Dr. Penny MacDonald

Full Name
Dr. Penny MacDonald
Degrees and Qualifications

B.Sc. Psychology, University of Toronto
M.A. Experimental Psychology, University of Toronto
Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, University of Toronto
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Experimental Psychology, McMaster University
M.D., McMaster University
Neurology Residency, McGill University
Movement Disorders Subspecialty Training, McGill University

Contact Information

Research Area
Research Overview

Movement disorders, Parkinson's Disease, Neuroimaging



My long-term research aims are to uncover neural bases for cognitive processes with a particular interest in understanding the role of the basal ganglia in these functions. The research involves probing different facets of cognition, with a variety of neuropsychological tests, in patients with prominent basal ganglia dysfunction, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), compared to healthy volunteers. We also correlate performance on these tests with levels of activation in different brain regions, including the basal ganglia, assessed with functional neuroimaging techniques. We aim to investigate differences in function-related brain activity in patients and healthy participants as well as the effect of medications on cognitive performance and brain activity in patients. A further objective is to develop more precise cognitive profiles of various movement disorders with the overarching goal of improving diagnosis and suggesting more effective treatments o! f cogniti ve impairments in these conditions.

My primary appointment is with the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences and I hold cross appointments across other departments including the Departments of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Physiology and Pharmacology. Our laboratory has collaborations across many university departments and spans basic science and clinical research. We also have collaborations with research groups across the country and around the world including at University of Calgary, Imperial College London, and the University of Dublin.