The Syndrome Cast


Dr. Patrick Barnes

Dr. Patrick Barnes is a Stanford Medical School professor of radiology and the chief of Pediatric Neuroradiology at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Barnes is the co-founder and member of both hospitals’ Child Abuse Task Force and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Team. Previously, Dr. Barnes taught at Harvard Medical School. He has published extensively about the neuroradiological imaging of child abuse and how the so-called “shaken baby syndrome” symptoms may be indicative of many different diseases and medical conditions.


Dr. John Plunkett

Dr. John Plunkett is a forensic pathologist and specialist in child abuse and injury. Dr. Plunkett worked as a pathologist and director of education at what is now Minnesota’s Regina Medical Center in Hastings and spent nearly a decade as Hennepin County’s deputy medical examiner where his pathological findings and testimony were often used in court both for the prosecution and defense. Dr. Plunkett was one of the first physicians in the country to question the scientific validity of shaken baby syndrome. He has done groundbreaking, internationally recognized research on fatal pediatric head injuries caused by short distance falls. He and his wife live on a geriatric horse farm in rural Minnesota.


Dr. Ron Uscinski

Dr. Ronald Uscinski is a neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at Georgetown Medical School and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He treats patients at a number of D.C. area medical centers, including Georgetown University Hospital. A renowned critic of shaken baby syndrome, Dr. Uscinski’s mentor was Dr. Ayub Ommaya, a neurosurgeon and biomechanical engineer whose research was used as the scientific basis for the syndrome. Both doctors testified for the defense in the sensational Nanny Louise Woodward trial in Boston in 1997. Dr. Uscinski has published articles and made media appearances about the scientific problems with shaken baby syndrome since that trial.


Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer

Deborah Tuerkheimer is a law professor at Northwestern Law School in Chicago where she teaches and writes about criminal law, evidence and the intersection of law and science. Prior to Northwestern, Tuerkheimer was a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago. She is the author of “Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Justice,” which was published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. Prof. Tuerkheimer clerked for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Jay Rabinowitz and also worked as a domestic violence prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard College and her law degree from Yale.


Professor Bennett Gershman

Bennett Gershman is a law professor at Pace Law School in New York and has taught as a visiting professor at Cornell Law School and Syracuse Law School. While in private practice, Prof. Gershman specialized in criminal defense. A former prosecutor from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, he is the author of a number of articles and books about prosecutorial and judicial ethics. For four years, Gershman served a state prosecutor in New York investigating corruption in the judicial system. He is one of the country’s leading experts on prosecutorial misconduct.


Former Investigative Reporter Jim Okerblom

Jim Okerblom is a former investigative reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune who has won many honors for his journalism. In the early 90s, Okerblom’s award-winning investigative series about errors in San Diego’s child welfare system and the effects those mistakes had on area families led to hearings in Congress and civil grand jury proceedings. Several families profiled in Okerblom’s reporting sued the county after they were wrongly criminally prosecuted and settled for millions of dollars. Okerblom did some of the country’s best reporting on the satanic ritual abuse hysteria and how a San Diego children’s hospital helped fuel the panic for the entire country.

The Syndrome Crew


Director, Editor, Producer

Filmmaker Meryl Goldsmith produced and directed THE SYNDROME, which Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios/Freestyle Digital Media acquired and released on demand everywhere. Meryl is an executive producer of the forthcoming documentary LOVE GILDA and co-executive producer of A WOMAN, A PART, Maggie Siff’s first starring role, which Strand Releasing bought and released on Showtime and Netflix. She is honored to have been a guest speaker at Twin Cities Film Fest, The Cato Institute and law schools as well as a judge for Interrobang Film Festival. She is based in Los Angeles.



Researcher, Co-Editor, Producer

Susan Goldsmith graduated with Honors from the University of Michigan where she studied writing. Later, Goldsmith went on to study the teaching of writing at Columbia University. She’s worked as a staff writer at New Times Los Angeles and as daily reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News, she was on the paper’s OJ Simpson reporting team. Most recently, Goldsmith worked as a full time investigative reporter at The Oregonian in Portland. She speaks Spanish fluently and has reported several investigative stories in Mexico. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

"Computer Chess" Premiere - 2013 Sundance Film Festival


Director of Photography

Matthias Grunsky is a cinematographer who is best known for his work on US independent movies, especially his work for director Andrew Bujalski. Born in Vienna, Grunsky started making Super 8 films at the age of 10 with the camera he got from his father, who was a cameraman and director for Austrian television. In 1998 he attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles for a two year cinematography program. After film school, Grunsky began working with Andrew Bujalski with whom he shot his first movie Funny Ha Ha in 2001. They have worked together ever since. For the movie Computer Chess he was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Film Independent Spirit Awards 2014.



Associate Producer, Post-Production Consultant

Born and raised in Mumbai, Sathe received his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he majored in Film and Video Studies (High Honors), and Global Media and Culture. He has received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA, IFP, Film Independent, Sundance Institute to name a few. Sathe has an MFA-Film Degree from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in New York. Shrihari Sathe produced It Felt Like Love which world premiered at 2013 Sundance Film Festival and 2013 International Film Festival Rotterdam to great reviews.



Sound Recordist/Mixer

Patrick is a production sound mixer / location sound recordist based out of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. He has experience recording sound for television, film, commercials, documentaries, corporate videos, and web content. Patrick went to ASU with a national merit scholarship – after a brief stint in the Physics department (for Astronomy) he ended up moving to the journalism school, The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he received a B.S. in Journalism with a concentration in Media Production.



Post-Production Supervisor, First Assistant Editor

Nida Ball has been working as an Assistant Editor for TV and Film in Los Angeles since 2010.  Her passion for post production has lead her to successful work on television shows such as NatGeo’s “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” MTV’s “The Real World,” and Lifetime’s “Project Runway.” Her work in film include award-winning independent features in comedy (“Come Together”), drama (“Mary Marie”), and documentary (“Lost For Life”).  Initially, she joined the post team for “The Syndrome” documentary as an Assistant Editor.  Her drive to experience other areas of post has later lead her to the position of Post Production Supervisor.  Nida is currently a member of the Television Academy, and the Motion Picture Editors Guild.