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Kristina Simonyan

  • ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Otolaryngology
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    Clinical Research Fellowship (Neuroimaging, Movement Disorders, Neurolaryngology), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

    Dr. med., magna cum laude, University of Göttingen, Germany

    Ph.D. (Neurobiology), German Primate Center and TiHo University of Hannover, Germany

    Otolaryngology Residency, Yerevan State Medical Univeristy, Armenia, and University of Göttingen, Germany

    M.D., with High Honors, Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia


  • 2008 -
    Fellow Award for Research Excellence, NIH

  • 2007, 2009 -
    NINDS Intramural Retreat Awards

  • 2000 - 2004
    DFG (German Research Foundation) Fellowship, Germany

  • 1992 - 1998
    Yerevan State Medical University Merit-based Scholarship


Simonyan Laboratory

Summary of Research Studies

Our main research focus is on elucidation of the pathophysiology of isolated focal dystonia through the investigations of its neuroimaging, neuropathological, clinical, genetic and environmental correlates. We are also interested in comparisons of neural features of dystonia with other movement disorders, such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Our recent research direction includes studies on functional and structural connectomes of high frequency networks in epilepsy. Using multi-disciplinary approach and novel technologies, we are developing a better understanding of normal and diseased states of the central nervous system, which will ultimately help develop new therapeutic options for patients with movement disorders and epilepsy.


Simonyan K, Jürgens U. Efferent subcortical projections of the laryngeal motorcortex in the rhesus monkey. Brain research 2003 Jun; 974(1-2).

Rödel RM, Olthoff A, Tergau F, Simonyan K, Kraemer D, Markus H, Kruse E. Human cortical motor representation of the larynx as assessed by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The Laryngoscope 2004 May; 114(5).

Simonyan K, Jürgens U. Afferent subcortical connections into the motor cortical larynx area in the rhesus monkey. Neuroscience 2005; 130(1).

Simonyan K, Jürgens U. Afferent cortical connections of the motor cortical larynx area in the rhesus monkey. Neuroscience 2005; 130(1).

Loucks TM, Poletto CJ, Simonyan K, Reynolds CL, Ludlow CL. Human brain activation during phonation and exhalation: common volitional control for two upper airway functions. NeuroImage 2007 May; 36(1).

Simonyan K, Saad ZS, Loucks TM, Poletto CJ, Ludlow CL. Functional neuroanatomy of human voluntary cough and sniff production. NeuroImage 2007 Aug; 37(2).

Simonyan K, Tovar-Moll F, Ostuni J, Hallett M, Kalasinsky VF, Lewin-Smith MR, Rushing EJ, Vortmeyer AO, Ludlow CL. Focal white matter changes in spasmodic dysphonia: a combined diffusion tensor imaging and neuropathological study. Brain : a journal of neurology 2008 Feb; 131(Pt 2).

Lowell SY, Poletto CJ, Knorr-Chung BR, Reynolds RC, Simonyan K, Ludlow CL. Sensory stimulation activates both motor and sensory components of the swallowing system. NeuroImage 2008 Aug; 42(1).

Simonyan K, Ludlow CL, Vortmeyer AO. Brainstem pathology in spasmodic dysphonia. The Laryngoscope 2010 Jan; 120(1).

Simonyan K, Ostuni J, Ludlow CL, Horwitz B. Functional but not structural networks of the human laryngeal motor cortex show left hemispheric lateralization during syllable but not breathing production. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009 Nov; 29(47).

Simonyan K, Ludlow CL. Abnormal activation of the primary somatosensory cortex in spasmodic dysphonia: an fMRI study. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) 2010 Nov; 20(11).

Husain FT, Medina RE, Davis CW, Szymko-Bennett Y, Simonyan K, Pajor NM, Horwitz B. Neuroanatomical changes due to hearing loss and chronic tinnitus: a combined VBM and DTI study. Brain research 2011 Jan; 1369.

Simonyan K, Horwitz B. Laryngeal motor cortex and control of speech in humans. The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry 2011 Apr; 17(2).

Simonyan K, Ludlow CL. Abnormal structure-function relationship in spasmodic dysphonia. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) 2012 Feb; 22(2).

Simonyan K, Horwitz B, Jarvis ED. Dopamine regulation of human speech and bird song: a critical review. Brain and language 2012 Sep; 122(3).

Simonyan K, Blitzer A. Commentary on . Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 2012 Mar; 27(3).

Simonyan K, Feng X, Henriquez VM, Ludlow CL. Combined laryngeal inflammation and trauma mediate long-lasting immunoreactivity response in the brainstem sensory nuclei in the rat. Frontiers in integrative neuroscience 2012; 6.

Simonyan K, Herscovitch P, Horwitz B. Speech-induced striatal dopamine release is left lateralized and coupled to functional striatal circuits in healthy humans: a combined PET, fMRI and DTI study. NeuroImage 2013 Apr; 70.

Lohmann K, Wilcox RA, Winkler S, Ramirez A, Rakovic A, Park JS, Arns B, Lohnau T, Groen J, Kasten M, Brüggemann N, Hagenah J, Schmidt A, Kaiser FJ, Kumar KR, Zschiedrich K, Alvarez-Fischer D, Altenmüller E, Ferbert A, Lang AE, Münchau A, Kostic V, Simonyan K, Agzarian M, Ozelius LJ, Langeveld AP, Sue CM, Tijssen MA, Klein C. Whispering dysphonia (DYT4 dystonia) is caused by a mutation in the TUBB4 gene. Annals of neurology 2013 Apr; 73(4).

Ramdhani RA, Simonyan K. Primary dystonia: conceptualizing the disorder through a structural brain imaging lens. Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements (New York, N.Y.) 2013; 3.

Horwitz B, Simonyan K. PET neuroimaging: plenty of studies still need to be performed: comment on Cumming: . NeuroImage 2014 Jan; 84.

Simonyan K, Berman BD, Herscovitch P, Hallett M. Abnormal striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission during rest and task production in spasmodic dysphonia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2013 Sep; 33(37).

Berman BD, Hallett M, Herscovitch P, Simonyan K. Striatal dopaminergic dysfunction at rest and during task performance in writer's cramp. Brain : a journal of neurology 2013 Dec; 136(Pt 12).

Simonyan K, Frucht SJ. Long-term Effect of Sodium Oxybate (Xyrem®) in Spasmodic Dysphonia with Vocal Tremor. Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements (New York, N.Y.) 2013; 3.

Ramdhani RA, Kumar V, Velickovic M, Frucht SJ, Tagliati M, Simonyan K. What's special about task in dystonia? A voxel-based morphometry and diffusion weighted imaging study. Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 2014 Aug; 29(9).

Simonyan K. The laryngeal motor cortex: its organization and connectivity. Current opinion in neurobiology 2014 Oct; 28.

Fürtinger S, Zinn JC, Simonyan K. A neural population model incorporating dopaminergic neurotransmission during complex voluntary behaviors. PLoS computational biology 2014 Nov; 10(11).

Sinclair CF, Simonyan K, Brin MF, Blitzer A. Negative dystonia of the palate: a novel entity and diagnostic consideration in hypernasal speech. The Laryngoscope 2015 Jun; 125(6).

Simonyan K, Fuertinger S. Speech networks at rest and in action: interactions between functional brain networks controlling speech production. Journal of neurophysiology 2015 Apr; 113(7).

Kirke DN, Frucht SJ, Simonyan K. Alcohol responsiveness in laryngeal dystonia: a survey study. Journal of neurology 2015 Jun; 262(6).

Fuertinger S, Horwitz B, Simonyan K. The Functional Connectome of Speech Control. PLoS biology 2015 Jul; 13(7).

Simonyan K, Jürgens U. Cortico-cortical projections of the motorcortical larynx area in the rhesus monkey. Brain research 2002 Sep; 949(1-2).

Termsarasab P, Ramdhani RA, Battistella G, Rubien-Thomas E, Choy M, Farwell IM, Velickovic M, Blitzer A, Frucht SJ, Reilly RB, Hutchinson M, Ozelius LJ, Simonyan K. Neural correlates of abnormal sensory discrimination in laryngeal dystonia. NeuroImage. Clinical 2016; 10.

Battistella G, Termsarasab P, Ramdhani RA, Fuertinger S, Simonyan K. Isolated Focal Dystonia as a Disorder of Large-Scale Functional Networks. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) 2015 Dec;.

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Dr. Simonyan did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2015 and/or 2016: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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