Center for Clinical Pharmacology

Bhooma Aravamuthan, M.D., DPhil, Assistant Professor

Bhooma HeadshotBhooma Aravamuthan, MD, DPhil is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Neurology in the Department of Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). She has researched basal ganglia pathophysiology in movement disorders for over a decade. As a physician scientist specializing in pediatric movement disorders, she is particularly invested in the Center's mission to foster translational research.

Dr. Aravamuthan obtained her Doctorate in Philosophy (DPhil) in Neuroscience through the University of Oxford and the National Institutes of Health as a George C. Marshall Scholar and NIH-Oxford Scholar in the labs of Tipu Aziz and Judie Walters. Her thesis examined pedunculopontinue nucleus and basal ganglia electrophysiologic dysfunction in the parkinsonian brain. Dr. Aravamuthan then came to WUSM for medical school as a part of the Medical Scientist Training Program and worked with Dora Angelaki to investigate how vestibular information was coded in the pedunculopontine nucleus. During medical school, she became interested in a career in pediatric neurology. This decision was influenced largely by meeting patients with cerebral palsy (CP), which is characterized by permanent motor disability following perinatal brain injury. During her residency in Pediatrics at St. Louis Children's Hospital, she explored these clinical interests in the lab, working with Michael Shoykhet to study basal ganglia circuit changes following ischemic brain injury in childhood. She next completed Child Neurology and Movement Disorders Fellowship training at Boston Children's Hospital / Harvard Medical School. During her time in Boston, Dr. Aravamuthan was awarded an NIH R25 grant to fund her research with Seward Rutkove to develop rodent models of CP. She was subsequently awarded an NIH K12 grant to study the neuronal injury patterns associated with spasticity and dystonia following neonatal brain injury in the rodent models of CP that she developed. 

Dr. Aravamuthan's clinical and research training has augmented her passion for helping the patients she sees often in clinic - children with dystonic cerebral palsy who are functionally debilitated and for whom treatment options are limited. At the Center, she is working with Jordan McCall and Ream Al-Hasani to manipulate different basal ganglia neuronal populations across development to further understand the causes of dystonia in CP. She will develop a translational multidisciplinary lab, focused on understanding and developing treatments for dystonic CP in animal models while also engaging in patient-based clinical research geared towards optimizing diagnostics and treatment of dystonic CP in real time.