Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

Richard Smeyne, PhD, Chair

Dr. Richard Smeyne is the Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and a Professor in the Jack and Vickie Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University. His research focuses on the cell biology of Parkinson's, with an interest in the interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). With a long-standing interest in the cell biology of Parkinson’s disease, his studies examine both environmental and genetic causation. His lab was the first to show, in animal models of PD, that exercise could modify disease progression and more recently examines the underlying molecular programs r esponsible for this neuroprotection along with which cells are responsible for the toxicity seen following MPTP administration. Additionally, Dr. Smeyne studies the role of environmental enrichment in neuroprotection. He is also recognized for his work examining interactions of the peripheral immune system with that of the brain’s innate immune system immune as well as the role of viruses in the etiology of Parkinson’s. He has been published in NatureScienceProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesCell and the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Smeyne received his doctorate in anatomy from Thomas Jefferson University and completed his postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.

Margaret Rice, PhD, Co-Chair

Dr. Margaret Rice is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at New York University School of Medicine, a Center of Excellence. Dr. Rice's research in her laboratory is focused on regulation of dopamine, a key transmitter in motor and reward pathways in the brain. The Rice group uses carbon-fiber microelectrodes with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to provide real-time monitoring of axonal dopamine release in dorsal and ventral striatum, and somatodendritic release in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area, primarily in brain slices. Current research is centered on a novel finding from the Rice group that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), produced by mitochondrial respiration, is an endogenous regulator of synaptic and somatodendritic dopamine release, as well as dopamine neuron activity in the substantia nigra. The Rice group also studies regulation of axonal dopamine release by glutamate, GABA, calcium, cannabinoids and caffeine, the mechanism and regulation of somatodendritic dopamine release and dopamine dysfunction in transgenic mouse models of dystonia and PD. Dr. Rice received her BS from the University of Oklahoma and her PhD from the University of Kansas. Her post-doctoral training was done at NYU School of Medicine.

Roy Alcalay, MD, MS

Dr. Roy Alcalay is Chief of the Movement Disorders Division at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, a Center of Excellence. He recently moved from Columbia University where he holds a part time Associate Professorship. His research focuses on biomarkers and genetics in Parkinson’s disease and cognitive functioning. He was a Brookdale Leadership in Aging fellow, and his research has been supported by the NIH, the Parkinson’s Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Smart Foundation. He is a member of Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson’s with GBA. He is the lead investigator of PD GENEration, a Parkinson's Foundation flagship study that provides genetic testing and counseling to people with Parkinson’s. His clinical practice focuses on Parkinson's and other movement disorders, including tremor, dystonia, Tourette syndrome, myoclonus, ataxia, and chorea. Dr. Alcalay has contributed to a range of original articles in leading medical research journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Neurology, Archives of Neurology, Genetics in Medicine, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Movement Disorders and Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. Dr. Alcalay received his medical degree from Tel Aviv University, Israel, his neurology training from the Harvard University residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital and his movement disorders training at Columbia University. He is a graduate of the Patient Oriented Research and earned Master's in biostatistics from Columbia University.

Jennifer Goldman, MD, MS

Dr. Jennifer G. Goldman is the Section Chief for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Rehabilitation at the Shirley Ryan Ability lab and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Movement Disorders neurologist with board certification in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. She is a clinician-researcher who has been a pioneer in the cognitive and behavioral aspects of PD and movement disorders and a longstanding champion of interdisciplinary care. Her work focuses on advancing our understanding of the non-motor and motor features of PD and movement disorders, using neuroimaging and biomarkers, and on developing pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to improve or prevent these symptoms. Dr. Goldman has been funded by NIH, Parkinson’s Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, among others and is widely published. As a clinician, Dr. Goldman is passionate about offering a holistic, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary team-based approach for people with PD and movement disorders and their care partners. She graduated from Princeton University and received her MD from Northwestern University Medical School. She completed her neurology residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a movement disorder fellowship and a Master of Science degree in clinical research at Rush University in Chicago.

Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD

Dr. Tim Greenamyre is the Love Family Professor and vice-chair of neurology, chief of Movement Disorders and director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (PIND) and the American Parkinson Disease Association Advanced Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Pittsburgh. His laboratory studies mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s, with a focus on gene-environment interactions, along with translational studies use pharmacological and ‘gene therapy’ approaches. Dr. Greenamyre is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Parkinson’s Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation and the American Parkinson Disease Association. He has been listed as one of the ‘Best Doctors in America’ since the mid-1990s and is editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Neurobiology of Disease.

Warren Hirst, PhD

Dr. Warren HirstWarren Hirst is Senior Director and head of the movement disorders preclinical research efforts in Biogen’s Neurodegeneration Research Unit, a role he has led since joining them in 2016. Warren is responsible for developing and driving a diverse preclinical portfolio of programs, to complement Biogen’s development efforts for their alpha-synuclein antibody, which is in Phase 2 trials, using multiple modalities, from antibodies and antisense oligonucleotides, in collaboration in Ionis, to gene therapy and small molecules, targeting mechanisms strongly supported by human genetics and pathology, to deliver novel disease-modifying therapeutics to patients. Warren received his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London and, after a post-doc at the same institution, he moved to industry. Warren has 20 years of pharma experience, all focused on neurodegeneration research – including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, stroke and Parkinson’s disease, and drug development, holding positions of increasing responsibility at SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoSmithKline in England, before moving to the USA to join Wyeth and then Pfizer. Warren has lead teams that have discovered and advanced 2 molecules into clinical trials (Phase 1 and Phase 3) and has published over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Warren is actively engaged in the wider scientific community via collaborations with key academic partners, and his service on NINDS study sections, foundation grant review committees, and as an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple journals including Neuron and PNAS. Warren also served as a member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation's Executive Science Advisory Board. Outside of work Warren enjoys snowboarding and travel.

Matthew LaVoie, PhD

Dr. Matthew LaVoie is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. LaVoie's lab is dedicated to uncovering the early molecular events responsible for the selective neurodegeneration and unique neuropathology associated with Parkinson's disease. A major goal of the lab is to understand the basic physiological functions of genes associated with familial Parkinson's, and the impact of their pathogenic mutations. Dr. LaVoie serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Parkinson's Foundation and the National Scientific Advisory Council for the American Foundation for Aging Research. He served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Brain Research. In addition to his responsibilities as Principal Investigator of a basic research laboratory at Brigham, he was the co-founder and co-director (with Dr. Barbara Bierer) of the Brigham Research Leadership Program and founder of the Career Building at a Research Hospital seminar series. Dr. LaVoie received his BA and BS in Biology and Psychology from Rutgers University and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

Connie Marras, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Connie Marras is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto and a neurologist at the Toronto Western Hospital Movement Disorders Centre, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. She also serves as an associate editor for the Movement Disorders Journal, Executive Committee member of the Pan-American section of the Movement Disorders Society, and vice-chair of the research ethics board of the University Health Network in Toronto. Areas of research focus include the epidemiology and clinical expression of Parkinson’s disease and evaluating clinical assessment tools in Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Marras attended the University of Toronto where she initially trained in neurology and movement disorders and went on to obtain a PhD in epidemiology. She further trained in epidemiologic research methods at the Parkinson’s Institute in California.

Alexandra Nelson, MD, PhD

Alexandra NelsonAlexandra Nelson is from Berkeley, California and attended Stanford, where she learned to row, and attended the occasional class. After falling in love with ion channels, she worked in several labs and began reading Neuron cover to cover in the library. She then went to UC San Diego’s Medical Scientist Training Program, where she worked with Sascha du Lac on cellular plasticity in the vestibular system and developed a deep fondness for spontaneously firing neurons and use of purple in figures. During graduate school she found time to row for the national champions, San Diego Rowing Club. After a Neurology residency at UCSF, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Anatol Kreitzer at the Gladstone Institute, where she studied striatal microcircuits in mouse models of movement disorders. She started her own lab and joined the UCSF Neuroscience Program in 2014 with the expert help of Ally Girasole. She continues to see patients in the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, focusing on diseases of the basal ganglia and cerebellum. She also provides medical advice to the occasional neurotic graduate student. She still lives in San Francisco with her incredibly supportive husband, wonderful daughters, and three pets. In her spare time she enjoys cooking lab snacks, running, tree and invertebrate phylogeny, and going camping with her family. She also enjoys complete sentences and fully referenced documents.

Ian Reynolds, PhD

Dr. Ian Reynolds is the Chief Executive Officer of Rewind Therapeutics. Dr. Reynolds' interests are focused on drug discovery for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Previously, Dr. Reynold’s led the CNS Discovery group at Teva Pharmaceuticals. At Knopp, he led the team investigating the mechanism of action of dexpramipexole, which was in development for disease modification in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In that position, Dr. Reynolds ran the biology group that was working on dexpramipexole, as well as other CNS targets. At Merck, he was responsible for drug discovery groups working on Parkinson's, Stroke, and Alzheimer's disease and ophthalmology. Dr. Reynolds has extensive experience in academic research focused on neurodegenerative disease, including Parkinson's and stroke. The academic expertise includes substantial time leading and administering graduate education in pharmacology and neuroscience. Dr. Reynolds received his BSc from the University of Leeds, his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in Neuropharmacology at the University of Chicago.

Stephen Shea, PhD

Dr. Stephen Shea is an Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Shea's lab studies the neural circuitry underlying social communication and decisions. He uses natural social communication behavior in mice as a model to understand circuits and processes that are evolutionarily conserved and therefore shared broadly across species, likely contributing to disorders such as autism. Shea and colleagues have examined how emotion and arousal enable mice, via their olfactory systems, to store memories of other individuals and of related social signals. Recently, the lab made a key breakthrough, developing the ability to record from GCs in awake animals and discovering that their activity is dramatically modulated by state of consciousness. Finally, the Shea lab completed a series of studies of a different form of social recognition: auditory recognition of pup vocalizations by their mothers. Through this research, they have shown that a mouse model of Rett syndrome exhibits deficits in communication and learning not unlike those in human patients. Dr. Shea received his BS from the University of Maryland College Park and his PhD from the University of Chicago.



Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter

Get the latest news about PD research, resources and community initiatives – straight to your inbox.

Please enter a valid email

Skip step

Invalid year format. Eg: 2020
Skip step
Zip code is required for chapter communications
Skip step

*Please note that not all content is available in both languages. If you are interested in receiving Spanish communications, we recommend selecting “both" to stay best informed on the Foundation's work and the latest in PD news.

Skip step

Thanks for Signing Up

We are proud to have you as a part of our community. To ensure you receive the latest Parkinson’s news, research updates and more, please check your email for a message from us. If you do not see our email, it may be in your spam folder. Just mark as “not spam” and you should receive our emails as expected.

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.