Mya Schiess, MD

Dr. Schiess is a Professor in the Department of Neurology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, McGovern Medical School. Dr Schiess is a board-certified Neurologist and Movement Disorders specialist with decades of experience. She holds the Adriana Blood Distinguished Chair in Neurology, and she is the creator and Director of the UTHealth Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Clinic and Fellowship Training Program (UTMOVE). The Movement Disorder Clinic is the largest in Texas and Louisiana. It provides care at three separate outpatient clinics and two teaching hospitals for over 6,000 patients, the majority of whom have Parkinsonism, tremor, or dystonia. The UTMOVE Deep Brain Stimulation implanting program has become one of the top 10 programs worldwide and one of only 12 hospitals in the US to use Renaissance Robot Technology for accurate DBS placement and the only site in Texas/Southwest participating in the largest international database registry in the world for Neuromodulation-DBS, ITB, and Spinal Cord Stimulation.

UTMOVE is highly engaged in community outreach through our Houston Area Parkinson Society partnership. Dr Schiess developed and presented every year in their PD-101 educational programs and contributes to the monthly newsletter; furthermore, she is part of their medical advisory board.

Dr Schiess founded the Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Fellowship Training Program in 2001. Since then, she has supervised and mentored over 37 Movement Disorders fellows, with over half holding academic positions.  In order to enhance the educational experience of the fellowship program, Dr Schiess has been awarded a Medtronic educational grant every year from 2006 through the present. This year, she received the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship award in Movement Disorders from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to train a clinician-researcher for two years, 2023-2025. She also developed the core Movement Disorders lecture series for Neurology residents, fellows, and student rotators. Dr Schiess designed and conducted the one-month elective for MS4 Movement Disorders Rotation and also offers a fourth-year medical student research elective under her supervision.

Over the past 20 years, she has led multiple observational and interventional trials for Parkinson’s disease, including developing classification criteria for subtypes and their relationship to neurotransmitters, studying blood biomarkers for diagnosis and progression, using structural, functional and diffusion-weighted MRI to evaluate brain changes and assessing new medical and surgical interventions, with a primary focus on Parkinson’s disease. Dr Schiess leads a large investigator-initiated longitudinal biomarker study looking at REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) as a prodromal condition for Parkinsonism and the first FDA-approved Phase 1 and 2 Study of Allogeneic Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease partially supported by the Michael J. Fox Research Foundation. Dr Schiess is the author/co-author of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters. She co-developed the new guidelines for earlier DBS intervention in PD. Moreover, she holds positions on several scientific journals’ editorial and review boards.


Erin Furr Stimming, MD

Dr. Furr Stimming is a Professor of Neurology and Memorial Hermann Endowed Chair at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. She completed her postgraduate training, including a Neurology residency and movement disorders fellowship at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She is the Founder and Director of the Huntington’s Disease Society America (HDSA) Center of Excellence at UTHealth, McGovern Medical School. She serves as the neurology clerkship director and has received the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching award every year since 2009. She received the Dupont Master Clinical Teaching Award, the prestigious Leonard Tow Award in Humanism and Excellence in Teaching, the Huntington Study Group Outstanding Investigator Award, the Texas Neurologic Society Lifetime Achievement Award, and the American Academy of Neurology AB Baker Teaching Award. She is a member of the Academy of Master Educators and a McGovern Society leader, and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association. She is actively involved in medical education and currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair for the AAN Consortium of Neurology Clerkship Directors and as an active member of the AAN Undergraduate Education Subcommittee. She has been named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly and a Top Doctor by Houstonia magazine for multiple consecutive years.

Dr. Furr Stimming is actively engaged with the Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease community. She leads multiple symptomatic, and disease modifying clinical trials for Huntington’s disease and recently served as the Huntington Study Group Global Principal Investigator for the KINECT-HD study which led to the FDA approval of Valbenazine for HD related chorea.

She is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for the Houston Area Parkinson’s Society and a member of local HDSA affiliate and frequently volunteers for both nonprofit organizations. She is the Immediate Past President of the Houston Neurologic Society and Chair of the Education Committee for the Texas Neurologic Society.
Dr. Furr Stimming is passionate about providing comprehensive, compassionate care for individuals living with neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease while educating our next generation of neurologists.

Raja Mehanna, MD

Raja Mehanna, MDDr. Mehanna is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. He is the director of the movement disorders curriculum for fellows and residents, the co-director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program and Advanced Therapies, and the assistant director of the movement disorder fellowship program. Dr. Mehanna graduated at the top of his class in medical school. He completed a neurology residency and a movement disorder fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Afterward, he completed another fellowship in movement disorders with an emphasis on Deep Brain Stimulation at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. He has received numerous teaching and clinical awards and has been invited to talk nationally and internationally. He has authored more than 100 publications and is a member of many working groups of international movement disorders associations. Dr. Mehanna is an active clinician and has been recognized as one of the “Super Doctors” since 2018.

Shivika Chandra, MD

Dr. Chandra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and the medical director for Neurology for LBJ Hospital and UTHealth-Houston clinics in Harris Health. She is also the associate clerkship director and co-director of the UT-Houston HDSA Center of Excellence. Dr. Chandra is a board-certified neurologist specializing in movement disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she served as the chief resident and subsequently pursued her fellowship training. During her training, she was awarded the Frank Yatsu MD. Excellence in Residency Award in recognition of outstanding performance in clinical neurology and the Senior Resident Teaching Award in recognition of outstanding teaching in clinical neurology. As a clinician-educator, her areas of interest are medical education (including telemedicine education), advocacy, and mitigating health disparities. Her research interests include clinical trials in movement disorders and improving systems of care. Her research work has been recognized and presented in numerous regional and national meetings.

Swati Pradeep, DO

Dr. Pradeep is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. She graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2015. In 2019, she completed her residency training in neurology at the University of Kentucky and was selected as chief resident. Subsequently, she completed additional fellowship training on movement disorders at UTHealth in 2020. Her practice provides clinical evaluation and comprehensive care of patients with a wide range of movement disorders. She provides care to those who are living with tardive dyskinesia and other drug-induced movement disorders. She believes comprehensive education can help empower patients and their families to navigate the challenges of a movement disorder diagnosis. Her motto is “Treat people, not diseases.”

Melissa Christie, MD

Dr. Christie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Assistant Program Director of the Neurology Residency Program at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.  She received her medical degree from UTHealth in 2016. She completed residency training in Neurology at McGovern Medical School, where she was chief resident, and subsequently pursued and completed her fellowship training on movement disorders at UTHealth in 2021. Her practice provides clinical evaluation and comprehensive care of patients with movement disorders with training in deep brain stimulation programming for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia, as well as in botulism toxin injections for migraine, dystonia, hemifacial spasm, and limb spasticity.  Her research interests include the genetics of Parkinson’s disease and post-stroke movement disorders.

Elsa Rodarte, MD

Dr. Rodarte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. She received her medical degree from the Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Ignacio A. Santos School of Medicine in Monterrey, Mexico. Dr. Rodarte completed residency training in Neurology at McGovern Medical School and subsequently pursued and completed two years of fellowship training on movement disorders and neurodegenerative diseases at UTHealth in 2023. Her practice is to help patients with parkinsonism, dystonia, chorea, tics, ataxia, and other movement disorders. Dr. Rodarte enjoys learning and teaching; she received the Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award during her Neurology residency.

Dr. Rodarte is involved in deep brain stimulation research, and she collaborates with colleagues in elucidating ways to circumvent cellular defects in Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease. At the laboratory and the clinic, Dr. Rodarte’s curiosity is presently directed at the role of brain mast cells in movement disorders.

Natalia Pessoa Rocha, PhD

Dr. Rocha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. Dr. Rocha received a Pharm.D. degree in 2008, an M.S. in Neuroscience in 2011, and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology in 2014 from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMG, Brazil. Her experience in basic and translational neuroscience, especially in the field of Neuroimmunology, led her to promptly identify and engage in several studies on the immunological mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, especially neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Rocha joined UTHealth as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in January 2016. Since then, she has focused on studying immune/inflammatory parameters associated with the pathophysiology of Huntington’s disease and joined the Huntington’s Disease Society of America at UTHealth with Dr. Furr Stimming.

Dr. Rocha has received numerous awards and published more than 90 peer review papers, cited more than 1,500 times (h-index = 22; i-10 index = 42; Google Scholar).

Clinical Staff:

Nurse Manager
Christin Bayer, RN

Registered Nurse
Tammy Daniele, RN

Medical Assistants
Sonya Murry, MA
Jennifer Brashear, CMA
Amada Gonzalez, MA

Genetic Counselor
Leslie Dunnington, MS, CGC

Social Worker
Amber McCarthy, MSW, LCSW