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New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council

For release: Thursday, September 12, 2013

Four distinguished individuals have been selected to join the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the principal advisory body to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The council, which includes scientists, physicians and public representatives, meets three times each year to review applications from investigators seeking financial research support and provides advice to the institute director on activities and policies affecting extramural research programs. 

“These new members are a welcome addition to the council. I am confidant their contributions will help advance the institute’s research priorities,” said NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D.

The new council members are:

David Julius, Ph.D., is professor and chair of physiology and Morris Herzstein Endowed Chair in Molecular Biology and Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His research is focused on understanding the molecular basis of temperature and pain sensation. For example, work from his lab helped identify why capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, causes a burning sensation. Dr. Julius has received numerous awards, including the inaugural Julius Axelrod Prize from the Society for Neuroscience, the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, and the NINDS Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences. Dr. Julius earned an S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ilene Penn Miller, J.D., LL.M., is the vice president of Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas, an organization she co-founded to provide information and support to hypothalamic hamartoma patients, caregivers and health care providers and to promote research about this disease. Ms. Miller served as executive director of the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Leukemia, Lymphoma & Myeloma Progress Review Group from 1998-2001. Previously, she was a senior associate at Podesta Associates where she counseled a coalition of major national cancer advocacy organizations and implemented legislative, executive branch, grassroots, and media strategies to increase federal cancer appropriations. Miller earned a B.S. in communications from Boston University, a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and an LL.M. in advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan W. Mink, M.D., Ph.D., is chief of child neurology, vice chair of neurology and a professor in the Neurology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Pediatrics Departments at the University of Rochester Medical Center, N.Y. His research focuses on the function of the basal ganglia to select desired movement patterns, movement disorders and pediatric neurodegenerative diseases. He has received numerous awards recognizing his achievements in clinical practice, the laboratory, and as a mentor. Dr. Mink earned a B.A. in biology-psychology from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., and an M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Washington University.

Ralph Lewis Sacco, M.D., is Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, professor and chair of neurology and executive director of the Evelyn McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and chief of the Neurology Service at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. He is also an adjunct professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City. In addition, Dr. Sacco is leading a number of stroke studies investigating risk factors, outcomes, and genetics. He is the first neurologist to have served as president of the American Heart Association. Dr. Sacco is the current vice president of the American Academy of Neurology, chair of the International Committee of the American Heart Association, and sits on the board of the World Stroke Organization. In 2008, Dr. Sacco was the recipient of the NINDS Senator Jacob Javits Award in Neurosciences. Dr. Sacco received a B.S. from Cornell, Ithaca, N.Y., an M.D. from Boston University and an M.S. in epidemiology from Columbia University. 


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

Last Modified May 3, 2016