Scientific Advisory Board

JOEL S. FREUNDLICH PH.D.

Dr. Freundlich is an associate professor of Pharmacology & Physiology and Medicine at Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School. He is a faculty member of the Center for Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens. Prior to his return to academic research in 2006, he spent eight years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. His undergraduate and master’s degree training were in chemical engineering at Cornell University as a McMullen Dean’s Scholar. He received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the tutelage of 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awardee Richard Schrock. An overarching goal of his current research is the discovery of small molecules that modulate novel biological targets in Mycobacetrium tuberculosis – the causative agent of tuberculosis. To accomplish their aims, his lab typically employs computational, chemical, and biological techniques. His laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

NANCY S. CONNELL PH.D.

Dr. Connell is Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease in the Department of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (RNJMS) and the Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences. A Harvard University Ph.D. in Microbiology, Dr. Connell’s major research focus is antibacetrial drug discovery in respiratory pathogens such as M. tuberculosis and B. anthracis.  She is Director of the Biosafety Level Three (BSLIII) Facility of RNJMS’s Center for the Study of Emerging and Re-emerging Pathogens and chairs the University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee.  Dr. Connell has been continuously funded by the NIH and other agencies since 1993 and serves on numerous NIH study sections and review panels.  She has served on a number of committees of the National Academy of Sciences, e.g., the Committee on Advances in Technology and the Prevention of their Application to Next Generation Biowarfare Agents (2004), Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention; an International Workshop (2010), and the Committee to Review the Scientific Approaches used in the FBI's Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus anthracis Mailings (2011).  Current work is with The National Academies of Sciences “Education Institute on Responsible Science”, held in Jordan (2012), Malaysia (2013) and Trieste (2014).

ETHAN O. PERLSTEIN PH.D.

Dr. Perlstein is the Founder and CEO of Perlara, he is an aspiring orphan drug discoverer, evolutionary pharmacologist, and indie scientist. Ethan has a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from Harvard University, and was a Lewis-Sigler Fellow at Princeton University.

AARON MCMURTRAY MD. PH.D.

Dr. McMurtray is a board-certified neurologist with a sub-specialty in Behavioral Neurology. Dr. McMurtray earned his medical degree in 2000 at Vanderbilt University and completed neurology residency training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, followed by fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at UCLA/West LA VA Medical Center. After completing fellowship training, Dr. McMurtray joined the faculty at the University of Hawaii where he was awarded an American Academy of Neurology Clinical Research Training Fellowship and completed a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences.  In 2009, Dr. McMurtray was recruited to join the Ventura County Medical Center where he founded and directed a multispecialty Traumatic Brain Injury clinic.  Dr. McMurtray also served on the board of the Ventura County Brain Injury Center.  In 2012, Dr. McMurtray rejoined Harbor-UCLA Medical Center as director of the Behavioral Neurology clinic and founded a multispecialty Neuro-HIV clinic, where he instructs Neurology residents and conducts clinical research studies.  Dr. McMurtray’s primary areas of expertise include: traumatic brain injury, neuro-infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. He is a member of the American Neurological Association and the American Academy of Neurology (Behavioral Neurology, Neuro-infectious Diseases, and Government Services Sections), he is also an investigator at the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute and an assistant clinical professor in the Neurology department of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He directs an active clinical research program at the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute and his recent publications include clinical studies on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, neurocysticercosis brain infection, and complications of traumatic brain injury.

ROBERT C. REYNOLDS PH.D.

Research Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and founder of the RCR Consulting Group, has a BS in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a PhD in organic chemistry from Duke University.  Dr. Reynolds has a strong background in grant writing and reviewing and also provides insight and guidance on agency policies and procedures from pre-award proposal preparation to post-award grant and contract management. He has significant experience in the life sciences, particularly relating to drug design and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as personal care products, and his clients have ranged from small and large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, large cosmetic and formulation companies, and federal agencies that include DOD and the NIH.  Dr. Reynolds has successfully managed relationships with these organizations to secure over $100M in funding for capital improvements, major scientific research programs and establishment of robust contact and chemical screening databases. He is actively involved in several NIH review committees giving him an excellent background and insight into the federal grant system including small and large grant programs (P01, U01, R01, R21/R33 and SBIR and STTR grants).  His experiences encompass the full gamut of proposal and project capture and management from establishing an expert team, budgeting, writing and reviewing as well as business analysis and client presentations through scientific and administrative project implementation and execution.

JOSHUA G. PIERCE, PH.D.

Joshua earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh before completing postdoctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA as a NIH Postdoctoral Scholar.  He started his independent career at NC State University as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and has built a group of 15 graduate students and postdocs tackling cutting-edge problems at the interface of chemistry and biology/drug discovery. During his time at NC State Joshua has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant, 2 NIH R01 grants, has been selected as a University Faculty Scholar and recently was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure.  In addition to his duties in the department of Chemistry he is actively engaged in the Comparative Medicine Institute at NC State where he holds the position of Associate Director of Emerging and Infectious Diseases.  Finally, Joshua is the Founder and CEO of Synoxa Sciences, Inc., an early-stage startup company focused on developing novel small molecule antibiotics inspired by marine natural products.

VADIM MAKAROV, PH.D., D.SC.

Dr Vadim Makarov is Senior Scientist in the Dept. of Stresses of Microorganisms, A.N. Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow, Russian Federation. He is an expert in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design with special interest in developing antimicrobial and antiviral agents. His recent work in drug development has focused on antituberculosis drugs and as result of his efforts in cooperation with several European scientific groups (NM4TB; LSHP-CT-2005-018923) a new class of synthetic organic compounds having high antituberculosis activity in vivo and in vitro was discovered (1,3-benzothiazinones). Two compounds from this group are under in-depth preclinical investigation, with PBTZ169 being the lead candidate. Dr Makarov’s team makes extensive use of advanced methods of medicinal chemistry, rational drug design and study of metabolic transformations. He has significant experience in the “Hit-To-Lead” process that has been obtained in several successful drug development programs.

JAMES H. WIKEL, B.S., M.S.

James H. Wikel is currently the Chief Chemistry Officer of Apex Therapeutics, Inc., Indianapolis, and Founder of Pisces Therapeutics, LLC., Rockville, MD.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics.  Prior to this he was Chief Technology Officer of Coalesix Inc., Cambridge, MA.  He retired in 2004 from Eli Lilly & Company as head of the Department of Structural and Computational Sciences of The Lilly Research Laboratories. He has been actively engaged in pharmaceutical research for over 40 years as both a laboratory scientist and as a scientific manager, and has 41 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 50 issued U.S. Patents.  The subject matter included in these patents and publications describe 4 molecules that underwent clinical evaluation as drug candidates and one successfully marketed agricultural product.  Mr. Wikel has a B.S. and M.S. degree in chemistry from Marshall University in WV.

Rare Disease Advisory Board

LORI SAMES B.A.

Lori Sames is CEO and Co-Founder Hannah's Hope Fund. She received a Bachelor's degree in economics from St. Michael's College, in VT, in 1992. She worked for IDX Systems Corporation as a computer software installation consultant for healthcare until 1996. She then became a Senior Project Lead for integrated heath care delivery system installations. Before becoming a stay at home mom in 2001, prior to the birth of her second child, Reagan, she lead web-based software installations on wireless networks, in the outpatient setting for Allscripts. She helped with her husband's Pet Lodge businesses from time to time, while caring for her three daughters until her youngest daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with GAN in March of 2008. From that moment forward her life has been dedicated to a treatment and cure of GAN, and making lasting memories for her family.

ALLISON MOORE B.A.

Allison Moore is Founder and CEO of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation (HNF). She founded HNF in 2001 in an effort to improve the quality of life for people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth. She divides her time between her homes in Manhattan and Amagansett, NY, with her husband, Robert, and her two young sons. Moore founded HNF in 2001 after a hospital mishap in which she was treated with medications that exacerbated her CMT symptoms and made her legs weak and imbalanced. Her goal was to create a foundation that would lead to the development of treatments and a cure for CMT and increased awareness so the world would recognize CMT as a household name.

SHARON KING

Sharon King is President of Taylor’s Tale, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 2007 by the family and friends of Taylor King of Charlotte, North Carolina, who was diagnosed with infantile Batten disease in 2006 at age 7.

Business Advisory Board 

ANDREA BARRY B.A., M.S.

Andrea Barry is the Managing Partner of Eleventh Hour Inc. She has over 20 years of successful leadership and management experience (MDL, Scitegic, Accelrys, Vertical*i and CDD). She has an earned reputation for exceeding rigorous organizational goals and objectives. Pragmatic, focused, and driven: a person recognized for “turning plans into action” while coaching and mentoring others to achieve their best.