Physician Photo

Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

Director, Ataxia Unit

Dr. Schmahmann is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Ataxia Unit, and of the Laboratory of Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

  • Phone: 855-644-6387
Department of Neurology
Clinical Interests
Cerebellar disorders
Cognitive/behavioral neurology
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, University of Cape Town
Residency, Boston Medical Center
Board Certifications
Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Patient Gateway
Yes, learn more
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients

BiographyJeremy D. Schmahmann received his medical degree in 1980 at the University of Cape Town, winning the Nestl? Prize for pediatrics and the Wilfrid Exner Bauman Prize for best student in the final year. After completing residency in the Neurological Unit of the Boston City Hospital, he trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine. He joined the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital in 1989, where he is Director of the Ataxia Unit, a member of the Cognitive/Behavioral Neurology Unit and the Geriatric Neurobehavior Clinic, and Neurology Clerkship Director. Dr. Schmahmann is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School,and a Scholar in the Academy at Harvard. He won the Norman Geschwind Prize in2000 for research in behavioral neurology from the American Academy of Neurology and the Behavioral Neurology Society, recognizing his contribution to the field of the cerebellum and cognition. Dr. Schmahmann has received numerous teaching awards and honors, including the Distinguished Neurology Teacher Award from the American Neurological Association in 2008. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, Fellow of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, member of the medical research advisory board of the National Ataxia Foundation, and he has been cited in The Best Doctors in America since 1998.His neurological and neuroanatomical research is funded by the NationalInstitutes of Health, and by private foundations. Dr. Schmahmann has more than 110 publications in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts, and his published books include The Cerebellum and Cognition (Academic Press), MRI Atlas of the Human Cerebellum (Academic Press), and Fiber Pathways of the Brain (Oxford University Press) that was awarded the 2006 Medical Science Award for best book in the category of medical publications by the American Association of Publishers.

ResearchStructure and function of the cerebellum in health and disease
In collaboration with colleagues locally and nationally we study: healthy individuals using magnetic resonance brain imaging (MRI) techniques to identify regions of the cerebellum that are engaged in motor control, intellectual functions and emotional processing; adults and children with cerebellar injury (stroke, tumors, developmental disorders) to understand the effects of cerebellar damage on motor control, as well as on intellect and mood; anatomical circuits in the monkey linking the cerebellum with other brain regions; transcranial magnetic stimulation of the cerebellum to treat psychiatric conditions; stem cells derived from patients with cerebellar diseases to explore the biology of these diseases; new treatments for Friedreich's Ataxia; genetic basis for multiple system atrophy; mitochondrial basis to some cases of sporadic ataxia; the natural history of the spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 2, 3 and 6; and MRI markers of disease progression in cerebellar degeneration

Connectional neuroanatomy in the human brain
We use MRI techniques (DSI - diffusion spectrum imaging) to conduct research in the human brain, both living and deceased, to find out how the human brain is hard wired. In collaboration with MGH investigators who invented this new technology, we analyze the wiring of brain regions relevant to many neuropsychiatric conditions (schizophrenia, autism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-concussion injury), and neurological disorders (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis), and we use this connectional approach to explore how cerebellum is linked to the cerebral hemispheres. This ability to study the connections, functions and anatomy of the human brain in living individuals across time is an exciting and major development that has implications for the understanding and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.


View my most recent publications at PubMed

Schmahmann JD. An emerging concept: The cerebellar contribution to higher function. Arch. Neurol. 1991;48:1178-1187.

Schmahmann JD and Pandya DN. Anatomic organization of the basilar pontine projections from prefrontal cortices in rhesus monkey. J. Neurosci. 1997;17:438-458.

Schmahmann JD and Sherman JC. The cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. Brain. 1998; 121:561-579.

Levisohn L, Cronin-Golomb A, Schmahmann JD. Neuropsychological consequences of cerebellar tumor resection in children: Cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome in a pediatric population. Brain. 2000; 123:1041-50.

Schmahmann JD. Plasmapheresis improves outcome in post-infectious cerebellitis induced by Epstein-Barr virus. Neurology. 2004; 62:1443.

Schmahmann JD. Vascular Syndromes of the Thalamus. Stroke. 2003: 34;2264-2278.

Schmahmann JD, MacMore J, Ko R. The human basis pontis. Clinical syndromes and topographic organization. Brain. 2004; 127:1269-91.

Schmahmann JD, Weilburg JB, Sherman JC. The neuropsychiatry of the cerebellum: insights from the clinic. The Cerebellum. 2007; 6:254-67.

Schmahmann JD, Pandya DN, Wang R, Dai G, d'Arceuil HE, de Crespigny AJ, Wedeen VJ. Association fiber pathways of the brain: Parallel observations from diffusion spectrum imaging and autoradiography. Brain. 2007; 130:630-53.

Schmahmann JD. The cerebellum in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry. Generations (publication of the National Ataxia Foundation) 2008.

Stoodley CJ, Valera EM, Schmahmann JD. An fMRI case study of functional topography in the human cerebellum. Behavioral Neurology, in press.

Neurology & Stroke Services
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114-3117

Phone: 855-644-6387
Phone 2: 617-724-3992
Fax: 617-724-7836