Neuromuscular Division

Neuromuscular diseases are common, many of which are debilitating. Research is critically important to the understanding of disease pathogenesis and the development of effective therapies. The Neuromuscular Division at the Boston Medical Center is dedicated to providing excellent clinical care to patients with neuromuscular diseases and conducting clinical and basic research. The division chief Dr. Peter Siao studies electrophysiological features of neuromuscular diseases to improve disease diagnosis. Drs. Michelle Kaku and K. H. Vincent Lau collaborate with investigators in the nationally renowned Boston University Amyloidosis Center to study geneotype-phenotype correlation and to test novel therapies for hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloid polyneuropathy. Dr. Kaku has also studied how treatments for amyloidosis may cross the blood brain barrier in patients with central nervous system involvement of amyloidosis. Drs. K. H. Vincent Lau and Connie Tang lead the Division’s quality improvement research efforts to adapt the outpatient service to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ariel Marks conducts research aiming to reduce healthcare disparity. Dr. Lan Zhou has an NIH R01-funded basic research program to study muscle inflammation, muscular dystrophy, and muscle injury repair.


Peter Siao, MD, Division Chief
Michelle Kaku, MD
K. H. Vincent Lau, MD
Ariel Marks, MD
Xingyu Wang, PhD
Lan Zhou, MD, PhD

Current Studies and Grants:
  • Origins and Functions of Intramuscular Macrophages in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 1R01AR074428 (PI: Lan Zhou; Co-I: Xingyu Wang) NIH/NIAMS, 8/2019 – 6/2024
  • NEURO-TTRansform: A Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of AKCEA-TTR-LRx in Participants With Hereditary Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloid Polyneuropathy” (NCT04136184) (Investigators: Michelle Kaku and K. H. Vincent Lau) HELIOS-A, A Phase 3 Global, Randomized, Open-Label Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of ALN-TTRSC02 in Patients with Hereditary Transthyretin Amyloidosis (hATTR Amyloidosis) (Co-Is: Michelle Kaku and K. H. Vincent Lau)
  • A Phase 3 Global, Open-Label, Randomized Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of ION-682884 in Patients with Hereditary Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloid Polyneuropathy (Investigators: Michelle Kaku and K. H. Vincent Lau)
  • Racial inequity and disparities neuromuscular disease outcomes: A retrospective, single center observational study (PI: Marks A; Co-Is: Connie Tang and A. Bakhtyari).
  • Inequities in access to ALS research: A retrospective meta-analysis (Investigators: Ariel Marks, Connie Tang, James Berry, and Sabrina Paganoni)
  • Characteristics of a cohort of patients in a low healthcare access setting with functional motor disorders including functional weakness, functional tremor and non-epileptiform seizures (Investigators: Bird K, Marks A, and Saxena A)
Recent Publications:

Zhao W, Lu H, Wang X, Ransohoff RM, and Zhou L (2016) CX3CR1 deficiency delays acute skeletal muscle injury repair by impairing macrophage functions. FASEB J.  30(1):380-93. PMID: 26443824

Stavros K, Paik D, Motiwala R, Weinberger J, Zhou L, Shin S. (2016) Median nerve penetration by a persistent median artery and vein mimicking carpal tunnel syndrome.  Muscle Nerve. 53(3):485-7. PMID: 26565656

Wongmek A, Shin S, and Zhou L (2016) Skin biopsy in assessing meralgia paresthetica. Muscle Nerve. 53(4):641-3. PMID: 26800390

Wang X, Zhao W, Ransohoff RM, Zhou L (2016) Identification and function of fibrocytes in skeletal muscle injury repair and muscular dystrophy. J Immunol. 197(12):4750-61. PMID: 27913649

Kaku M, Shin S, Goldstein M, Pleet J, Fabian M. Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder in a patient with Kikuchi-Fujimoto’s disease.  Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm (2016) 3(3):221. PMID: 27088117.

Kaku M, Simpson DM. Spotlight on botulinum toxin and its potential in the treatment of stroke-related spasticity. Drug Des DevelTher10:1085-1099.PMCID: PMC4789850.

George MC, Wongmek A, Kaku M, Nmashie A, Robinson-Papp J. A mixed-methods pilot study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for HIV-associated chronic pain. Behav Med2017;43(2): 108-119. PMID: 26651852.

Zhao W, Wang X, Ransohoff RM, and Zhou L (2017) CCR2 deficiency does not provide sustained improvement of muscular dystrophy in mdx5cv FASEB J.  31(1):35-46. PMID: 27655900

Kwon PM, Zhou L, Motiwala R, Kerr LD, Shin SC (2017) Immune myopathy with perimysial pathology associated with interstitial lung disease and anti-EJ antibodies. Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease. 18(4):223-227. PMID: 28538253

Bahou E and Zhou L (2017) ANCA-associated vasculitis predominantly presenting with severe myalgias. Neurology: Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 16;4(4):365. PMID: 28642889

Zhao W, Wang X, Sun KH, and Zhou L (2018) Alpha-Smooth muscle actin is not a marker of fibrogenic cell activity in skeletal muscle fibrosis. PLOS One. Jan 10;13(1):e0191031. PMID: 29320561

Wang X, Zhao W, Ransohoff RM, and Zhou L (2018) Infiltrating macrophages are broadly activated at the early stage to support acute skeletal muscle injury repair. J Neuroimmunol. 317:55-66. PMID: 29325905

Jin P, Cheng L, Chen M, and Zhou L (2018) Low sensitivity of skin biopsy in diagnosing small fiber neuropathy in Chinese Americans. J Clin Neuromuscul Dis. 20(1):1-6. PMID: 30124554

Castoro R, Simmons M, Ravi V, Huang D, Lee R, Sergent J, Zhou J, and Li J (2018) SCN11A Arg225Cys mutation causes nociceptive pain without detectable peripheral nerve pathology. Neurology: Genetics. 20;4(4):e255. PMID: 30046661

Lau KHV, Lakhan SE, Achike F (2018) New Media, Technology and neurology education. Semin Neurol 38(4):457-464. PMID: 30125900

Lau KHV, Farooque P, Leydon G et al (2018) Using learning analytics to evaluate a video-based lecture series. Med Teach 2018;40(1):91-98. PMID: 29113565

Kaku M, Simpson DM. HIV, antiretrovirals and peripheral neuropathy: A moving target. Muscle Nerve, 2018; 3(3):347-349. PMID: 29053881.

Nguyen VP, Brauneis D, Kau M. Sloan JM, Sarosiek S, Quillen K, Shelton AC, Sanchorawala V. Neuralgic amyotrophy following high-dose melphalan and autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for AL amyloidosis. Bone Marrow Transplant2018; 53(3):371-373. PMID: 29269794.

Kaku M, Simpson DM. Neuromuscular Complications of HIV Infection. In: Brew, JB, ed.  The Neurology of HIV Infection(HandbClin Neurol). San Diego: Elsevier BV, (2018) 201-212.

Zhou L (2019) Small Fiber Neuropathy. Semin Neurol. 39(5):570-577. PMID: 31639840

Lau KHV, David WS, Sadjadi R (2019) Clinical Reasoning: A 15-year-old boy with bilateral wrist pain in the setting of weight loss. Neurology 92(10):486-492. PMID: 30833474

Lau KHV (2019). Laboratory evaluation of peripheral neuropathy. Semin Neurol 39(5):531-41. PMID: 31639836

Lau KHV (2019) Neurological complications of leprosy. Semin Neurol 39(4):462-71. PMID: 31533187

Siao P, Kaku M. A Clinician’s Approach to Peripheral Neuropathy (2019). Semin Neurol. 39(5):519-530.

Kaku M, Berk JL. Neuropathy Associated with Systemic Amyloidosis. Semin Neurol. 2019;39(5):578-588.

Kaku M, Siao P. Peripheral Neuropathies. Semin Neurol. 2019 Oct; 39(5):517-518. PMID: 31639834.

Rubenstein AB, Smith GR, Raue U, Begue G, Minchev K, Ruf-Zamojski F, Nair VD, Wang X, Zhou L, Zaslavsky E, Trappe TA, Trappe S, Sealfon SC (2020). Single-cell transcriptional profiles in human skeletal muscle. Sci Rep. 10(1):229. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-57110-6. PMID: 31937892

Anand P, Slama MCC, Kaku M, Ong C, Cervantes-Arslanian AM, Zhou L, David WS, Guidon AC. (2020) COVID-19 in patients with myasthenia gravis. Muscle Nerve. 62(2):254-258. PMID: 32392389

Wang X, Sathe AA, Smith GR, Ruf-Zamojski F, Nair V, Lavine KJ, Xing C, Sealfon SC, Zhou L. (2020) Heterogeneous origins and functions of mouse skeletal muscle-resident macrophages. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 117(34):20729-20740. PMID: 32796104

Anand P, Slama MCC, Kaku M, Ong C, Cervantes-Arslanian AM, Zhou L, David WS, Guidon AC. (2020) Comment on COVID-19 in patients with myasthenia gravis: Author response. Muscle Nerve. 12; 62(6):E87-E88. PMID: 32954519

Lau KHV, Kaku M, Bissonnette S, Perloff MD (2020) Three-way telemedicine visits in resident clinic. Med Educ. 54(11):1061-1062. PMID: 32885465

Cervantes-Arslanian A, Lau KHV, Anand P, et al (2020) Rapid dissemination of protocols for managing neurology inpatients with COVID-19. Neurol. 88(2):211-214. PMID: 32395831

Lau KHV, Anand P (2020) Shortcomings of Rapid Clinical Information Dissemination: Lessons from a Pandemic. Neurology: Clinical Practice.1212.

Anand P, Lau KHV, Chung DY et al (2020) Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome in Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019: Two Cases and A Review of the Literature. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 29(11):105212. PMID: 33066908 PMCID: PMC7392153

Qiu S, Joshi PS, Miller MI, Xue C, Zhou X, Karjadi C, Chang GH, Joshi AS, Dwyer B, Zhu S, Kaku M, Zhou Y, Alderazi YJ, Swaminathan A, Kedar S, Saint-Hilaire MH, Auerbach SH, Yuan J, Sartor EA, Au R, Kolachalama VB. (2020) Development and validation of an interpretable deep learning framework for Alzheimer’s disease classification. Brain PMID: 32357201

Anand P, Zhou L, Bhadelia N, Hamer DH, Greer DM, Cervantes-Arslanian AM. (2021) Neurologic Findings Among Inpatients With COVID-19 at a Safety-net US Hospital. Neurol Clin Pract. 11(2):e83-e91. PMID: 33842075

Zhou L. Small Fiber Neuropathy in the Elderly. (2021) Clin Geriatr Med. 37(2):279-288. PMID: 33858610

Zhou L, Siao P. (2021) Lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy caused by prone positioning to treat COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome. Muscle Nerve. 2021 Feb 12. PMID: 33577110

Lau KHV, Anand P, Greer DM et al (2021). Leveraging Trends in Neurology Admissions for Departmental Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Neurohospitalist. 11(2):125-130.

Lau KHV, Hamlyn E, Williams TJ, et al (2021). The Effects of Video Instruction on Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit Nursing Skills in Case Presentations and Neurological Examinations. J Neurosci Nurs. 53(3):129-133.