Dr. Montaser Kouhsari is a board-certified, fellowship-trained movement disorders neurologist and clinical assistant professor at Stanford University.

Her clinical interests include treating cognitive, motor, and non-motor impairments due to Parkinson's disease, atypical Parkinsonism (Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Cortical Basal Syndrome), tremor, and ataxia. Dr. Montaser Kouhsari also assesses and manages Deep Brain Stimulations (DBS) treatment for Parkinson's disease and tremor. Her research interests include underlying mechanisms through which Parkinson's disease affects memory, executive function, and decision-making. She is also investigating the role of cognition as a biomarker for early diagnosis of movement disorders.

Before joining Stanford University, Dr. Montaser Kouhsari was a fellow in the movement disorders center at Columbia University and Zuckerman Institute. She completed her post-doctoral training in neuroimaging of cognitive processes such as decision-making at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and her neurology residency at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She earned her M.D. from Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from New York University (NYU).

Dr. Montaser Kouhsari's work has appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Neuroscience, Neuropsychologia, Journal of Vision, and Vision Research. She has been featured in Neurology Today news. She has presented at meetings held by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the American Neurological Association (ANA), Society for Neuroscience (SFN), and the Movement Disorders Society (MDS).

Dr. Montaser Kouhsari has received the woman in neuroscience award to attend the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the Friends of Katzell research fellowship, and the Seaver Foundation Graduate Student award. She was honored to receive the National Institute of Health R25 training research grant before joining Stanford University.

Dr. Montaser Kouhsari is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and Movement Disorders Society.

Clinical Focus

  • Neurology
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Atypical Parkinsonian Disorders
  • Deep Brain Stimulation

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: Columbia University Medical Ctr Neurology Program (2020) NY
  • Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Neurology (2018)
  • Residency: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Neurology Residency (2018) NY
  • Internship: Richmond University Medical Center Internal Medicine (2015) NY
  • Post-Doc, California Institute of Technology, Cognitive Neuroimaging (2014)
  • PhD, New York University, Cognitive Psychology (2010)
  • Medical Education: Iran University of Medical Sciences (2004) Iran

All Publications

  • Neuroimaging approaches to cognition in Parkinson's disease. Progress in brain research Montaser-Kouhsari, L., Young, C. B., Poston, K. L. 2022; 269 (1): 257-286


    While direct visualization of Lewy body accumulation within the brain is not yet possible in living Parkinson's disease patients, brain imaging studies offer insights into how the buildup of Lewy body pathology impacts different regions of the brain. Unlike biological biomarkers and purely behavioral research, these brain imaging studies therefore offer a unique opportunity to relate brain localization to cognitive function and dysfunction in living patients. Magnetic resonance imaging studies can reveal physical changes in brain structure as they relate to different cognitive domains and task specific impairments. Functional imaging studies use a combination of task and resting state magnetic resonance imaging, as well as positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography, and can be used to determine changes in blood flow, neuronal activation and neurochemical changes in the brain associated with PD cognition and cognitive impairments. Other unique advantages to brain imaging studies are the ability to monitor changes in brain structure and function longitudinally as patients progress and the ability to study changes in brain function when patients are exposed to different pharmacological manipulations. This is particularly true when assessing the effects of dopaminergic replacement therapy on cognitive function in Parkinson's disease patients. Together, this chapter will describe imaging studies that have helped identify structural and functional brain changes associated with cognition, cognitive impairment, and dementia in Parkinson's disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/bs.pbr.2022.01.008

    View details for PubMedID 35248197

  • Clinical Efficacy and Dosing of Vibrotactile Coordinated Reset Stimulation in Motor and Non-motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease: A Study Protocol. Frontiers in neurology Pfeifer, K. J., Cook, A. J., Yankulova, J. K., Mortimer, B. J., Erickson-DiRenzo, E., Dhall, R., Montaser-Kouhsari, L., Tass, P. A. 2021; 12: 758481


    Enhanced neuronal synchronization of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is commonly found in PD patients and corresponds to decreased motor ability. Coordinated reset (CR) was developed to decouple synchronized states causing long lasting desynchronization of neural networks. Vibrotactile CR stimulation (vCR) was developed as non-invasive therapeutic that delivers gentle vibrations to the fingertips. A previous study has shown that vCR can desynchronize abnormal brain rhythms within the sensorimotor cortex of PD patients, corresponding to sustained motor relief after 3 months of daily treatment. To further develop vCR, we created a protocol that has two phases. Study 1, a double blinded randomized sham-controlled study, is designed to address motor and non-motor symptoms, sensorimotor integration, and potential calibration methods. Study 2 examines dosing effects of vCR using a remote study design. In Study 1, we will perform a 7-month double-blind sham-controlled study including 30 PD patients randomly placed into an active vCR or inactive (sham) vCR condition. Patients will receive stimulation for 4 h a day in 2-h blocks for 6 months followed by a 1-month pause in stimulation to assess long lasting effects. Our primary outcome measure is the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) part III off medication after 6 months of treatment. Secondary measures include a freezing of gait (FOG) questionnaire, objective motor evaluations, sensorimotor electroencephalography (EEG) results, a vibratory temporal discrimination task (VTDT), non-motor symptom evaluations/tests such as sleep, smell, speech, quality of life measurements and Levodopa Equivalent Daily Dose (LEDD). Patients will be evaluated at baseline, 3, 6, and 7 months. In the second, unblinded study phase (Study 2), all patients will be given the option to receive active vCR stimulation at a reduced dose for an additional 6 months remotely. The remote MDS-UPDRS part III off medication will be our primary outcome measure. Secondary measures include sleep, quality of life, objective motor evaluations, FOG and LEDD. Patients will be evaluated in the same time periods as the first study. Results from this study will provide clinical efficacy of vCR and help validate our investigational vibrotactile device for the purpose of obtaining FDA clearance. Clinical Trial Registration:, identifier: NCT04877015.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fneur.2021.758481

    View details for PubMedID 34867742