New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council

New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five prominent individuals from the neuroscience community have joined 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 scientific applications and to advise the institute’s leadership on activities and policies affecting research programs. 

“We are pleased to welcome these individuals to the NINDS’ council. Their extensive experience and diverse backgrounds will enrich the NINDS’ work to advance basic, translational and clinical research in the neurosciences,” said NINDS Acting Director Walter Koroshetz, M.D.

Brief biographies of the new council members are below.

Amy Brooks-Kayal, M.D., is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Aurora, and in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, San Diego. She is also chief and Ponzio Family Chair in Pediatric Neurology at the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver. Dr. Brooks-Kayal is internationally recognized for her research in the mechanisms of and new therapies for epilepsy and her expertise in clinical care for people with epilepsy. She is a member of the board of directors and incoming president of the American Epilepsy Society. She earned her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and completed residencies in pediatrics and child neurology at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

Karen S. Chen, Ph.D., is the chief scientific officer and chief operating officer of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation in New York City. She is responsible for overseeing the full range of scientific and drug discovery programs, as well as managing the activities at the SMA Foundation. Dr. Chen has more than 25 years of experience planning, directing, and conducting preclinical research as a senior research scientist and manager.  She has headed a variety of departments and groups working on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neurological disorders. Prior to joining the SMA Foundation, Dr. Chen worked at Roche and Elan Pharmaceuticals, where she focused on therapy development for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. She earned her Ph.D. in neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego.

Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D., is the chief advocacy, services and research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMMS) in New York. Dr. Coetzee has been engaged in multiple sclerosis advocacy work throughout his career. He leads the society’s federal and state activism programs and manages its investment in basic, clinical and commercial research. He has also helped launch and served as president of Fast Forward, an initiative of the NMMS to speed the commercial development of new treatments for multiple sclerosis. He earned his Ph.D. at Albany Medical College in New York.

Beverly L. Davidson, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics and holds the Arthur V. Meigs Chair in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is also a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her move to the Keystone State, Dr. Davidson was the Roy J. Carver Chair in Biomedical Research at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, and vice chair for research in internal medicine. Her research focuses on inherited brain disorders and the development of novel therapies. She has received numerous awards including a University of Iowa Carver Research Program of Excellence. In 2014, she served on the first Blue Ribbon Panel to review the NINDS Intramural Research Program. She earned her Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

S. Lawrence Zipursky, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine. He is also an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As a developmental neurobiologist, Dr. Zipursky researches the cellular rules and underlying molecular mechanisms by which neurons establish specific patterns of synaptic connections during development. Dr. Zipursky is a member of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Multi-Council Working Group. He has received numerous honors including election to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Zipursky earned his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in molecular biology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.


NINDS ( is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. 

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