Amir Erez

Amir Erez, PhD

Dr. Erez earned his Ph.D. and M. S. at the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University. He attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he earned his B. A. in Business Administration and Philosophy and an M. A. in Philosophy. His research focuses on how positive moods and positive personality, influence individuals thought processes, motivation, and work behaviors. Dr. Erez also investigates how negative work behaviors such as rudeness and disrespect affect individuals’ performance and cognition. He has published this research in scholarly journals including Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Personnel Psychology, Personality and Individual Differences, Human Performance, and Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Donna Giles

Donna Giles Ph.D.

Paola Giusti-Rodriguez

Paola Giusti-Rodriguez Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Paola Giusti-Rodriguez grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she earned a BS in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. She completed her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University, where her doctorate research focused on studying the molecular basis of neurodegeneration.

Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez carried out her postdoctoral research with Dr. Patrick Sullivan at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she employed the multi-parental Collaborative Cross mouse population to better understand antipsychotic side effects. Her work lies at the intersection between neuroscience and functional genomics, and she aims to integrate the tools and techniques of these fields to shed light on the genetics of neuropsychiatric disorders.

In 2016, she was awarded a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award by the National Institute of Mental Health for her work focused on functional genomics of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez is co-founder of the Latin American Genomics Consortium, which seeks to increase the representation of research participants from Latinx admixed ancestry in genetic studies on psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez works in the Adult Research Division and conducts research in genetic psychiatric illnesses, with interest in human-based studies of neurodevelopmental disorders (including ASD and schizophrenia), at the UF Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders (COARD). In addition, she serves as an important academic teacher and mentor for medical students, interns, training residents and promoting the research and educational mission of the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI) for the Department of Psychiatry.

Andreas Keil, PhD

Dr. Keil obtained his PhD in Psychology in 2000. He is a current faculty member in NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention. He studies the way the human brain and body adapt to environmental challenges over time, on the scale of milliseconds, minutes, hours, days, and across the lifespan. Understanding these changes is now considered a hallmark in the behavioral and neural sciences and it holds promises for answering fundamental science questions as well as clinical applications. Dr. Keil’s research program combines basic human neuroscience research with clinical and translational questions, identifying specific mechanisms of Psychiatric and Neurological disorders.  Keil has been particularly interested in changing the way electrophysiological data (for example EEG brain waves) in humans are recorded, analyzed, and interpreted.

Darlene Kertes

Darlene Kertes, PhD

Darlene Kertes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and is affiliated with the University of Florida Genetics Institute. Dr. Kertes focuses on the antecedents and consequences of stress in health and development. Her research examines the role of life experiences and epigenetic processes on activity of a stress-sensitive neuroendocrine system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system. Dr. Kertes further studies the genetic and gene-environment interaction effects on stress-related emotional and health outcomes from childhood through adulthood. Dr. Kertes completed a Ph.D. in child psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota and an NRSA Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Kertes has received several nationally competitive awards to pursue her work, including awards from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Kertes also served at the National Institutes of Health as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), where she was involved in launching the Genes, Environment and Health Initiative.

Damon G Lamb

Damon G Lamb Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Lamb is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Florida and a Health Research Scientist at the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the Malcom Randall VAMC in Gainesville, FL. He is interested in the complex interaction of autonomics, emotional function and cognition. His undergraduate training was at the University of Maryland in Computer Engineering and Mathematics. He then earned a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Chicago and his PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University, where he focused on biophysical computational modeling of autonomic neuronal networks. He conducts clinical-translational research and education in human neuroimaging of psychiatric and related disorders.

Mark H Lewis

Mark H Lewis Ph.D.


Dr. Lewis joined the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in 1992 as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. He completed a Bachelor’s in Psychology graduating magna cum laude at Bowdoin College, a Masters in Psychology at Western Michigan University, and a doctorate in Psychology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Lewis also completed Postdoctoral Training in Neuropharmacology at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Lewis is currently Associate Chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry, a professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Psychology and the Executive Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at UF.

Dr. Lewis is a highly respected member of some of the most prestigious federal peer review groups including Chair of the NICHD Special Emphasis Panel on Chronic Aberrant Behavior and a member of the NICHD Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers, the NIMH ARRA Autism review, and the Department of Defense Autism Research Program. He is also an Ad Hoc reviewer for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lewis is on the External Advisory Board for the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center at the University of North Carolina and the Editorial review Boards for the American Journal on Mental Retardation and the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities.

Dr. Lewis is a highly respected teacher and faculty advisor mentoring many students in the field of research. He is the recipient of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Educational Stipend Award, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Exceptional Merit Award and the Frank Porter Graham Innovative Research Award.


Catalina Lopez-Quintero

Catalina Lopez-Quintero

Assistant Professor
Department: Department of Epidemiology

Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero is an assistant professor at the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Florida. Dr. Lopez-Quintero is a Colombian medical doctor with a Ph.D. in public health and post-graduate training and research experience in drug dependence and psychiatric epidemiology, drug use neuropsychology, and drug use and HIV/AIDS disparities. Dr. Lopez-Quintero’s research has focused on disentangling the role that factors at different levels of influence (e.g., biological, behavioral, socio-cultural, or political) play on the transitions from the early stages of drug use involvement to the development of drug use disorders and other related outcomes. Through her current federally funded research, she aims to develop a comprehensive and interdisciplinary insight of the mechanisms that generate and sustain disparities in drug use transitions and trajectories by focusing on the complex interactions between neuropsychological and socio-cultural, and systemic level factors and accordingly contribute to informing the design of effective drug use prevention and treatment strategies.

Dr. Lopez-Quintero has been the Lead Instructor of PHC 6001: Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health (Fall, 2019-2021), Public Health Concepts (Summer and Fall, 2018) and Epidemiology Methods II (Summer 2022-2023). She has been an invited lecturer for other five courses in the college, such as PHC 6003: Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases and Disability or PHC 6441 – Understanding Health Disparities in the United States. In addition to her teaching and research activities, she has served as a chair, co-chair, or member of 18 students’ Ph.D. dissertation, master theses, or honor students’ thesis committees. In her weekly lab meetings, she also advises students and fellows at all levels (undergraduate to post-doctoral level) for their independent studies, career development, and research projects for the UF-Choice’s study, the medical cannabis study group, and the All of Us Consortium of CTSI Community Engagement Programs. The mentee’s projects focus on health disparities, substance, mental health, COVID-19, cancer disparities, and chronic diseases, and the main findings have been disseminated through presentations at scientific meetings or scientific publications. Dr. Lopez-Quintero regularly participates in other multiple mentoring activities, including the UF MD/Ph.D. program, NIDA T32 – UF Substance Abuse Training Center in Public Health, the UF Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), the UF Center for Addiction Research and Education, the Early Career Leadership Committee Meeting on mentorship at the National Hispanic Science Network, the peer-mentoring program for the NIH enhanced Interdisciplinary Training Institute (eIRTI) and the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program.

Irene A Malaty

Irene A Malaty MD

Barbara Padgett Dein Professor Of Neurology, Director Of Parkinson Foundation Center Of Excellence And Tourette Association Of America Center For Excellence

My name is Irene Malaty, MD, and I am a board-certified neurologist and movement disorders specialist at the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, serving as a professor in the University of Florida Department of Neurology.

I received my medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed my neurology residency and my movement disorders fellowship at UF.

I have been intrigued by the brain since I was young. Beginning in high school, I loved learning about how the brain controls our thoughts, speech and actions, and pondering the mysteries of how the mind operates. Parkinson’s disease also has a family connection for me as one of my favorite uncles lived with Parkinson’s disease.

In clinic, I see patients of all ages for various movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, dystonia, essential tremor and atypical parkinsonism. My goal is to help people live their best life by listening to their concerns, educating them about their condition and treatment options and addressing the motor and non-motor (mood, cognitive and behavioral) symptoms of what is affecting them. We are a team, working together!

When I am not in clinic, I conduct research and clinical trials to learn more about people’s symptoms and to find better ways to treat movement disorders. Some research I have conducted includes exploring the use of pump-aided continuous levodopa infusion to avoid ups and downs of Parkinson’s medication, and trying out a novel botulinum toxin that could last up to twice as long as the options already on the market.

I also have projects looking at factors affecting individuals with tic disorders, including personal stressors, and a study looking at “dignity therapy” in people with advanced Parkinson’s disease to promote sense of purpose and value. I work together with researchers across the globe to explore hot topics in movement disorders such as unusual tic presentations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I serve on the Science Committee of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and was selected for the inaugural class of the AAN’s Women Leading in Neurology program. I co-chair a task force to help shape the way doctors define and discuss tic disorders. I also teach about movement disorders internationally and co-authored “Living with Parkinson’s Disease.”

When I’m not at the clinic, I love traveling, viewing art and staying active by running and indoor cycling.

Michael S Okun

Michael S Okun MD

Director, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases

My name is Michael Okun, MD, and I am a board-certified neurologist, movement disorders specialist, neuroscientist and author who practices with the philosophy that ‘the patient is the sun’ and should be at the center of all care decisions.

I co-founded and co-direct the internationally-renowned Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases with my neurosurgeon partner and friend, Kelly Foote, MD. Since 2006, I have served as both the Medical Director and most recently as the Medical Advisor for the Parkinson’s Foundation.

I completed my medical degree in 1996 from the University of Florida. Following my medical degree, I completed my internship in 1997 and neurology residency in 2000, both at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). I then completed my fellowship in movement disorders and surgery for movement disorders in 2002 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

I see patients for a variety of movement related neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, tremor Tourette syndrome, dystonia and more. As a care provider, I strive to translate physiological principles underpinning neurological disorders into real-world therapies to improve a patient’s life and wellbeing.

When I am not caring for patients, I conduct human research including clinical trials and the cognitive, behavioral and mood effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and neuromodulation. My research projects have included the application of DBS and neuromodulation therapies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, dystonia, essential tremor and obsessive-compulsive disorder. My research has received support from the National Institutes of Health, the Smallwood Foundation, the Tourette Association of America, the Parkinson’s Alliance, the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

As a doctor, I am passionate about the importance of arts in medicine. In 1995, I authored my first book of poetry, Lessons From the Bedside. Since my first book, I have authored 14 books related to living a full life with neurological disorders including Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life and Ending Parkinson’s Disease. I have also published more than 600 papers and review articles on Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, podcasts, reading history, going on walks with our family dog and watching baseball.

Kay Roussos-Ross

Kay Roussos-Ross M.D.

Professor And Chief, Medical Director, Women’s Health At Medical Plaza,

Dr. Dikea (Kay) Roussos-Ross is an Associate Professor in the departments of OBGYN and Psychiatry. She joined the faculty of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in January 2012. Dr. Roussos-Ross is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Her areas of focus include high-risk obstetric patients with co-morbid psychiatric and substance use disorders. Dr. Roussos-Ross’s clinical practice also includes general obstetrics, gynecology and surgical gynecology. Dr. Roussos-Ross is the Chief of the Division of Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also the Director of Women’s Health at the UF Health Shands Medical Plaza.

Dr. Roussos-Ross completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at UF, graduating with Research Honors from the College of Medicine and receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree in 2002. Prior to receiving her medical degree, Dr. Roussos-Ross earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, graduating with Highest Honors. She continued with her UF studies in the Physician Assistant Studies Program, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Medicine and a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Dr. Roussos-Ross first completed a residency in Psychiatry and joined the UF Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor and as the Medical Director of the Adult Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, with a primary area of focus in Perinatal Psychiatry. Following, Dr. Roussos-Ross furthered her interest in women’s health with a second residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, which she completed in 2012.

Heather Simpson, MOT, OTR/L

Heather graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Sciences with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007.  Following her Bachelor’s degree, Heather received a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, in 2009, from the University of Florida. To complete her education, she obtained her post-professional clinical doctorate from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2017. Since completion of graduate school, she has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient neurology, inpatient rehab and outpatient pediatric rehabilitation. In 2014, Heather transitioned to the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration to work with both the pediatric and adult populations affected with movement disorders.

John B Williamson

John B Williamson Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Williamson has worked to both understand mechanism of brain dysfunction in disorders such as TBI,. PTSD and cerebrovascular disease, and to develop applied solutions to the problems that most impact quality of life in individuals that struggle with these issues.

Clinically, Dr. Williamson focuses on adult populations that have questions of neurological contributions to cognitive impairment. This includes patients with cerebrovascular disease (e.g., stroke) and suspected vascular cognitive impairment, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease).

Dr. Williamson is interested in the role of central and peripheral autonomic nervous system interactions in modifying or regulating brain states and behavioral output. He has VA and DOD funding to understand the mechanistic contribution of white matter injuries in key central autonomic inputs from traumatic brain injury and manifestation of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, biomarkers (blood) of TBI subphenotypic outcomes, as well as NIH, McKnight Brain Foundation, and VA funding on intervention developments in cognitive dysfunction associated with healthy aging, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disruption, and PTSD.

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