Michael Levy, MD, PhD, is a neurologist with 11 years of clinical and research expertise in rare neuroimmunological disorders. In the summer of 2019, Dr. Levy was recruited to join the Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious Disease Division of the Massachusetts General Hospital where he directs the NMO Clinic and Research Laboratory. Dr. Levy is also an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. His mission is to develop new and improved therapies for patients with rare autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system.
Prior to his arrival in Boston, Dr. Levy was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University from 2009 until 2019. He first went to Hopkins after completing the MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) for internship in the Osler Medicine program in 2004. He then completed his residency in the Johns Hopkins neurology program in 2005 and a fellowship in neuroimmunology in 2008.
Clinically, Dr. Levy manages over 425 patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), 80 with idiopathic transverse myelitis (TM), and 30 with MOG antibody disease. In addition to weekly clinics, Dr. Levy is the principal investigator on three sponsored clinical trials for NMO, including the PREVENT study of eculizumab (Alexion), NMOmentum study of inebilizumab (Viela Bio) and Sakura Sky study of satralizumab (Chugai/Roche). Dr. Levy has also conducted three investigator-initiated trials for acute treatment of NMO relapses. In the lab, Dr. Levy’s research focuses on the development of animal models of NMO with the goal of tolerization as a sustainable long-term treatment.
Dr. Levy has more than 125 peer-reviewed research articles, reviews and editorials, and 3 patents covering NMO tolerization therapy, TM diagnostics and stem cell regeneration approaches. Dr. Levy is currently the chief editor at Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders and sits on the editorial board for Journal of Neurological Diseases, and on scientific advisory boards for Alexion, MedImmune, Chugai, Shire and Quest Diagnostics.
Dr. Cestari is a neuro-ophthalmologist at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary (MEEI). Dr. Cestari earned his MD from Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel. After a one-year fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear, he returned to Weill Cornell Medical College’s New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he completed a residency in ophthalmology and served as Chief Resident in his final year. Dr. Cestari is one of the few ophthalmologists worldwide who is board-certified in both neurology and ophthalmology. He provides care for patients suffering from various neuro-ophthalmic disorders, strabismus, and diplopia. Additionally, Dr. Cestari acts as a supervisor and mentor to medical students, residents, and fellows. He is actively involved in research that is geared towards shedding light on the underlying mechanisms of optic nerve disease. Since 2007, he has served on the Digital Media Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and on the Curriculum Development Committee of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. At MEEI, he chairs the Clinical Fellowships Committee and leads the Clinical Fellowship Program, spanning over 9 sub-specialties.
Dr. Clardy is Associate Professor of Neurology with tenure at the University of Utah in the Division of Neuroimmunology within the Department of Neurology and Staff Neurologist at the Salt Lake City VA Hospital. Prior to joining the University of Utah team Dr. Clardy completed a fellowship in Autoimmune Neurology at the Mayo Clinic. Her training and experience focus on the evaluation and management of autoimmune and paraneoplastic disorders of the nervous system.
Her main clinical interest is devoted to patients affected by antibody-mediated disorders of the nervous system, as well as demyelinating CNS disease, including neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and MOG-antibody disease, autoimmune neurologic complications of immune deficiency, and central nervous system complications of rheumatologic disease.
She established the Autoimmune Neurology Clinic at the University of Utah, one of the few clinics in the United States focused on serving this group of patients. Dr. Clardy is also the Director of the Autoimmune Neurology Fellowship program.
Languages spoken: Polish
Dr. Chwalisz grew up in Poznan, Poland and later in Berlin, Germany before moving to the United States. After college, he taught and researched Medical Ethics at the University of Oxford, UK. Dr. Chwalisz earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine internship at the University of Chicago, and his Neurology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, where he was recognized for his dedication to teaching residents and medical students. He completed a clinical fellowship in Advanced General and Autoimmune Neurology at MGH, and a second fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, where in addition to his clinical activities he researched treatment outcomes in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri).
As a clinician and teacher, Dr. Chwalisz is passionate about helping patients with neurological disorders, and he participates in the training of MGH Neurology residents, MGH Autoimmune Neurology fellows, and MEEI Neuro-ophthalmology fellows. Dr. Chwalisz is particularly interested in the intersection of the brain and the eye in health and disease, and he has a particular focus on inflammatory, infectious and autoimmune disorders affecting the eye, base of skull and the nervous system. Dr. Chwalisz is the founding director of the innovative Inflammatory Neuro-ophthalmology and Skull Base Disorders Clinic at MGH, a first-of-it-kind referral clinic for patients with inflammatory disorders affecting the optic nerves, orbit, cavernous sinus, cranial nerves, pituitary area, meninges and cranial vasculature.
Languages spoken: French
Dr. Elizabeth Fortin is the principal surgeon of the IRIS Ophthalmology Clinic. Her training allows her to provide vision correction care through laser surgeries and lens replacement surgeries. Dr. Fortin is an ophthalmologist from Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. After completing her residency in ophthalmology at the University of Sherbrooke, she pursued a Fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Mass Eye and Ear / Harvard Medical School and completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Prior to joining the IRIS Ophthalmology Clinic full time, she joined the Mass Eye and Ear General Ophthalmology and Neuro-Ophthalmology departments as an ophthalmologist in Boston. She was also an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
Languages spoken: German
Dr. Joachim Havla is a neurologist and senior physician at the Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology at the LMU Hospital in Munich, Germany. The Institute is a founding member of the well-known German NMOSD study group “NEMOS” and thus has been substantially involved in the scientific developments towards better care for our patients with NMOSD and MOG-AD over the past years.
He is (co-)principal investigator in numerous phase III therapy studies. In addition, he leads a junior research group (@NeuroVisionLab) and is active in both teaching and mentoring programs at the university. Clinically, he has been dedicated to the care of neuroimmunological patients for many years. He also scientifically and medically advises foundations in the field of neuroimmunological disorders and pursues the goal of patient empowerment.
Scientifically, his NeuroVisionLab is focused on the evaluation of new biomarkers for the quantification of retinal neuro-axonal degeneration in patients with inflammatory and degenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and is involved in international consortia such as “IMSVISUAL” and “CROCTINO”.
Languages spoken: Russian
Dr. Elena Grebenciucova is a neuro-immunologist and NMO specialist at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. She was initially trained in neurology at the University of Chicago and completed her neuro-immunology fellowship, focusing on transverse myelitis at the University of Pennsylvania.r. Grebenciucova has a specific interest in the risk of infections associated with the use of immunosuppressive medications and is passionate about patient education and empowerment. In her free time, she is a dog lover, kitchen pharmacist, and a self-certified art therapist who shares Van Gogh’s love of all things yellow and believes that wellness is a state of mind and happiness is an art and an exercise in resilience and perseverance.
Sarosh Irani is a clinician scientist, Professor of Autoimmune Neurology and consultant neurologist, at the University of Oxford. His group aims to improve treatments and outcomes for patients with autoantibody-mediated diseases of the nervous system and understand the biology behind these rapidly expanding conditions.
Sarosh undertook clinical training in Oxford and London, with a DPhil in Oxford and a Fulbright postdoctoral position in UCSF. He has made several discoveries within the translational neuroimmunology space. These have spanned basic clinical observations, including description and refinement of clinical phenotypes associated with autoantibodies, detection of pathogenic autoantibodies, genetic findings and B cell immunobiology, all in the field of autoantibody-mediated diseases.
Clinically, he runs the UK’s major clinic for autoantibody related CNS diseases. He has recognized faciobrachial dystonic seizures in association with LGI1-antibodies, the importance of early immunotherapy in these patients, and distinctive psychopathological features associated with NMDAR-antibody encephalitis. In the laboratory, he has led the discovery of LGI1- and CASPR2-antibodies, their associated HLA associations and the roles of B cells in the pathogenesis of autoimmune forms of encephalitis and neuromyelitis optica.
He was awarded the Graham-Bull Prize in Clinical Science / Goulstonian Lectureship, from the Royal College of Physicians, and awards including the NIHR BRC Senior Clinical Fellowship, International Society of Neuroimmunology Clinical Science Prize and both Wellcome Intermediate and MRC Senior Clinical Fellowships.
Tamara B. Kaplan M.D. is a neurologist and neuroimmunology specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kaplan obtained her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha society. Dr. Kaplan completed her residency at the Harvard joint program with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kaplan finished her training with fellowship in MS and Neuroimmunology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital supported by a grant from the National MS Society. Her research interests involve neurogenic bladder and pregnancy in demyelinating disease. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Kaplan also teaches at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kaplan is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and on the executive board for the Massachusetts Neurological Association. Dr. Kaplan is originally from Seattle, WA and currently lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.
Dr. Joshua Katz is the Co-Director of the Elliot Lewis Center in Wellesley, which treats over 2500 patients with multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, anti-MOG antibody syndrome, and other CNS demyelinating diseases. Dr. Katz is a nationally recognized expert in multiple sclerosis and in his practice he focuses on caring for the whole person not just their illness. He runs an educational group for patients to address the complexities of coping with a new diagnosis. He also leads a quarterly regional MS faculty conference for specialists from all over New England. Dr. Katz is actively involved in clinical research on multiple sclerosis and is an investigator in numerous clinical trials.
Dr. Katz received his MD from Tufts University school of Medicine in 1992 and did residency training in Psychiatry at Beth Israel Hospital, and Neurology residency at Tufts Medical Center, followed by a neurology critical care fellowship with Dr. Allan Ropper at St. Elizabeth’s medical center. Dr. Katz is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Tufts Medical School and a member of the clinical advisory committee of the New England Chapter of the National MS Society.
Languages spoken: French
Pr. Romain Marignier is a neurologist (MD), professor at the Neurological Hospital of Lyon, France. His areas of expertise include neuro-inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system with a specific interest in rare disorders, namely neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and MOG-Ab associated disease (MOGAD).
Pr Marignier is the coordinator of the French nationwide NMOSD and MOG-AD cohorts and biobanks, NOMADMUS, set up in 2010 that includes all the French clinical experts in neuro-inflammatory disorders. Through NOMADMUS, Pr Marignier provided breakthrough insights in the topic regarding clinical characterization, management, and treatment of NMOSD and MOG-AD, supported by major publications in high profile journals.
Since 2017, Pr Marignier has been the head of the French referral center for rare inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system (MIRCEM), providing expertise on diagnosis and management of NMOSD and MOG-AD for both patients and clinicians.
Pr. Marignier earned a PhD on basic neurosciences in 2011 at Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 on the role of auto-antibodies in NMOSD and related diseases. He actually performs his research at INSERM unit 1028 in Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre (CRNL) on: 1. The pathophysiology of auto antibody- mediated disorders of the central nervous system with in vitro, ex vivo and animal models; 2. The development of new strategies to optimize the detection of auto-antibodies (anti-AQP4, anti-MOG, anti-GFAP) for diagnosis and prognosis purposes (immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry).
Language(s) spoken: Portuguese
Dr. Matiello completed his Doctorate of Medicine at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he also completed his initial residency training in Neurology and Internal Medicine. He joined the Mayo Clinic in 2006, completed two research fellowships in genetics and molecular mechanisms of neuromyelitis optica (Brian Weinshenker’s lab), and became a Research Associate of the Department of Neurology. At the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine he obtained his Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research. In 2012, he went to Yale University, where he spent one year on residency training and then completed three years of neurology residency at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s hospital. He is now a member of the Mass General Hospital and of the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Matiello is an expert in neuromyelitis optica, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases of the nervous system. Dr. Matiello has authored over 30 book chapters and peer-reviewed manuscripts, many in high-impact journals. Dr. Matiello is a fellow for the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation and the of National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Society for Apheresis, the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association and of Scientific consortium of the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation for NMO. Dr. Matiello is a world-renowned educator in central nervous system diseases, as well as in therapeutic plasma exchange. He has presented his work in 19 countries. He has been awarded with the prestigious Mayo Clinic Neurology Research Award (2010), the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis best research award (Lyon, France 2012), Yale Hospital Outstanding House Staff Physician Award (2013) and as the Harvard Neurology Medical Education Scholar (2015). Dr. Matiello speaks four languages and has created the first NMO clinic at Mass General.
Languages spoken: Arabic and French
Samir Melki MD Ph.D. completed a fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, (Harvard Medical School) in 2000. His previous education included an MD Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and an Ophthalmology residency at Georgetown University. Dr. Melki founded Boston Vision in 2000 and has pursued an academically oriented practice since. He joined the Cornea service at Mass Eye and Ear (MEEI) in 2007 as a part-time faculty. Dr. Melki was the Medical Director for Ophthalmology at the UK Specialist Hospitals from 2005 till 2013 where he established and managed quality controls for about 20,000 cataract procedures.
Dr. Melki actively participates in the fellowship program at MEEI. His other teaching activities include a fellowship program at Boston Vision and a collaboration with Boston University to tutor students undergoing a Masters in Health Sciences. His clinical practice is oriented towards refractive surgery as well as cataract and corneal surgery. He has performed more than 15,000 refractive procedures since 1998. His academic activities have led to several accomplishments. These include the publication of many peer-reviewed articles, 4 textbooks as well as regular participation in various courses at US and international meetings.
Dr. Melki designed several surgical instruments, was the first surgeon to implant a phakic IOL in Boston, and was the first person to implant a device during cataract surgery to wirelessly measure intraocular pressure in a patient with glaucoma. He has been key to introducing Keratoprosthesis surgery to Lebanon and South West England. Dr. Melki’s most recent research endeavors include his participation in a clinical trial to measure the effect of corneal collagen crosslinking on keratoconus patients.
Professor Jacqueline Palace is a consultant neurologist in Oxford and Professor in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Oxford University. She runs a national service for neuromyelitis optica service (NMO) and congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMS). Her clinical and research interests cover NMOSD, MOGAD, MS, and myasthenia gravis as well CMS and include clinical treatment trials, immunological studies, pathology, biomarkers, genetics and imaging studies. She has been a UK lead for the National Risk Sharing Scheme which assessed the long-term effectiveness for disease modifying agents in multiple sclerosis, is a board member for the European Charcot Foundation, and on the steering committee for MAGNIMS.
Languages spoken: Spanish
Dr. Joanna Robles is a pediatric hematologist oncologist who was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in 2020. She became involved with The Sumaira Foundation soon after her diagnosis when she sought support from other patients with NMO and found a family providing comfort and hope in the midst of a life-altering diagnosis. Her personal journey leading to her diagnosis of NMO and learning about the journeys of patients in this community led to a recognition of the gaps in knowledge among clinicians regarding the warning signs of NMO and the devastating consequences when optimal medical care is delayed. By joining The Sumaira Foundation, Dr. Robles hopes to bring awareness to the world of NMO as both a patient and a physician.
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