Overview

About the division of Neuromuscular Medicine

The Division of Neuromuscular Medicine is committed to providing patient care, education and cutting-edge research across the full spectrum of neuromuscular disorders.  

As national leaders in the care of disorders such as muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), acquired myopathies and peripheral neuropathies, our team includes neurologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, social workers, nutritionists.

To view the latest brochure about the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine, please click here.

Comprehensive Care

Our multidisciplinary team is known for its dedication to providing comprehensive, compassionate care for patients with neuromuscular disorders.

023_MRALSPatients-2.jpgWe diagnose, treat and manage the following disorders:  

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)
  • Inclusion body myositis (IBM)
  • Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS)
  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD)
  • Motor neuron diseases (MNDs)
  • Multifocal motor neuropathy
  • Myasthenia gravis (MG)
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM)   

Pediatric Neuromuscular Medicine

About the pediatric neuromuscular medicine program

The pediatric neuromuscular medicine program, located in the Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR), provides a multidisciplinary approach to a broad spectrum of pediatric neuromuscular diseases. Two pediatric neurologists, both with dual certification in neuromuscular medicine, lead seven specialty providers who have disease-specific certifications. Physicians collaborate with a talented team across many disciplines including an educational specialist, geneticist, physical therapist, speech therapist, nutritionist, social worker, nurse coordinator, genetic counselor and orthotist.

With diagnostic testing and EMG available, this program targets early identification of pediatric neuromuscular diseases, follows disease-specific care consideration guidelines, educates patients and families, offers opportunities to participate in clinical research and facilitates independence through the ages.   

Research

Cutting-edge clinical and translational research

By conducting cutting-edge clinical and translational research across a broad range of neuromuscular disorders, the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine aims to bring innovative and novel therapies to our patients. 

Dr. Gordon Smith is an expert in acquired neuropathies and has a lead role in several clinical trials aimed at addressing the underlying causes of these neuropathies. This includes serving as the principal investigator of a NeuroNEXT study called TopCSPN, a double-blind clinical trial of topiramate as a disease-altering therapy for cryptogenic sensory peripheral neuropathy (CSPN) in metabolic syndrome. 

Dr. Nicholas Johnson serves as a coordinating principal investigator for two international research networks aimed at developing clinical outcome assessments for the myotonic dystrophies and limb girdle muscular dystrophies, and his lab focuses on understanding the genetic modifiers of these diseases. 

Dr. Kelly Gwathmey serves as the principal investigaor on several ALS, myasthenia gravis, CIDP and myositis studies.

A full list of current clinical trials conducted by researchers in the Department of Neurology is available here on our research page.  

Education

Educational programs offered through the division of Neuromuscular Medicine

Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship

Each year, the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine provides advanced clinical training for one fellow. The one-year program provides extensive education in the evaluation, diagnosis and management of neuromuscular disorders.  

The fellow will gain hands-on electrodiagnostic experience, participate in research, attend conferences and provide patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings.   

Residency Rotations

Neurology residents spend at least two months focusing on the diagnosis of neuromuscular conditions and their management, with extensive electromyography (EMG) training. Rotations also include neuromuscular clinics, including the ALS clinic.  

About the Chair

VCUSOM Message from the Dean - About the Chair

About the Chair

Kelly Gwathmey received her undergraduate degree from Emory University in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Her neurology residency and clinical neurophysiology fellowship were completed at the University of Virginia prior to her completing a neuromuscular medicine fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Gwathmey’s research interests include autoimmune neuromuscular diseases and the overlap of neurological and rheumatological disorders. She is the ALS Clinic director as well as the neuromuscular medicine program directory.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff within the division of Neuromuscular Medicine

Nicholas E. Johnson, M.D., M.Sci., FAAN

Nicholas E. Johnson, M.D., M.Sci., FAAN

Vice Chair for Research

Nicholas E. Johnson, M.D., M.Sci., FAAN

Nicholas E. Johnson, M.D., M.Sci., FAAN

Vice Chair for Research

Department of Neurology

Divisions: Adult Neurology, Neuromuscular
Vice Chair, Research
Associate Professor

Email: nicholas.johnson@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
1101 East Marshall St
Box 980599
Richmond VA, 23298

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Neel Dixit, M.D.

Neel Dixit, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Neel Dixit, M.D.

Neel Dixit, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurology, Neuromuscular Division

Xinli Du, M.D.

Xinli Du, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Xinli Du, M.D.

Xinli Du, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurology

Divisions: Adult Neurology, Neuromuscular Faculty, Teaching Faculty,
Director, Resident Education VAMC

Phone: 804-828-9350

Email: xinli.du@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
Box 980539

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Michelle Gebhardt, RN, C.N.R.N.

Michelle Gebhardt, RN, C.N.R.N.

Clinical Coordinator

Michelle Gebhardt, RN, C.N.R.N.

Michelle Gebhardt, RN, C.N.R.N.

Clinical Coordinator

Department of Neurology; Neuromuscular Division

Movement Disorders Specialists

A. Gordon Smith, M.D., FAAN

A. Gordon Smith, M.D., FAAN

Chair, Department of Neurology

A. Gordon Smith, M.D., FAAN

A. Gordon Smith, M.D., FAAN

Chair, Department of Neurology

Department of Neurology

Professor
Divisions: Adult Neurology, Neuromuscular

Email: gordon.smith@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
Box 980599

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Kelly Gwathmey, M.D.

Kelly Gwathmey, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Kelly Gwathmey, M.D.

Kelly Gwathmey, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurology

Divisions: Adult Neurology, Neuromuscular Faculty
Chair, Division of Neuromuscular Medicine

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Amy Harper, M.D.

Amy Harper, M.D.

Associate Professor

Amy Harper, M.D.

Amy Harper, M.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Neurology

Divisions: Child Neurology, Neuromuscular

Email: amy.harper@vcuhealth.org

Address/Location:
Box 980211

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Kathleen O’Connor, M.S., CCRP

Kathleen O’Connor, M.S., CCRP

Director, NCTRO; Clinical Research Coordinator

Kathleen O’Connor, M.S., CCRP

Kathleen O’Connor, M.S., CCRP

Director, NCTRO; Clinical Research Coordinator

Department of Neurology

Kathleen O’Connor received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in health sciences with a focus on exercise and health physiology from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. With more than 20 years of experience under her belt, her focus is on promoting paradigm-changing clinical research strategies toward the development of innovative therapeutics in neurology, oncology and pediatrics. With a vested interest in promoting the needed workforce standards to improve quality and respond to changes occurring in the clinical research enterprise, she educates investigators and staff in rapidly emerging issues surrounding compliances and regulations, operations, finance and drug development within the biomedical industry.

Mathula Thangarajh, M.D.

Mathula Thangarajh, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Mathula Thangarajh, M.D.

Mathula Thangarajh, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurology

Division of Child Neurology

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