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Officers of ESSTS


The ESSTS board consists of five members: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past Chair


Dr. Renata Rizzo, MD, PhD

Aggregate Professor of Child Neuropsychiatry Catania University , Department of Pediatric. Policlinic. Via S. Sofia 78 Catania 95125 Italy

Prof. Renata Rizzo has been running a TS clinic in Catania University since 1998. She is actively engaged in personal and collaborative research on Gilles de la Tourette. Neuro-immunology and PANDAS Collaborative Italian Network to further examing this hypothesis

Clinical Studies:Phenomenology and Psychopathology: She has personally seen over 500 patients with GTS. She continues to document clinical phenomenology and psychopatology of GTS. The patients are interviewed using standardised schedules and patients complete specially selected standardised self-rating scales to assess various aspects of psychopathology.

Neuropsychology: She has a research interest in the neuropsychological aspects of GTS syndrome.

Original scientific publications excluding abstracts: 155; Chapters in books: 3

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Dr. Danielle Cath, MD, PhD

Dr. Danielle Cath (MD, PhD) is an adult psychiatrist who divides her working hours between clinical work (halftime), and research and education activities (halftime). She is specifically specialized in anxiety and OCD spectrum disorders (including Tourette’s disorder), involved in patient care as well as teaching and supervising of residents of psychiatry. Currently, she works as the program chair of a Top clinical anxiety disorders program of a large mental health institution (Altrecht, Utrecht), in combination with  a research position (associate professor) at the department of Clinical and health psychology of Utrecht University. As a researcher, she is engaged in neurobiological and treatment enhancement studies of anxiety and OCD spectrum disorders (including Tourettes’ disorder). She is a member of International Consortia on the genetics of Tourettes’ disorder and OCD (PIs: drs Scharf  and Mathews, Center for Psychiatric Genetics, Harvard University Boston) and of a European research collaboration on Tourettes’ disorder (ESSTS, COST action BM0905). Furthermore, she is collaborating with Dutch Twin Register in twin studies (department of Biological Psychiatry, Amsterdam).


Dr. Zsanett Tarnok, PhD


Head of Psychology Team
Leader of Tourette Program
Vadaskert Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Dr. Zsanett Tarnok is a clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, and research fellow working in Budapest, Hungary at Vadaskert Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic. She is the current leader and one of the founders of Tourette syndrome Clinic in Vadaskert. She personally has seen more then 800 hundred patients suffering from Tourette syndrome in the past 12 years. She was one of the members and coordinators of COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research ) Action BM0905 (“European Network for the Study of Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome”), and currently is one of the project coordinators in an EU founded FP7 programme, EMTICS (European Multicentre Tics in Children Studies).

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Dr. Davide Martino, MD, PhD

Dr Martino acquired his medical qualification in 1999 and his specialist qualification in 2004 at the University of Bari, Italy. He completed a Clinical and Research Fellowship at University College London between 2003 and 2006, followed by his PhD in Clinical Neuroscience in 2008 at the University of Bari, Italy. Dr Martino then worked as Consultant Neurologist and Post-doctoral Researcher in Bari, Italy, where he acquired his first Lectureship. In 2011, Dr Martino relocated to London where he now works as a Consultant at Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust. In the NHS.

Dr Martino is involved in clinical and research activities at King’s College Hospital, where he runs a Movement Disorders clinic and is part of the Movement Disorders group for his academic activity and of the Centre of Excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Dr Martino has extensive experience treating neurology patients, covering the whole spectrum of neurological conditions. With each patient, Dr Martino liaises closely with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, nurse specialists and psychologists.

He has published extensively in peer-reviewed international journals; several funded research projects, and edited books on Tourette syndrome. He is regularly invited to speak or chair international congresses. He is an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and is also the co-founder of the European Society for the Study of Tourette syndrome.


Past-Chair (2011-2014)

Dr. Peristera Paschou, PhD, DABMG

Dr. Paschou is an Assistant Professor of Population Genetics at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Democritus University of Thrace. She has extensive experience in the genetics of complex disorders and particularly TS, and the analysis of the genetic structure of human populations around the world, as related to disease aetiology. . She has established the consortium of the "Tourette Syndrome Genetics. Southern and Eastern Europe Initiative" with the participation of seven countries from Southern and Eastern Europe, and a goal to create a biobank for the study of TS. She is currently the Chair of the "European network for the Study of GTS" with the support of the EU, coordinating a team of investigators from 19 European countries towards unifying national efforts in the field of TS research. She is certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics, and she has been trained and held positions at the University of Oxford, Welcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Dept of Human Genetics at the Yale University Medical School, and visiting positions at the Dept. of Genetics at UCSF, UCLA and the National Institutes of Health in the US.

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Previous Board Members

Vice-Chair (2012-2016)

Dr. Kirsten Müller-Vahl, MD

Dr. Kirsten Müller-Vahl is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, Socialpsychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Hannover Medical School (MHH), Germany. She is a specialist in both neurology and adult psychiatry and worked for many years in a specialized movement disorder clinic. From 1997 to 2003 she was a grant holder of the German government (Dorothea-Erxleben-Stipendium) for scientific research related to Tourette syndrome (TS). During the last 18 years she has investigated more than 1200 patients with TS (children and adults) and is the head of the Tourette-Syndrome outpatient department (since 1995). Her scientific work related to TS included not only several clinical but also neuroimaging and treatment studies (including the effect of cannabinoids on tics), and studies in cooperation with various partners for example on genetic and immunological aspects. She received two research grants from the TSA, Inc (in 1998 and 2005).

Since 1998, she is a member of the scientific advisory board of the German Tourette Syndrome Association (TGD). In 2011 she became the president of the German Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome (GTS). She is a German representative, member of the management committee and coordinator of the COST Action BM0905 (“European Network for the Study of Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome”) and leader of the Working Group 4 (Outreach Activities). She is a full partner in the EU funded FP7 programme “European Multicentre Tics in Children Studies” (EMTICS).

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Treasurer (2015)

Dr. Andrea Ludolph, MD, PhD

Andrea Ludolph was the Head of the outpatient division at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Clinic in Ulm, Germany.  Furthermore, she established an outpatient department for children suffering from the very rare Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. She played a very active role with the national advocacy group, the German Tourette Society TGD and organized multiple meetings and gave lectures for colleagues but also the general public and educators. As a researcher she was interested in several different aspects related to Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. She performed neuromaging studies and participated in several multi-center clinical trials. In line with her major motivation to train and educate young researchers, she was one of the leaders in the EU-funded Marie Curie Initial Training Network TS-EUROTRAIN. In the context of this network, she was mainly interested in to development of a new animal model for tic disorders that can be used to investigate the effects of different pharmaceuticals on the developing brain.


Treasurer (-2015)

Dr. Pieter J. Hoekstra, MD, PhD

Pieter J. Hoekstra. MD, PhD is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. He coordinates a dedicated outpatient clinic for children and adolescents with tic disorders. His research interest is also in the field of tic disorders and includes neuroimmunology, genetics, gene*environment interactions, and treatment studies. Other research and clinical interests are in the field of ADHD, which is frequently comorbid in children with a tic disorder.

Chair (2008-2011)

Dr. Hugh Rickards, MD, FRCPSych

Dr. Rickards is a Consultant in Neuropsychiatry and has been running a TS clinic in Birmingham since 1997. He has completed 2 higher degrees on the subject of neurochemistry in TS. Dr.Rickards spoke at the inaugural meeting of ESSTS at UCL. He is PI for the forthcoming UKDBS in Tourette trial.

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