy
 This is a study of the drug AZD3241, which is an “investigational” drug. This means that AZD3241 has not been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AZD3241 is being investigated as a potential treatment of multiple system atrophy (MSA). This study will be conducted in approximately 64 subjects in approximately 11 centers in North America (approximately six centers) and Europe (approximately five centers). We expect to enroll about 10 patients recruited from Columbia University and an additional 10 patients from other participating sites who will come to Columbia University only for the PET scans.
Inclusion Criteria:

  • Male or female, age 30-80 years, inclusive, at screen.
  • Meet criteria for diagnosis of probable or possible MSA according to the consensus criteria (Gilman et al. 2008 )

If you are interested in knowing more about this clinical trial, please contact:

Clinical Coordinator

Parkinson’s Disease Study

Investigating the Efficacy and Safety of CVT-301(Levodopa Inhalation Powder)in Parkinson’s Disease Patients With Motor Response Fluctuations (OFF Phenomena)
The purpose of this research is to find out whether an investigational drug called CVT-301, is helpful to people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The treatment involves a new method for taking levodopa (LD) through an inhaler (which is like an asthma inhaler) to provide relief of motor fluctuations (OFF episodes), which are experienced by many Parkinson’s disease patients. Patients who meet the following criteria could be eligible to participate:
To pre-qualify for this study, you must:

  • Be between 30 and 80 years of age, inclusive
  • Have a medical diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
  • Experience a minimum of 2 hours of OFF episodes per day (excluding early morning OFF time)
  • Be taking oral levodopa at least 4 times during the waking day, and on a stable levodopa regimen for at least 2 weeks prior to the study

All study-related visits, tests, and investigational medication will be provided to participants at no cost. The study will not provide you with your current Parkinson’s medication. In addition, reimbursement for study-related time and travel may be provided.
If you are interested in knowing more about this clinical trial, please contact:

Study Coordinator