Office Phone: (303)-724-2184
Residency, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Neurology
Internship, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
MD, Wayne State University School of Medicine
Professor, Neurology, Opthalmology
Director, Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship
Founding Director, Colorado Posterior Cortical Atrophy Support Group
Director, Brain and Vision Lab
Victoria S. Pelak, MD, is a Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with subspecialty fellowship training in Neuro-ophthalmology and subspecialty certification in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. She specializes in assessing and treating patients with visual problems related to neurological diseases, and she has clinical expertise in vision symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Parkinson's disease, and similar disorders. She built and founded the Brain and Vision Laboratory at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in order to study higher order visual perception, and she has a particular research interest in visual motion processing. She sees patients at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado Hospital outpatient pavilion located in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Pelak completed her medical degree in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, at Wayne State University School of Medicine and her residency in Neurology and fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Pelak’s research goals stem from her mission to bring discoveries from visual neuroscience directly to patient care, education, and medical investigation in order to advance treatments and understanding of disease mechanisms in neurodegeneration. Her goals currently include establishment of visual measures that can be used for early recognition of age-related neurodegenerative disease and to examine the visual system as a model for understanding why and how age-related neurodegenerative disease spreads throughout the brain over time. Ultimately, she hopes to translate the vast discoveries that have been made in the field of visual neuroscience to the clinics and to patient care for diseases that include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy Body Dementia, and for the Posterior Cortical Atrophy syndrome.
Dr. Pelak currently has ongoing studies related to Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), including The Colorado PCA BioRegistry study, which gathers clinical data, brain and retina imaging data, and biological specimens that will help to better characterize the PCA syndrome. Her other investigations include the assessment of vision and visuospatial function as an aid to the early diagnosis of pathogenic brain changes due to disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia. These studies serve patients by helping to identify the origin of specific visual brain symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy Body Dementia and lead to earlier diagnosis, while contributing to a better understanding of the disease mechanisms. This work will help explain the reason that neurodegenerative disease can start in focal brain regions, such as occurs in the PCA syndrome. By studying the visual system in this manner, we will learn how and why disease spreads throughout the brain and give us a chance at stopping the spread. Dr. Pelak feels it is exciting to be part of discoveries that will make a difference in the lives of my patients, and she looks forward to leading the way with innovative research that has a positive impact on these devastating disorders of aging.
Liu Y, Pelak VS, Van Stavern G, Moss, HE. (2020). Higher Cortical Dysfunction Presenting as Visual Symptoms in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Frontiers in Neurology, 11.
High B, Hixon AM, Tyler KL, Piquet AL, Pelak VS. (2020). Neurology and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Gathering Data for an Informed Response. Neurology. Clinical Practice, 10.
Martin Paez Y, Bennett JL, Subramanian PS, Pelak VS. Considerations for the Treatment of Inflammatory Neuro-Opthalmologic Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Neuroophthalmol. 2020 Sep;40(3):305-314. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000001016.
Olds JJ, Hills WL, Warner J, Falardeau J, Alasantro LH, Moster ML, Egan RA, Cornblath WT, Lee AG, Frishberg BM, Turbin RE, Katz DM, Charley JA, Pelak VS. Posterior Cortical Atrophy: Characteristics From a Clinical Data Registry. Front Neurol. 2020; 11:358. PMID: 32581988.
List of publications for Dr. Pelak can be found on Colorado PROFILES