Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School
Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit
Center for Human Genetic Research
Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Dr. Scharf is a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatric geneticist who works at the interface between neurology and psychiatry, employing genetics and clinical research tools to investigate the etiology and pathogenesis of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and related disorders as model neuropsychiatric illnesses. The research lab is focused on genetic and non-genetic factors that predispose individuals to TS and its common co-morbidities, specifically obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Current projects include genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of TS and OCD, copy-number variant (CNV) analyses, as well as whole-exome and targeted sequencing of large, multi-generational TS families. We are also pursuing replication efforts for these initial studies. In addition, the lab co-leads an ongoing nation-wide genetic collection of new TS subjects, including a web-based collection project to augment traditional high-cost ascertainment through specialty clinics. On top of these genetics projects, additional members of the group are involved in phenotypic analyses of TS to examine the developmental trajectory of TS across the lifespan including clinical predictors of tic persistence and severity in adulthood. Lastly, we have a project examining non-genetic risk factors for TS in a large, British, pre-birth cohort.
Dr. Scharf is the co-chair of the Tourette Syndrome Association International Consortium for Genetics (TSAICG) Steering Committee and principal investigator of the TSAICG multi-center U01 grant from the NINDS. Dr. Scharf is also Director of the Partners Neurology Tic Disorders Clinic, which currently sees over 75 new cases a year and provides comprehensive clinical assessments and ongoing management of TS patients referred from local, regional, national, and international sources. These patients also contribute to ongoing clinical and genetic research projects.
Cornelia Illmann, Ph.D.
Lauren McGrath, PhD
Research Lab Technician
Dongmei Yu, M.S.
Psychiatry Resident (PGY2) at Harvard Longwood Psychiatry
Senior Clinical Research Assistant
Paul Lee, M.D.
Former Position: Laboratory Technician
Current Position: Medical Student, Tufts University School of Medicine
Former Position: Clinical Research Assistant
Current Position: Graduate Student, Boston College
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