About Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

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Jeremy D. Schmahmann, M.D. is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Clinical 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.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Department of Neurology
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114-3117
Phone: 617-726-3216
Fax: 617-724-7836

Medical Education

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

American Board Certifications

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

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Structure and function of the cerebellum: Our lab focuses on structural and functional topography in the human cerebellum in health and disease, using MRI techniques.

Outcome measures in ataxia: We quantify ataxia using the Brief Ataxia Rating Scale (BARS) together with machine learning to develop observer independent, quantitative, real time analysis of motor control in patients with ataxia and other movement disorders. We use the cerebellar cognitive affective / Schmahmann syndrome scale to detect and quantitate the degree of cognitive and emotional impact in patients with cerebellar diseases; the Patient Reported Outcome Measure for Ataxia (PROM-Ataxia) to capture patient experience, and we are developing a CCAS pediatric scale, a pediatric BARS, and refining the cerebellar neuropsychiatric rating scale.

Natural History studies and clinical trials in ataxia: We are engaged in the National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) and clinical research consortium for the study of cerebellar ataxia (CRC-SCA) natural history study, the NIH-sponsored READISCA study and MRI study of MRI spectroscopy in spinocerebellar ataxia, and the ESMI study - European collaborative investigation of spinocerebellar ataxia type 3; we are a lead clinical site for Biohaven’s troriluzole study in SCA 1, 2, 3, and 6; Biohaven’s verdiperstat study in multiple system atrophy; and about to start Biogen’s ASO study in SCA3.


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

    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;20:236-60.

    Hoche F, Guell X, Vangel MG, Sherman JC, Schmahmann JD. The cerebellar cognitive affective/Schmahmann syndrome scale. Brain. 2018;1411:248-270. 

    Schmahmann JD, Guell X, Stoodley CJ, Halko MA. The Theory and Neuroscience of Cerebellar Cognition. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2019;42:337-364.

    Guell X, Gabrieli JDE, Schmahmann JD. Triple representation of language, working memory, social and emotion processing in the cerebellum: convergent evidence from task and seed-based resting-state fMRI analyses in a single large cohort. Neuroimage. 2018;172:437-449.


    Schmahmann JD. (Editor). The Cerebellum and Cognition. International Review of Neurobiology. Volume 47. San Diego, Academic Press. 1997.

    Schmahmann JD, Doyon J, Toga A, Petrides M, Evans A. MRI Atlas of the Human Cerebellum. San Diego, Academic Press. 2000. 

    Schmahmann JD, Pandya DN. Fiber Pathways of the Brain. New York, Oxford University Press. 2006. 

    Boltshauser E, Schmahmann JD. (Editors). Cerebellar Disorders in Children. Clinics in Developmental Medicine No. 191 – 192. London, MacKeith Press.

    Manto M, Gruol D, Schmahmann JD, Koibuchi N, Rossi (Editors). Handbook of the Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders. New York, Springer. 2012.