Scientific Advisors

Karoly Nikolich, Ph.D.

Chairman of the Advisory Board

Dr. Nikolich led Genentech’s entry into neuroscience during the 1980s and led and participated in the development of numerous protein therapeutics. He was Vice President of Research at Lynx Therapeutics, co-founder of AGY Therapeutics, Amnestix, Neurofluidics, Chase Pharmaceuticals, Circuit Therapeutics, and Alkahest. He has served on the boards and scientific advisory boards at a number of neurotherapeutics and biotech companies, as well as investment funds. Dr. Nikolich is a graduate of Eotvos University in Budapest and worked as postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University and UCSF before joining Genentech. He has been a Consulting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School. He has served as a key advisor for Neuropore Therapies since 2011. Dr. Nikolich currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Alkahest, Inc.

Lennart Mucke, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Mucke is the Director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease. He is also the Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and a Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He has joint appointments in UCSF’s Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences, and Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Graduate Training Programs and teaches as an attending physician in neurology at San Francisco General Hospital.

Dr. Mucke is a graduate of the Georg-August University (Magna Cum Laude) and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Neurobiology) in Göttingen, Germany. He trained in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and in neuroimmunology and neurovirology at The Scripps Research Institute, where he was subsequently appointed to the faculty. He was recruited to the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF in 1996.

Dr. Mucke’s research focuses on processes that result in memory loss and other major neurological deficits, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. He has generated informative experimental models of these conditions and used them to identify novel strategies to prevent neurological decline. As the founding Director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, he has created a leading program for research and training in disease-focused neuroscience.

Dr. Mucke is a member of the American Neurological Association, the Association of American Physicians and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. He has served on the National Advisory Council on Aging for the National Institutes of Health and is a member of the Senate of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).  

Awards and honors Dr. Mucke has received for his accomplishments include the Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology, the MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research, the Kalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award and the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Pacesetter Award from the ARCS Foundation, a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, and an Award for Excellence in Direct Teaching and Mentoring from the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators.

Joseph McCracken, D.V.M., M.S.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. McCracken works with small and large biopharmaceutical companies on the design and implementation of corporate strategy and business development initiatives. He was formerly the Vice President and Global Head of Business Development & Licensing for Roche Pharma, where he was responsible for Roche Pharma’s global in-licensing and out-licensing activities.

Prior to joining Roche Pharma, Dr. McCracken held the position of Vice President, Business Development at Genentech for more than 10 years. At Genentech he was responsible for all business development activities at the Company, including the identification and negotiation of collaboration and licensing agreements with academic institutions, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies throughout the world. Dr. McCracken returned to Genentech in 2000 after a seven-year absence, during which he held positions as Vice President of Technology Licensing and Alliances at Aventis, and Vice President of Worldwide Business and Technology Development at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer S.A. During his earlier time with Genentech, Dr. McCracken served in several capacities, culminating in positions as Director of Business Development and Representative Director of Genentech Ltd., Genentech’s wholly owned subsidiary in Japan.

Dr. McCracken holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, a Master of Science in Pharmacology and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Jeffery Kelly, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Kelly received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and performed post-doctoral research at The Rockefeller University in the area of chemistry and biology. Dr. Kelly is the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of Molecular and Experimental Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute. His research focuses on the chemistry and biology of protein folding, function and maintenance and he continues to develop novel therapeutic strategies for diseases associated with compromised proteostasis. He co-founded FoldRx Pharmaceuticals along with Dr. Susan Lindquist, and developed the first regulatory agency-approved drug Tamfidis (Vyndaqel™) that slows the progression of the human amyloid disease familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy.

David Sulzer, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Sulzer is a Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Pharmacology at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York Psychiatric Institute. He received his Ph.D from the Department of Biology at Columbia University.

Dr. Sulzer’s lab (www.sulzerlab.org ) is involved in research devoted to understanding the synapses of the basal ganglia, particularly in investigating how synapses of the cortex, striatum, and dopamine neurons are selected to underlie learning and decision making; and elucidating the causes of diseases that produce disorders of the basal ganglia, including Parkinson’s Huntington’s, drug dependence, autism and schizophrenia. Dr. Sulzer has authored over 150 publications in the field of dopamine and basal ganglia synaptic physiology and disease.

Karl Kieburtz, M.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Kieburtz is chair of the FDA Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee and sits on the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Clinical Research Subcommittee, the International Executive Committee of the Movement Disorders Society (MDS), the Board of Directors for the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics (ASENT), and the Council of the American Neurological Association (ANA).

Dr. Kieburtz’s research interests focus on treating neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. He is also interested in trials of potential neuroprotective agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. He has active or prior NIH funding as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for multi-center trials in PD, HD, and HIV-related neurological disorders. 

Karl Kieburtz obtained his BA in Neuroscience from Amherst College. He completed his MD and MPH degrees at the University of Rochester, as well as his residency and a fellowship in Experimental Therapeutics. He is currently a Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Community and Preventative Medicine and is the Director of the Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC) at the University of Rochester. In addition, he is the chair of the Parkinson’s Study Group (PSG) Executive Committee and Executive Committee member and Coordination Center Director for the Huntington Study Group (HSG). Both the PSG and HSG, along with the CTCC, foster multi-institutional academic research and coordinate multi-center trials examining the symptomatic and neuroprotective effects of experimental interventions for neurodegenerative diseases.  

Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo is the Robert and Renee Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Professor in the Departments of Developmental and Molecular Biology and of Medicine of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Studies. She obtained her M.D. degree and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Valencia (Spain) in 1990 and 1994, respectively, and received postdoctoral training at Tufts University, Boston. In 2002, she started her laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she continues her studies in the role of protein-degradation in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

Dr. Cuervo’s group is interested in understanding how altered proteins can be eliminated from the cells through the lysosomal system (autophagy) and how malfunction of autophagy in aging is linked to age-related disorders including neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

Dr. Cuervo has been the recipient of prestigious awards such as the P. Benson Award in Cell Biology, the Keith Porter Fellow in Cell Biology, the Nathan Shock Memorial Lecture Award, the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Start in Aging Award, the Bennett J. Cohen award in basic aging biology, the Marshall Horwitz Prize for excellence in research and the Saul Korey Prize in Translational in Medicine Science. She has also received twice the LaDonne Schulman Teaching Award. Dr. Cuervo has delivered the Robert R. Konh Memorial Lecture, the NIH Director’s Lecture, the Roy Walford Endowed Lecture, the Feodor Lynen Lecture, the Margaret Pittman Lecture, the IUBMB Award Lecture, the David H. Murdoxk Lecture, the Gerry Aurbach Plenary Lecture, the SEBBM L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science, and the Harvey Lecture. She is currently co-Editor-in-Chief of Aging Cell and associate editor of Autophagy. Dr. Cuervo has served at the NIA Scientific Council and is currently member of the NIH Council of Councils.