Mark A. Hirsch, PhD
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Faculty Associate, Department of Communications Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Biomedical Engineering System, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Prior Positions and Experience
||NIH Grant Preparation Workshop for Rehabilitation Research [Enhancing Rehabilitation Research in the South (ERRIS)], University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
||Postdoctoral Training in Neurology, Heinrich-Heine University, School of Medicine, Department of Neurology (Düsseldorf, Germany)
||Assistant Professor, part time, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Baltimore, MD)
||NIH T32 Neurorehabilitation Research Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Baltimore, MD)
PhD: 1996, Florida State University
Graduate Certificate of Studies in Gerontology: 1994, Pepper Institute of Aging and Public Policy, Florida State University
MA: 1989, University of South Florida (Tampa)
BSE: 1987, SUNY, College at Cortland
Dr. Hirsch is a Neuroscientist with a multidisciplinary background in Education, Gerontology and Motor Rehabilitation. He completed a T32 fellowship with Barbara J. de Lateur, MD, in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Neurology fellowship with Harald Hefter, MD, PhD, in the Department of Neurology at Heinrich-Heine University, Düesseldorf, Germany. Past work in his laboratory has been on Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the effect of high intensity training programs in improving the cardinal signs and symptoms of the disease. Intense training may improve PD signs and symptoms by rerouting the signal through alternate pathways. Another hypothesis is that intense training alters the pathophysiology of striatal circuitry itself. This has led to the working hypothesis that, under conditions of heightened arousal, high intensity training changes the architecture and function of the PD brain which, in turn, may slow or reverse the progression of the disease and lead to a more favorable outcome (Figure 1). Current efforts with the CMC Department of Neurology, Carolinas Rehabilitation and community partners are to translate the results from exercise studies conducted in the laboratory into a community wellness setting.
Current research interests also include identifying equilibrium changes early after a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or PD. He is also collaborating with Dr. Christine S. Davis (Communication Studies), Dr. Martha Kropf (Political Science) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Lisa Schur and Dr. Douglas Kruse at Rutgers University and Dr. Jason Karlawish at the University of Pennsylvania on the relationship between voting and traumatic brain injury. Other collaborations address the factors that predict marital stability among couples affected by TBI, irritability and aggression, community-based participatory research and the researcher-researched power dynamics.
Hirsch MA, Iyer S, Englert D, Sanjak M. Promoting community-based participatory research exercise programs in Parkinson’s disease. Neurodegenerative Disease Management, in press.
Nguyen VQC, Hirsch MA. Use of a policy debate in resident education about health care reform. Journal of Graduate Medical Education,in press.
Hammond F, Davis CS, Whiteside O, Philbrick P, Hirsch MA. Marital adjustment and stability following traumatic brain injury: A pilot qualitative analysis of spouse perspectives. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 2011 Jan-Feb;26(1):69-78. [PMID: 21209564]
Sanjak M, Hirsch M, Skains R et al. Sensory and motor deficits leading to disequilibrium and falls in ambulatory asymptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients (pts). Neurology. 2011;76(9) Suppl 4:A46-A46.
Davis C, Nelson J, Hirsch MA, Hammond FM, Karlawish J, Schur L, Kruse D, Ball A. An exploratory examination of political empowerment and voting among individuals with TBI. Brain Injury. 2010;24(3);208.
Hirsch MA, Hammond FM, Cook J, Davis C, Philbrick P, Bickett A. A model for conducting community-based participatory research with individuals with traumatic brain injury: Challenges and opportunities. Brain Injury. 2010;24(3);215.
Hirsch MA, Farley BG. Exercise, neuroplasticity and Parkinson's disease. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2009 Jun;45(2):215-29. [PMID: 19532109]
Grant Title: Carolinas ParkinsonNet Intervention: Strengthening the infrastructure for people with Parkinson disease to exercise in community-based settings and boosting the quality of expertise among allied health care professionals
Funding Agency: Park Foundation
Role: Principal Investigator
Grant Title: Power over Parkinson’s: The experience of community-based exercise for people with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease
Funding Agency: Duke Foundation
Role: Principal Investigator
Grant Title: TBI Model System Collaborative Study of Amantadine for Post TBI Irritability and Aggression
Funding Agency: NIDRR (H133A080035)
Grant Title: Post-TBI Irritability & Aggression: An Evidence-Based Approach to Management
Funding Agency: NIDRR (H133A070042)
Figure 1. Behavior-brain-interplay. The figure shows the possible relationships between behaviors/experience and outcomes in Parkinson’s disease (1).Behaviors and experiences trigger secondary degeneration and plasticity mechanisms. Plasticity mechanisms and secondary degeneration affect behavior. The arrows run both ways. All components affect outcome (2,3).
1 Hirsch MA, Hammond FM, Hirsch HVB. From research to practice: Rehabilitation for persons with Parkinson’s disease. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 2008; 24(2):92-98.
2 Woodlee MT, Schallert T. The interplay between behavior and neurodegeneration in rat models of Parkinson's disease and stroke. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience 2004; 22: 153-161.
3 Kleim JA, Jones TA, Schallert T. Motor enrichment and the induction of plasticity before and after brain injury. Neurochemistry Research 2003; 28: 1757-1769.