©2018 by The Alliances of Autoimmune Encephalitis



Dr. Sander Markx


Sander Markx, a psychiatrist at Columbia University studies the genetics of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. He and his team have experience with anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis which is associated with prominent psychiatric symptoms at onset and could give valuable insight into patients with psychosis.

Dr. Harumi Jyonouchi


Dr. Jyanouchi is an immunologist with experience treating patients with autoimmune encephalitis. She is an associate professor at Rutgers School of Medicine and works with St. Peter's Healthcare System and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. She has many peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Silky Pahlajani

Neurology, Neuropsychiatry

Silky Pahlajani, MD is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry in the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is also an Assistant Attending at New-York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She completed her residency training at New York Medical College where she served as Chief Resident during her final year. She subsequently completed two fellowships, one in Behavioral Neurology/Neuropsychiatry at University of Illinois-Chicago and Autoimmune/Neuroinflammatory Brain Disorders at Lenox Hill Hospital prior to joining the Weill Cornell faculty in the Memory Disorders Division. Dr. Pahlajani is board certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. She is a member of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Neurology, and American Neuropsychiatric Association.

In addition to seeing patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Pahlajani specializes in rapidly progressive dementias, various types of autoimmune encephalitis and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Robert Weir

Neurology, Psychiatry

Robert is currently a Resident Physician at UT Southwestern, training in both Neurology & Psychiatry. Shortly after his arrival at UT Southwestern Robert proposed a new combined residency in Neurology and Psychiatry. With faculty support, he wrote and submitted a de novo curriculum which was accepted institutionally, and approved nationally by the ABPN. He is now the first UT Southwestern resident undertaking this program, which will culminate in dual board certification upon completion.

He aspires to be a proficient clinician, educator, researcher, and entrepreneur, with a particular focus on novel neuro technologies and neuromodulation as well as autoimmune disorders of the brain. He was selected in 2018 for the Dallas 40 Under 40 Award, as well as the American College of Psychiatrists' Laughlin Fellowship and the 2018 American Neuropsychiatric Association's Clinical Neuroscience Trainee Award.

Dr. Matthew E. Fink


Matthew E. Fink, MD is currently the Louise and Gertrude Feil Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. In addition, he is Co-Director of the Sackler Brain and Spine Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Weill Cornell Medicine.  Dr. Fink was a founding member and chairman of the Critical Care Section of the American Academy of Neurology, and the Research Section for Neurocritical Care of the World Federation of Neurology. He is board-certified in internal medicine, neurology, critical care medicine, vascular neurology and neurocritical care. Throughout his career, Dr. Fink has been involved in the education and training of students, residents and fellows in the field of stroke and critical care neurology, as well as an active participant in clinical research within this field. He is a leader in this new specialty, has lectured widely, and has published many research and clinical articles in the field of stroke and critical care. In addition, he currently serves as editor of the monthly publication, NEUROLOGY ALERT, and is the past President of the New York State Neurological Society.

Dr. Arun Venkatesan

Co-Keynote Speaker, Neurology

Dr. Arun Venkatesan is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious Diseases where he also serves as the Director of the John's Hopkins Encephalitis Center. His clinical and research activities focus on immunological/inflammatory and infectious diseases that affect the nervous system. His work is supported by the National Institutes of Health and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

Dr. Josep Dalmau

Co-Keynote Speaker Neurology

Dr. Josep Dalmau received his MD and PhD from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and trained in Neuro-oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. after which he joined the faculty. In 2002 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) where he was Professor of Neurology. He is currently Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)-IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, and Adjunct Professor of Neurology at UPenn. Dr. Dalmau’s research is focused on a new category of immune-mediated diseases against synaptic receptors that result in prominent neurologic and psychiatric syndromes. Dr. Dalmau is the recipient of numerous awards; he is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and many other scientific societies and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation.

fotografie:MARIJNIZ/Marijin Van Zanten

Dr. Maarten Titulaer


Dr. Maarten Titulaer is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Erasmus Research Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands. He combines clinical work with translational research. He has previously worked with Dr. Josep Dalmau at the University of Pennsylvania and Barcelona to study anti-NMDA receptor and anti-LGI1 encephalitis. Dr. Titulaer is one of the forefront researchers and speakers for autoimmune encephalitis.

Dr. Janna Gordon-Elliott


Dr. Janna Gordon-Elliott, MD, is an Attending Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine. She has formerly served as the Chief of the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service, Site Program Director for the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and NYP, and Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry. She has provided psychiatric services for the NYP Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Program, and Liver Transplantation Program. Her current clinical work focuses on mental health and resilience in young adults. She specializes in psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, with interests in women's health, sports psychiatry and athletic performance, and mental health in the setting of medical illness. Her scholarly activities concentrate on mind and body practices, exercise and eating in mental healthcare, and psychiatric issues in patients with chronic disease. She served as the founding faculty adviser to the Weill Cornell Medical Student Wellness Program. She holds leadership roles in local and national associations for Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. She participates as a reviewer for medical journals, and has been the recipient

of research and teaching awards.



Dr. Karen McKinley


Dr. McKinley is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner to individuals and families for 45 years. She is also an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at

Eastern Virginia Medical School.

More importantly, Dr. McKinley was the caregiver and advocate for her sister, Laura who struggled with Hashimoto's encephalopathy for seven years taking her to seven different neurologists, endocrinologists and a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, they could only chase her psychiatric symptoms with seizure and psychiatric medications with little success. Despite all Dr. McKinley's efforts to advocate for her sister, she was unable to protect her when two memory Care Centers had decided to change her sister's diagnosis which resulted in her death.

James Baldini


Jim has been an educator for twenty years and a primary caregiver to his daughter, Derya,  who was diagnosed with NMDAR encephalitis and then Seronegative encephalitis. His daughter was a highly intelligent functional college student with a promising future. Her sudden decline in health also exhibited psychiatric features. She was to receive immunosuppressant treatments but instead was transferred to a psychiatric facility where she was cut off from family for months and given psychotropic medications. As Derya recovers from this negative experience she requires 24 hr care to this day. Their daughter now has terrific doctors who work very hard to give her the best treatments. Jim and His wife, Samime have two children. With this new treatment, they look forward to the day their daughter comes back to them

Wanda Opdyke


Wanda is a mother to three boys ages 25, 21 and 14, the middle of whom has been diagnosed with seronegative autoimmune encephalitis. She is a relentless warrior, having fought over thirteen years for an accurate diagnosis and aggressive treatment. She works full time in specialty logistics, catering to the time and temperature sensitive shipping needs of biotech/pharma companies conducting cutting edge clinical trials. She hopes one day her personal and professional life will intersect, arriving at a cure for this dreaded disease.



Susan Foley

Presenter, Co-Founder


Executive Director

Hashimoto's SREAT Alliance

I was diagnosed in 2011 with Hashimoto's encephalopathy. At that time, there was no information online or anyone else with the same diagnosis. I felt quite alone. I then met Nicola Nelson and in 2012, we formed the first non-profit organization for HE called HESA. Our goal was to help others who were facing the same obstacles. Now we have five support groups, social media and two books, It is such an honor and gives such purpose for me. I am also a wife of 45 years, proud mother of four children and have three wonderful grandchildren (the loves of my life!).


Nesrin Shaheen


NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation

Ms. Shaheen is a director and founding president of the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation in Canada. Her daughter was the first positively identified case in Canada in January 2008. Since, her daughter has had 4 relapses and has made a good recovery. She serves as Caregiver/ Patient advocate on the Foundation. Ms. Shaheen holds an Honours B.A. in German Literature and Language from McGill University and a certificate in Publishing Studies from The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. She recently retired from Global Affairs Canada, where she had been employee since 1991, with postings to New Delhi, Damascus and Paris. Ms. Shaheen fluent in English, French and German.


Wendy Station


Encephalitis Global

Wendy Station is the founder and president of Encephalitis Global Inc. She is an encephalitis survivor who has worked since 2000 to raise awareness in North America on the topic of encephalitis. In addition to her support forums her organization has a yearly convention called FACES which is open to patients, caregivers, physicians, and therapists who can help deal with the impact of encephalitis. This year it will be held April 26-28 in Ottawa, Canada.

Dr. Anusha Yeshokumar

Presenter, Representative,

AE Alliance

As an autoimmune neurologist, Dr. Yeshokumar cares for patients with autoimmune encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, neurosarcoidosis, and other autoimmune diseases that affect the central nervous system in children and adults. Her research focuses on understanding outcomes after autoimmune encephalitis and identifying clinical and biologic factors associated with these outcomes.


Phillippa Chapman

Presenter, Director of Operations

The Encephalitis Society, UK

I am the Director of Operations and I have worked with the Society for almost 7 years and as a result I have helped support thousands of people affected by this devastating condition. On a day-to-day basis I ensure that we achieve our vision of a world aware of encephalitis, its consequences and the support available. We have various initiatives that help us achieve this vision including our events, campaigns such as World Encephalitis Day (22nd February), our support line and our accredited information. I am thrilled to be part of this exciting symposium and working with our fellow organisations and health professionals.


Meet the Team

With much thanks to our sponsors!

We couldn't do this without your support!


A special thanks to the film crew for donating their talents to film this event, to Riley Opiela for her beautiful artwork and to all our donors and volunteers!


A clinical approach to diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis

The prevalence and treatment outcomes of antineuronal antibody-positive patients admitted with first episode of psychosis

Recognizing anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis psychosis on the psych ward

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approach to Autoimmune Neurologic Disorders.

Psychotic and Non Psychotic Mood Disorders In Autoimmune Encephalitis: Diagnostic Issues and Research Implications

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis: Diagnostic Issues for Psychiatrists

Abnormal brain metabolism on FDG-PET/CT is a common early finding in autoimmune encephalitis

Autoimmune encephalitis in psychiatric institutions: current perspectives

Evaluation and Management of Autoimmune Encephalitis: A Clinical Overview for the Practicing Child Psychiatrist.

Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis: A New Challenging Entity for Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist

Psychiatric manifestations of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis: neurobiological underpinnings and differential

diagnostic implications.

In the Clinic-Autoimmune Encephalitis: Persistent Cognitive, Neuropsychological Deficits After Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis

Require Therapy, Study Suggests

Ethical Implications of the Mild Encephalitis Hypothesis of Schizophrenia

Chronic schizophrenia later diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis: Case report and review of the literature 

The Clinical Challenge of Autoimmune Psychosis: Learning from Anti-NMDA Receptor Autoantibodies

Autoimmune encephalitis masquerading as psychosis: Diagnostic and therapeutic challenge

Recognizing anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis psychosis on the psych ward

Red Flags: Clinical Signs for Identifying Autoimmune Encephalitis in Psychiatric Patients

Autoimmune Encephalitis in Postpartum Psychosis

Autoimmune Encephalitis: Not Rare and Increasing

We are proud working together as a team for awareness, support and advocacy...

The Alliances of Autoimmune Encephalitis

HESA  Resource Page



Support Groups

For Those Diagnosed With Hashimoto's Encephalopathy

For those diagnosed with Hashimotos Ence

Understanding Hashimoto's Encephalopathy Support Forum

Understanding Hashimotos Encephalopathy

Understanding Hashimoto's Encephalopathy: 2016 Edition Book

hesa book.jpg
HESA Resource Page graphic.jpg


Support Group


Physician  Partners

eglobal logo.png


Support Group


Support Group

inspire-logo (1).png




Smart Patients AE Community Support Group

smart patients.png



ae alliance facebook pic.jpg





Laptop Work

Support Team

encephalitis support team image_edited.j


encephalitis society image.jpg



encephalitis fb graphic.png


medikidz book.jpg

World Encephalitis Day

world encephaltis day-encephalitis socie
facebook logo.png
Antibody-Negative Autoimmune Encephalitis
Support Group


Dr. Amanda Piquet, Assistant Professor of  Neurology

The Evolving Field of Autoimmune Encephalitis: NMDAR Encephalitis after Herpes Simplex Viral Encephalitis

Dr. Andrew Mckeon, Neurology

Consultant Immunology Laboratory, Mayo Clinic on Autoimmune Encephalopathy, Epilepsy and Dementia

Dr. Josep Dalmau, Neurologist and Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) discusses neuroimmunology and neuroinflammation

Dr. Arun Venkatesan, Neurology, Johns Hopkins Encephalitis Center

Speaks about NMDAR Encephalitis with Dr. David Benavites, Susannah Cahalan and Dr. Ava Easton from The Encephalitis Society

Dr. Eoin Flanagan, Neurology

Mayo Clinic Medical Laboratories

Autoimmune Encephalitis Communique

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), "...showing how a patient’s successful, timely recovery (with NMDAR encephalitis) depends heavily on the collaboration of all of his health-care providers for integrated mental and physical health care" 

Dr. Maarten Titulaer

Assistant Professor Neurology, Erasmus University Medical Center

"Autoimmune Encephalitis: NMDAR and Beyond

Dr. Xavier Preud'Homme, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Duke University Hospital

Overcoming Cognitive Biases to Diagnosis

Dr. Jeffrey Gelfand, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology

UCSF, MS and Neuroinflammation Center;

Autoimmune Encephalopathy Clinic

Dr. Sarosh Irani, Neurology, University of Oxford

Speaking with Cleveland Clinic

Autoimmune Encephalitis: An Emerging Neuroimmune Condition


Susan Foley

Sally Carty

Martha Myers

Nesrin Shaheen

Wendy Station

Kimberly de Haseth

Samime Baldini

Holly Groom

Ilene Perlmutter

Lisa Foley

Scott Foley

Katie Ritzman

Nicola Nelson

Wanda Opdyke

Dr. Karen McKinley