Kristina Simonyan, M.D., Ph.D., Dr.med.

Kristina Simonyan, M.D., Ph.D., Dr.med.

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Director of Laryngology Research, Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Associate Neuroscientist (Neurology), Massachusetts General Hospital
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Kristina Simonyan received received her medical degrees (M.D. and Dr. med.) from Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia and Georg-August University in Germany and a PhD degree in Neurobiology from TiHo University of Hannover in Germany. She completed her medical residency in otolaryngology and a clinical research fellowship in movement disorders, neurolaryngology, and neuroimaging.
Dr. Simonyan studies the neural mechanisms of normal and diseased speech production and other complex voluntary motor behaviors. Her clinical research program is focused on isolated focal dystonia, a debilitating neurological movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in different body regions. Her methodological approach bridges brain imaging, machine learning, computational neuroscience, genetics, and clinical trials. Her recent studies have mapped the large-scale neural architecture underlying speech production and its impairments in laryngeal dystonia. Her research helped define the current view of isolated focal dystonia as a functional and structural neural network disorder. This work led to identifying a neural biomarker for the objective diagnosis of focal dystonia using a deep learning platform, DystoniaNet. She has also identified a new oral drug, sodium oxybate, for the treatment of alcohol-responsive laryngeal dystonia and voice tremor.
Dr. Simonyan’s laboratory is currently focused on refining the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of focal dystonia and developing clinically applicable extension of the DystoniaNet platform for dystonia differential diagnosis, predictive risk in susceptible individuals, and treatment outcomes. She is also investigating a feasibility of a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) strategy for treating focal dystonia. In addition, she directs the NIDCD P50 Clinical Research Center on Next-generation Clinical Phenotyping and Pathophysiology of Laryngeal Dystonia and Voice Tremor, which includes Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California San Francisco, and the University of Utah and focuses on the delineation of unique clinical and pathophysiological features of these disorders to establish the fundamental framework for their enhanced clinical management.
Dr. Simonyan’s laboratory on Dystonia and Speech Motor Control is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD and NINDS), Department of Defense, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Amazon Web Services, and Mass General Brigham Innovation.

Contact Information

p: (617) 573-6025

Principal Investigator