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National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council welcomes four new members

For release: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Four leaders of the neuroscience community will join the National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council, the principal advisory body to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). NINDS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“I am looking forward to welcoming our new council members.  Their unique experiences and diverse backgrounds will provide valuable insight into programming and planning,” said NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D.

The NINDS’ 18-member council, comprised of physicians, scientists and public representatives, meets three times each year to review applications from investigators seeking financial support for biomedical research and research training.  The following new members are joining the council:

E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., recently joined Brigham and Women's and Faulkner Hospitals in Boston as the chair of neurosurgery, a co-director for the Institute for Neurosciences and a surgical director in the neuro-oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Before joining Brigham and Women’s, Dr. Chiocca held many neurosurgical and neuroscience leadership positions at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, where he helped establish the center as a world-renowned neuroscience facility.  Dr. Chiocca is a pioneer in biologic treatments of central nervous system disorders including the use of oncolytic viruses and gene and stem cell therapies to treat tumors.  He has received many awards, including an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellowship.  Dr. Chiocca is the chairman of the Scientific Program Committee for the American Academy of Neurological Surgery; has served on the board of directors for the Society for Neuro-Oncology; and is the co-chairman of the editorial board of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

David B. Goldstein, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Human Genome Variation and a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics of Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.  Dr. Goldstein is a human geneticist whose early work focused on population and evolutionary genetics.  Over the last decade, Dr. Goldstein began using the latest gene analysis techniques to study diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and epilepsy.  More recently he has applied whole genome sequencing to childhood genetic diseases, such as alternating hemiplegia of childhood, and to diagnosing unknown genetic conditions.  Dr. Goldstein is also using these approaches to study more complex neurological and psychiatric diseases.  In addition to publishing many peer-reviewed journal articles, Dr. Goldstein is the author of multiple book chapters on evolutionary genetics and pharmacogenetics.

Byron D. Ford, Ph.D is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and the director of the Neuroprotection, Neurorepair and Stroke Program at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.  Dr. Ford is an expert in the cellular and molecular events associated with stroke and acute brain injuries.  In 2005 he published a groundbreaking research article showing that neureglin-1 can protect neurons and reduce inflammation in an animal model of stroke.  Since then, Dr. Ford’s work on developing better methods for treating and diagnosing stroke has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.  He has produced a number of patents.  As a principal investigator in the NINDS CounterACT Program, Dr. Ford is also developing neuregulin-1 as a countermeasure to prevent brain injury following chemical threat agents.  Dr. Ford received his Ph.D. from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, and completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and NIH.  Dr. Ford has received numerous honors and recent recognition by the Southeast BIO Investor Forum.  He is a member of AAAS and sits on the Basic Sciences Council of the American Heart Association.

Amy Comstock Rick, J.D., is the chief executive officer of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), a Washington D.C.-based national nonprofit focused on educating the public and government leaders on better policies for research and an improved quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease.  Ms. Rick is also the president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research and has served on President Obama’s Transition Team as the agency team lead for the U.S. Office of Government Ethics/Office of Special Counsel Review.  Before joining PAN, she was the Senate-confirmed director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics from 2000-2003 and the Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s Office from 1998-2000.  Ms. Rick began her federal service as a career attorney at the U.S. Department of Education in 1989 and became the Assistant General Counsel for Ethics in 1993.  She received a B.A. from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and a J.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and worked for a private law firm.  Currently she serves on the Scientific Liaison Group for the NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program, as well as the NIH Morris K. Udall Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Research Coordinating Committee.  Ms. Rick has testified before Congress and is a national spokesperson for Parkinson’s disease policy issues and stem cell research.


NINDS ( is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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Last Modified September 27, 2012