Members of the Foundation’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) play an integral role in fulfilling that mission. As internationally acclaimed experts in their respective fields, SAB members are responsible for evaluating research proposals and making funding recommendations to the Davis Phinney Foundation Board of Directors that will increase our understanding of the challenges associated with living with Parkinson’s disease. SAB members participate in the selection and monitor the progress of all grants awarded by the Foundation. The diverse knowledge of SAB members, their deep personal commitment, their ability to foster high-level scientific investigation and their independent judgment are what make the Foundation research program highly effective. Every member of the SAB serves on a voluntary basis and are personally ineligible to receive research funding from the Foundation. Members of the SAB serve a two-year renewable term. We thank each of them for their time, energy and the critical expertise they provide.
Members of the Davis Phinney Foundation Science Advisory Board:
Timothy J. Collier, Ph.D. – Chair
Professor and Edwin A. Brophy Endowed Chair of Central Nervous System Disorders, Division of Translational Science and Molecular Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, and Director of the Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research at Michigan State University.
Michelle Burack, M.D., Ph.D.
Michelle Burack is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at University of Rochester in the Movement Disorders Division / National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence. She is the Clinical Director of URMC’s Deep Brain Stimulation program, through which she provides comprehensive, patient-centered clinical care for individuals with more advanced stages of Parkinson disease. She conducts basic neuroscience research focused on brain mechanisms underlying control of movement and behavior, and applied research using motion sensors to monitoring motor fluctuations in patients with PD. In addition to her academic role as an educator for medical professionals, she is very active in community education for patients and care partners, and serves on the board for the National Parkinson Foundation Greater Rochester chapter.
P. David Charles, M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology, Vice-Chairman for Education and Development, Assistant Dean for Admissions at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the Director of the Neurology Residency Program and the Movement Disorders Clinic and serves as an attending physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Charles’ research interests include the treatment of spasticity and cervical dystonia and he is currently leading the only clinical trial approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to test deep brain stimulation in people with early stage Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Charles is a member of the American Neurological Association, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, Board member of the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties, Chair of the Alliance for Patient Access, and Past-President of the Tennessee Academy of Neurology. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society and in 2007 received the CANDLE Award. Recipients are chosen based upon their positive impact on the lives of physicians-in-training, and are recognized by their students as examples of excellence in medical education. In 2007 and 2008 Dr. Charles received the Five Star Service Award placing him in the top 10% in the U.S. for overall quality of specialty medical care.
From 1997-98, Dr. Charles served as a Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate on the staff of the Labor Subcommittee for Public Health and Safety. In 1998 he studied deep brain stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Universitaire de Grenoble in Grenoble, France. In 2000 Dr. Charles was a nominee for the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District.
Dr. Charles graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering in 1986 with a B.S. cum laude in Computer Science and Mathematics, and earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1990. He did his internship in the department of Medicine and his residency in the department of Neurology at Vanderbilt. From 1993-94 he was Chief Resident in Neurology, and from 1994-95 he was a Fellow in Movement Disorders and Clinical Neurophysiology at Vanderbilt. In 1996, he completed a Health Care Management course at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, and in 1997 he completed the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Physician Educators at Harvard Medical School.
Lauren Costantini is an advisor to emerging life science and medical technology companies. She has 20+ years developing therapeutics for several indications, with an emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases. Her experience includes leading products from research through clinical, regulatory, and commercialization stages. She also plays a key role connecting her early-stage companies with potential partners, venture capital, and angel investors, as well as directing due diligence for in- and out-licensing activities. She is currently Vice President of Therapeutics and Device Development for CID4, President of LCC Consulting LLC, and holds board seats in several companies and non-profits. Previously she was Vice President at Accera where her team developed and launched an Alzheimer’s therapeutic, she was on faculty at Harvard Medical School, and was voted ‘Business Advisor of the Year’ 2011 by U Colorado TTO.
Beth Fisher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology, Keck School of Medicine at USC.
Dr. Fisher is the director of the Neuroplasticity and Imaging Laboratory primarily using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain-behavior relationships during motor skill learning and motor control in both non-diRABled individuals and individuals with neurologic disorders. Additionally, Dr. Fisher is the director of the University of Southern California/Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (USC/RLANRC) Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy. She previously worked at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center on the Adult Neurology and Brain Injury Services and continues to consult and teach nationally and internationally on current concepts for the treatment of adults with neurological disorders. During her years as a clinician and rehabilitation specialist, it was her greatest ambition to be a part of developing physical therapy interventions that would maximize neural and behavioral recovery in individuals suffering from pathological conditions affecting the nervous system. Towards this goal she is currently studying the effects of high-intensity exercise on functional recovery and brain repair in Parkinson’s disease using TMS and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) as markers of neuroplasticity.
John R. Sladek Jr., Ph.D.
Professor Sladek served as founding Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center from 2001 – 2006 where he provided oversight for over 3000 clinical trials and biomedical research for five schools and 42 Centers and Institutes. As Chief Research Officer he held oversight responsibility for $350M in annual research expenditures and created the vision for the Linda Crnic Institute for Developmental Disabilities. He has maintained an NIH-funded laboratory since 1974 that explores neural repair mechanisms for Parkinson’s disease. His first two of over 200 research publications appeared in the journal Science.
From 1982 – 1991 he chaired the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where he held the Kilian and Caroline Schmitt Chair. He next founded and chaired the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School from 1991-2001. He is past president of Chicago Chapters of Sigma Xi and The Society for Neuroscience, was Founding President of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair, and has presented over 300 invited lectures throughout the world.
He served as Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Neurology for 15 years and is credited with revitalizing the journal to become a leader in neural repair and regeneration. He served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Drug Abusei and recently completed his service as Chair of the Grants Review Group for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine which is responsible for awarding $3B for translational research. In 2006 he was elected as the sixth President of California Lutheran University and during his service the university enjoyed a record enrollment and surpassed all prior years in philanthropic support.
Professor Sladek received his B.A. from Carthage College, where he serves as a Trustee, his M.S. from Northwestern University School of Medicine, and his Ph.D. from the Chicago Medical School. He was chosen as a distingiushed alumnus by both Carthage College and The Chicago Medical School.
Diane Stephenson, Ph.D.
Dr. Diane Stephenson is a neuroscientist by training with 30 years combined experience in academic neuroscience and drug discovery. She is passionate about translational science and is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of therapies to treat diseases of the nervous system. Dr. Stephenson received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara, and her Ph.D. in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University. During her academic career, she focused her research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. In industry (Eli Lilly, Pharmacia and Pfizer), she contributed to identification and validation of novel targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Her research focused on mechanisms of neuroplasticity and neurorepair in animal models with attention to translational biomarkers. As an ambassador for public-private partnerships, she has initiated many external academic collaborations. Dr. Stephenson joined Critical Path Institute August 1, 2011 as Associate Director of the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD), a consortium of multidisciplinary stakeholders dedicated to accelerating drug development for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Lynn M. Taussig, M.D.
Dr. Taussig currently serves as Special Advisor to the Provost for the Life Sciences at the University of Denver, President/CEO, (Retired) and National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. He sits on the Board of Directors for Caring for Colorado Foundation. He has chaired four National Institutes of Health committees, and is a past Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Director, Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center.
“To have played a role, no matter how big or small, in improving the health of children” is the personal legacy he hopes he can leave behind. Dr. Taussig is the author of more than 180 scientific publications and six books and monographs. He is the recipient of 44 honors and awards from schools, universities and communities around the world, including the Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University School of Medicine, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society, the Kendig Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado BioScience Association and election into the Colorado Pulmonary Hall of Fame.
He has served on 44 national medical committees, 40 university-based committees and 28 community-service based committees. He has trained 21 people in medical fellowships, and has led nearly $5 million dollars in research as principal investigator through a variety of NIH-funded grants.
Dr. Taussig is a graduate of Harvard University and Washington University School of Medicine.