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Biographies of MDCC Members

Valerie A. Cwik, M.D.
Medical Director and Executive Vice President for Research, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Tucson, Arizona
Dr. Cwik is Medical Director and Senior Vice President for Research with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Dr. Cwik is a neurologist and has an extensive background in neuromuscular disease management and research. She is a resource on matters relating to the increased complexities of patient management and clinical trials. She is the chief spokesperson for the MDA in media matters relating to their health care services program and advances in scientific research.

Brian Denger
Parent Advocate Coordinator, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Biddeford, Maine
Mr. Denger is a parent of two children affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Mr. Denger is a parent advocate coordinator with the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy. Mr. Denger has been active in seeking new or improved therapies and possible cures for muscular dystrophy. He has made advocacy an important part of his life, and he strongly supports programs that enhance patient lives by increasing access to current research and care information, services, or participation in efforts to improve the prognosis for acute or chronic conditions.

Alan Guttmacher, M.D.
Dr. Guttmacher is the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the focal point at the National Institutes of Health for research in pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine. A pediatrician and medical geneticist, Dr. Guttmacher previously was at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he served in several roles, including Deputy Director and Acting Director, overseeing that institute’s efforts to advance genome research, integrate that research into health care, and explore the ethical, legal, and social implications of human genomics. Among Dr. Guttmacher’s areas of expertise is the development of new approaches for translating genomics into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Devanand Jillapalli, M.D.
Dr. Jillapalli is a neurologist with board certification in neurophysiology and electromyography, and with extensive experience in diagnosis and treatment of patients with neuromuscular disorders. Since 2006, he has been a Medical Officer in the Division of Neurology Products at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been involved in regulatory review of candidate therapeutics for neurological indications, including neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Jillapalli also has experience in the Rare Disease Program at FDA. Through clinical practice and regulatory review, he has considerable expertise in the muscular dystrophies and has co-authored a publication on drug development and regulatory considerations for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Katz has been Director of the NIAMS since August 1995; muscle biology and the muscular dystrophies are areas of research emphasis for NIAMS. Dr. Katz has served many professional societies in leadership positions including as a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, on the Board of the Association of Professors of Dermatology, as Secretary-General of the 18th World Congress of Dermatology in 1992, as Secretary-Treasurer of the Clinical Immunology Society, and as Past President of both the International League of Dermatological Societies and the International Committee of Dermatology. He is also a Senior Investigator in the Dermatology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Katz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

James P. Kiley, Ph.D.
Director, Airway Biology and Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. Kiley joined the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 1984 as Health Scientist Administrator in the Institute's Division of Lung Diseases. The muscular dystrophies are areas of research emphasis for NHLBI. From 1989-1994, Dr. Kiley served as Chief of the Division's Airways Diseases Branch. From 1995-2000 he served as Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, which is part of NHLBI. He was named Director of the Division of Lung Diseases in 2000. Dr. Kiley's primary research interests include obstructive and interstitial lung diseases and sleep. Dr. Kiley is the author or coauthor of more than 85 scientific publications and abstracts. He has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Physiology, Chest, Respiratory Physiology, the Journal of the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Journal of Clinical Investigations.

Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D.
Acting Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. Koroshetz is the Acting Director of NINDS. He served as the NINDS Deputy Director since January 2007. Disorders of brain, nerve and muscle are areas of research emphasis for NINDS. Before joining NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz served as vice chair of the neurology service and director of stroke and neurointensive care services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH between 1990 and 2006. His research work spanned basic neurobiology to clinical trials in stroke and Huntington’s disease with a major focus in developing neuroimaging techniques to chart disease progression and enable therapeutic development.

Anne M. Rutkowski, M.D.
Dr. Rutkowski is co-founder and Chairman of Cure CMD, and an emergency medicine physician in Los Angeles. Dr. Rutkowski’s daughter has congenital muscular dystrophy, subtype, dystroglycanopathy. She would like to shrink the diagnostic odyssey, decrease variability in health care delivery to people with CMD and focus the approach to identifying therapeutic targets. Cure CMD's mission is to find treatments and cure for the CMDs.

Wanda L. Salzer, M.D.
a. Colonel Salzer became Director, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Department of the Army, in 2013. She was previously the Deputy Director overseeing the neurotrauma portfolio of grants. The Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research Program is among the CDMRP programs that she oversees. Colonel Salzer has received numerous awards and serves on several committees. She is currently a panel member for the Militarily-Relevant Peer Reviewed Alzheimer's Disease Program whose mission is to detect traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related Alzheimer's disease and promote studies which may improve quality of life for those affected.

Theresa B. San Agustin, M.D.
Dr. San Agustin lost her hearing at the age of 4. She began her medical career as a Staff Fellow in Molecular Genetics at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), NIH. In her current position at the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) within the Administration for Community Living, Dr. San Agustin coordinates and provides leadership for the Congressionally-mandated Model Spinal Cord Injury and Field-Initiated Projects Programs. She also serves as a project officer for the Traumatic Brain Injury and Burn Model System Programs and the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center in Neuromuscular Diseases. In addition, Dr. San Agustin is a member of several advisory and federal interagency coordinating committees, and she has published widely in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Burn Care and Research, and various human genetics and otolaryngology journals. She was a chapter contributor to 'Welner's Guide to the Care of Women with Disabilities', published in 2004.

Joan Scott, M.S., C.G.C.
Ms. Scott is Chief of the Genetic Services branch at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She has considerable expertise in genetic counseling, including certification by the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Genetic Counseling. The mission of the branch led by Ms. Scott is to “provide national leadership to improve, expand, strengthen, and evaluate access to a system of genetic services and the quality of those services for children, youth, and adults across their life course.” She has considerable experience and expertise in development and management of newborn screening programs, including service on the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children. Ms. Scott also serves on the CDC’s Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Care Consideration Steering Committee.

Peter H. Wald, M.D., M.P.H
Dr. Wald is Vice-President, Enterprise Medical Director, United Services Automobile Association (USAA). He is responsible for the oversight and management of delivery of medical services, integrated disability management and wellness services for all USAA employees in the United States and Europe. As a physician who also has a Masters of Public Health, Dr. Wald has a unique background to contribute to activities of the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee. Notably, he has a form of myotonic dystrophy and is one of two MDCC members who are, themselves, directly affected by muscular dystrophy. This knowledge of myotonic dystrophy from a personal perspective will be invaluable to the MDCC.

Last Modified July 27, 2015