McMaster University

McMaster University

Division of Neuromuscular & Neurometabolics: child holding weights
Contact Information

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky
Division Head


Health Sciences Centre, Room 2H26
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1

Phone: 905-521-2100, ext. 75226  
Fax: 905-577-8380  

Division of Neuromuscular & Neurometabolics

About Neuromuscular & Neurometabolics

Neuromuscular disorders affect approximately one person in 100 and include disorders of muscle, neuromuscular junction and peripheral nerve. Commonly recognized conditions would include muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, ALS, peripheral neuropathy (including Guillain Barre syndrome). 

Neurometabolic disorders are varied and include disorders of intermediary metabolism (fat, protein and carbohydrate) as well as disorders of the final common pathway for energy metabolism, the mitochondria. Neurometabolic conditions can result in muscle fatigue, cramps with exercise with severe muscle breakdown with or without enlargement of the heart (cardiomyopathy) and central nervous system disorders including seizures, strokes, developmental delay and /or regression. 

There are a large number of tests that are required to diagnose the aforementioned condition that are available in our clinic including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conductions studies, lumbar puncture, muscle biopsy, strength testing, exercise testing, metabolic exercise testing, lung function and spirometry, body composition using DEXA and coordination of a large number of biochemical and genetic tests.  These are all available as "one stop shopping" in our clinic.

The overall philosophy of the clinic is to provide comprehensive care for patients with neuromuscular and neurometabolic conditions from diagnosis through to rehabilitation. Our team includes a developmental pediatrician (Dr. Teresa Carter), a physiatrist (Dr. Judy Trotter), and a neuropsychiatrist (Dr. Anthony Levinson). With these physicians and the outstanding technical support from our neuromuscular technicians (Ms. Erin Pearce and Ms. Alissa Aboud) to our EMG technicians (Mrs. Henny Spoelstra and Mrs. Hilary Libbrecht).  We also have an outstanding support team who coordinates all of these efforts (Ms. Dale Johnston, Mrs. Lena Westerink and Ms. Linda Martin).  This helps to consolidate care in one area and simplify diagnosis and follow-up visits.

The Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic is intimately involved in research and we have a very strong wet laboratory component with biochemical, microscopic and genetic evaluation of patient muscle samples as well as a cell culture and animal program evaluating a number of animal models of human neuromuscular and neurometabolic disorders.  There are a number of post doctoral fellows and graduate students who are involved in the clinical, translational and basic science research projects. 

From a teaching perspective, we have two clinical fellowship positions filled every year and accommodate residents from neurology, physiatry, pediatrics and rheumatology for elective experience in neuromuscular and neurometabolic disease.  We often have visiting professors completing sabbatical terms in our division. 

Division Members

Dr. Steven Baker
Assistant Professor, Neurology & Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky
Division Head
Professor, Neuromuscular & Neurometabolic Disease

Associate Members

Dr. Teresa Carter, Developmental Pediatrician

Dr. Anthony Levinson, Neuropsychiatrist

Dr. Judy Trotter

What's New?

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky has received an Endowed Chair in Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Disorders from the McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation Chair in Children's Health. 

Dr. Steven Baker has received an Endowed Chair in Neuromuscular Disorders from the Hamilton Regional Assessment Centre.

We are currently involved in clinical trials in Friedreich's ataxia, statin myopathies, aging, Pompe disease, McArdle's disease mitochondrial disorders and muscle immobilization induced atrophy.


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