Scientific Advisors

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.

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. and 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, Keith Porter Fellow, Nathan Shock Memorial Lecture Award, Vincent Cristofalo Award in Aging, Bennett J. Cohen award in basic aging biology, 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. Dr. Cuervo has served at the NIA Scientific Council and the NIH Council of Councils and is currently member of the NIA Board of Scientific Counselors and of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Deputy Director. In 2015 she was elected International Academic of the Royal Academy of Medicine of the Valencia Community and in 2017, she was elected member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas y Naturales. She has recently elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ole Isacson, MD

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Ole Isacson is Professor of Neurology (Neuroscience) at Harvard Medical School and is the Founding Director of the Neuroregeneration Research Institute at McLean Hospital. Since 1990, Prof. lsacson's laboratory at Harvard has focused on the understanding and treatments of neurodegenerative disease, with particular emphasis on distinguishing critical mechanisms and treatments of neuronal vulnerability before the full onset of disease, or new restorative treatments using stem cell derived neurons after symptoms. Prof. Isacson is Principal Faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute since it was founded in 2005. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and member of the Executive Scientific Advisory Board (2014-2016). He has received several international prizes, research awards and lectureships. Prof. Isacson served as an advisory committee member at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) (2014-2016). He also served as SVP & the Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer's former Neuroscience R&D Unit (2016-2017). He is the author or co-author of over 350 scientific research articles and 3 books in his field. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience from 2010-2016, and currently serves on the editorial board. Prof. Isacson was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2013.

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

Strategic 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 nearly 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.