Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology / Director, Program for Neurology Research & Discovery / Research Director, ALS Center of Excellence
Stacey Sakowski Jacoby, Ph.D.Managing Director
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. She served as director through June 2017 and remains a Founding Scholar of the Institute.
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 has completed Phase I and Phase II trials, and included 30 patients.
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, and Alzheimer’s disease.
She has published over 380 original peer-reviewed articles, 61 book chapters and four books. Dr. Feldman has over 25 years of continuous NIH funding and is currently the Principal or Co-Investigator of 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 induction into the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, the Endocrine Society’s Aurbach Award for Outstanding Translational Research, and the Esteemed Women of Michigan Award. She has also received 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 20 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 more than 100 postdoctoral fellows and neurologists have trained under her to specialize in the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular diseases, with an emphasis on ALS.
Stacey Sakowski Jacoby, Ph.D.
In her current role as Managing Director of the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, Dr. Jacoby’s responsibilities include supporting the operation of the organization and managing scientific programs and communications.
Dr. Jacoby received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, 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 then joined the laboratory of Dr. Eva Feldman at the University of Michigan as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2006, and 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. Jacoby served as Deputy Managing Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan from 2011 to 2017, and returned to the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery as Managing Director in January 2018. Dr. Jacoby (Sakowski) is the author/co-author of more than 30 manuscripts.
Michael J. Brenner M.D., F.A.C.S.Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Brian Callaghan, M.D.Fovette E. Dush Associate Professor of Neurology
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph.D.Research Investigator
Stephen Goutman, M.D., M.S.Associate Professor of Neurology / Director, ALS Center of Excellence
Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., F.A.C.S.Chief, Division of Laryngology, Rhinology & General Otolaryngology / Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery / Professor of Music
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D.Laboratory Director / Research Assistant
Lisa McGinley, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Neurology
Benjamin Murdock, Ph.D.Research Investigator
Parag G. Patil, M.D., Ph.D.Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering
Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D.Professor of Internal Medicine
Michael J. Brenner M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Brenner’s clinical and academic interests in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery focus on optimizing patient outcomes and quality of life after nerve injury and facial reconstruction. His laboratory research in cranial nerve injury involves study of axonal guidance, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, and the use of stem cells with tissue engineered constructs. Translational projects investigate novel approaches to nerve reconstruction, methods to enhance nerve regeneration and improving reinnervation.
Dr. Brenner received his medical degree from the Northwestern University Medical School. He completed his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Washington University-Saint Louis and a fellowship in facial plastic surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.
Brian Callaghan, M.D.
Dr. Callaghan’s research has focused on the metabolic factors that are associated with neuropathy. He has completed four observational studies that have demonstrated that hyperglycemia, obesity, and the number of metabolic syndrome components (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels), but not hypertension or dyslipidemia, are associated with neuropathy. This has led to a proposed interventional study of surgical weight loss and/or high intensity interval training to determine if either intervention can prevent nerve injury. If successful, either intervention would be the first disease modifying therapy for neuropathy. In February 2018, he published “Diabetes and Obesity Are the Main Metabolic of Peripheral Neuropathy,” in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.
Dr. Callaghan has investigated ways to improve the efficiencies of healthcare delivery within neurology with a focus on peripheral neuropathy and headache. Additionally, he has studied the utilization and costs associated with neurologic testing, prescriptions, and neurologic visits with implications for payment reform.
As part of his research efforts, Dr. Callaghan has mentored two undergraduates, 13 neurology residents, two neuromuscular fellows, two international residents, and two graduate student research assistants. He is nationally recognized through the American Academy of Neurology (three committees and the Drug Price Task Force), American Diabetes Association (Diabetic Neuropathy Chair and grant reviewer), American Neurological Association (Health Services Research Special Interest Group co-Chair), and Neurology journal (co-section editor of health services research website).
Dr. Callaghan completed his M.D. and neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He performed his clinical and research fellowships at the University of Michigan.
Claudia Figueroa-Romero, Ph.D.
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal disease involving the progressive death of motor neurons. Most ALS cases are sporadic (non-genetic links known) and despite extensive research, the causes of the disease are unknown. I am interested in studying how life-long environmental exposures may play a role in the development of late-onset diseases, such as ALS. Specifically, how external (occupational/home) and internal (the bacteria in our guts) environmental factors may trigger alterations in epigenetic mechanisms (turning of genes on or off, without altering the genetic code), which in turn may lead to the onset and progression of ALS.”
Ph.D. Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan
Stephen Goutman, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Goutman is a neuromuscular-trained neurologist with clinical and research expertise in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Dr. Goutman’s major research interest is identifying non-genetic causes of ALS and specifically why the State of Michigan has some of the highest rates of ALS in the country. Additionally, Dr. Goutman is Director of the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic, an ALS Association Certified Center of Excellence. Inspired by his patients, he leads a team of providers that strive to deliver comprehensive and compassionate care to persons with ALS and their families.
From a research standpoint, Dr. Goutman is focused on identifying causes of and treatments for ALS. He leads research efforts that are funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control aimed at discovering environmental risk factors in the onset of ALS. To investigate these factors, Dr. Goutman and his team collect epidemiologic surveys and biofluids from individuals with and without ALS. To date, the research has shown a link between ALS and legacy pesticides, an important finding that may help solve the mystery of ALS. One of Dr. Goutman’s articles received widespread attention for finding a connection between ALS and organochlorine pesticides.
Dr. Goutman is a site principal investigator of several multisite clinical trials focused on identifying new ALS treatments and causes and is an active participant with the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) to improve care for ALS. He received a 2016 Young Investigator Award by the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Motor Neuron Diseases.
Dr. Goutman also helps direct the University of Michigan ALS Biorepository which provides essential resources to ALS researchers within and external to the University of Michigan enabling studies into areas of ALS genetics, epigenetics, and immunology.
After obtaining a degree in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Goutman completed his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and his neurology residency and neuromuscular fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. He received a Master’s in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis at the University of Michigan.
Links & Publications
- 5 Things to Know About ALS (Michigan Health Blog) February 2018
Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Hogikyan’s clinical and academic interests are in the human voice, voice disorders and laryngeal (voice box) surgery. He and his otolaryngology colleagues have a well-established collaboration with the Program for Neurology Research & 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.
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.
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D.
Dr. Lentz 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 the Program for Neurology & Discovery in its study 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 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.
Lisa McGinley, Ph.D.
Dr. McGinley’s research is centered on developing stem cell treatments for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Her other research interests include the development of image-based biomarkers as efficacy indicators and novel methods to track stem cells in real-time after transplantation to the brain. Most recently, she published “Human neural stem cell transplantation into the corpus callosum of Alzheimer’s mice,” in the October 17 issue of Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Her other research interests include developing imaging-based biomarkers as efficacy indicators and novel methods to track stem cells in real-time after transplantation to the brain.
Dr. McGinley received her PhD in regenerative medicine from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She joined the University of Michigan Department of Neurology in 2013.
Benjamin Murdock, Ph.D.
Dr. Murdock focuses on the immune system and its role in the destruction of the nervous system. His primary project involves the immune system and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), particularly the role of natural killer cells and CD4 T cells in controlling disease progression. Natural killer cells protect the body from infection and cancer, but also kill dying cells. Previous research has found that the molecule that protects the body from its own natural killer cells is missing on motor neurons during ALS, and the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery has recently found that the number of natural killer cells increases dramatically as ALS progresses. Conversely, PNR&D has found that CD4 T cells, the master control cells of the immune system, begin to disappear from the blood during ALS and that this disappearance correlates with rapid disease progression. Previous studies in mice have found that removing these cells dramatically accelerates the rate of disease. Dr. Murdock’s research therefore attempts to slow disease progression by interfering with natural killer cell function or by enhancing CD4 T cells.
Dr. Murdock received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Michigan in 2010. He subsequently joined the University of Michigan Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine to examine the role of the immune system in promoting and preventing chronic pulmonary lung infections. He joined the University of Michigan Department of Neurology in 2014 to examine immune mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, particularly ALS.
Parag G. Patil, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Patil’s clinical interests include brain tumors, epilepsy surgery, hydrocephalus, neurovascular disorders, spasticity surgery, neurosurgery for pain, peripheral nerve surgery, radiosurgery, spine surgery, and movement disorders surgery.
His research interests include brain-machine interface, neuroprosthetic devices, intraoperative electrophysiology, motor and cognitive human systems, neuroscience mechanisms of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), and clinical outcomes in functional neurosurgery.
Dr. Patil joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2005. A native of Pennsylvania, he attended MIT where he received a Bachelors of Science in electrical engineering. After graduation, he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study philosophy and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford University in the UK. On returning to the US, Dr. Patil pursued combined medical and doctoral studies in biomedical engineering at The Johns Hopkins University as a fellow of the Medical Scientist Training Program of the NIH/NIGMS. His doctoral dissertation focused upon the presynaptic regulation of voltage-gated calcium channels, and for this work, he was awarded the Michael Shanoff Research Prize for the most outstanding research contribution in the School of Medicine.
The study of signaling between neurons led to a strong clinical interest in neurosurgery. During residency at Duke University, he was awarded an NIH postdoctoral fellowship to help develop brain-machine interface neuroprosthetic devices, which read electrical signals directly from the brain and control external actuators, such as robotic arms. This research was featured in Time magazine and on the cover of Neurosurgery. Following residency, Dr. Patil obtained additional clinical expertise through a fellowship in functional and deep brain stimulation surgery with Dr. Andres Lozano at the University of Toronto.
Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Pop-Busui is a 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 is 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.
Stephanie EidPostdoctoral Fellow
Sarah ElzingaPostdoctoral Fellow
Lucy HinderResearch Investigator
Mamta JaiswalResearch Investigator
Bhumsoo KimSenior Associate
Phillipe O’BrienResearch Investigator
Amy RumoraPostdoctoral Fellow
“The overall goal of my research is to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of diabetic neuropathy (DN) in order to develop effective therapeutic strategies to reverse or slow the progression of DN. I am particularly interested in the role oxygen reactions play in diabetic nerve injury. I am combining my past knowledge and experience in the field with my current research training in order to uncover signaling pathways that play key roles in protecting neurons from oxidative stressors and cell death in experimental and clinical settings.”
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité.
“My interest lies in researching the underlying mechanisms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy as they relate to energy utilization, also known as bioenergetics. We know that diabetic patients have elevated blood glucose levels, differences in circulating lipid concentrations, and low levels of systemic inflammation. I hope to better understand how these factors impact the peripheral nervous system in patients with neuropathy. In particular, I want to know how they affect the nerve and Schwann cells, the cells that wrap around the nerve and provide support. My goal is to discover how these two cell types communicate and exchange energy under diabetic conditions.”
Ph.D. Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky (Immunology & Endocrinology)
“Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a common and debilitating complication of diabetes that triggers pain and loss of sensation in the limbs. Substantial nerve damage occurs in many patients prior to noticeable symptoms and no treatments are currently available; therefore, there is a critical need to identify diagnostic biomarkers and treatment strategies that impact the underlying disease. My long-term goal is to develop mechanism-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that impact peripheral neuropathy before the onset of disease in order to significantly improve the quality of life of diabetic patients.”
Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences (Physiology), University of Aberdeen (U.K.)
“Our research efforts are focused on translational and clinical research designed to understand the mechanisms of diabetic complications, particularly of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the limbs) and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (nerve damage that affects such functions as heart rate, blood pressure and digestion), and to understand their role in the development of cardiovascular complications in both adults and youth with diabetes. We have ongoing clinical trials using interventions for prevention of diabetes complications, including glucose control, risk factors control, and disease-modifying medicines to better understand the disease processes that can be reversed to prevent or delay these complications.”
Ph.D. Epidemiology, University of Colorado at Denver
“Dr. Feldman has shown that stem cell therapies improve outcomes in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is now conducting an FDA-approved clinical trial in ALS patients. The long-term objective of my research is to develop a similar breakthrough treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Preliminary studies in a model of early-onset AD show that delivery of our unique line of human neural stem cells directly to the brain improves memory and learning deficits and reduces the buildup of amyloid plaques. We are now performing comprehensive testing in additional models that display many of the characteristics found in human AD, to determine exactly how these stem cells impact disease processes and cognition. My other research interests include developing imaging-based biomarkers as efficacy indicators and novel methods to track stem cells in real-time after transplantation to the brain.”
Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of Michigan
“A common animal model used in diabetes and obesity research is the high-fat fed mouse where mice are given diet in which 42-60% of the calories are derived from fat. Research has shown that female mice are more resistant than males to developing diabetic-like features when fed a high-fat diet. For example, insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes occurs in females but not in males fed a high-fat diet. This protection is attributed to the way females accumulate fat and because estrogen exhibit anti-diabetic properties. Interestingly, we recently demonstrated that in spite of those protections, female mice develop peripheral neuropathy, a common diabetic complication of nerve damage in the extremities, to the same degree as high-fat male mice. These findings suggest, contrary to other reports, that insulin resistance is not the primary driver of peripheral neuropathy and that other factors are involved. We are currently investigating potential connections between diabetes and nerve damage with particular emphasis on how abnormal fat levels in blood (known as dyslipidemia) is involved in disease development and progression.”
Ph.D., Molecular Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin
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.
Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of Vermont
John HayesResearch Lab Specialist Intermediate
Faye MendelsonResearch Lab Specialist Associate
Crystal PacutResearch Lab Specialist Senior
Maegan TabbeyResearch Lab Tech Intermediate
Betsy TaylorSenior Administrative Assistant
Lisa L. BaizAdministrative Assistant
Mr. 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.
Faye Mendelson received her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2015. She joined the laboratory in the fall of 2015 to provide technical support for ongoing research projects on diabetic neuropathy, ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease. She is involved in projects using stem cell therapy to treat ALS and Alzheimer’s disease in rodent models and studying how diet affects diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, Faye has recently taken on the role of organizing the animal studies and managing the other daily operations.
Crystal has been at the University of Michigan since 2002 and joined the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery in the summer of 2009. She manages the daily activities of the laboratory while also providing technical assistance to all of the post-doctoral fellows. She is also actively involved in the clinical research aspect of the laboratory where she is responsible for building and maintaining an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and diabetes patient sample biorepository. Her specialties include: iPS cell line generation, maintenance and expansion of iPS lines, and primary tissue culture. Crystal received her B.S. degree in molecular biology from Michigan Technological University in 1998.
Maegan joined the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery in 2015 and has been actively working on studies involving rodent models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Maegan is also involved with in-vitro studies evaluating the effects of dyslipidemia on mitochondrial function in primary culture DRG neurons, and pursuing stem cell lines as a method of Alzheimer’s therapy. She also collaborates with the University of Michigan Brain Bank to dissect tissue from autopsied patients for research in ALS and to continue growing the PNR&D’s biorepository. Maegan received her B.S. in evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan in 2012.
Betsy Taylor is the senior administrative assistant to Dr. Feldman. She is responsible for managing Dr. Feldman’s communication, calendar, travel, speaking engagements, administrative support for grant applications and other university matters. A member of the staff since 2016, Betsy also assists in the daily organization and operation for the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.
Lisa L. Baiz
Lisa Baiz serves as an assistant directly to Dr. Feldman. She has worked for Dr. Feldman for more than 18 years— beginning with tasks in the Feldman Lab when she was still a high school student. Ms. Baiz now assists with administrative duties, event planning and organization for the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.