Faculty By Divisions

David Charles, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer, Vanderbilt Neuroscience Institute

Director, Telemedicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Dr. Charles is Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Neuroscience Institute and Director of Telemedicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His research interests include the treatment of spasticity and cervical dystonia and he is currently leading the only clinical trial approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to test deep brain stimulation in people with early stage Parkinsons disease. Dr. Charles also serves as Professor of Neurology, Vice-Chairman for Education of Neurology, Director of the Movement Disorders Clinic, and is an attending physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Charles is a member of the American Neurological Association, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, Board member of the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties, Chair of the Alliance for Patient Access, and Past-President of the Tennessee Academy of Neurology. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society and in 2007 received the CANDLE Award. Recipients are chosen based upon their positive impact on the lives of physicians-in-training, and are recognized by their students as examples of excellence in medical education. In 2007, 2008, and 2010 Dr. Charles received the Five Star Service Award placing him in the top 10% nationally for overall quality of specialty medical care.

From 1997-98, Dr. Charles served as a Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate on the staff of the Labor Subcommittee for Public Health and Safety. In 1998 he studied deep brain stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Universitaire de Grenoble in Grenoble, France. In 2000 Dr. Charles was a nominee for the United States House of Representatives from Tennessees Sixth Congressional District.

Dr. Charles graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering in 1986 with a B.S. cum laude in Computer Science and Mathematics, and earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1990. He did his internship in the department of Medicine and his residency in the department of Neurology at Vanderbilt. From 1993-94 he was Chief Resident in Neurology, and from 1994-95 he was a Fellow in Movement Disorders and Clinical Neurophysiology at Vanderbilt. In 1996, he completed a Health Care Management course at Vanderbilts Owen Graduate School of Management, and in 1997 he completed the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Physician Educators at Harvard Medical School.

Vanderbilt University has received or currently receives income from grants or contracts with Allergan, Boehringer-Ingelheim, DuPont, Elan, Hoffman-LaRoche, Ipsen, Kyowa, Medtronic, Merz, Novartis, and Smith-Kline to support Dr. Charles research efforts. Dr. Charles has received or currently receives income from Allergan, Alliance for Patient Access, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Ipsen, Medtronic, Merz, Mylan-Bertek, Novartis, Ovation, Pfizer, Prestwick, Schwarz, UCB, Vernalis, and Woodberry Associates for speaking or consulting services.

Treatment of Parkinson's Disease with Deep Brain Stimulation
We are currently treating Parkinson's disease patients with deep brain stimulation of the bilateral subthalamic nucleus. This FDA approved therapy is an effective intervention for some Parkinson's disease patients. We are investigating the effects of bilateral subthalamic nucleus stimulation in early stage Parkinson's disease to better understand if this treatment may slow the progression of the disease.

Treatment of Spasticity in Adults
Spasticity is a condition that is prevalent in people with intellectual or physical disabilities. The presence of spasticity can often make performance of activities of daily living and care giving very difficult. We are currently investigating the prevalence and impact spasticity in adults with intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities in different living settings.

Cervical Dystonia
Cervical dystonia causes painful muscle contractions resulting in an abnormal head position. We have investigated the pain relief that people with cervical dystonia experience after neurotoxin injection to the pain relief experienced in people without cervical dystonia and we are currently enrolling people with cervical dystonia in other clinical trials evaluating treatment results.

Sponsored Investigation
Principal Investigator:
Safety and Tolerability of Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Early Stage Parkinsons Disease.
Inter-rater reliability of a spasticity diagnosis algorithm
Prevalence, Treatment and Functional Impact of Spasticity in Nursing Home Residents: A Pilot Population Survey.
Prevalence of Spasticity in Veterans Living in the Long-Term Care Setting: A Pilot Population Survey.
A Retrospective Analysis of the Treatment of Cervical Dystonia at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Multicenter trials testing neurotoxin injection for spasticity and cervical dystonia.

Charles PD, Dolhun RM, Gill CE, Davis TL, Bliton MJ, Tramontana MG, Salomon RM, Wang L, Hedera P, Phibbs FT, Neimat JS, Konrad PD. Deep Brain Stimulation in early Parkinsons disease: Enrollment experience from a pilot trial. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 2012; 18: 268-273.
Gill CE, Allen LA, Davis TL, Tramontana MG, Bliton MJ, Finder SG, Charles PD. Deep brain stimulation for early stage Parkinsons disease: a case report with two years of follow-up. Neuromodulation 2011; 14(6):515-522.
Remple MS, Harrison CH, Kao C, Charles PD, Neimat JS, Konrad PE. Subthalamic Nucleus Neuronal Firing Rate Increases in the Subthalamic Nucleus with Parkinsons Disease Progression. Movement Disorders 2011;26(9):1657-1662.
Hedera P, Phibbs FT, Fang JY, Cooper MK, Charles PD, Davis TL. Clustering of Dystonia in Some Pedigrees with Autosomal dominant Essential Tremor Suggest the Existence of a Distinct Genetic Subtype of Essential Tremor. BMC Neurology 2010;10:66.
Charles PD, Gill CE, Taylor HM, Putman MS, Ayers GD, Blair CR, Roberts AG, Konrad PE. Spasticity Treatment Facilitates Direct Care Delivery for Adults with Profound Intellectual Disability. Movement Disorders 2010;25(4):466-473.

Charles PD, Padaliya BB, Newman WJ, Covington CD, Gill CE, Fang JY, So SA, Tramontana MG, Konrad PE, Davis TL. Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subthalamic Nucleus Reduces Antiparkinsonian Medication Cost. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 2004;10:475-479.

Newman WJ, Davis TL, Padaliya BB, Covington CD, Gill CE, Abramovitch AI, Charles PD. Botulinum Toxin Type A Therapy During Pregnancy. Movement Disorders 2004; 19(11):1384-1385.

Pfister AA, Taylor HM, Roberts AG, Noel-Spaulding S, Damian MM, Charles PD. Spasticity in Adults Living in a Developmental Center. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2003;84(12):1808-1812.

Charles D, Van Blercom N, Krack P, Lee S, Xie J, Besson G, Benabid AL, Pollak P. Predictors of Effective Bilateral Subthalamic Nucleus Stimulation for Parkinsons Disease. Neurology 59(6): 932-934, 2002. Charles PD, Esper GJ. Davis TL. A Definition of On : Patient Diaries compared to the UPDRS. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 5(3): 99-101, 1999.

Charles PD, Scherokman BJ, Jozefowicz RF, and the American Academy of Neurology Undergraduate Education Subcommittee. How Much Neurology Should a Medical Student Learn? A Position Statement of the American Academy of Neurology Undergraduate Education Subcommittee. Academic Medicine 74: 23-26, 1999.
Book Chapters, Invited Articles, and Congressional Testimony:
Phibbs FT, Charles PD. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. In Robertson D, Biaggioni I, Burnstock G, Low PA, Patton JFR, ed. Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System, 3rd Edition. San Diego, California: Academic Press 2012;541-544.
Charles PD, Gill CE. Neurotoxin injection for Movement Disorders. In Charles PD, Chair. Continuum Movement Disorders: Lifelong Learning in Neurology 2009;16(1):131-157.
Charles PD, Gill CE, Davis TL, Konrad PE, Benabid AL. Is Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinsons Disease Neuroprotective When Applied Early in the Disease Course? Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 2008;4(8):424-426.
Charles PD. Protecting Human Subjects in Research: Are Current Safeguards Adequate? Congressional Record 2002;148(46):D373. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 2002; S.Hrg.107-424(79-325 PDF):19-24.


Department of Neurology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
1161 21st Ave S, Suite A-1106 MCN
Nashville, Tennessee 37232
Tel: (615) 936-0060
Fax: (615) 322-0262