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New Members Appointed to National Neurology Advisory Council


For release: Wednesday, September 14, 2005

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt today announced three new appointments and one reappointment to the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the major advisory panel of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation’s primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., will introduce the new members, who will serve through July 2009, at the Council’s September 15, 2005 meeting.

The National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council meets three times each year to review applications from scientists seeking financial support for biomedical research and research training on disorders of the brain and nervous system. Members also advise the Institute on research program planning and priorities. The 18-member Council is composed of physicians, scientists, and representatives of the public. The new members are:

Robi Blumenstein, President, MRSSI, Inc.
MRSSI, Inc. provides consulting and grant-making services to foundations involved in researching Huntington's disease. Mr. Blumenstein was a principal and co-head of the communications and information technology fund of MMC Capital (a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.), managing director and head of U.S. merchant banking operations for CIBC Capital Partners, senior vice president of First City Capital Corporation, and an attorney with Torys. He is a member of the board of trustees of the League for the Hard of Hearing and was a member of the board of directors of Equator Technologies, GoAmerica, and Xanoptix, among others. He also directed the 1973 short film, "Life Times Nine," which was nominated for an Academy Award. He earned his bachelor's degree from Innis College, University of Toronto; a law degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto; and a master's in business administration (Baker Scholar) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.

Helen Mayberg, M.D., Professor, Emory University
Dr. Mayberg is a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine. She also holds adjunct appointments at the University of Toronto. She is well known for functional imaging studies of the various states of mood and emotions in health and disease. Her recent study using deep brain stimulation to successfully treat severe depression that did not respond to other therapies generated international interest. Most recently Dr. Mayberg directed the neuropsychiatry program at the Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto, and mapped depression in the brain. She is a member of the editorial boards of the journals NeuroInformatics, Depression & Anxiety, NeuroImage, and Human Brain Mapping. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her medical degree from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine.

Laura Ment, M.D., Yale School of Medicine
Dr. Ment is a professor of pediatrics and neurology at Yale School of Medicine and has taught there since 1979. She studies the influence of pre-term birth on the developing brain. Her research interests include bleeding in the brain, a somewhat common occurrence among pre-term babies, and its significant effect on neurodevelopment, neurogenetic disorders, and neonatal and fetal stroke. She is using functional MRI to study and monitor changes in cerebral activity in infants as they develop and mature, with long-term hopes of being able to detect functional differences in the cerebral development of term and very low birth weight preterm infants. Dr. Ment is a noted author and speaker, has received numerous grants and teaching awards, and is the Councilor from the East for the Child Neurology Society. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University and her medical degree from Tufts University.

Additionally, Secretary Leavitt announced that Patrick Pullicino, M.D., Ph.D., would serve an additional year on the Council. Dr. Pullicino is professor and chairman of neurosciences at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark. His research interests include neuroradiology, stroke, and cerebral effects of cardiac disease. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Malta and his neurology training in London, England, and at the University of Rochester, New York.

The NINDS is the nation’s primary funder of research on the brain and nervous system. More information about the NINDS and its mission is available at www.ninds.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (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. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

Last Modified August 7, 2009