Our Team

From our staff to our board of directors, we are led by a driven community of scientists, fundraisers, affiliates and ambassadors who share an unwavering commitment to end ALS. Every day we are challenging conventions. Every day we are collaborating with people living with ALS. Every day we are closer to removing the death sentence from ALS.

Bashar joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2005 initially as the Director of Bioinformatics. Today, as Vice President of Information Technology, he oversees the organization’s technical infrastructure and internal technology systems. Bashar has over 22 years of experience in software development, information systems, and managing cross-functional teams. Prior to joining the Institute, Bashar was the Director of Development at IMN INC, a leading e-marking global company. Bashar has also held roles as a technology advisor and consultant to various start-ups, large companies such as EMD Serono, and non-profits such as Youth Build USA, and Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. Earlier in his career, Bashar spent several years working at Microsoft and Amazon.com, where he was involved in developing some of their earlier products. Bashar holds an MBA from Northeastern University, and a Software Engineering and Computer Science degrees from the University of Washington and Wentworth Institute of Technology respectively.
Alessandro Calo joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2015 right after receiving his Bachelor's of Science in Biology from Northeastern University. Despite his recent graduation, he has experience working in a breadth of laboratory settings including the Northeastern University, Brigham and Women’s, and Pfizer. As a member of the Translational Research group, his work is focused in the Institute’s Precision Medicine Program. He is responsible for the program’s genetic analysis along with the development and implementation of automated methodology using our Integrated Robotic System. Alessandro was drawn to the Institute by the ideology of the non-profit biotech company, driven by passion rather than profit. Though, the task at hand became more personal when his close childhood friend’s father was diagnosed with ALS and passed in November 2015. Alessandro grew up in Golden, Colorado. He enjoys anything outdoors whether it be hiking, skiing, or relaxing on the beach. He is often found pondering strange plants and animals. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Mr. Rogers
Therese Dane joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute as part of the Translational Research group in March 2015 to work with patient samples and patient–derived cells for assay development. She has worked and volunteered in numerous labs, including the Wright Bioengineering Lab looking at leukocyte rolling in vitro. Prior to the Institute, she worked at the Journal of Visualized Experiments where she was a Peer Review Specialist. She is a graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She loves to inject science into everyday life, creating science jewelry and baking science-related treats. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~Calvin Coolidge
Jillian Davis joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2012. After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in Public Relations, her desire to help others led her to pursue a career in the nonprofit world. She began her time at the Institute as an intern for the Tri-State Trek, and after witnessing the dedication of supporters and staff, she became committed to the Institute’s mission to end ALS. Jillian works as a Development Manager on the Marketing team to support the many fundraising events that raise money for ALS research. In her spare time, Jillian loves traveling, photography and eating lots of ice cream. -‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney
Emily joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2017. As the Digital and Social Media Specialist, she spends her days sharing the stories and discoveries of ALS TDI with the online world. She graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators) with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising in May of 2014. After working on digital campaign strategies with many different types of clients, she wanted to transfer her skills into the nonprofit sector. So she packed up her stuff and drove from sunny Gainesville to snowy Boston in the middle of winter, where she found a great team of people working for a great cause. In her free time Emily enjoys cooking, exploring, board games and hanging out with friends and family. “And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell our story?”
Ben Engle joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2012. As a Development Director, Ben raises money and awareness to support the vital research being done at the Institute. He feels honored to have the privilege of working alongside the many intelligent and dedicated people at the Institute who are 100% committed to finding a cure for ALS. Prior to joining the team, Ben spent several years working as a professional chef. He graduated from Northeastern University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in International Affairs. Ben has enjoyed living in Boston since 2005 and currently resides in Dorchester with his wife, Molly. “…plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Marilyn Evans joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in May 2015 after 30+ years in sales and marketing for both the profit and non-profit sectors. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Iowa State University and MBA from Texas A&M Commerce. After two friends in Dallas were diagnosed with ALS, Marilyn felt it was her mission to help raise funding and awareness for ALS research. “I love the compassion and drive of everyone at the Institute; all focused on the same purpose to find a treatment and cure for ALS”. Marilyn and her husband Keith live in Dallas as do their 2 sons; Drew a professional golfer on the Adams Tour, and Clay, an Investment Solutions Representative for Fidelity. She has a stepson Jeff and granddaughter Sarah. Marilyn works with patients and families in the Southeast. In her spare time, she loves to travel, cycle, golf, garden, eat and discover fine wines. “Always make a total effort even when the odds are against you”, Arnold Palmer.
Dr. Alan Gill joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2007. He is an experienced pharmacologist/physiologist with a thorough understanding of practical investigation in complex in vivo animal systems. He came to the Institute after a one-year immersion in Huntington's disease drug discovery as the Director and Head of Pharmacology at EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company concentrating on neurodegenerative diseases. Prior to EnVivo he worked for 13 years in Biogen and Biogen Idec's drug discovery research division where he instituted Biogen's Pharmacology Department. These efforts led to drug candidates that were the basis for collaboration with Merck and Co. for their clinical development, and to small molecule and protein potential therapeutics selected for development by Biogen Idec itself. Prior to working for Biogen, Alan worked for 12 years with Johnson & Johnson's worldwide drug discovery research division. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the M.S. Hershey Medical Center of the Pennsylvania State University, and his Master's degree in Physiology and Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of San Francisco.
Cindy Gill joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2008. Cindy received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Simmons College and spent 15 years in Research at biotechnology companies, including 9 years at Biogen. She was involved primarily in the discovery and testing of Immunology-based therapeutics, and has an extensive background in monoclonal antibody production and the in-vitro/in-vivo characterization of potential drugs. She took a break from biotech to nearly complete a second degree from Simmons in Nursing and to be home with her two children, Anna and Joe. At the Institute, Cindy works in the Pharmacology group to help evaluate in-vivo drug effects in the G93A model.
Robert (Rob) joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2004. Today, as Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Development he is responsible for leading a team of committed fundraisers, advocates and marketers in raising the money needed to advance the mission of the Institute. A team member for more than 12 years now, Rob spends significant time with people with ALS and their families discussing the latest advancement in ALS research, the most hopeful clinical trials and alternative approaches. But, his job is not an office one – he is constantly on the road meeting with people in their homes and offices to discuss not only the state of ALS research but also to secure philanthropic support for the Institute. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and a Master’s of public affairs from the University of Massachusetts. Rob serves as a volunteer Board Member of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Organizations and non-compensated, independent Board Member of Sage Cannabis, a licensed medical marijuana nonprofit in Massachusetts. In addition, he serves on various Patient Advocacy and Science Communication programming committees for MassBio. He is a golfer and plays competitive darts in the Minuteman Dart League.
Alicia Grossi joined the ALS Therapy Development institute in 2006. Her grandfather missed a lifetime when he died of ALS at age 51. She wants to change that for people facing ALS today. Alicia graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Advertising and began fundraising, event planning and marketing as an intern for the Tri-State Trek. In her role as Director of Donor Communications & Stewardship, Alicia manages comprehensive donor relations and our stewardship program, interacting with 35,000 annual donors. She has diverse experience in donor development, stewardship, marketing/communications and fundraising events. “It is the enduring pursuit of a goal, not the fleeting glory of the finish line, that shapes the lasting victories within us.” ~ unknown
Carol Hamilton joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2005. After a friend’s brother passed away of ALS, she joined first as a volunteer consultant, working on Capitol Hill to increase our federal funding. Carol worked closely with Congressional leaders, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to secure over $6M in contracts for the Institute. As Senior Director of Development, Carol works with foundations and donors to accelerate our work. Prior to joining ALS Therapy Development Institute, Carol was an executive at Saks Fifth Avenue, and ran a small company of her own. Carol studied at Oxford University, and graduated from the Georgetown University School of Business. She lives in Sherborn, and is the proud mother of two incredible young women. “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?” ~Lin Manuel Miranda
Terri Handler joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2011, 7 months after she lost her brother to ALS. As a Development Director, Her job, along with a dedicated team, requires securing the urgent funding needed to move our research ahead as fast as possible. Her journey began in 2007 when she witnessed this disease firsthand but her work continues today for all the current ALS families to stop the pain and suffering and see an end to ALS. Terri’s brother is never far from her mind and she remembers him always saying his life was great but just too short. "You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are always thinking about yesterday" ~ Author Unknown
Dr. Theo Hatzipetros joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2011. He is an in vivo pharmacologist who specializes in the field of neurodegeneration. Prior to joining the Institute, Theo worked on drug discovery for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease at FoldRx Pharmaceuticals. At the ALS Therapy Development Institute, Theo's efforts are focused on the development of novel animal models of ALS and in evaluating therapeutic strategies for the treatment of the disease. Theo, originally from Cyprus, received his doctorate in pharmacology from Boston University School of Medicine for his thesis work on the neurotoxic effects of the psychostimulant methamphetamine.
Joshua D. Kidd joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2004. As a Research Associate, his job primarily involves studying the behavioral effects of different treatments in the SOD1-G93A Mouse model. Before coming to the Institute, Josh attended Minuteman Vocational Technical High School in Lexington, MA, where he earned a certificate in Graphic Design. Josh's family history with Huntington's Disease has given him a unique perspective and drives his desire to be a part of the effort to treat and cure devastating neurological diseases such as ALS. Since working at the Institute, he has earned his ALAT certification and is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in biology at Northeastern University in Boston. Other than science, Josh is an avid animal lover and enjoys all things music and art. He currently calls Somerville his home.
Allie Kosciak joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2013 as a Tri-State Trek intern. After working with the ALS community during her internship, she became dedicated to the cause and rejoined the brand promotions team in 2014. Allie is now a part of the Augie's Quest team managing the ClubCorp Charity Classic program and assisting with many other Augie’s Quest events. Having always had a desire to work with people and help others, she is proud to now be able to continue this aspiration in her everyday life with the ALS Therapy Development Institute. Allie completed her undergraduate degree in marketing and public relations from Plymouth State University in 2014 and received a master’s degree in Project Management through Northeastern University in 2015. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. "It's the journey not the destination that matters." - Unknown
Megan Kosciak joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2017. She has joined the development team as Development Coordinator after completing the Tri-State Trek Internship in 2016. She loved the hope and inspiring power that the Trek demonstrated and wanted to work for the worthy cause that the ALS Therapy Development Institute proved to be. Megan graduated from Curry College in 2017 with a degree in Communication and has a personal background in professional technical theatre. A favorite quote of Megan's that lives in her office is, "Live fully. Challenge yourself. Be kind and generous. Inspire someone. Be grateful. Take the road less traveled. It’s never too late."
Cassandra Koufos joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2017. As a Finance Associate, she assists in the daily operations of the Finance department and provides donor communication and administrative support. Cassandra previously worked on charitable giving campaigns with the local, federal and state government that helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations around the country. She graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2015 with a degree in Communication. When she’s not traveling, she loves watching/ going to Patriots and Bruins games. “When life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.” - Sheryl Sandberg
Beth Levine joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2007. Beth brings 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience to ALS Therapy Development Institute. As part of the Project Management team, it is her job to make sure projects run at maximum efficiency. She is also a member of the In Vivo Research group in which she is currently focused on studying the C9orf72 mutation. Beth is motivated everyday by the Institute’s unique approach to research based on one question – does this path lead us closer to a treatment or cure for ALS? Beth participates in many ALS fundraising events alongside people with ALS and their families and friends including riding in the Tri-State Trek and running in The Race for Research.
Kate Lockhart joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2017. As Development Manager, she is excited to spread awareness about the crucial work of ALS TDI. Before joining ALS Therapy Development Institute, Kate was the Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County for over four years. As a Sociology and Culture Anthropology major at UMass Amherst, she has always been passionate about social change, economic justice, and making a difference. She lives in Quincy with her husband Kurt, loves exploring the city, traveling, and meeting new people. "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dr. Lukashev joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2013 with over 20 years of postgraduate research experience and 14 years of biotechnology industry experience. He has supported and led therapeutic discovery and development programs across all stages of drug development in therapeutic areas of neurology, oncology, immunology and fibrosis. His leadership of the research effort supporting clinical development of Tecfidera, an oral small molecule therapeutic recently approved by the FDA for treatment of multiple sclerosis was recognized by an Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from Biogen Idec, Inc. Dr. Lukashev received a Ph.D. from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins and University of California, San Francisco.
Amy Lummen joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2016 with several years in customer service and retail management. From South Carolina, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. After spending her two years in Charleston, SC working in retail she decided to move to Boston, MA for a new experience! After seeing the effects that Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s has on her father, Amy understands the impact that neurodegenerative diseases can have on an entire family. Amy enjoys working with the Clinical Team at The Institute. She organizes the scheduling, shipping, correspondence, and data download for the Precision Medicine Program. She is also the smiling face at our front desk! In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring Boston, drinking Bloody Mary’s, practicing yoga, and spending time with her niece, Mary, in Nahant, MA.
Emer Martin joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2016. In her role as Communications and Development Specialist, Emer works to support the community with their local events and helps to produce community and donor communications in an effort to secure the vital funding required to continue the research here at ALS TDI. She is inspired by her colleagues across the team who demonstrate their commitment to putting an end to ALS every day. Previously, Emer has held roles in communications and HR. She is a graduate of Dublin City University and holds a Master’s degree in Science Communication. In her free time, Emer enjoys baking, exploring and crocheting.
Dr. Michele Maxwell joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2014. Michele is a cellular and molecular neuroscientist who came to the Institute after working in ALS research and neuroscience drug discovery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. At MGH, her laboratory focused on developing cell-based and animal models to probe molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in ALS and other neurological disorders, and on genetic and pharmacological validation of potential therapeutic targets using these models. Dr. Maxwell's expertise also includes development and validation of cell-based assays for drug screening, process optimization for high-throughput screens, and secondary characterization of hit compounds both in vitro and in vivo. She earned her Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed postdoctoral training in neurodegenerative disease research at MGH.
Carlos joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2005. Carlos is an animal technician on the science team. He has worked with animals since he was a young boy growing up on a farm in Colombia. His father was a veterinarian and taught Carlos how to care for the diverse animals on their farm. Carlos moved to the United States is 1991 and resides in Chelsea, MA, with his wife Juliana, and their children.
Jennifer McErlain joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2015 as a Development Manager. Her passion for helping individuals affected by ALS and their families began during her time working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association where she served as Health Care Services Coordinator. Prior to MDA, Jennifer worked with a nonprofit to assist people living in affordable housing communities achieve greater self-sufficiency through education and social services. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, discovering new music, and eating other people's cooking. She resides in Northern Oakland, CA, with her husband, two children, and her cat. Jennifer is proud and honored to be part of the Development team at the Institute and fund cutting-edge research to end ALS. "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Maeve joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in January 2012. She is originally from Ireland and holds a Degree in Business Administration. She previously worked as a project manager at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Prior to this, she was employed at the Harvard Institute for International Development, following her role as an Administrator for a medical Non-Government Organization based in East Africa that responded to complex emergencies. In her spare time, Maeve enjoys hiking, tennis, horseback riding and cooking. She lives with her family and their dog, named Bono in Cambridge. As Director of Clinical Operations she is a member of the senior leadership team reporting directly to the CEO to deliver high quality patient outcomes and an exceptional patient experience while also focusing on efficiency and reducing costs. She directs, coordinates and monitors the operational, financial and personnel performance of the clinical department, and develops and implements department policies, initiatives and objectives to assist in achieving the Institute's vision and strategic goal of finding a therapeutic for ALS.
Andy Moreno joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2002. At the Institute Andy is responsible for executing experimental drug studies in animal models of ALS. The fight of ALS patients and the dedication of their friends and families is what inspires Andy on a daily basis. Before joining the ALS Therapy Development Institute, Mr. Moreno worked for Harvard University Medical School. Andy attended the famous Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the alma mater of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and thereafter Boston College. Andy, with his beautiful family, reside in Arlington, MA and they like to hike together in their free time.
Oltiana Mosko joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2014 as a Clinical Administrative Assistant in the Precision Medicine Program and manages the distribution and maintenance of Actigraph devices for patient use as well as PMP data coordination and QC. She programs the devices, downloads and inputs data and monitors supplies. She has experience running bioassays and laboratory bench studies, writing scientific reports and maintaining research lab operations and equipment. Oltiana also brings significant nonprofit experience to her role at the Institute. When not working, she likes to go fishing and read books. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa
Roxanne Murden joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2014. In her role as a Finance Manager, Roxanne, along with her team, take care of processing every donation that comes to the Institute. Roxanne attended Community College on the North Shore. As a single mom of 2 – Lara who is 17 and Aragorn who is 13 – she is kept very busy. Outside of the Insitute, Roxanne has been member of the School’s PTA for over 8 years and has help roles as both its President and Vice President. In her free time, Roxanne loves going to the beach, reading good books and baking.
Colette O'Neill joined ALS TDI as the Senior Director of Marketing, Communications and PR in April 2015. She has spent over fifteen years leading marketing and communications efforts at Boston area non-profits, as well as running her own practice in marketing strategy, design and production. This is her debut in the bio-medical space; she is humbled to work amongst a group of people at the Institute who are incredibly passionate about their work, and 100% dedicated to finding a cure for ALS. Originally from Ireland, Colette moved to Boston in 1999, and now lives on Boston's north shore with her family. She loves photography, people, contemporary art, film, biking and spontaneous adventures with her 2.5 year old son.
Dr. Steven Perrin joined the ALS Therapy Development in 2007 as part of historical collaboration between the Institute, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Augie's Quest with the goal of developing a center of excellence for ALS drug development and translational research for neurodegenerative diseases. Steven is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer. He earned his Ph.D. at Boston University Medical Center in the Department of Biochemistry. Steven moved into the pharmaceutical industry in 1997 holding positions at the Hoechst-Ariad, Genomics Center, Aventis Pharmaceuticals and more recently as Director of Molecular Profiling at Biogen Idec. Since joining the Institute, Steven has spearheaded the architectural design and execution of the world’s largest Precision Medicine Program. This innovative program has bridged the gap between early preclinical target discovery and the advancement of biomarkers and quantitative outcome measures for clinical development in ALS and other neurological disease indications. Under his leadership ALS TDI has assembled a world class scientific team that in the last seven years has brought two potential treatments into clinical development for ALS. He has accomplished these objectives by creating innovative business models bridging philanthropic investments in early stages of drug development with for virtual for profit biotechnology companies to manage clinical translation. Steven is a frequent invited participant and speaker in international conferences on computational biology, genomics, drug development, and neurodegeneration.
Alan Premasiri joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2013. Alan graduated from Boston University with a degree in Neurobiology, and is applying to medical school. At the Institute, he does anything and everything related to the ALS-associated gene C9orf72. Alan is driven to work at the ALS Therapy Development Institute not only for his love of research, but also getting to meet inspiring people living with ALS and their families. Alan has ridden in the Tri-State Trek for two years alongside the ALS community. In his free time, Alan loves music, playing guitar, Ultimate Frisbee, tennis and anything science-related. ""o or do not, there is no try" -Yoda
Clare Reich joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2011. She is the Lead Data Management Analyst and lives in Oakland, CA. Clare works at the Institute with the hope of helping to save her brother and all people with ALS. Her brother, Corey, was diagnosed with ALS in 2007. Since his diagnosis, Clare and her family have been dedicated to raising funds for the Institute. Clare graduated from Colby College in May 2011 with a degree in history and was the captain of the women’s volleyball team. Clare enjoys traveling, reading, watching sports, and spending time with her family. “Life is too short to be anything but happy.” – Corey Reich
Carolyn Rodgers joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2017. As the design and production specialist she designs visual content within the marketing and communications team. After collaborating with underfunded communities, Carolyn entered the nonprofit space to continue her dedication to bringing innovative visual communications to deserving causes. Carolyn has worked within a small tech startup, a university marketing office, and advertising agencies. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Art & Design where she received awards in achievement in the area of disability, creative process, and leadership. Some of Carolyn's favorite things are painting colors and words, cooking brunch on the weekends, reading pretty books, and watching The Dick Van Dyke Show. "Solving any problem is more important than being right." - Milton Glaser
Ricardo (Ricky) Sanchez joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2006 bringing more than twenty-nine years of experience in research and industrial histopathology to the team. Previously, he spent five years at Biogen Idec, Inc. as a histopathology supervisor. He also has over twenty years in research experience in nerve regeneration, inflammatory diseases, and cancer biology while working at Curis, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Ricky received his BS in Biology and Histotechnology from Kean University of New Jersey. He and his family live in Andover, MA. "Together in the fight to end ALS”.
Megan Sullivan joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2015 as a Finance Associate to assist in the daily operations of the Finance department and provide donor communication administrative support. Before joining ALS Therapy Development Institute, she spent 12 years in ticketing and marketing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and brings extensive CRM software and customer service experience to the Institute.  She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and holds a degree in Music Business. She enjoys attending concerts, rooting for the Bruins, and participating in the Race for Research with her husband, Shawn.
Shawn Sullivan joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2006 to help build web applications and the web presence for the Institute and many of its fundraising efforts. Specifically, Shawn is working to expand the web functionality of the Institute's drug discovery pipeline, the process database system we use to identify, evaluate, select and rank candidate drugs for testing. Shawn is also the lead developer for the Precision Medicine Program web portal which participants use to interact with their data. Shawn spent five years as a software developer at IMN Inc., where he helped clients such as Cisco Systems, Progress Software and Parametric Technology develop custom newsletters. He also has experience building Android apps, and in QA (quality assurance). Shawn attended Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Valerie Tassinari joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2010. She came to Boston in 2009, earned her BA in Marine Science from Boston University in 2012, and now is a member of the in vivo team at the Institute. Her responsibilities include validating gene expression endpoints in drug studies and quantitative gene copy number analyses to facilitate high quality and interpretable in vivo target discovery and pharmacology studies. “Keep moving forward.” – Walt Disney
Ken Thompson joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2000. A close friend of ALS patient Stephen Heywood, Ken discontinued his work in marine biology at the University of Alaska in 2000 to join ALS-TDI as a formulations scientist supporting the pharmacology team. At this time the lab was two small rooms in the depths of the New England Medical Center and the science team was six people strong. In his unique role at ALS TDI, Ken supports the In vivo team, daily lab operations and serves as clerk for the board of directors. Ken's previous research experience includes the molecular examination of starvation markers in larval stage cod at the University of Rhode Island. While at ALS TDI he has been coauthor on six publications.
Alexandra Tsolias joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2014 shortly after receiving her Bachelors of Science from Northeastern University. She has previously worked as a member of various multidisciplinary teams at biotechnology companies including Acceleron Pharma, Selecta Bioscience, Biogen Idec as well as at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Division of Endocrinology. As a member of the Translational Research team, her work is primarily focused on the Precision Medicine Program. Alexandra has managed key aspects of the programs logistics and workflow including patient sample processing, generation of primary fibroblasts and the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells that will be used in cell based assays and phenotypic discovery. She loves the connection that the Institute shares with the ALS community as well as the dedication and determination that are inherent values throughout the company. In her personal time, Alexandra enjoys travelling, running, bikram yoga, and taking part in fundraising events. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie
Fernando G. Vieira, M.D. joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2001. He is a research director focused on preclinical discovery and development of therapeutics for people with ALS. He works at the Institute because he believes it is the place where he can best work with others to help shape a world where an ALS diagnosis is no longer crippling. Fernando earned a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from the University of Florida College of Engineering studied medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has dedicated his professional life to ending ALS. He has dedicated his personal life to being the best father he can be. “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is, apparently, that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” –Friedrich Nietzche
Ben Wakefield joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2009. Ben is responsible for maintaining existing web applications and implementing new web strategies. Previous to joining ALS TDI, Ben spent six years working in software and web development on an aerospace maintenance & engineering application. Prior to that, he worked for an information technology consulting firm in client/server based technologies. Ben is a graduate of the University of Maine.
Monica joined the ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2005. Formerly a member of Biogen's ALS discovery program, Monica has 28 years of basic research experience including stem cell research and animal surgeries in diabetes and Parkinson's disease. She spent five years focusing on HIV research at the New England Medical Center Hospital. She has extensive experience in the Cambridge biotechnology community, having held a senior position at Curis, where she filed successful patents. Monica is an expert in advanced confocal microscopy techniques, fluorescence, in-situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and cutting edge 3D histology using polymerized tissue sections. Her novel techniques include quantification of motor neurons, extraction of complex nerve assemblies, and imaging of ALS neuromuscular junctions. Monica loves to work out and is a CrossFit addict.
Yiding joined ALS Therapy Development Institute in 2015. She has 20 years’ experience in bench research in both biopharmaceuticals and academics, where she was involved in a broad range of technology for in vitro research. Her previous experience focused on mouse genetics modeling of human disease, inflammation kinase assays, cancer biology cell-based assays, siRNA DMPK study and cell automation. Her specialties include cell assays development and gene construction. In her free time, Yiding enjoys practicing meditation and yoga.