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Amazing Minds – Meet Our Experts

photo of vascular neurosurgeon michael lawton

Michael Lawton, MD
World-Renowned Brain Surgery Expert
Dr. Michael Lawton, President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute, is one of the world’s most renowned neurosurgeons. He specializes in the treatment of complex brain malformations including brain aneurysms. Under Dr. Lawton’s leadership, Barrow performs more brain surgeries and trains more neurosurgeons than anywhere in the United States. Dr. Lawton is often sought after by patients and doctors from around the globe to treat the most complex brain disorders.

photo of phoenix neurologist holly shill

Holly Shill, MD
Parkinson’s Disease Expert
Dr. Holly Shill is the director of the famed Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. On the front line of the battle against Parkinson’s disease, the center strives to provide its patients with the same level of care “The Champ” and namesake of the center received during his battle with Parkinson’s disease. It’s credited with delivering the most advanced and latest clinical care, therapies, research trials, support groups, education, and exercise classes to improve the quality of life for individuals with the condition. In addition to Dr. Shill’s clinical expertise, she leads a number of research trials including the identification of risk factors for the development and progression of the disease.

Photo of phoenx concussion doctor javier cardenas

Javier Cárdenas, MD
Concussion and Brain Injury Expert
Dr. Javier Cárdenas is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the diagnosis and treatment of concussion and other brain injuries. A sports neurologist, Dr. Cárdenas created the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center which is the nation’s most comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment, and education program. Dr. Cárdenas serves on the National Football League’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, where he advises the NFL on best practices for concussion prevention and management. He also recently created the nation’s first program dedicated to treating homeless domestic violence victims with traumatic brain injury.

Nader Sanai, MD
Brain Tumor Expert
Dr. Nader Sanai is part of the medical team at Barrow Neurological Institute which treats more brain tumors than anywhere in the United States. Dr. Sanai leads the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center that is establishing the institute as an international center for brain tumor clinical trials. Dr. Sanai and his team are pursuing breakthroughs in neuro-oncology by identifying and testing new and revolutionary ideas for diagnosing and treating brain tumors.

michael waters is a neurologist in phoenix arizona who specializes in stroke

Michael Waters, MD, PhD
Stroke Expert
Dr. Michael Waters is the director of the Stroke Program at Barrow Neurological Institute. Under Dr. Waters’ leadership, Barrow is working to curb staggering stroke statistics that have revealed stroke patients are not getting fast enough treatment. Barrow recently created a mobile stroke treatment unit that diagnoses and treats stroke patients in the field. The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit, which resembles an ambulance, is expected to dramatically speed the process in which strokes are diagnosed and treated, greatly reducing death and long-term disability in stroke victims. Dr. Waters is passionate about educating the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and is also leading research trials surrounding the genetic mechanisms of stroke.

Robert Bowser, PhD
ALS and Neuro Research Expert
Dr. Robert Bowser is the Chairman of Neurobiology at Barrow Neurological Institute and is an internationally recognized leader in ALS research. Dr. Bowser has pioneered efforts to discover and validate biomarkers for ALS and most recently, in partnership with IBM Watson, identified five never before linked genes associated with ALS. These discoveries have given ALS researchers new insights that pave the way for the development of new drug targets and therapies to combat one of the world’s most devastating and deadly diseases.

photo of phoenix neuro-rehabilitation specialist christina kwasnica

Christina Kwasnica, MD
Neuro-Rehabilitation Expert
Dr. Christina Kwasnica is one of the nation’s top experts in physical and neuro-rehabilitation. Dr. Kwasnica treats patients with the most serious and complex brain and spinal cord injuries at Barrow Neurological Institute. She helps adult and pediatric patients enhance their quality of life by improving skills and independence through advanced and specialized therapy programs. It is not uncommon to witness a paralyzed patient walk again or a brain injury patient speak again through the help of Dr. Kwasnica and her team of physicians and therapists.

photo of phoenix neurosurgeon Francisco Ponce

Francisco Ponce, MD
Deep Brain Stimulation Expert
Dr. Francisco Ponce, director of the Barrow Center for Neuromodulation, is exploring an exciting medical frontier to treat neurological conditions through novel treatments including advanced deep brain stimulation (DBS). Dr. Ponce is the nation’s leader in performing this life-changing procedure. Typically used to treat Parkinson’s disease, Barrow is using DBS to improve and restore function in patients with a number of neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease.

Juan Uribe, MD
Spine Surgery Expert
Dr. Juan Uribe, Chief of Barrow’s Division of Spinal Disorders, is a world expert in the surgical treatment of spine disorders including scoliosis, spinal trauma, and spinal tumors. He is a pioneer in performing minimally invasive surgical techniques on the spine resulting in less pain and faster recovery for his patients. Patients from around the world come to Barrow for treatment of complex spine conditions that many surgeons deem too complicated to treat.

Anna Burke, MD
Alzheimer’s Disease Expert
Dr. Anna Burke is a geriatric psychiatrist and Alzheimer’s disease expert at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Burke’s area of expertise includes the treatment of challenging behavioral and psychiatric disturbances that result from neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Burke is leading numerous Alzheimer’s disease clinical research trials.

To schedule interviews with an expert, please contact one of the following:
Lynne Reaves, 602-406-4734, [email protected]
Carmelle Malkovich, 602-406-3319, [email protected]
Sara Baird, 602-406-3312, [email protected]

About Barrow Neurological Institute

Since our doors opened as a regional specialty center in 1962, we have grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. Our experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists can provide you with a complete spectrum of care–from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation–under one roof. Barrow Neurological Institute: Discover. Educate. Heal.