I am a Movement Disorders Neurologist, Canada Research Chair Tier II in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, and Associate Professor in Neurology in the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the University of Western Ontario since September 2011.  I’m also a Principal Investigator at The Brain and Mind Institute.  I obtained a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Colin MacLeod prior to completing medical school at McMaster University and residency training in Neurology at McGill University.  I pursued clinical and research fellowship training in Movement Disorders as a Canadian Institutes of Health, Phase 1 Clinician-Scientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and the Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal from October 2008 – July 2011.


My long-term research aims are to uncover neural bases for cognitive processes with a particular interest in understanding the role of the basal ganglia in these functions.  The research involves probing different facets of cognition, with a variety of neuropsychological tests, in patients with prominent basal ganglia dysfunction, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), compared to healthy volunteers.  We also correlate performance on these tests with levels of activation in different brain regions, including the basal ganglia, assessed with functional neuroimaging techniques.  We aim to investigate differences in function-related brain activity in patients and healthy participants as well as the effect of medications on cognitive performance and brain activity in patients.  A further objective is to develop more precise cognitive profiles of various movement disorders with the overarching goal of improving diagnosis and suggesting more effective treatments of cognitive impairments in these conditions.  Research questions that we’re currently investigating are explained further under the Research heading.


I evaluate and treat patients with a variety of movement disorders with a special interest in PD.  In addition to attending to movement-related symptoms, I am interested in improving the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairments in movement disorders.  Under the Clinical heading, you’ll find more information about movement disorders as well as a subsection devoted to patient education.


To learn more about my collaborators in the research, as well as their particular interests, please refer to the section entitled People.

I am now recruiting undergraduate, graduate, medical, and post-doctoral students.  If you are interested in learning more about research opportunities, please contact me.


  • McGill-Western Initiative for Translational Neuroscience (itn.neuroimpact.ca): $ 2,244,000
    • Title: Establishing the first MRI biomarkers in PD: A significant Innovation in PD research and practice
    • Western Lead: Penny A. MacDonald
    • McGill Lead: Alain Dagher
  • Canada Research Chair (CRC)
    • 2014-2019: $500, 000
    • 2019-2024: $500, 000
  • CIHR: $493,426
    • Advancing Clinically-Useful Diagnostic and Progression Markers of PD with Neuroimaging
    • Co-PI: Ali Khan
    • Collaborator: Mark Daley
    • 2014 – 2019: $118, 690
    • 2019 – 2024: $140, 000
  • Collaborative Research Seed Grant (CRSG) @ UWO: $47, 000
  • Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI): $50, 000
    • Spark Program: Desktop Driving Simulator: A multi-purpose tool
    • Co-Applicant: Ken Seergobin
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI/ORF/IOF): $309, 923
  • BrainsCAN/CFREF
  • Parkinson’s Society of Canada
  • London Health Sciences Foundation