Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Throughout her career, Dr. Eva Feldman, the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan, has made it her mission to use scientific discoveries to understand and cure human diseases.
In January 2008, Dr. Feldman was named the first Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, which was created to support fundamental research into a wide range of human diseases. Under her leadership, the Taubman Institute funds senior-level scientists in a diverse spectrum of diseases – adult and childhood cancer, ALS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hearing loss.
In her own work, Dr. Feldman is on the forefront of applying stem cell research to human disease. Most notably she is the Principal Investigator of the first human clinical trial of intraspinal transplantation of stem cells in patients with ALS, which received FDA approval to proceed to Phase II this year.
In addition to running an active clinical practice at the University of Michigan, Dr. Feldman directs a team of 30 scientists who collaborate to understand and find new treatments for a wide variety of neurological diseases, including ALS, diabetic neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscular dystrophies.
She has published over 275 original peer-reviewed articles, 59 book chapters and three books. Dr. Feldman has over 23 years of continuous NIH funding and is currently the Principal or Co-Investigator of five major National Institutes of Health research grants, three private foundation grants and one clinical trial focused on understanding and treating neurological disorders, with an emphasis on ALS and diabetic neuropathy. She is Past President of the American Neurological Association and the Peripheral Nerve Society.
Dr. Feldman has received many honors including the Early Distinguished Career Award and the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Michigan, along with several scientific achievement awards in the field of diabetes. In 2010 she was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and she has been listed in Best Doctors in America for more than 10 consecutive years.
Among Dr. Feldman’s greatest accomplishments is her training of both scientists and neurologists. Nine scientists have received their Ph.D. degrees under her, she has trained 40 postdoctoral fellows in her laboratory to become neuroscientists, and 36 neurologists have trained under her to specialize in the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular diseases, with an emphasis on ALS.
Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Chief, Division of Laryngology, Rhinology, and General Otolaryngology
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Professor of Music, University of Michigan
Dr. Hogikyan’s clinical and academic interests are in the human voice, voice disorders and laryngeal (voice box) surgery. His basic science research is in the area of laryngeal paralysis and reinnervation, and his clinical research focuses on the measurement of voice-related quality of life and the treatment of voice disorders. Dr. Hogikyan graduated from the University of Michigan magna cum laude with highest distinction in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He went on to medical school at the University of Michigan and graduated cum laude with distinction in research. While in medical school, Dr. Hogikyan was awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health Research Scholar fellowship to work at NIH in a molecular genetics laboratory. He went on to complete his residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, and a fellowship in Laryngology with Dr. Robert Bastian at Loyola University of Chicago. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1995. Dr. Hogikyan and colleagues in Otolaryngology have a well-established collaboration with the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery. Areas of investigation include laryngeal paralysis and reinnervation, peripheral nerve grafting, bulbar manifestations of ALS, and use of stem cells and growth factors in neural regeneration.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dr. Nicholas Boulis, neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Neurological Restoration, is a physician scientist whose research interests include biological neurorestoration and neuromodulation through the use of cell, protein, and gene delivery to the nervous system. Dr. Boulis graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with distinction in the intensive Biology and Philosophy majors. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School winning the Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Dr. Boulis has developed a clinical program focusing on peripheral nerve regeneration, spasticity, pain and Parkinson’s Disease. He applies advanced microsurgical, radiosurgical, as well as ablative and neural augmentation approaches. He is currently working on strategies for gene based motor neuron protection for ALS, neural targeting of gene delivery, and gene-based neuromodulation. He collaborates with Nicholas Mazarakis, Ph.D., of Oxford Biomedica as well as Michael Imperiale, PhD. and Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Michigan in the field of ALS gene therapy. His work on neural targeting of biological therapies involves an active collaboration with Tom Brown, Ph.D., of Massachussetts General Hospital. Finally, his lab collaborates with Imad Najm, M.D., (CCF) on epilepsy neuromodulation,T Subramanian, M.D., (CCF), on Parkinson’s neuromodulation, and Michael Davis, Ph.D., (Emory), on anxiety neuromodulation. In the last year, Dr. Boulis has presented his work at the American Society for Gene Therapy, Society for Neuroscience, The Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and The American Association of Neurologic Surgeons. He is the author of 46 publications. For the past seven years, Dr. Boulis has independently organized and secured funding for an outreach/teaching mission to provide surgical therapy to patients in Guatemala requiring treatment for hydrocephalus and spina bifida. To date, “Project Shunt” has provided 186 free operations to impoverished Guatemalan children. Dr. Boulis is an integral member of the Center’s innovative neurosurgical team, equally skilled in clinical and laboratory settings.
Assistant Research Professor
Bhumsoo Kim, Ph.D., is a research investigator in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. in the Neuroscience Program from the University of Michigan with Dr. Feldman. He was awarded an Outstanding Student Publication Award from the Neuroscience Program and a Young Investigator Education Enhancement Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University before returning to Dr. Feldman’s laboratory. Dr. Kim has authored or co-authored 25 research articles. His current research focuses on the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence of both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are increasing rapidly in the United States and there are strong evidences that diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Kim is specifically interested in the regulation of the proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease in diabetic conditions.
Director, Lakeshore Professional Voice Center
Adam Rubin, M.D., graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with degrees in Theater Studies and Economics. He received his medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School. Following his residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan, he completed a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice under the direction of Robert T. Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A., in Philadelphia. Prior to specializing in Laryngology, Dr. Rubin enjoyed a life-long passion for the human voice. Before attending medical school, he was a professional actor and singer, performing in musicals, and plays at off-Broadway and regional theaters, as well as in a national tour. He is also an accomplished rock and roll singer, and a classical violinist. Dr. Rubin’s basic science interests include viral gene therapy and laryngeal nerve regeneration. He began his collaboration with Dr. Feldman and the PNR&D as a resident, during which time he received the University of Michigan Merle Lawrence Basic Science Research and the John L. Kemink Clinical Research Awards. He currently practices at Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center in St. Clair Shores where he is Director of the Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, and is thrilled to continue working with the PNR&D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes at the University of Michigan. She is actively involved in both basic-translational and clinical research in diabetes and diabetes complications, with a focus on diabetic autonomic and peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Pop-Busui’s basic research project concerned with the role of Cycooxygenase-2 activation and oxidative stress in peripheral nerve dysfunction in diabetes is funded the National Institutes of Health. She is principal investigator in multiple clinical trials funded by National Institutes of Health, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Industry. Dr. Pop-Busui is a recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1995, American Diabetes Association Endocrinology Fellow of Excellence Award in 2001 and of the University of Michigan Clinical Science Scholar Award in 2005. She serves as member of the Council for Clinical Research of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and of the Peer Review Committees of the American Heart Association. Dr. Pop-Busui received her M.D. and Ph.D. summa cum laude at the University of Timisoara in Romania. After completing internal medicine training and obtaining board certification in Internal Medicine in Romania, she completed postgraduate training in diabetes at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield UK and a Fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Michigan and joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in July 2005. She has authored peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to diabetes, diabetic autonomic and peripheral neuropathy and diabetes complications.
Laboratory Director / Research Assistant Investigator
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes of the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Lentz is also the Laboratory Director of the Morphology and Image Analysis Core in the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center. He actively collaborates with Dr. Feldman’s laboratory in their studies of diabetic neuropathy. Current research uses high resolution confocal microscopy to examine the effects of high glucose on mitochondrial dynamics and biogenesis in sensory neurons. Dr. Lentz received his Ph.D. in the Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, investigating the effects of growth factors on peripheral nerve outgrowth. He came to the University of Michigan in 1998 and has served as the Laboratory Director of the Morphology Core since 2001. He has authored or co-authored 16 peer-reviewed research articles.
Brian Callaghan, M.D.
Fovette E. Dush Professor
Assistant Professor Department of Neurology
UMHS ALS Clinic Associate Director of Research
Brian Callaghan, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Neuromuscular Division within the Department of Neurology. Dr. Callaghan completed his M.D. and neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He performed his clinical fellowship at the University of Michigan. His current research efforts are focused on determining the optimal evaluation of peripheral neuropathy. Projects include a survey of physicians and a medical claims database project to understand current clinical practice. Another main research interest includes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ongoing projects include an epigenetic analysis to discover modifications of the DNA that may explain why patients develop ALS, an exposure survey to look into which environmental chemicals may predispose patients to this disease, and a stem cell project delving into the cellular biology of neurons and glia derived from patient with this devastating condition.
Stacey Sakowski Jacoby, Ph.D.
Deputy Managing Director, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute
Stacey Sakowski Jacoby, Ph.D., joined the Taubman Institute as the Deputy Managing Director in 2011. Her role includes supporting the operation of the organization and managing scientific programs and communications of the Taubman Institute and the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.
Dr. Sakowski received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Wayne State University in 2006, where her graduate research training focused on the biochemical characterization and analysis of post-translational modifications of proteins involved in serotonin biosynthesis. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Eva Feldman at the University of Michigan in 2006 as a postdoctoral research fellow, and then advanced to Research Investigator in 2011. In the Feldman laboratory, her research was focused on understanding the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and examining the neuroprotective mechanisms of growth factor therapies using primary cellular models of ALS. She also developed and utilized zebrafish models of ALS to examine and investigate disease onset and progression. Dr. Sakowski is the author/co-author of 20 manuscripts.
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph.D.
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph. D. is a postdoctoral research fellow who received her Ph. D from the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Dr. Anne B. Vojtek. Her thesis research on the regulation of the Ras Trafficking and Ras Signaling was awarded with the Dziewiatkowski Award given to the most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Biological Chemistry. Dr. Figueroa-Romero continued her postdoctoral training in Dr. Vojtek’s lab characterizing the binding between the scaffold protein POSH and the serine/threonine kinase Akt2 and the biological significance of this interaction as regulator of the JNK signaling pathway. Dr. Figueroa-Romero joined the Feldman lab in 2007. Her current research focuses on identifying regulatory mechanisms, triggered by hyperglycemia, of molecules important for mitochondria biogenesis. This research will contribute to our understanding of the molecular players involved in diabetic neuropathy. She has authored or co-authored 10 publications.Lucy Hinder, Ph.D.
Lucy Hinder received her Ph.D from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK in 2007. Her graduate research focussed on the neural control of altered skin blood flow and behavioral responses in experimental diabetes; assessing the efficacy of antioxidant, vasodilator and growth factor therapeutic strategies on functional and quantitative indices of diabetic neuropathy. Dr. Hinder began her postdoctoral career under the mentorship of professors Cotter and Cameron in Aberdeen, using electrophysiology and confocal microscopy to study the role of electric fields in diabetic wound healing. Dr. Hinder joined the Feldman lab in 2009 as part of the ‘Mouse models of Diabetic Nephropathy and Neuropathy’ NIH grant, specifically working towards the development of robust mouse models for the evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions in human patients.
Osama Kashlan, M.D.
Osama Kashlan received his M.D. from Emory University in Atlanta in 2010 and is a neurosurgery resident at the University of Michigan. With two years to pursue independent research, he joined Eva Feldman’s laboratory in 2014 with three main projects: The first will study the effects of intracranial injection of stem cells on mice with Alzheimer’s disease, with hopes of finding a treatment for this incurable disease. The second will study the effects of multiple modalities including stem cells in rats with ALS (as a neurosurgery resident, Dr. Kashlan is also involved with the Phase II clinical trial dealing with intraspinal transplantation of stem cells in patients with ALS). The third project will study spinal cord injury in a rat model. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan.
Lisa McGinley, Ph.D.
Lisa McGinley joined the Feldman Laboratory in November 2013 to develop a research program investigating cellular therapies for neurological diseases. Dr. McGinley is expert in cell and gene therapies along with the cGMP guidelines and practices that are critical for the translation of our stem cell technology to clinical trial. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway under the mentorship of Prof. Tim O’Brien, Director of the Institute and Head of Medicine. In her doctoral research she established techniques to enhance stem cell therapies for clinical applications, including cardiac regeneration. Lisa gained her biomanufacturing experience at the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI), a cGMP compliant facility that produces human cell-based therapeutic products for clinical trial. In 2011, Lisa moved to the United States to join the laboratory of Robert M. Nerem, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. There, she was part of the research team in the National Science Foundation center on the emergent behavior of integrated cellular systems, working toward developing techniques to vascularize a cell-based biological machine. Lisa now leads our collaborative stem cell initiative with Neuralstem Inc. (Rockville, Md.) and Emory University (Atlanta, Ga.), with whom we are working on developing stem cell therapies. Projects currently in pre-clinical phase are evaluating spinal stem cells in ALS and cortical stem cells in Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition, Lisa is working toward establishing novel in vitro laboratory models of ALS and Alzheimer’s using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
Benjamin Murdock, Ph.D.
Benjamin Murdock received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2010. His dissertation work with Dr. Gary Huffnagle focused on the complex role of cells and cytokines in driving allergic responses to inhaled fungal pathogens. He continued his work in the lungs under Dr. John Osterholzer, determining the role of IL-17 and IL-10 in maintaining chronic Cryptococcus neoformans infections. Dr. Murdock joined the Feldman lab in June of 2014 and is using flow cytometry to characterize the cellular inflammatory response during amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in both human patients and mouse models.”
Phillipe O’Brien, Ph.D.
Phillipe O’Brien, under the mentorship of Dr. Howard Fearnhead, received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 2011 from the National Centre for Biological and Engineering Sciences (NCBES) located at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His graduate research, which comprised of in vitro and cell-free systems, focused on the investigating cellular targets of the serine protease inhibitor, TPCK, in order to clarify the correct use of the inhibitor in apoptotic studies. In the same year as completing his Ph.D. Dr. O’Brien moved from Ireland to join the Feldman lab and is currently involved in understanding the cellular mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy. Using mouse models of diabetes, his research interests include investigating how endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by hyperglycemia and/or dyslipidemia contributes to the disease in order to identify potential therapeutic interventions.
Ximena Paez-Colasante, Ph.D.
Ximena Paez-Colasante received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas A&M Institute of Neuroscience in College Station, Texas (2014). During her graduate studies, she worked in Dr. Mendell Rimer’s laboratory on understanding the role of motor neurons in the neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The Survival of Motor Neuron protein (SMN), which is significantly reduced in SMA, was selectively restored into motor neurons of two SMA mouse models in an attempt to rescue pathology and determine the importance of motor neurons as therapeutic targets. In July 2014, Dr. Paez-Colasante joined Dr. Feldman’s laboratory as a postdoctoral research fellow. She is applying her extensive background in cellular and molecular biology techniques as well as her experience with mouse models to identify new mechanisms of ALS. Her current work involves studying the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in ALS, with a special emphasis on microRNA dysregulation, and on the time-course study of motor function and neuromuscular junction architecture in the SOD1-G93A ALS mouse model.
Meeyoung Park, Ph.D.
Meeyoung Park obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS in 2013. Under the supervision of Dr. Xue-Wen Chen , her dissertation focused on identifying genetic disease factors on age-related macular degeneration using single nucleotide polymorphism dataset in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). She also evaluated the trustworthiness of big data from online healthcare information working with Dr. Bo Luo on a bioinformatics/healthcare informatics project. Dr. Park joined the Feldman laboratory in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow. She is currently applying her solid background in programming, bioinformatics, statistical learning, text mining, and information retrieval to analyze high-throughput and medical image data to identify disease markers in neurological disorders such as diabetic neuropathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Amy Rumora, Ph.D.
Amy Rumora received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Vermont in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Kelm. Her thesis focused on the molecular characterization of a single-stranded DNA-binding repressor of myofibroblast differentiation called purine-rich element binding protein B (Purb). In 2014, Amy joined the Feldman lab as a postdoctoral fellow to study mitochondrial dysfunction associated with diabetic neuropathy. She is currently evaluating the effect of hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia on mitochondrial bioenergetics and mitochondrial trafficking. She is also studying the involvement of inter-organellar communication in hyperglycemic and hyperlipidemic neuronal cells. She aims to use her background in molecular biology and biochemistry to identify underlying molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction that contribute to diabetic neuropathy.
Research Associate II
Carey Backus received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley in 1991. She joined Dr. Eva Feldman’s laboratory in 2001 from UCSF to assist in ongoing research on neuronal dysfunction in diabetes and ALS. Carey cultures primary sensory, motor and cortical neurons to use as in vitro disease model systems. Recently she has begun working with human embryonic stem cells and is focusing on how to differentiate them into motor neurons, which could then be used as a potential therapy for a rat model of ALS.
Lisa Baiz serves as an assistant directly to Dr. Feldman. She has worked for Dr. Feldman for more than 18 years— beginning with chores in the Feldman Lab when she was still a high school student. Ms. Baiz now assists with administrative duties, event planning and organization for both the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery and the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.
Judith Bentley is executive assistant to Dr. Feldman, responsible for grant and manuscript submissions, as well as daily correspondence and administrative activities for the Taubman Institute and the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery laboratory. She also assists Dr. Feldman in her work on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for the Study of Complications in Diabetes. Ms. Bentley received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Research Lab Tech Senior
John Hayes received a B.A. degree from Oakland University in 1999. He joined the laboratory in the spring of 2000 to assist in ongoing research within the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for the Complications in Diabetes. Mr. Hayes performs immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, nerve conduction studies, analgesia testing and animal dissections. Mr. Hayes also works with the Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium characterizing diabetic neuropathy in mice.
Clinical Research Coordinator Health
Crystal received her B.S. degree in Molecular Biology from Michigan Technological University in 1998. She has been at the University of Michigan since 2002 and joined the Feldman lab to help start up Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) work. She will be working closely with other research investigators studying various stem cell lines in order to study the mechanisms behind neuron disease and degeneration of ALS. She is also actively involved in the clinical aspect of the laboratory, and also responsible for building and maintaining the largest ALS patient sample biorepository.
Dave Spratt joined the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery as Communications Director in early 2014. Prior to joining the Institute, Dave served as Communications Director for the American Neurological Association during Dr. Feldman’s two-year presidency of that organization. A veteran journalist, Dave was an editor at the Detroit News from 1998-2008 and at the Lansing State Journal from 1992-98. Since 2008 Dave has been involved with the Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources, an organization that provides professional development for journalists who cover natural resources and the environment.
Dave received a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. through Eastern Michigan University.