Cenk Ayata, M.D.
Professor, Department of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Ayata is a vascular and critical care neurologist, and a clinician-scientist engaged in translational neurovascular research in brain injury, cerebral small vessel disease, and migraine, for almost 20 years. Dr. Ayata received his MD degree from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1991. Following a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Prof. Michael A. Moskowitz at MGH, Boston, he completed his residency training in neurology at Tufts University, Boston, under the mentorship of Prof. Allan H. Ropper, and a clinical fellowship in stroke and neurocritical care at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, under the mentorship of Profs. Walter J. Koroshetz and Lee H. Schwamm. His laboratory uses electrophysiological and multimodal optical imaging techniques in animal models of ischemic or hemorrhagic brain injury, as well as migraine, to dissect pathophysiology and test therapeutic interventions. His work has been supported by the NIH, AHA, Leducq Foundation, industry, private non-profit foundations and philanthropy. In over 160 peer-reviewed publications, his most notable contributions have been on spreading depolarizations in ischemic stroke and migraine, as well as preclinical testing of stroke therapeutics.
Kyra Becker, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and prior International Stroke Conference Chair
University of Washington
Kyra Becker MD is a Professor Emeritus in Neurology as the University of Washington in Seattle. She is a vascular neurologist and transnational scientist who has studied the contribution of the immune response to ischemic brain injury and stroke recovery. Dr. Becker has been involved in bench to bedside to bench research and has participated in several clinical trials evaluating the effects of immunomodulation on stroke outcome.
Marion S. Buckwalter, MD, PhD
Associate Professor Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery
Stanford Medical School
Dr. Buckwalter is an Associate Professor in the departments of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery at Stanford Medical School, and a Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. She is board certified in Neurology and Neurocritical Care and also works in the Neurologic Intensive Care Unit at Stanford, where she takes care of people who have had strokes and other neurologic diseases. Her laboratory focuses on neuroinflammation and stroke outcomes. She developed the first mouse model of delayed post-stroke cognitive impairment after stroke, and current projects focus on better understanding underlying mechanisms in mice and humans. She is also interested in the intersection of vascular risk factors such as age and obesity on neuroinflammation and stroke outcomes, and on how brain astrocytes and microglia orchestrate the neuroinflammatory response to stroke.
S. Tom Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor & Chair, Department of Neurology
Thomas Carmichael is a neurologist and neuroscientist in the Departments of Neurology and of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Carmichael is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, co-Director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Center and co-Director of the Regenerative Medicine Theme in the David Geffen School of Medicine. He has active laboratory and clinical interests in stroke and neurorehabilitation and how the brain repairs from injury. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1993 and 1994, and completed a Neurology residency at Washington University School of Medicine, serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Carmichael was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at UCLA from 1998-2001. He has been on the UCLA faculty since 2001. Dr. Carmichael’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural repair after stroke and other forms of brain injury. This research focuses on the processes of axonal sprouting and neural stem cell and progenitor responses after stroke, and on neural stem cell transplantation. Dr. Carmichael is an attending physician on the General Neurology and outpatient clinical services at UCLA. Dr. Carmichael has published important papers on stroke recovery that have defined mechanisms of plasticity and repair. These include the fact that the stroke produces partially damage circuits that limit recovery, but can be restored to normal functioning with newly applied experimental drugs. His work has identified a novel brain “growth program” that is activated by stroke and leads to the formation of new connections. These studies have also identified how this growth program changes with age, and how specific molecules in the aged brain block the formation of new connections and of recovery. This and other work has led to new directions in stroke therapeutics, including therapies with stem cell and tissue engineering applications. Dr. Carmichael is in the midst of stroke stem cell development applications with the FDA and with biotechnology companies.
Gary Gage, PE, MBA
CEO of Stream Biomedical
Gary is an industry veteran with experience leading product development and commercialization efforts for a range of medical products, including those regulated as biologics/drugs, tissue and devices. He has implemented the product development process, implemented the strategic planning process, managed the product pipeline and led the intellectual property strategy for multiple companies. He has been intimately involved in regulatory strategy development and submission preparations, including Pre-INDs, INDs, 510(k)s, pre-submissions and CE mark dossiers. He has been intimately involved in the design of preclinical research studies, FDA clinical studies through Phase 3 and post-market clinical studies. Gary holds over 20 patents worldwide. His experience includes stints at both large companies (J&J, Abbott Labs, Medtronic) and entrepreneurial/startup companies. He has negotiated sales and acquisitions of clinical-stage and commercial programs, and was the R&D member of the senior staff of a neurosurgical company that was acquired by Medtronic for $280M. He is currently the CEO of Stream Biomedical.
Eng H. Lo, PhD
Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience
Eng H. Lo received a BS in engineering at Yale, a PhD in biophysics from Berkeley, and completed a neuroscience fellowship at Stanford. In 1991, Dr. Lo joined the Massachusetts General Hospital where he is currently Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at Harvard.
Louise McCullough, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair: Department of Neurology & Vice-chair International Stroke Conference
Dr. Louise McCullough is a physician-scientist and a practicing vascular neurologist with clinical expertise in sex/gender disparities, stroke prevention, acute stroke treatments and outcome assessment. She is well recognized for her work in cerebral vascular disease and is known for her research identifying sex differences in cell death pathways during stroke, which have now been shown to be a major factor in the response to ischemic insult. Working closely with the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), she was instrumental in the National Institute of Health’s requirement to include female animals in basic and translational studies. Among Dr. McCullough’s many honors and awards are the prestigious National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and the Inaugural American Heart Association (AHA) Outstanding Stroke Research Mentor Award. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience and medical degree from the University of Connecticut. She continued her training at Johns Hopkins completing a neurology residency in 2000 followed by a fellowship in cerebrovascular disease and stroke (2000-2002). After completing her training, she joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital and began her translational research career. She became an Instructor and then an Assistant Professor in Neurology at Hopkins. Dr. McCullough relocated to The University of Connecticut Health Center in 2004 and over the next eight years rose to the rank of Professor. She became the Director of Stroke Research and Education at Hartford Hospital, and developed one of the largest stroke centers in New England. In 2015, she relocated to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston as the Chair of Neurology and Chief of Neurology at Memorial Hermann Hospital-TMC.
Mary Pellymounter Ph.D.
Program Director in the Division of Translational Research
Mary Pelleymounter is a Program Director in the Division of Translational Research at NINDS. She leads the Biomarker Development Program at NINDS, and is a scientific project manager for the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics program. She has over 25 years of experience in scientific research and over 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development. Mary Ann’s scientific training is in the field of behavioral neuroscience with a focus on age-related cognitive dysfunction, neurodegeneration and neuropharmacology. She received her PhD at the University of Colorado and conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) in the laboratory of Dr. Michela Gallagher. Following her post-doctoral work, Dr. Pelleymounter focused her research on drug discovery and development in the therapeutic areas of neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatry until the mid-1990s when she shifted her research emphasis to obesity and metabolic disease therapeutics. Since that time, Dr. Pelleymounter moved to scientific leadership roles, directing in vivo pharmacology at Neurocrine Biosciences and leading the biology drug discovery effort for obesity therapeutics at Bristol Myers Squibb. During Dr. Pelleymounter’s tenure as Director of Obesity Therapeutics, her department progressed multiple compounds into clinical development and helped to restructure the focus of their drug discovery efforts to better complement the existing efforts in diabetes and metabolic disease. Dr. Pelleymounter has over 60 published original research articles, reviews and book chapters, is the author of multiple published patents relating to the discovery and use of leptin and has received numerous research grants and awards in the fields of cognition, aging and neuropsychiatry.
Miguel Perez-Pinzon, Ph.D.
Processor and Vice-Chair & Department of Neuroscience
U. Miami, Chair International Stroke Conference
Dr. Perez-Pinzon is the Peritz Scheinberg Professor of Neurology and Vice-Chair for Basic Science at the Department of Neurology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Perez-Pinzon directs the Peritz Scheinberg Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories at the University of Miami. His research is focused on studying brain metabolism in pathological states. Specifically, his research expertise is in the area of cerebral ischemia, which results from cardiac arrest or a stroke. Different directions have emerged from his studies, which encompass the areas of vascular, mitochondrial, synaptic and cognitive dysfunction that ensue following cerebral ischemia. Over the last 21 years, his laboratory has investigated the signaling pathways that lead to neuroprotection against cerebral ischemia following ischemic preconditioning (IPC). He has been studying compounds such as resveratrol (a polyphenol found in red wine) and certain chemicals that activate protein kinase c isoforms to pharmacologically precondition in vivo and in vitro to lessen ischemia-induced neuronal damage. Another area of intensive research in his group is that of mitochondrial dysfunction which ensues following stroke or cardiac arrest. His group has had significant contributions on the signaling pathways that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Another important area of research by his group is that of the effect of Physical Exercise on cognitive improvements following stroke and cardiac arrest in animal models.