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Research of Alana Kirby, MD PhD

Alana Kirby, MD PhD is a Movement Disorders Fellow at Rush University Medical Center. She is working with Dr. Celeste Napier to develop a new rat model of Parkinson's disease to study gait.

Current Projects

How does rhythmic auditory stimulation improve gait in Parkinson's disease?

Gait impariment in Parkinson's disease (PD) is often refractory to medications as well as deeo brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus or globus pallidus interna. New, effective therapies to improve PD gait can be developed by identifying new targets for DBS. This project is inspired by the success of rhythimic auditory stimulation (RAS) as a short-term non-pharmacologic treatment for gait problems in PD. 

The effects of RAS persist for weeks after therapy sessions, suggesting that external cueing results in neuroadaptation of a critical node whithin the gait pathway (RAS node). However, the location and physciology of this node are unknown. In order to probe the function of this node, we will develop a rodent model of RAS in Parkinson's disease.



Peer-Reviewed Reports

Kirby AE and Middlebrooks JC. (2009) Auditory Temporal Acuity Probed with Cochlear Implant Stimulation and Cortical Recordings. J. Neurophysiol. 103(1): 531-542. PMC 2807213

Kirby AE and Middlebrooks JC. (2012) Unanesthetized Auditory Cortex Exhibits Multiple Codes for Gaps in Cochlear Implant Pulse Trains. J Assoc Res Otolarygnol. 13(1):67-80 PMC 3254721


Kirby AE, Worley A and VanderHorst VG. (2017 Oct) Optogenetic Activation of the Dorsomedial Medulla Reveals a Role in Precise Timing of Gait. Poster and Data Blitz presented at the American Neurological Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.