Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Dr. Timothy Doherty was honoured recently with the Distinguished Researcher Award, presented by the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM). The award recognizes members who have made significant contributions to clinical neurophysiology research.
“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,” Doherty said.
Doherty’s research focuses 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,” Doherty said. “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, 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.
The nomination called Doherty “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.”