USC Movement Disorder Fellowship Program

The USC Movement Disorders Fellowship was initiated in 1991 under Dr. Cheryl Waters, MD who started the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic at USC. The initial emphasis and core values of this Movement Disorders Clinic focused on the importance of excellence in patient care. An active and continued participation in the clinical trials process has maintained access to state of the art research and therapeutics in the treatment of Movement Disorders.

Dr. Mark Lew, MD, the first Fellow trained under Dr. Waters, is now the Fellowship director and division cheif. In addition to the already established Parkinson’s disease clinical expertise at USC, Dr. Lew helped pioneer the use of botulinum toxin therapy as a gold standard treatment for dystonia.

Under Dr. Lew’s management, the Division quickly expanded to become the largest neurologic subspecialty clinical service at USC. Dr. Lew is joined by Dr. Giselle Petzinger, MD and Dr. Michael Jakowec, PhD, who established and directed the basic science components of the Program. Dr. Jennifer Hui, MD joined the faculty in 2004 after a Movement disorders fellowship at USC to add a behavioral aspect to the scope of the Division’s research. Dr. Daniel Togasaki, MD, PhD was recruited from the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, CA, in 2005 as a senior member of the Division.Dr. Danielle Feigenbaum joined our faculty in 2017 after her fellowship at USC, and Dr. Amir Besharat is our most recent faculty addition, having trained in movement disorders at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The DBS program at USC features 3 stereotactic neurosurgeons, each with individual research interests. Dr. Brian Lee heads the division, and specializes in the Clearpoint technique and exploring of closed loop circuits in DBS. Dr. Darrin Lee is conducting research in cognitive and behavioral applications of DBS. Dr. Mark Liker is the most senior neurosurgical specialist and has extensive experience in DBS for the treatment for secondary dystonia. Nasrin Esnaashari, DNP, serves as the program’s DBS coordinator and chief programmer.

Throughout this expansion, the Movement Disorders Fellowship at USC has been a core component of the Division’s activities. Now, more than ever, as knowledge about Movement Disorders expands, USC continues to uphold its role in training the next generation of Movement Disorders specialists.

Fellowship Goal

To train neurologists to become experts in the diagnosis and management of patients with movement disorders by providing a comprehensive, clinically relevant background of practical experience, clinical research, and basic science.


  • Acquire expertise in the description, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of patients with movement disorders.
  • To become competent, available for patients with movement disorders including (1) botulinum toxin injections, (2) evaluation for surgical options in movement disorders and (3) post-operative deep brain stimulator management.
  • To become expert in movement disorders literature including (1) relevant basic and clinical research, (2) clinical strategies and controversies in management.
  • To become familiar with the process of clinical research from conception, design, safety, role of regulation, conduct, analysis and results reporting.
  • To develop independence by organizing a weekly didactic conference, teaching materials, and developing a project.

Program duration

The Fellowship has traditionally been a one year program. Given the expanded nature of contemporary movement disorders practice and abundance of research opportunities, the current structure is based on a clinically oriented one-year fellowship with an option to extend to two years dependent on (1) performance of the fellowship candidate in the first year and (2) a pre-specified goals and objectives for a project that the fellow is responsible for during the second year.

Fellowship activities

The USC Movement Disorders Fellowship will achieve the 5 stated objectives by providing four fellowship activities.

  • Didactic teaching
  • Clinical experience
  • Clinical research experience
  • Tools for independent professional growth

Location of fellowship activities

  • Healthcare Consultation Center II (HCC II): Didactic teaching, outpatient clinical experience, and clinical research experience are centered here. Academic offices are located in HCC II and in the Center for Health Professionals (CHP).
  • Keck Hospital of USC: Inpatient movement disorders consultations are done in this tertiary, referral hospital. Stereotactic movement disorders surgeries are performed at Keck Hospital.
  • LA County Medical Center (LAC+USC). Inpatient movement disorders consultations may be requested here. A mandatory monthly botulinum toxin clinic is conducted here.
  • Resources at large at USC are used as needed. These include the Norris Medical Library, LAC+USC outpatient clinics, the basic science labs of Drs. Petzinger and Jakowec. Experiences may also be arranged for training time at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), and Rancho Los Amigos with department chair, Dr. Helena Chui, MD for those with a special interest in studying dementia.

Movement Disorder Faculty

Mark F. Lew, M.D.
Professor of Neurology
Vice Chairman, Department of Neurology
Director, Division of Movement Disorder
Program Director, Movement Disorder Fellowship

Jennifer S. Hui, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Danielle Feigenbaum, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Amir Besharat, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Nasrin Esnaashari,  MSN, CNS, CNP, DNP
Instructor of Clinical Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Daniel Togasaki, MD., PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Giselle Petzinger, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorder
Department of Neurology

Michael Jakowec PhD
Associate Professor of Research Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders
Department of Neurology

Mark Liker, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Department of Surgery

Brian Lee, M.D. Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Associate Director of the USC Neurorestoration Center
Departments of Neurological Surgery and Biomedical Engineering

Darrin J. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Departments of Neurological Surgery and Psychiatry

How to Apply:

Interested Applicants can apply for the Movement Disorder Fellowship through the San Francisco Match Program. SF Match website.

Download Fellowship Application.