Photo of Katherine Bustin Sims, MD

Katherine Bustin Sims, MD

  • Director, Neurogenetics Clinic


Accepting New Patients




Centers & Specialties

MassGeneral Hospital for Children

Clinical Interests
  • Developmental neurogenetic disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Energy metabolism disorders (mitochondrial)
  • Lysosomal storage disorders (Fabry, Gaucher, Pompe, MPS)
  • Neural ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL; Batten disease)
  • Norrie disease
Medical Education
  • MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
  • Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Patient Gateway
Yes, learn more
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • MassHealth
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Connecticut
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group
Adult and Pediatric

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Dr. Sims, working at the Massachusetts General Hospital, has achieved a national and international reputation in clinical Neurogenetics with particular expertise in the lysosomal storage disorders including Fabry disease and the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL) as well as the developmental neurodegenerative X-linked Norrie disease.  Her clinical and research expansion into the new area of human diseases of mitochondrial energy metabolism promises to continue her already exemplary trajectory in clinical translational research and patient care.  Significant publications, across a broad sweep of neurogenetics, have continued over the last decades of work.  Over the last 15 years, Dr. Sims, working as clinician scientist, has directed the Neurogenetic Patient Registries and BioRepositories for NCL, Mitochondrial and Norrie diseases.  She is an expert diagnostician and works with great facility in identifying clinical cases and facilitating entry into appropriate clinical translational studies.

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Research & Publications

Research Summary
  1. Lysosomal storage disorders
    Founded and maintains research Clinical Registry and Tissue Bank for the Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (NCL) disorders. Clinical genotype-phenotype studies. Research in Fabry disease includes neurocognitive assessment, CNS neuroimaging studies and clinical trials for ERT. High-throughput Fabry enzyme and DNA testing for population screening studies.
  2. Primary mitochondrial disorders
    Diagnostic testing, clinical characterization, development of semi-quantitative measures for management assessment. Founded and maintains research Clinical Registry and BioRepository. Collaborative clinical studies in metabolic profiling.
  3. Molecular neurogenetics of Norrie disease (ND)
    Norrie disease molecular genetic elaboration of underlying genotype-phenotype relationship. Founded and maintains a research ND Clinical Registry and BioRepository. Organizer and host for 1st International Norrie Disease Association Scientific and Patient Support Meeting, Boston, 2009.

> Sims K et al.Neurologic manifestations of Fabry disease: observational data from the International Fabry Registry.Stroke 2009
> Xin W ...Sims KCLN5 mutations are frequent in both juvenile and late-onset, non-Finnish NCL patients.Neurology 2010;74:565-571
> Smith SE...Sims KBNorrie disease: Extraocular clinical manifestations in a large cohort. Amer J Med Genet 2012; 158A:1909-1917
> Brown J...Sims KBSOD1, ANG, TARDBP  and FUS mutations in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): a United States clinical testing lab experience.J Med Genet 2012;13:217-222
> Staropoli J...Sims KB,Cotman, S.KCTD7 links a novel form of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis to the ubiquitin-proteasome system AJMG 2012; 91:202-208
> Staropoli J...Sims KB An atypical case of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis with co-inheritance of a variably penetrant POLG1 mutation. BMC Med Genet 2012

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News & Events

  • Swoboda honored with Sims endowed chair

    Kathryn Swoboda, MD, director of the Neurogenetics Unit within the MGH Center for Human Genetic Research, is the first incumbent of the Katherine B. Sims, MD, Endowed Chair in Neurogenetics.

  • MGH hosts Norrie disease conference

    From Aug. 9 to 11, the MGH hosted the Norrie Disease Association's second international conference at the Richard B. Simches Research Center.


Neurogenetics Clinic
55 Fruit Street
Boston MA, 02114
Phone 1: 617-726-5732
Fax: 617-724-9620

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