Howard Fillit, MD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Howard Fillit, MD, a geriatrician, neuroscientist and a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease, is the founding Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF). The ADDF’s mission is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging.
Dr. Fillit has had a distinguished academic medicine career at The Rockefeller University and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he is a clinical professor of geriatrics and medicine and professor of neurobiology. He is a co-author of more than 300 scientific and clinical publications, and is the senior editor of the leading international Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.
Previously, Dr. Fillit was the Corporate Medical Director for Medicare at New York Life, responsible for over 125,000 Medicare managed care members in five regional markets. Dr. Fillit has received several awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award for Lifetime Achievement. He also serves as a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, health care organizations and philanthropies. Throughout his career, he has maintained a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Carmela Abraham, PhD
Boston University School of Medicine
Carmela R. Abraham, PhD obtained her PhD in Neuroscience at Harvard University. She then moved to Boston University School of Medicine where she is Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics.
Her laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms leading to normal brain aging and the pathological processes that culminate in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). By utilizing the rhesus monkey as a model for understanding changes that occur during non-pathological aging her group discovered that the anti-aging protein Klotho is down regulated with age. Klotho is also significantly reduced in the AD brain but its function in brain was unknown. Dr. Abraham and her colleagues embarked on elucidating Klotho’s role in the CNS. The group discovered that Klotho protects neurons against various insults, including the neurotoxic amyloid beta peptide, and induces the maturation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells into mature, myelinating cells. This is particular important in multiple sclerosis (MS) where oligodendrocyte progenitor cells fail to mature and produce myelin to repair demyelinated axons.
As part of her translational research, Dr. Abraham identified small molecule compounds that enhance Klotho expression and plans to test them in mouse models of AD and MS. Dr. Abraham is the recipient of the Zenith and Temple awards from the Alzheimer’s Association and the Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium Award.
Aaron Carman, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Aaron Carman, PhD is the Assistant Director for Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. The mission of this program, started in March of 2012, is to provide a credible scientific voice to the general public, medical, and scientific communities in the evaluation and assessment of potential therapies to prevent and delay cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Dr. Carman trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he studied novel small-molecule therapeutics for tau-based neurodegeneration. His earlier postdoctoral training at Cornell University with Margaret Bynoe focused on manipulating blood-brain barrier permeability through adenosine receptor signaling as a novel CNS drug-delivery system. Dr. Carman earned his doctorate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics with Michael Lorenz at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston where he studied alternate carbon metabolism in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. He earned his BS in Microbiology from Kansas State University.
Dr. Carman has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Neuroscience and the Gerontological Society of America.
TAU TDP-43, Progranulin and Protein Clearance
Carol Colton, PhD
Duke University Medical Center
Carol A. Colton, PhD, is a Research Professor in the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center.
The Colton Lab has been actively involved in studying the brain’s immune response in the initiation and progression of brain disease. In particular, they have contributed and continue to contribute important data and concepts to the field by exploring the varied roles of microglia in neuroinflammation. Dr. Colton and her team were among the first to show that microglia are part of the brain’s immune system. The group’s studies helped to define the secretory and functional profile of microglia and demonstrated the importance of microglia to the local redox regulation of the brain environment. Importantly, Dr. Colton’s early studies using human microglia provided evidence for their similarity and for their differences to rodent microglia, leading to a better appreciation of immune differences when modeling human disease.
The Colton lab’s more recent work has focused on understanding immune changes and their impact during chronic inflammatory diseases in the brain such as in Alzheimer’s disease. This direction for their work stresses 2 basic principles; 1) the critical requirement for considering the temporal changes in inflammation that occur in chronic disease and 2) that immunosuppression is a major factor in the disease process. Using the dual concepts of immunosuppression and the inherent differences between human and rodent redox immune responses, they have developed a novel and important mouse model of AD that, for the first time, shows complete AD-like disease progression in mice. To date this mouse has yielded valuable and novel insights into the neurodegenerative disease process that leads to AD. Most importantly, the Colton Lab has now shown that key amino acid metabolic pathways in the brain are immune regulated in our mouse model of AD, and when activated during disease, lead to amino acid deprivation and subsequent cell death in neurons.
The group’s newest studies explore the mechanisms of onset of these immune changes that lead to brain deterioration.
Penny Dacks, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Penny Dacks, PhD, is the Director for Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the ADDF. Dr. Dacks is responsible for all aspects of this program, started in 2012 with the mission to evaluate, communicate and accelerate the development of scientific evidence for proposed strategies to promote health aging and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging.
As part of this mission, Cognitive Vitality (www.CognitiveVitality.org) was launched in early 2014 to provide an open resource to the public on the state-of-the-science behind any and all suggested preventative therapies. The program has internal evaluations on more than 120 potential preventative therapies and works to accelerate the development of prevention therapies with strategic grant funding, conferences, advisory panels and peer-reviewed scientific papers. Active areas of interest include epidemiological evidence on potential preventative treatments, validation of preventative treatments with short-term biomarker-based randomized trials, computational modeling and big-data approaches to predict therapeutic efficacy, crowd-sourcing of data and data analytics and the application of aging biology to therapeutic development.
Dr. Dacks trained in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Arizona, and Queen’s University (Canada) with individual fellowships from the National Institute of Health, the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the ARCS Foundation and the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation. She has authored over 18 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Gerontological Society of America, the Endocrine Society and the Association for Women in Science.
Translatable Biomarkers to Accelerate Clinical Development
Alpaslan Dedeoglu, MD, PhD
Boston University School of Medicine
Alpaslan Dedeoglu, MD, PhD, is Research Health Scientist and Director of Translational Neuro-therapeutics Laboratory at VA Boston Healthcare System and Associate Professor of Neurology at Boston University Medical School.
Dr. Dedeoglu obtained his medical degree from the Istanbul University in 1986. He then moved to Tucson for postgraduate training in Neuropharmacology at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center and received his PhD in Neuropharmacology from Marmara University in 1992. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, he moved to the VA and Boston University in 2000 where he is currently Research Health Scientist and Director of Translational Neurotherapeutics Laboratory at VA Boston Healthcare System and Associate Professor of Neurology at Boston University Medical School.
His major research interest is the use of animal models to test novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He uses an ample approach to assess the therapeutic effects on multiple outcome measures – behavior, immunohistochemistry, biochemical and neurochemical analyses. His preclinical trials also include magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine the neurochemical profile of brain tissue increasing the translational value of the studies.
Marta Del Campo Milan, PhD
VU University Medical Center
Marta Del Campo, PhD, is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Charlotte Teunissen at the Neurochemistry laboratory of the Clinical Chemistry Department at the VUMC. She received her BS in Biology and MS in Biotechnology from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain).
She completed her PhD under the European Neuroscience Campus Network and the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program within the Clinical Chemistry Department and Alzheimer’s Center at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam.
Dr. Del Campo’s research is focused on identifying novel potential protein biomarkers for the differential and early diagnosis of different neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. In addition, she is interested on understanding whether the novel biomarkers identified indicate abnormalities in specific molecular mechanisms and its role in the development of the different dementias.
Matthew Disney, PhD
The Scripps Research Institute
Matthew Disney, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, received his B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his PhD at the University of Rochester and completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH; Zürich, Switzerland). Matthew Disney, PhD, began his independent career in 2005 and moved to the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in 2010, where he is currently Professor. His laboratory is focused on understanding RNA-ligand interactions, and using this information to rationally design small molecules that modulate RNA function or toxicity from only sequence. His laboratory has recently reported success targeting RNA repeat expansions that cause incurable genetic disorders, including myotonic muscular dystrophy type 1, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in cellular and animal models of disease as well as various RNAs involved in cancer.
Dr. Disney has received various awards including the Camille & Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, the Eli Lily Award in Biological Chemistry, the David W. Robertson Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry, and the David Y. Gin New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society.
Lauren Friedman, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Lauren Friedman, PhD, is the Assistant Director of Scientific Programs at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) where she supports the management of the ADDF’s drug discovery portfolio by providing scientific and strategic review of preclinical drug discovery proposals and tracking program progress. Additionally, she manages the ADDF ACCESS program, which provides a virtual network of contract research organizations (CRO) and consultants, and offers educational resources on drug discovery and CRO selection and management.
Dr. Friedman completed her postdoctoral training at Columbia University where she studied modulators of autophagy in Alzheimer’s disease. She earned a PhD in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she studied molecular mechanisms underlying the development and degeneration of brain circuits involved in autism and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Friedman received a BS in Biopsychology from Tufts University. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, New York Academy of Sciences and the Association for Women in Science.
Neuroprotection, Mitochondrial Function and Synaptic Plasticity
Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, is Mount Sinai Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in New York City, and Chairman Emeritus of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Dr. Gandy is an international expert in the metabolism of the sticky substance called amyloid that clogs the brain in patients with Alzheimer’s. In 1989, Gandy and his team discovered the first drugs that could lower formation of amyloid.
Dr. Gandy has written more than 150 original papers, chapters and reviews on this topic. Dr. Gandy has received continuous NIH funding for his research on amyloid metabolism since 1986.
Dr. Gandy is a member of the Faculty of 1000 Biology and serves as a Consulting Editor for The Journal of Clinical Investigation. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards for the journals Public Library of Science-Medicine (PLoSM), Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Current Alzheimer Research. He is Associate Editor of the journals Molecular Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders.
Thota Ganesh, PhD
Emory University School of Medicine
Thota Ganesh, PhD, obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. After his postdoctoral studies at IIT-Bombay (India), University of Durham (UK) and Virginia Tech (USA), he began working as an Assistant Professor at Department of Pharmacology, Emory University.
Dr. Ganesh’s current research interests are to develop chemical solutions for biological problems. His current research focuses on developing small molecule agents to mitigate the inflammatory pathologies in neurodegenerative disease models, including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Ganesh is an author or co-author of more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the areas of medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology.
Gary Gibson, PhD
Weill Cornell Medical College
Gary E. Gibson, PhD, is Professor of Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College, the Brain and Mind Research Institute, Burke Medical Research Institute. His peer-reviewed publications include 166 research papers; 78 chapters and as edited a book based on a NY Academy of Sciences meeting on mitochondria.
His research has explored the role of mitochondria, metabolism and calcium in brain function and dysfunction. His studies have been directed toward better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in order to develop new therapies. His research strategy is to use autopsy brains and living cells from patients with AD to identify novel, clinically relevant abnormalities [e.g., abnormalities calcium, thiamine (vitamin B1) dependent enzymes and mitochondrial enzymes] that will provide a foundation to understand the mechanism of changes in neurons. He then models the abnormalities with proteins, cells and animals to understand the underlying mechanisms and to develop new therapeutic approaches. Thiamine dependent enzymes are diminished in tissues from AD patients, and interfering with thiamine dependent enzymes can exacerbate plaque formation, phosphorylation of tau and the calcium changes that occur in cells from AD patients or animal models of AD. Thus, reversing these changes is an attractive therapeutic target. The goal of our research is to understand what causes these changes, their implications for brain disease and to develop strategies to reverse them.
Philip Haydon, PhD
Philip Haydon is President of GliaCure and the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and Chair in the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts. In 1994 Phil Haydon’s laboratory discovered that astrocytes can release the chemical transmitter glutamate in response to receptor-induced Ca2+ elevations and that this glial-mediated signal can activate neighboring neurons.
In 1999 he coined the expression “the tripartite synapse” to recognize the important role that astrocytes play in tuning and modulating synaptic transmission. More recently Phil has begun studies on microglia and has emphasized identification of the mechanisms regulating phagocytosis by this subtype of glial cell. He has discovered the importance of reactivation of the microglial phagocytotic pathway that normally declines in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to his academic background Phil Haydon has significant experience in commercial enterprises. He was a founding partner in three small businesses, including Prairie Technologies, Inc.
Christian Holscher, PhD
Professor Holscher is Professor of Neuroscience at the department of Biomedical Sciences and Life Sciences at Lancaster University, England. He did his first degree in Physiology at the University of Tübingen in Germany and continued his career in England, working at several universities such as Oxford University and the Open University. His research is focused on the development of novel drug treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He investigates the interaction between diabetes and neurodegeneration, which led him to discover the neuroprotective properties of incretin analogues, which are currently on the market to treat type 2 diabetes. His research techniques include transgenic animal models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to profile new drug candidates in preclinical studies. One of the drugs profiled by him is now in clinical trials in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (collaboration with Imperial College at the Hammersmith Hospital, London). Further trials in patients with Parkinson’s disease are starting (Cedar-Sinai Hospital in L.A., USA).
He has published 120 scientific papers and has authored two books. His research has been funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, the Alzheimer Research UK, the Cure Parkinson’s Trust UK, the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation, Research Council grants and The Wellcome Trust.
Eric Hostetler, PhD
Eric Hostetler, PhD, is the head of the Translational Imaging Biomarker organization at Merck, which utilizes a broad range of imaging modalities to discover, qualify, and employ imaging biomarkers to aid drug discovery and development.
Dr. Hostetler received his PhD in Organic Chemistry with Dr. John Katz’s group at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1998, where his dissertation focused on novel chemistry methods for incorporation of PET radioisotopes. He continued in the field of nuclear imaging with a postdoctoral appointment at the Washington University St. Louis School of Medicine in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.
Dr. Hostetler subsequently joined Merck’s Imaging Department in 2000. Since then he has had various roles at Merck, including director of the PET tracer group, where he contributed to the discovery of novel PET tracers for 12 different targets, primarily for the purpose of guiding neuroscience drug development.
Eloise Hudry, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Eloise Hudry, PhD, is an Instructor in Neurology at the Harvard Medical School in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease. She focuses her research on newly developed viral vectors to unravel the pathological processes in play in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). She is particularly interested in understanding how the various isoforms of Apolipoprotein E impact the disease, with a specific focus on evaluating the feasibility and benefit associated with APOE2-based gene therapy strategies.
Dr. Hudry completed her doctorate degree in France in the lab of Professor Aubourg (Rene Descartes University, Paris 5), an expert of gene therapy approaches to treat genetic neurodegenerative disorders. Following this, Dr. Hudry joined the lab of Professor Hyman at Harvard Medical School in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND).
During her post-doctoral training from 2009 to 2013, she combined advanced microscopy techniques (multiphoton imaging, array tomography, in vivo microdialysis) with adeno-associated vector (AAV) gene transfer strategies to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying amyloid pathology and neuronal function changes associated with AD in the brain of transgenic mouse models. She now leads a small APOE group within the Alzheimer’s Research Unit at HMS/MIND.
Martin Jefson, PhD
Rodin Therapeutics Inc.
Martin Jefson, PhD, is a consultant to Atlas Venture and serves as Chief Scientific Officer of two discovery-stage Atlas portfolio companies, Rodin Therapeutics Inc., focused in the area of behavioral epigenetics, and Ataxion, which is pursuing novel small-molecule ion channel modulators to treat rare, debilitating, and underserved neurologic diseases.
Trained as an organic chemist, Dr. Jefson did his thesis work with Professor Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University and received his PhD in 1982. Immediately afterwards, he joined Pfizer Central Research in Groton CT where he spent the next 27 years. Early in that tenure, Dr. Jefson worked in the Veterinary Medicine Discovery Chemistry group, collaborating to co-invent the fluoroquinolone antibacterial danofloxacin mesylate (Advocin), which is approved for use worldwide for the treatment of respiratory disease in cattle and poultry. In 1994, he moved to the CNS Discovery Research group as a Manager of Medicinal Chemistry, and held numerous positions of increasing responsibility over the next 15 years. In 2001, Dr. Jefson was named the head of CNS Discovery Research for Groton, and in 2007 he was appointed the head of CNS Research for Pfizer. Between 1994 and 2009, more than 40 development candidates were discovered by teams that he lead or managed, including many prototype molecules with novel mechanisms of action. Some of these compounds are still active in development, and one of them, the nicotinic receptor partial agonist varenicline (Chantix) is approved worldwide as an aid to smoking cessation.
Since leaving Pfizer in 2009, Dr. Jefson has worked as a pharmaceutical research consultant, supporting the efforts of several venture capital partnerships and more than 20 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Xiong Jiang, PhD
Georgetown University Medical Center
Xiong Jiang, PhD, received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Biophysics, PhD in Experimental Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience), and postdoctoral training in Computational Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center.
His research interests are to use neuroimaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain function and dysfunction. During recent years, his research has been focusing on developing novel fMRI techniques that can detect and assess neuronal dysfunction in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Chien-Liang Glenn Lin, PhD
Ohio State University
Dr. Chien-Liang Glenn Lin completed his doctorate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He performed postdoctoral research in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Lin joined the Department of Neuroscience at the Ohio State University in 1999, where he directed his research to molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and epilepsy.
His recent research focuses on the role of glutamate transporter EAAT2 in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and function and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. He has published numerous papers in major journals and holds four patents.
Mohamed Naguib, MD
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Dr. Naguib is currently a professor of Anesthesiology at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio and a staff anesthesiologist, Department of General Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Naguib is certified from both the American Board of Anesthesiology and the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland. Dr. Naguib held several positions as a tenured professor at both the University of Iowa and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has served on several Editorial boards and is currently an Associate Editor at Anesthesia & Analgesia. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Anaesthetic Pharmacology (ISAP) and he is also currently the Vice President.
Dr. Naguib’s major research focus has centered on cannabinoid receptor modulators and drug development. His research on epigenetic regulation of genes involved in cognition, and his recent data (including findings recently published in Nature Neuroscience), have contributed to an understanding of epigenetic and molecular mechanisms involved in the modulation of learning and memory process in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Naguib is currently involved with a development program for MDA7, a small novel neuroprotective molecule which acts on the cannabinoid type 2 receptors on microglia in the CNS. MDA7 decreases neuroinflammation and subsequent neuronal injury in a variety of animal models of different conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and neuropathic pain. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is currently funding Dr. Naguib’s drug development program.
Salvatore Oddo, PhD
Banner Sun Health Research Insitute
Salvatore Oddo, PhD, is the Principal Investigator of a grant from the National Institute of Health, which is focused on elucidating the role of the mammalian target of rapamycin on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. He received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Catania, Italy, and his graduate degree in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory from the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Oddo’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease. Using animal models, he showed that dysfunction signaling transduction pathways that are critical for learning and memory play a pivotal role in the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Oddo has published more than 70 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals. In recognition of his contribution to the aging and Alzheimer’s disease fields, he has been the recipient of several national and international awards.
Paolo Pevarello, PhD
Paolo Pevarello is a medicinal chemist with more than 30-years of experience pharmaceutical industry and in public research. He has worked in many different roles with large and small pharmaceutical companies. He and his teams have been instrumental in the discovery of several clinical-stage compounds in the CNS and Oncology therapeutic areas. He is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and patents.
Nathalie Pochet, PhD
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Nathalie Pochet, PhD, is an independent investigator in the Program for Trans-lational Neuropsychiatric Genomics within the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Pochet has trained in the fields of engineering in computer science, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence, and is an expert in genome and transcriptome analysis. As a postdoctoral fellow at the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard and at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, she made groundbreaking discoveries in fundamentals of evolution, in the rare Mendelian kidney disease MCKD1, and in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
Ashish Raj, PhD
Dr. Ashish Raj is the Founder and CEO of BrainWire Technologies LLC, an early stage startup company operating in the dementia diagnostics and prognostics space. He is also Assistant Professor in Radiology and Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he directs the IDEAL laboratory and runs a busy research lab working on dementia, Alzheimer and the imaging of neurological disorders. Dr. Raj gained his BE degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and PhD from Cornell University, both in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was a faculty member at UCSF in 2006-08 and since 2008 he has been a faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College.
He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal equivalent papers, has one issued patent and one pending patent. He has obtained three NIH grants (R01, R21, P41). His R01 on dementia modeling was selected for the prestigious EUREKA award which supports highly innovative but risky research, and only 10-13 are awarded nationally each year. He is the inventor of the technology proposed to be developed and validated in this project.
Richard Ransohoff, MD, PhD
Richard M. Ransohoff MD is Senior Research Fellow and VP, Neuroimmunology (from October, 2014) at Biogen and Adjunct Professor of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He completed residencies in Internal Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center (Cleveland) and Neurology (Cleveland Clinic). He performed post-doctoral research work in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology with Timothy W. Nilsen. From 1984 – 2014 he was a Staff Member at the Cleveland Clinic.
He has research experience in neuroscience, neuroimmunology and neuroinflammation. He lists more than 380 scientific articles and reviews in PubMed, and edited four books. He has trained >70 students and post-doctoral fellows who now hold positions in both academics and industry. He’s served as regular member of NIH Study Sections (1995-2000; 2010-2016), and as the Chair of Scientific Review Panel B, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2003-08); External Advisor, Program Project on Alexander’s Disease (2001-present); External Advisor, MS Lesion Project (National MS Society) (2003-2011); Steering Committee, NIH Therapeutics Development Program for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (2003-2012); External Advisor, European Union Project on “Mechanisms of Brain Inflammation” (2004-2006); Editorial Board, Journal of Neuroimmunology (1998-present); Section Editor, Journal of Immunology (2002-2006); Advisory Editorial Board, Trends in Immunology (2003-present); Highlights Advisory Board, Nature Reviews Immunology (2005-2012), Associate Editor of Neurology® (2006-2014) and founding Editor of N2 Neurology®: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation.
He received the John J. Dystel Award for MS Research from the National MS Society and American Academy of Neurology (2012) and was named in the “Best Doctors” compendium from 1996-2014 for his expertise in patient care of individuals with MS. Among other awards, he is a Fellow of the AAAS, a member of the Association of American Physicians, a Fellow of the American Neurological Association for which he delivered the F.E. Bennett Memorial Lectureship (2009).
Diana Shineman, PhD
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Diana Shineman, PhD is the Director for Scientific Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, where she develops and manages the Foundation’s drug discovery and development grant programs and strategic initiatives. Combining scientific and business expertise, the ADDF manages its research funding portfolio to balance risk, stage of development and drug target mechanism of action, ensuring that grants meet key milestones before securing follow-on funding. As a measure of success, projects funded by the ADDF have gone on to garner nearly $2 billion in follow-on funding. The ADDF also works strategically with foundations, government and industry partners to tackle unmet needs in the field. As an example of such an initiative, Dr. Shineman led an interdisciplinary effort to standardize animal model study design to improve research efficiency and translatability.
Diana joined the ADDF in 2008. She earned a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania working in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research led by Drs. Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski. She also worked as an Editorial Intern for the Journal of Clinical Investigation and was an active member of the Penn Biotechnology Group. Diana received a B.A. in Biology with a Nutrition concentration from Cornell University, where she was named a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholar.
In addition to maintaining various professional memberships, Diana has also authored numerous articles and peer-reviewed publications.
Apolipoproteins and Neuroinflammation
Scott Sneddon, PhD, JD
Sharp Edge Labs
Scott Sneddon, PhD, JD is President and CEO at Sharp Edge Labs, a preclinical drug development company. Dr. Sneddon received his undergraduate BPhil. degree at the Pennsylvania State University in Molecular Biophysics, his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Chemistry & Biophysics and his JD degree from the School of Law at Columbia University. Following his graduate work, Dr. Sneddon joined the New Leads Drug Discovery group at Pfizer Central Research where he helped build the structure-based design and structural chemistry groups. At Pfizer, Dr. Sneddon was part of the group that developed Lipinski’s “Rules of Five”, was an early pioneer in high throughput screening, early-ADME/PK, combinatorial chemistry and combinatorial library generation and molecule diversity assessment. He was engaged in all phases of drug discovery and preclinical development across Pfizer’s therapeutics areas.
Dr. Sneddon left Pfizer to co-found the Drug Discovery Program at Genzyme in Cambridge Massachusetts where he oversaw medicinal chemistry and in-vitro biology (including assay development and high throughput screening). During his 10 years with the Drug Discovery Group his group implemented several dozen cellular high throughput screens, identified leads, and progress compounds into the clinic in areas including Multiple Sclerosis, Transplant Rejection, Cystic Fibrosis, Infectious Disease and Cancer.
Following Law School, Dr. Sneddon practiced law at a large downtown Boston Law Firm, specializing in Technology Companies and Venture Capital Financing. He later developed an Intellectual Property Practice and is a licensed patent attorney. Dr. Sneddon joined Sharp Edge Labs in 2011 as its CEO, and has been building the company to become a leader in the area of protein trafficking, and especially the development of trafficking assays for drug discovery. Sharp Edge Labs has discovery programs in Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal Dementia/Alzheimer’s and Cystic Fibrosis.
Eugenia Trushina, PhD
Eugenia Trushina, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester. She received her doctoral degree in organic chemistry from Saratov State University in Russia. Dr. Trushina completed her postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester where she worked with Drs. C. McMurray, R. Pagano and M. McNiven studying mechanisms of multiple neurodegenerative diseases including Huntington’s (HD) and Alzheimer’s diseases (AD).
Dr. Trushina’s research program is focused on the revealing early molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration the role of mitochondria in particular. Her current research projects involve the development of new mitochondria-targeted therapeutic approaches and metabolomic-based biomarkers for early disease diagnosis.
Dr. Trushina is a recipient of the NIH, BrightFocus, GHR, ADDF and Mayo Clinic Research Awards.