The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has announced the addition of five new members to its principal advisory body, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The council includes scientists, physicians, and public representatives. It meets each year to review scientific applications and to advise the institute’s leadership on activities and policies impacting research programs.

In a news release issued by the organization, Walter Koroshetz, MD, NINDS acting director, states, “We are pleased to welcome these individuals to the NINDS’ council. Their extensive experience and diverse backgrounds will enrich the NINDS’ work to advance basic, translational, and clinical research in the neurosciences.”

The new council members include Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD, who is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Aurora, and in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, San Diego. Brooks-Kayal is also the Ponzio Family Chair in Pediatric Neurology at the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver. According to the release, she is internationally recognized for her research in the mechanisms of and new therapies for epilepsy and her expertise in clinical care for individuals with epilepsy.

The release states that Karen S. Chen, PhD, serves as the chief scientific officer and chief operating officer of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation in New York City. She oversees the full range of scientific and drug discovery programs and manages the activities at the SMA Foundation. Chen has more than 25 years of experience planning, directing, and conducting preclinical research as a senior research scientist and manager, the release says. She has headed a variety of departments and groups working on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neurological disorders.

Council member Timothy Coetzee, PhD, is the chief advocacy, services, and research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMMS) in New York. Coetzee has been active in multiple sclerosis (MS) advocacy work throughout his career. He leads the society’s federal and state activism programs and manages its investment in basic, clinical, and commercial research. He has also helped launch and served as president of Fast Forward, an initiative of the NMMS to speed the commercial development of new treatments for MS.

Beverly L. Davidson, PhD, serves as the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics and holds the Arthur V. Meigs Chair in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is also a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Davidson was the Roy J. Carver Chair in Biomedical Research at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, and vice chair for research in internal medicine. Her research focuses on inherited brain disorders and the development of novel therapies. She has received numerous awards, including a University of Iowa Carver Research Program of Excellence.

Rounding out the new council members is professor in the department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School, S. Lawrence Zipursky, PhD. Zipursky is also an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As a developmental neurobiologist, Zipursky researches the cellular rules and underlying molecular mechanisms by which neurons establish specific patterns of synaptic connections during development. Zipursky is a member of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Multi-Council Working Group. He has received numerous honors including election to the National Academy of Sciences.

[Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke]