Dr. Timothy J. Doherty to receive AANEM Distinguished Researcher Award

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by the AANEM as the Distinguished Researcher Award recipient for 2014,” said Timothy J. Doherty, MD, PhD, FRCP(C). “It is very humbling to be listed alongside the previous award winners, all of whom I would consider to be pioneers and research leaders in our field.”

The Distinguished Researcher Award honors an AANEM member who has made continuous significant contributions to clinical neurophysiology research. Dr. Doherty, the 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award recipient, is the consummate clinical neurophysiologist, bringing together basic physiology and new signal processing techniques to advance the field of NM and EDX medicine.

Dr. Doherty is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, as well as Chair/Chief and associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University.

His research interests focus on the physiology of the motor unit in normal aging and with denervating diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has helped develop and refine electrophysiologic techniques of motor unit number estimation to study motor unit changes.

“My research career began as a graduate student in kinesiology studying the impact of aging on the human neuromuscular system,” said Dr. Doherty.

“Early in my PhD program I was extremely privileged to meet and train under Dr. William F. (Bill) Brown who introduced me to the whole field of clinical neurophysiology and quantitative EMG. His mentorship and guidance steered me toward clinical training and the field of electrodiagnostic medicine, which has allowed me to combine my interests in neurophysiology with patient care.”

Initially Dr. Doherty showed the utility of the multiple point stimulating technique and recently the decomposition-enhanced spike triggered averaging technique. For the latter, he and his group have explored variables related to motor unit recruitment and established protocols that help ensure high test-retest reliability. Currently, he is working to further refine these methods to enable the use of motor unit number estimation technique as an endpoint measure in clinical trials and to further understand the impact of aging on the human neuromuscular system.

Dr. Doherty is known as a careful and thoughtful researcher. He actively imparts his knowledge and rigor to trainees by serving as a mentor to many graduate students and being a part of numerous graduate committees and educational programs, both within his institution and other venues. He has been a member of the AANEM since 1999.

“I have always considered the AANEM the most important organization internationally in the field of EDX and neuromuscular medicine. The ability to present our group's work at the annual meeting and, as importantly, network with colleagues from around the world has been extremely helpful to me as a researcher,” he commented.
The future of EDX/NM medicine depends on, in Dr. Doherty’s words, “Research and development of technology that allows EDX medicine to contribute meaningfully to patient care.”

Founded in 1953, the AANEM is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and electrodiagnostic medicine. Nearly 5000 physician members—primarily neurologists and physiatrists—are now joined by allied health professionals and PhD researchers working to improve the quality of medical care provided to patients with muscle and nerve disorders. AANEM programs are guided by its five pillars: education, professional standards, advocacy, communications, and research. Its administrative office is located in Rochester, MN.