John Brandsema, MD, is a pediatric neurologist in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He has a special interest in treating children with neuromuscular disorders and is enthusiastic about the promise that medical and scientific advances hold for people with these conditions.

“Genetic breakthroughs are increasing accuracy of diagnosis while novel targeted therapeutics are changing lives,” Dr. Brandsema says.

Dr. Brandsema is involved with clinical trials of novel therapeutics for neuromuscular disorders.

His philosophy of care centers around developing strong partnerships with families and empowering parents to understand their child’s medical condition.

“I want them to know that we will work together to achieve the best possible quality of life for their loved one,” Dr. Brandsema says.

Children benefit from a team approach to care that includes not just their family and neurologist, but professionals across medical specialties, he says. Dr. Brandsema expects this model of care will continue to evolve as collaborative research leads to a greater understanding of rare neurological disorders.

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Pediatric Neurology - The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada


Neuromuscular Medicine - Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Board Certification

Pediatric Neurology – Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Principal Investigators

Conditions Treated

Departments and Services

Research Interests

Clinical trials for neuromuscular diseases




Kim AG, Upah SA, Brandsema JF, Yum SW, Blinman TA. Thoracoscopic thymectomy for juvenile myasthenia gravis. Pediatr Surg Int. 2019 May;35(5):603-610. doi: 10.1007/s00383-019-04441-0. Epub 2019 Feb 7.


Burgart AM, Magnus D, Tabor HK, Paquette ED, Frader J, Glover JJ, Jackson BM, Harrison CH, Urion DK, Graham RJ, Brandsema JF, Feudtner C. Ethical Challenges Confronted When Providing Nusinersen Treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. JAMA Pediatrics. 2018 Feb 1;172(2):188-192.


Tiao J, Feng R, Berger EM, Brandsema JF, Coughlin CC, Khan N, Kichula EA, Lerman MA, Lvovich S, McMahon PJ, Rider LG, Rubin AI, Scalzi LV, Smith DM, Taxter AJ, Treat JR, Williams RP, Yum SW, Okawa J, Werth VP. Evaluation of the reliability of the Cutaneous Dermatomyositis Disease Area and Severity Index and the Cutaneous Assessment Tool-Binary Method in juvenile dermatomyositis among paediatric dermatologists, rheumatologists and neurologists. Br Jr Dermatology. 2017 Oct;177(4):1086-1092.


Brandsema JF, Darras BT. Dystrophinopathies. Seminars in Neurology. 2015 Aug;35(4):369-84.


Brandsema JF, Stephens D, Hartley J, Yoon G. Intermediate-dose idebenone and quality of life in Friedreich ataxia. Pediatr Neurol. 2010 May;42(5):338-42.


Rea D, Brandsema JF, Armstrong D, Parkin PC, Deveber G, Macgregor D, Logan WJ, Askalan R. Cerebral arteriopathy in children with neurofibromatosis type 1. Pediatrics. 2009 Sep;124(3):e476-83. Epub 2009 Aug 24.


Pogue BW, Pitts JD, Mycek MA, Sloboda RD, Wilmot CM, Brandsema JF, O'Hara JA. In vivo NADH fluorescence monitoring as an assay for cellular damage in photodynamic therapy. Photochem Photobiol. 2001 Dec;74(6):817-24.



Brandsema J, Widjaja E, Sharma R, Ben David G, Hahn D. Safety and Quality of Neuroimaging scans with Conductive Plastic Electrodes for Continuous EEG Monitoring in Children. American Academy of Neurology Conference Abstracts, 2012.


Brandsema JF, O’Connell C, Clarke D, Kaiser S, Ransom T, Ur E, Howlett T, Imran A. Variability in Thyroid Hormone Replacement in Patients with Central Hypothyroidism. CDA/CSEM Conference Abstracts, 2004.