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Petra Kaufmann, MD, MSc
(on leave of absence)
Associate Professor of Neurology
Associate Director, Pediatric MDA Neuromuscular Center

  • MD: University of Bonn (Germany)
  • Fellowship: EMG, Neuromuscular Disorders
  • MSc: Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Board Certification:
Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology and Electrodiagnostic Medicine



» Recent Publications

Dr. Kaufmann is a neurologist specializing in neuromuscular diseases and clinical trials. She is a member of the Neuromuscular Division and co-director of the SMA Clinical Research Center.

Dr. Kaufmann's work focuses on providing state-of the art, comprehensive care to improve the lives of patients living with neuromuscular disease. At the same time, her research aims at finding effective treatments for neuromuscular diseases through clinical research and clinical trials.

Dr. Kaufmann received an MD in 1991 from the University of Bonn (Germany) and a Doctorate in Medicine in 1993 (Biochemical studies in muscle tissues) from the University of Bonn in Germany. Her medical training included one year in London during the 4th year of training and a subinternship in Paris. Dr. Kaufmann has received a Master of Science Degree from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in Biostatistics/Patient oriented Research. Her thesis focused on the design of a clinical trial for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Dr. Kaufmann completed her Medicine internship at St. Luke's/Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City. Her Neurology training includes 18 months at the University of Bonn (Epileptology) and a 3-year Neurology residency at Columbia University in New York City.

She spent two years as a laboratory-based postdoctoral research fellow in mitochondrial genetics working with Drs. Eric Schon and Salvatore DiMauro. She completed a postdoctoral clinical fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology/EMG and Neuromuscular Diseases.

Dr. Kaufmann is board certified in Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology and by the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine in addition to EEG certification by the German Section of the International League against Epilepsy. Dr. Kaufmann has been a faculty member at Columbia University's Neurological Institute since 2000. Her extensive clinical research work includes leading a multi-center Phase II, NIH-funded clinical trial for Coenzyme Q10 in ALS as Principal Investigator. She is also the Principal Investigator for a Clinical Research Study to prospectively assess the natural history of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). She is a co-investigator in several additional clinical research studies including trials for periodic paralyses, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, mitochondrial encephalomyopathies, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Dr. Kaufmann is active in several investigator groups for neuromuscular disease, nationally and internationally including the Muscle Study Group (MSG), and the International Coordinating Committee for SMA (ICC) for which she co-chairs the Trial Design Group.

Dr. Kaufmann is serving as an ad hoc scientific reviewer for several journals including Neurology, ALS, Chest, and Archives and Neurology. She has been asked to review grant proposals for the Department of Defense, the SMA Foundation, the Columbia University Office of Clinical Trials, and she serves on the Telethon/Italy Scientific Review Committee.

She has published over 40 manuscripts focusing on neuromuscular diseases and clinical research. In addition, she has co-authored several book chapters, reviews, and editorials. She regularly presents at national and international meetings.

Outside of work, Dr. Kaufmann loves to be with her husband Tassos, a pediatric pulmonologist, and their four young children. When she has any free time, she enjoys running, reading, yoga, and going to the opera.

For information on participating in Dr. Kaufmann's clinical research studies, please visit and

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Department of Neurology | Columbia University Medical Center | Last updated: December 4, 2012 | Comments
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