Autonomic Disorders Consortium

Information for Professionals

ADC Investigators

David Robertson, MD is the Elton Yates Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Neurology at Vanderbilt University, where he is Director of the Clinical & Translational Research Center and the Center for Space and Physiology and Medicine. He established the Autonomic Dysfunction Clinic in 1978 as the first center devoted exclusively to the study of autonomic disorders. With the 5 collaborators in the current Autonomic Disorders Consortium, Dr. Robertson founded the American Autonomic Society in 1989. Dr. Robertson's Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System has gone through two English and one Japanese edition. His 2009 textbook, Clinical and Translational Science: Principles of Human Research was the first to cover the new discipline of translational research. Dr Robertson is PI of the Autonomic Disorders Consortium.
Italo Biaggioni, MD is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology. He established Vanderbilt's Clinical Trials Center in 1999 to support investigators participating in multicenter trials. He is the immediate past president of the American Autonomic Society and organizes Annual Scientific Meeting of this Society. Dr Biaggioni has 26 years experience in clinical research, with a research focus on the interaction between neural (autonomic) and metabolic (adenosine and nitric oxide) mechanisms of cardiovascular control. Dr Biaggioni is Co-PI of the Autonomic Disorders Consortium
Roy Freeman, MD is Director of the Center for Autonomic and Peripheral Nerve Disorders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, a nationally recognized diagnostic and research laboratory that evaluates both common and rare autonomic and peripheral nerve disorders. Dr Freeman and his colleagues and collaborators have developed and refined techniques, including time and frequency domain measures of heart rate, blood pressure, cerebral flow, cutaneous blood flow control, baroreflex function and sudomotor function. They have harnessed these techniques to understand the pathophysiology of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the autonomic neuropathy of HIV infection and amyloid neuropathy, MSA and PAF. Building on work carried out by the Vanderbilt Autonomic Group and in collaboration with Dr Horacio Kaufmann in projects sponsored by the FDA orphan drug program and NORD, they have carried out mechanistic and therapeutic studies with the norepinephrine precursor, droxidopa, to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. This agent is now in a multicenter clinical trial.
David S. Goldstein, MD, PhD, has been investigating brain regulation of the cardiovascular system for about 40 years. He joined the NIH as a Clinical Associate in 1978. His single-authored report on whether essential hypertension features high plasma levels of norepinephrine has been cited over 500 times. He was one of the first to validate liquid chromatography with electrical detection (LCED) for measuring levels of catecholamines in human plasma. He developed and applied approaches for estimating the rate of entry of norepinephrine into the venous drainage of the arm and later the heart. Goldstein and his group reported the first neuroimaging evidence of loss of cardiac sympathetic nerves in PD, especially PD with orthostatic hypotension, in contrast with MSA.
Horacio Kaufmann, MD is the Axelrod Professor of Neurology and Medicine at New York University. He is the director of NYU's Dysautonomia Center, which specializes in research and treatment of genetic and acquired autonomic disorders. Dr. Kaufmann's research over the last 20 years has focused on the autonomic abnormalities of patients with neurodegenerative disorders. He first described Lewy body pathology in the cardiac plexus and peripheral autonomic nerves in patients with PAF. In collaboration with other consortium members, he conducted the pivotal clinical trials of midodrine and droxidopa in the U.S. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Autonomic Research.
Phillip A. Low, MD was introduced to autonomic nervous system disorders about 1970. He has been a leader in the development of quantitative tests and instruments to evaluate autonomic function. He invented the quantitative sudomotor function test. He also helped develop the thermoregulatory sweat test. Additionally, he developed and validated tests of cardiovagal and adrenergic function, combining them into a composite autonomic reflex screen. These tests have been used at the Mayo Clinic to intensively evaluate the heterogeneity of POTS, its natural history and treatment options. Over ten years ago, Dr Phillip Low and his colleagues successfully launched the nation's first Autonomic Disorders Program Project which has been continuously funded by the NIH. This program is focused on elucidating the pathophysiology of autonomic failure /dysfunction and developing novel therapies. Dr Low has played a leadership role in the design and implementation of national phase 3 treatment trials of orthostatic hypotension and neuropathy, especially diabetic neuropathy.