Ann Arbor Active Against ALS is a grassroots, nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise funds for research toward effective treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), while raising awareness of the disease, encouraging physical activity, and building a compassionate community.

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Scientific Advisory Board

Thank you to the distinguished scientists and research leaders on our Scientific Advisory Board. Their work ensures that the contributions we raise support the most promising ALS research.

Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.

Robert H. Brown Jr., M.D. Ph.D.

Brian C. Callaghan, M.D.

John K. Kim, Ph.D.

Aaron D. Gitler, Ph.D.


Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.

Chief Scientist and Fellow, Simons Foundation


Dr. Fischbach received his M.D. in 1965 from Cornell University Medical School. He began his researchcareer at the NIH in 1966.

Dr. Fischbach has had many leadership roles in the development of Neuroscience through his career to date. He served as the Edison Professor of Neurobiology and the Head of the Department Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine from 1981-1990, then as the Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor of Neurobiology and Chairman of the Departments of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital from 1990-1998. He subsequently served as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Columbia University, and as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2006, Dr. Fischbach joined the Simons Foundation to oversee the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

Dr. Fischbach’s research work has included the study of synapses, the junctions between nerve cells and their targets, through which information is transferred in the nervous system. He pioneered the use of nerve cell cultures to study the electrophysiology, morphology, and biochemistry of developing nerve–muscle and inter-neuronal synapses. His current research is focused on the roles that neurotrophic factors play in determination of neural precursor fate, synapse formation and neuronal survival.


Robert H. Brown Jr., M.D. Ph.D.

Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Associate Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Director, Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research, Massachusetts General Hospital

After graduating from Amherst College, Dr. Brown received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1975. In addition, from 1970 to 1973 he completed his Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Oxford University. He returned to Massachusetts General Hospital to complete his Neurology residence in 1980, in which he is board certified, and joined the faculty. In 1998 he was promoted to Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of the Day Neuromuscular Laboratory and Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research was founded in 1984 by Dr. Brown to investigate neuromuscular diseases.

Throughout his career, Dr. Brown has been honored for his exceptional commitment to the fight to cure neuromuscular diseases, including induction into the Institute of Medicine and the American Neurological Association. One of his major contributions was the discovery of the mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene are associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The Day laboratory has become an internationally recognized center for research and clinical care in neuromuscular diseases including ALS. Dr. Brown and his collaborators have made many important contributions to the understanding of the biology of neuromuscular diseases, including identification of several genes involved in familial ALS. Current research includes stem cell transplantation studies, drug screening to find promising compounds for treatment, human and mouse trials of promising drugs, and genetic investigations to find new genes that cause ALS in families.


Brian C. Callaghan, M.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Medical School

Associate Director of Research, University of Michigan Comprehensive ALS Clinic


Dr. Callaghan completed his medical degree and neurology residency at the University ofPennsylvania.  He completed a fellowship in neuromuscular disease at the University of Michigan.  He also has a Master’s degree in clinical research design and statistical analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Callaghan is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and the first Fovette E. Dush Early Career Professor in the Department of Neurology. He is the Associate Director of Research for the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive ALS Clinic.  Dr. Callaghan’s clinical and research interests focus on peripheral neuropathy and ALS. His ongoing ALS projects include an analysis of DNA changes that may explain why patients develop ALS, and a stem cell project studying neurons and other cells derived from ALS patients. Other current research interests are focused on determining the optimal evaluation of peripheral neuropathy.


John K. Kim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University


Dr. Kim completed his doctoral training in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Universityof California Davis. From 2001-2006 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 2006 he has served on the faculty of the Life Sciences Institute and Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Medical School. From 2009-2013 he was a Pew Scholar in the field of Biomedical Sciences. He was an associate professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School, and a research associate professor in the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan. He is an associate professor in the Biology Department at Johns Hopkins. His lab focuses on deciphering the biological function of microRNAs and other small RNAs expressed in the genome.


Aaron D. Gitler, Ph.D.

Professor of Genetics, Stanford University

Aaron D. Gitler is Professor of Genetics at Stanford University. He received his B.S. degree from Penn State University and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Then he performed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Susan Lindquist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT. In 2007, he established his laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he moved to Stanford University. His laboratory has been using a combination of yeast and human genetics approaches to investigate pathogenic mechanisms of human neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease. He was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a Rita Allen Scholar and a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and the NIH NINDS Research Program Award. He is the recipient of the 2017 Merz Guest Professorship Award.