About Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

Jeremy D. Schmahmann, M.D. is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital where he is Founding Director of the Ataxia Center (1994), Director of the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology, and a member of the Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit. Dr. Schmahmann received his medical degree with distinction at the University of Cape Town, winning the Nestle Prize (pediatrics) and Wilfrid Exner Bauman Prize (best student). Dr. Schmahmann completed residency in the Neurological Unit of the Boston City Hospital, and Anatomy and Neurobiology Fellowship in the Boston University School of Medicine. He joined the MGH faculty in 1989 and has been cited in The Best Doctors in America since 1996. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, and the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

Dr. Schmahmann won the American Academy of Neurology’s Norman Geschwind Prize (2000) for pioneering work on the role of the cerebellum in cognition and emotion, and description of the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (now, Schmahmann’s syndrome). He received the American Neurological Association’s Distinguished Neurology Teacher Award (2008), Harvard Medical School’s Special Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching (2013), and visiting professorships throughout the USA and Europe. He is past president of the Boston Society of Neurology and Psychiatry and the American Neuropsychiatric Association, on the Executive of the Society for Research on the Cerebellum and Ataxias, the Medical and Scientific Research Advisory Board of the National Ataxia Foundation, and the Clinical Research Consortium for the Study of Cerebellar Ataxias. He was Founding Co-Director of the HMS Dementia Course (1995). Dr. Schmahmann is funded by the NIH and private foundations. He has > 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts , and he co-authored and edited 6 monographs – The Cerebellum and Cognition, MRI Atlas of the Human Cerebellum, Fiber Pathways of the Brain, Handbook of the Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders, Essentials of the Handbook of the Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders, and Cerebellar Disorders in Children.

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Clinical Interests:



Mass General Neurology: Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit
55 Fruit St.
Wang Ambulatory Care Center
Suite 835
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-3216

Medical Education

  • M.B., CH.B.,University of Cape Town School of Medicine, South Africa
  • Residency, Boston City Hospital
  • Residency, Boston City Hospital
  • Residency, Brockton Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Boston University

American Board Certifications

  • Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties
  • Electrodiagnostic Medicine, American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine
  • Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

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Structure 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.


  • See http://www.mindlinkfoundation.org/about-us/about-jeremy-schmahmann-md

    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, 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 role of the cerebellum in cognition and emotion: Personal reflections since 1982 on the dysmetria of thought hypothesis, and its historical evolution from theory to therapy. Neuropsychol Rev. 2010;20(3):236-60.

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