Dr. Zachary Simmons received his medical degree from the University of Florida, and then trained in neurology at the University of Iowa and in neuromuscular diseases and electromyography at the University of Michigan. He now serves as Professor of Neurology and Humanities at Penn State University, where he founded and directs the ALS Clinic and Research Center.
The research center now has a neural engineer, 3 physicians, a research manager, and 3 research coordinators. Dr. Simmons had serves as site principal investigator for more than 20 clinical treatment trials, and a large number of investigator-initiated studies in ALS. He has published extensively on quality of life in ALS and was the co-developer of the ALS Specific Quality of Life Instrument (ALSSQOL) and the more recently validated short form (ALSSQOL-SF). Related to this, he has published on ethics of care and end-of-life issues. The Penn State ALS Center has pioneered the use of telemedicine in ALS for clinical and research purposes, including home monitoring of respiratory function, of gait and falls, and of speech and swallowing. Other ALS-related research interests include cognitive and behavioral dysfunction, symptom management, optimization of multidisciplinary care, psychological well-being and mindfulness.
Dr. Simmons currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Muscle & Nerve. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles. At the organizational level, he has served on the NEALS technology, bulbar, and upper motor neuron committees, and on the AANEM Board of Directors and multiple AANEM committees. Institutional responsibilities include Vice-Chair for Research in Neurology and membership in his Department’s Executive Committee. He has been a member of the Ethics, Law, and Humanities Committee of the American Academy of Neurology, and of the Penn State Hershey Ethics Committee.