Biography

Sailaja Golla started as an Assitant Professor  at UTSW/Children’s Medical Center in 2010 after the completion of the Pediatric Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities training at UTSW.Dr Golla was initially recruited as an Instructor to the Department of Neurology in January 2009, after completing her Child Neurology training in our program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She completed additional training in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (July 2009 – June 2010) to join the Department of Pediatrics in July 2010, at the Assistant Professor rank. She is currently a faculty member in the Division of Child Neurology and the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, a joint program between UT Southwestern, Children’s Health and Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas.

Dr Golla is clinically credentialed to see patients at Children’s Health (Dallas and Plano campuses) as well as various UT Southwestern-affiliated hospitals including Texas Prebytarian Hospital, Dallas. Her primary clinic is at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She is also the Director for various multi-disciplinary Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Clinics including post-ECMO clinic and Rare Autism Variants clinic. She recently established and is directing a multi-disciplinary clinic for Pitt Hopkins syndrome, in collaboration with Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation. This is one of only three such clinics in the nation, with a wide referral base from all over the country.

Dr Golla has been very active as an educator and clinical researcher as well. She actively participates in training medical students, Residents in Pediatrics and Neurology and Fellows in Child Neurology, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Psychiatry. She also co-directs an annual CME conference titled ‘New Frontiers in Pediatric Neurology’. She has various clinical and research collaborations with faculty members from multiple divisions and departments including Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Critical Care and Neonatology. She is also involved with various multi-center NIH trials in Autism and Rare Autism Variants. She has recently been invited to be the site-PI for a multi-disciplinary study, funded by NeuroNEXT network and NIH/NINDS, evaluating the effects of AFQ056 on Language Learning in young children with Fragile X syndrome.

Training and Background:

Dr Golla graduated in 2000 from Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, a recognized, premier Medical School in India. She completed requirements for ECFMG certification in 2002. She then underwent Residency training in Pediatrics at University at Buffalo (completed in 2005) followed by Residency training in Child Neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center (completed in 2008).

As a Child Neurology Resident, she won Teva Neuroscience award for her academic performance in 2007 as well as 2008. She also won the Leon Weisberg award for her research work looking at the incidence of dystrophinopathies in girls with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. The resulting manuscript was selected as the best paper during Annual Neurology Resident research presentations at UT Southwestern in 2008. She was also selected and served as a Chief Resident of Child Neurology in 2008. She has Board Certification in Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology issued by American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

She furthered her research training when she joined the Department of Neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2009, as an Instructor, to work in Dr Juan Pascual’s laboratory in the field of rare mitochondrial disorders. She was supported by Hegi Research Scholarship award during this period. She then underwent further post-graduate clinical training to complete a residency in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in June 2010, at UT Southwestern Medical Center, to become one of very few Neurodevelopmental Disabilities specialists in the country. She is the first graduate from our Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. It is one of only eight such training programs in the country.

Teaching and Mentoring:

As an educator, Dr Golla is responsible for instructing and mentoring medical students, residents from pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry, as well as colleagues at the regional and national levels. She routinely receives high ratings from all groups. The last several years of rating by residents averages 4.5/5, with remarks, such as “There is something new to learn every time during Dr Golla’s rounds. She is a great teacher and physician”.  Another wrote, “She is well informed of all her patients’ conditions and spent time with them during rounds, answering all questions.”. Her annual evaluations from senior colleagues recognize her teaching skills. Dr Patricia Evans commented “Dr Golla is very comfortable in both small and large group instruction. She is precise with her language and is sensitive to each of the participant’s level of training.” She has coordinated multiple journal clubs and Morbidity & Mortality conferences in addition to formal presentations at the Pediatric and Neurology resident lecture series. Dr Golla was invited to teach the child neurology section at a Pediatric Board Review course. She has also been invited to present at various neurology and pediatric resident conferences.

She is actively involved with mentoring medical students and pediatric and neurology residents with their research and scholarly projects. She is also involved in mentoring fellows from outside the neurology division. Currently she is mentoring a PICU fellow with her fellowship research project looking at neurodevelopmental outcomes in ECMO patients. She is also serving on her Scholarship Oversight Committee. She has previously served on the dissertation committee for a medical student. In addition to teaching at the local level, she has also had a national presence. She recently presented at the Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation annual conference, teaching parents and patients about recent advances in the clinical management of Pitt Hopkins syndrome. Her presentation was received very well.

Being one of only two faculty members of the NDD division, Dr Golla has actively contributed to the development of NDD residency training program by Dr Patricia Evans. This is one of only eight such programs all around the country. Being the first graduate from the program, she provided the additional perspective of a trainee. She is involved with mentoring the residents in the program and supervises them in the resident clinics.

Clinical Responsibilities:

Dr Golla is assigned to-inpatient hospital service and  outpatient clinics . She also supervises in the Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental resident continuity clinics. She runs multiple, specialized, multi-disciplinary clinics such as Rare Autism Variants clinic, Pitt Hopkins, Fragile X and Post ECMO clinics. Post ECMO clinic is one of the few in the nation and was uniquely developed by Dr. Golla at UTSW/Children’s health in consult with ICU and NICU physicians. She recently received a letter from Robert Morrow, President and Chief clinical officer at Children’s health in February 2016 which comments “We appreciate hearing about your work with Post ECMO patients and understanding that you see the majority of those children after discharge, we enjoyed learning your work as a neurodevelopmental neurologist. Please let me know of any ideas or needs for the program, thank you for all you do for the children and their families”. Pitt Hopkins is also a unique clinic providing multi-disciplinary services to patients with this syndrome. This is one of only three such clinics in the country.

Dr Golla demonstrates exemplary clinical skills.  A She has received high marks for patient satisfaction as well. This is reflected in multiple ‘I Care’ cards. Some of the comments are “Dr Golla is very professional, kind, good listener, caring, compassionate and genuine”, “Dr Golla is very thorough and treated us with respect”, “Dr Golla is very good. She understood our situation. I have confidence in her”. She received ‘America’s Best Physician’ award from the National Consumer Advisory Board’ for 2015 as well 2016 in addition to receieving the Texas Super Doctor award in 2015.

She has also received multiple thank you notes from clinic administrators, Doctors and Research admins for  outstanding service with the clinical and research patients

Her clinical expertise is recognized both locally and outside the institution. As a result, she was invited to write an editorial in BMC Medicine about a manuscript looking at the role of corticosteroids in regressive autism. This editorial was published in BMC Medicine. Being an expert in her field, she was also invited to author multiple chapters in the 5th edition of Rosenberg’s Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disease.

Committees and Community Involvement:

Dr Golla has been an active, well recognized member of division. In recognition of her dynamism and drive, she has been selected to be on multiple committees. She is a co-chair of the Child Neurology CME committee. As part of this committee, she has contributed to organizing and successfully conducting an annual CME conference for pediatric neurologists and pediatricians with a primary goal to provide updates on new frontiers in child neurology. She is also a member of executive and administrative committees of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. As a member of these committees she is involved with establishing an Autism database.

Dr Golla has been very active in the community as well. She has been a volunteer at ‘Destination Imagination’ meets in the past. Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Its purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. She was an assistant coach for a Destination Imagination team. More recently, she has been active with parent associations for Autism Speaks and Pitt Hopkins Foundation. She has been invited share her knowledge and expertise with patients and their families at various conferences. She is involved with various community events relate to autism including Stephanie’s Day, Autism Speaks Walk, Pitt Hopkins Foundation and Fragile X Foundation.

She has been invited to be on the panel as a panel advisor for Rare Disease Research Network for 2016-2017

Research:

Dr Golla’s research interests include translational research involving biomarkers and clinical research related to autism and rare autism variants. As a child neurology resident she looked at the association between dystrophinopathies and limb girdle muscular dystrophy. Results from this research were published in the Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease. She won the Leon Weisberg award at the annual neurology resident retreat for this research. She furthered her research education during her work in Dr Juan Pascual’s lab. She studied the role of biomarker (IMCL) signatures of 7-Tesla MR spectroscopy in recognizing MELAS, a mitochondrial disorder. Resulting manuscript is in peer review at present. This study was supported by a Hegi Foundation grant. She continues studying the role of biomarkers in MELAS as a co-investigator in an NIH-funded study (PI: Juan Pascual).

As NDD resident she received training in study design and analysis through courses provided by the Department of Clinical Sciences under the directorship of Dr Milton Packer. This laid foundation for her clinical research career. As a junior faculty member in NDD, she a site co-investigator for the Buspirone trial for Autism, a multi-center drug therapy trial. This is published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Her role in the study was acknowledged in an appendix of the manuscript. Other multi-center drug trials she has been part of include “Early Pharmacotherapy guided by Biomarkers in Autism” and “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using Arbaclofen in Fragile X”.

She has co-authored manuscripts describing molecular and clinical analyses of FOX1 and CDKL5 mutations. She has collaborated with the intensivists and neonatologists to study long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in children receiving extra-corporeal life support. She co-authored a manuscript looking at the role of transcranial doppler in assessing cerebral blood flow, hemodynamics and metabolism in patients on extracorporeal life support. She is also collaborating with cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac intensivists to study neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with congenital heart disease. She has presented multiple abstracts at annual meetings of Child Neurology Society and American Epilepsy Society, looking at seizures in children with autism spectrum disorder and EEG evolution. She has mentored multiple child neurology residents and helped with their senior  research projects.

She is a co-investigator in a multi-center clinical trial looking at biomarkers in Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a rare autism variant. She has also been invited to be the site-PI for an NINDS/NeuroNEXT funded, multi-center trial looking at the effects of AFQ056 (study drug) on language learning in children with Fragile X syndrome.

In summary, Dr Golla has brought exceptional quality and national recognition to the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine with her outstanding clinical, research and advocacy based work. She is  only one of 2 people in the division with training in pediatrics, pediatric neurology and neurodevelopment.

Education

Internship
Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (1999), Rotating
Medical School
Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (2000)
Residency
Brooklyn Hospital Center (2003), Pediatrics
Residency
The Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo (2004), Pediatrics
Residency
UT Southwestern - Children's Medical Center (2008), Child Neurology
Fellowship
UT Southwestern - Children's Medical Center (2010), Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Specialty Areas

Clinical Interest

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Cognitive Disorders
  • Learning Disorders
  • Neuro-Developmental Disorders
  • Research Interest

    • Autism and learning disabilities
    • Cognitive disabilities in patients with Dystrophinopathies
    • Dystrophinopathy in young girls
    • Fragile X Syndrome
    • Long term Neurodevelopmental sequale in Neonates with Cardiac injury
    • Long term Neurodevelopmental Sequale of Patients exposed to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
    • MELAS (Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke like episodes)
    • Phelen Mc Dermid Syndrome

    Publications

    Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

    Efficacy of Low-Dose Buspirone for Restricted and Repetitive Behavior in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Trial.
    Chugani DC, Chugani HT, Wiznitzer M, Parikh S, Evans PA, Hansen RL, Nass R, Janisse JJ, Dixon-Thomas P, Behen M, Rothermel R, Parker JS, Kumar A, Muzik O, Edwards DJ, Hirtz D J. Pediatr. 2015 Dec
    Molecular and clinical analyses of 16q24.1 duplications involving FOXF1 identify an evolutionarily unstable large minisatellite.
    Dharmadhikari AV, Gambin T, Szafranski P, Cao W, Probst FJ, Jin W, Fang P, Gogolewski K, Gambin A, George-Abraham JK, Golla S, Boidein F, Duban-Bedu B, Delobel B, Andrieux J, Becker K, Holinski-Feder E, Cheung S, Stankiewicz P BMC Med. Genet. 2014 Dec 15 1 128
    Neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral characteristics in males and females with CDKL5 duplications.
    Szafranski P, Golla S, Jin W, Fang P, Hixson P, Matalon R, Kinney D, Bock HG, Craigen W, Smith JL, Bi W, Patel A, Wai Cheung S, Bacino CA, Stankiewicz P Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 2014 Oct
    Assessments of Cerebral Blood Flow, Hemodynamics and Metabolism in Patients on ECMO Using TCD and NIRS
    F. Tian, L. Raman, S. Golla, and H. Liu Biomedical Optics 2014 April 2014 BM3A.25.
    Corticosteroid therapy in regressive autism: Preliminary findings from a retrospective study.
    Golla S, Sweeney JA BMC Med 2014 12 1 79
    Dystrophinopathy in girls with limb girdle muscular dystrophy phenotype.
    Golla S, Agadi S, Burns DK, Marks W, Dev Batish S, del Gaudio D, Iannaccone ST J Clin Neuromuscul Dis 2010 Jun 11 4 203-8

    Books

    Featured Books Legend Featured Books

    Honors & Awards

    • America's Top Physicians- Neurology
      Consumers Research Council of America (2015)
    • Texas Super Doctor
      Texas Monthly Magazine (2015)
    • America’s Top Physicians
      Consumers Research Council of America (2013)
    • Hegi Research Scholarship Award
      (2009)
    • Leon Weisberg Award, Department of Neurology
      UT Southwestern Medical Center (2009)
    • Teva Neuroscience Award, Department of Neurology
      UT Southwestern Medical Center (2007-2008)

    Professional Associations/Affiliations

    • National Fragile X Society (2012)
    • National Autism Society (2010)
    • Texas Medical Association (2010)
    • Texas Neurological Society (2010)
    • American Academy of Neurology (2006)
    • Child Neurology Society (2006)