Tetsuo Ashizawa, MD

Director, Neurosciences Research Program
Houston Methodist


Tetsuo Ashizawa, MD, formerly the executive director of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida, organized and developed interdisciplinary neuroscience research programs involving multiple colleges and departments. He also chaired the neurology department at the University of Texas Medical Branch and at the University of Florida, where he supervised the clinical care of and research in a variety of neurological disorders.

As a physician-scientist, some of Dr. Ashizawa’s current research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. He is studying neurogenetic disorders caused by expansions of DNA sequences that are connected end-to-end and abnormally repeated, such as myotonic dystrophies, spinocerebellar ataxias, Friedreich’s ataxia, and Huntington’s disease.

Dr. Ashizawa received his medical degree from the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo. After moving to the U.S., he completed his neurology residency and Muscular Dystrophy Association fellowships in neurochemistry and clinical neuromuscular disorders at Baylor College of Medicine. 

Dr. Ashizawa is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He serves on multiple grant review panels, including NIH study sections, and on the scientific advisory boards of the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, the National Ataxia Foundation, and the Association Française contre les Myopathies.

Areas Of Expertise

Hereditary cerebellar ataxias Multiple system atrophy - cerebellar type Friedreich’s ataxia Myotonic dystrophy Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy Limb girdle muscular dystrophy Huntington’s disease Fragile X associated tremor ataxia syndrome Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
Education & Training

, Baylor College of Medicine
, Keio University School of Medicine

SPG7 and Impaired Emotional Communication
Zhang, L, McFarland, KN, Subramony, SH, Heilman, KM & Ashizawa, T 2016, Cerebellum, pp. 1-4. DOI:

ATXN2-AS, a gene antisense to ATXN2, is associated with SCA2 and ALS
Li, PP, Sun, X, Xia, G, Arbez, N, Paul, S, Zhu, S, Peng, HB, Ross, CA, Koeppen, AH, Margolis, RL, Pulst, SM, Ashizawa, T & Rudnicki, DD 2016, Annals of Neurology. DOI:

Ashizawa, T & Xia, G 2016, CONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology, vol 22, no. 4,MovementDisorders, pp. 1208-1226. DOI:

(CAG)n loci as genetic modifiers of age-at-onset in patients with Machado-Joseph disease from mainland China
Chen, Z, Zheng, C, Long, Z, Cao, L, Li, X, Shang, H, Yin, X, Zhang, B, Liu, J, Ding, D, Peng, Y, Wang, C, Peng, H, Ye, W, Qiu, R, Pan, Q, Xia, K, Chen, S, Sequeiros, J, Ashizawa, T, Klockgether, T, Tang, B & Jiang, H 2016, Brain, vol 139, no. 8, pp. e41. DOI:

Sensory and motor cortex function contributes to symptom severity in spinocerebellar ataxia type 6
Kang, N, Christou, EA, Burciu, RG, Chung, JW, DeSimone, JC, Ofori, E, Ashizawa, T, Subramony, SH & Vaillancourt, DE 2016, Brain Structure and Function, pp. 1-14. DOI:

Genome Therapy of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 iPS Cells for Development of Autologous Stem Cell Therapy
Gao, Y, Guo, X, Santostefano, K, Wang, Y, Reid, T, Zeng, D, Terada, N, Ashizawa, T & Xia, G 2016, Molecular Therapy. DOI:

Rare neurological channelopathies-networks to study patients, pathogenesis and treatment
Jen, JC, Ashizawa, T, Griggs, RC & Waters, MF 2016, Nature Reviews Neurology, vol 12, no. 4, pp. 195-203. DOI:

Depression and clinical progression in spinocerebellar ataxias
Lo, RY, Figueroa, KP, Pulst, SM, Perlman, S, Wilmot, G, Gomez, C, Schmahmann, J, Paulson, H, Shakkottai, VG, Ying, S, Zesiewicz, T, Bushara, K, Geschwind, M, Xia, G, Yu, JT, Lee, LE, Ashizawa, T, Subramony, SH & Kuo, SH 2016, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, vol 22, pp. 87-92. DOI:

High Serum GFAP Levels in SCA3/MJD May Not Correlate with Disease Progression
Shi, Y, Wang, C, Huang, F, Chen, Z, Sun, Z, Wang, J, Tang, B, Ashizawa, T, Klockgether, T & Jiang, H 2015, Cerebellum, vol 14, no. 6, pp. 677-681. DOI:

Successful aging: Advancing the science of physical independence in older adults
Anton, SD, Woods, AJ, Ashizawa, T, Barb, D, Buford, TW, Carter, CS, Clark, DJ, Cohen, RA, Corbett, DB, Cruz-Almeida, Y, Dotson, V, Ebner, N, Efron, PA, Fillingim, RB, Foster, TC, Gundermann, DM, Joseph, AM, Karabetian, C, Leeuwenburgh, C, Manini, TM, Marsiske, M, Mankowski, RT, Mutchie, HL, Perri, MG, Ranka, S, Rashidi, P, Sandesara, B, Scarpace, PJ, Sibille, KT, Solberg, LM, Someya, S, Uphold, C, Wohlgemuth, S, Wu, SS & Pahor, M 2015, Ageing Research Reviews, vol 24, pp. 304-327. DOI:

SMRT sequencing of long tandem nucleotide repeats in SCA10 reveals unique insight of repeat expansion structure
McFarl, KN, Liu, J, Landrian, I, Godiska, R, Shanker, S, Yu, F, Farmerie, WG & Ashizawa, T 2015, PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 8, e0135906. DOI:

Ataxia-telangiectasia - A historical review and a proposal for a new designation: ATM syndrome
Teive, HAG, Moro, A, Moscovich, M, Arruda, WO, Munhoz, RP, Raskin, S & Ashizawa, T 2015, Journal of the Neurological Sciences, vol 355, no. 1-2, pp. 3-6. DOI:

Primary and secondary ataxias
Teive, HAG & Ashizawa, T 2015, Current Opinion in Neurology, vol 28, no. 4, pp. 413-422. DOI:

Bolivian kindred with combined spinocerebellar ataxia types 2 and 10
Baizabal-Carvallo, JF, Xia, G, Botros, P, Laguna, J, Ashizawa, T & Jankovic, J 2015, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, vol 132, no. 2, pp. 139-142. DOI:

Ataxia espinocerebelar tipo 10 no sul do Brasil: A conexão Ameríndia-Belga
Teive, HAG, Moro, A, Moscovich, M, Arruda, WO, Munhoz, RP, Raskin, S, Teive, GMG, Dallabrida, N & Ashizawa, T 2015, Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, vol 73, no. 8, pp. 725-727. DOI:

Analysis of the GGGGCC repeat expansions of the C9orf72 gene in SCA3/MJD patients from China
Wang, C, Chen, Z, Yang, F, Jiao, B, Peng, H, Shi, Y, Wang, Y, Huang, F, Wang, J, Shen, L, Xia, K, Tang, B, Ashizawa, T & Jiang, H 2015, PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 6, e0130336. DOI:

Genome modification leads to phenotype reversal in human myotonic dystrophy type 1 induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells
Xia, G, Gao, Y, Jin, S, Subramony, SH, Terada, N, Ranum, LPW, Swanson, MS & Ashizawa, T 2015, Stem Cells, vol 33, no. 6, pp. 1829-1838. DOI:

Clinical evaluation of eye movements in spinocerebellar ataxias: A prospective multicenter study
Moscovich, M, Okun, MS, Favilla, C, Figueroa, KP, Pulst, SM, Perlman, S, Wilmot, G, Gomez, C, Schmahmann, J, Paulson, H, Shakkottai, V, Ying, S, Zesiewicz, T, Kuo, SH, Mazzoni, P, Bushara, K, Xia, G, Ashizawa, T & Subramony, SH 2015, Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol 35, no. 1, pp. 16-21. DOI:

Dynamic changes of nuclear RNA foci in proliferating DM1 cells
Xia, G & Ashizawa, T 2015, Histochemistry and Cell Biology, vol 143, no. 6, pp. 557-564. DOI:

Two novel SNPs in ATXN3 3' UTR may decrease age at onset of SCA3/MJD in Chinese patients
Long, Z, Chen, Z, Wang, C, Huang, F, Peng, H, Hou, X, Ding, D, Ye, W, Wang, J, Pan, Q, Li, J, Xia, K, Tang, B, Ashizawa, T & Jiang, H 2015, PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 2, e0117488. DOI: