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Medical Advisory Board

Michael Levy

Chair of the Medical Advisory Board

USA Flag

Boston, MA

  • Neurology
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Harvard Medical School

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.

Stacey Clardy, MD, PhD
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Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Neurology
  • University of Utah Health

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.

Mexico City

Language spoken: Spanish

  • Neurology
  • Neuroimmunology
  • National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery

José Flores is currently a member of the Board of Directors at National Academy of Medicine and has served as the Chief of the Neurology department at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery (INNN) in México City for the last 15 years. Dr. Flores is also part of the Clinical Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases. He is a senior consultant in demyelinating diseases and CNS autoimmune disorders at the same institute.

He graduated in Internal Medicine and Neurology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and is a Professor of Neurology and Neuroimmunology at INNN in Mexico City. He has a high speciality degree in multiple sclerosis and demyelinating diseases by National Autonomous University of Mexico and National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, is a senior researcher in Medical Sciences from the National Institutes of Health of Mexico and Member of the National Researchers System of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico. 

He is a member of editorial boards of national journals and a is co-coordinator for the Atlas of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) of Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF). Dr Flores is a core member of the Board for both the National Council of Neurology and MEXCTRIMS.

In 2017, Dr Flores received the Manuel Velasco-Suárez Award for his contributions to Mexican neurology to better understand NMO through genetics.

Joachim Havla, MD

Munich, Germany

Language spoken: German

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neuroimmunology at the LMU Hospital

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”.

Elena Grebenciucova, MD
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Chicago, IL

Language spoken: Russian

  • Neurology
  • Northwestern Medicine
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

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 R Irani, BMBCh MA (Oxon) DPhil FRCP FEAN

Oxford, UK

  • Autoimmune Neurology 
  • University of Oxford

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.

Romain Marignier, MD
French flag

Lyon, France

Language spoken: French

  • Neurology
  • Hospices Civils de Lyon 
  • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lyon (CHU Lyon)

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).

Sara Marriotto smiling at the camera with books in the background
Italian Flag

Verona, Italy

Language spoken: Italian

  • Neurology
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata Verona (AOUI Verona)

Sara Mariotto (MD, PhD) is a neurologist who works at the AOUI Verona, Italy where she is responsible for the diagnosis of NMOSD, MOGAD and autoimmune encephalitis and is the referring clinical consultant for neuroimmunological disorders.

In 2010, Dr. Mariotto graduated in medicine and surgery and specialized in neurology in 2016 at the University of Verona in Italy. In 2020, she completed a 3-year PhD at the Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine, and Movement Sciences, University of Verona and also obtained the certificate of Doctor Europaeus. After her PhD, she was awarded an 8-month scholarship on the study of diagnostic and prognostic tests in antibody-mediated encephalitis and neuromyelitis optica. 

Her principal field of interest is the study of autoimmune/inflammatory encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, NMOSD, MOGAD, and peripheral inflammatory neuropathies. In relation to these topics, she studied antibody-mediated CNS disorders during her fellowship at the Clinical Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck and at the Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna.

She actively participates in clinical and research activities, collaborative study designs, and discussions about challenging national cases with CNS inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. 

Recently, her research has focused on increasing the diagnostic sensitivity for NMOSD and MOGAD and the analysis of novel biomarkers of disease activity.

Dr. Mariotto has more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles/reviews, a member of the editorial boards of international journals and the associate editor of Immunologic Research, and is part of the International Clinical Consortium for the study of NMOSD, and of the Neuroimmunology Board of the European Academy of Neurology.

Marcelo Matiello, MD
USA Flag

Boston, MA

Language spoken: Portuguese

  • Neurology
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Harvard Medical School

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.

Jacqueline Palace, BM (Hons) FRCP DM

Oxford, UK

  • Neurology 
  • University of Oxford

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.

Berlin, Germany

Language spoken: German

  • Neuroimmunology
  • Charité Berlin

Friedemann Paul is the group leader of the Clinical Neuroimmunology department of the NeuroCure Clinical Research Center at the Charité. He finished his medical education in Berlin and has been a board certified Neurologist since 2003. Friedemann Paul is a senior Neurologist in the Charité since 2004 until date. 

Since 2010, he has been leading the Neuroimmunology outpatients’ clinic in Buch, a suburb of Berlin. From 2011 to 2016 Paul was Professor (W2) of Neurology at the NeuroCure Clinical Research Center of Charité. In 2016 he joined as a tenured Professor (W2) of Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology at Charité. 

In 2018 he became a Scientific Director (acting) of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC). His research focuses on Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s Syndrome), Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection in Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), Neurological Complications of Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Diagnostic Tools in Neuro‐immunology (Imaging (OCT, MRI, Ultrasound), Laboratory, and CSF Biomarkers) as well as the association of structural damage and dysfunction of the visual system in autoimmune disorders of the Central Nervous System. 

He has also been involved in a number of scientific activities including MS‐ Subcommittee of the European Neurological Society (ENS) (since 2008), Member, Editorial Board, EPMA Journal (since 2009), Associate Editor “Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation” (since 2015) and Medical Consultant for EU‐ Announcements for Research Programmes on Rare Diseases (E‐RARE) (since 2016).   

Joanna Robles, MD
USA Flag

Durham, NC

Language spoken: Spanish

  • Pediatric Hematology-oncology
  • Duke Health
  • Duke University

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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