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.

Yuna Ayala, M.D.

Mark Bromberg, M.D

Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D.

Brian C. Callaghan, M.D.

John K. Kim, Ph.D.

Aaron D. Gitler, Ph.D.

Yuna Ayala, M.D.
St. Louis University, School of Medicine

Yuna Ayala received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and continued as a postdoctoral fellow in Trieste, Italy in the lab of Dr. Tito Baralle at the ICGEB. She also worked with Dr. Tom Misteli at the NCI/NIH in Bethesda as part of her postdoctoral training. Yuna is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Her research team focuses on uncovering the role of RNA binding proteins in neurodegenerative disorders, in particular ALS and frontotemporal dementia. The group forms part of numerous collaborations with teams in the US and abroad to highlight basic molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenesis.

Sami Barmada, M.D. Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Michigan

Dr. Barmada received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006, and completed his neurology residency at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2010. He moved to the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor of Neurology in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2020. In recognition of his original research on RNA and protein metabolism in ALS and FTD, he was awarded the Young Physician Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2014, the distinguished Angela Dobson and Lyndon Welch Research Professorship in 2015, and the Derek Denny Brown Award for Basic Science Research from the American Neurological Society in 2022.

Dr. Barmada serves on the executive advisory board of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research, and acts on the scientific advisory boards of the Live Like Lou Foundation, Synapticure, and Ninesquare Therapeutics. He has taken an active role in raising awareness of ALS and FTD in the community, participates in several local and national fundraising efforts, and helps guide priorities for national research funding through NIH-sponsored panels.

Brian C. Callaghan, M.D.Callaghan
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 Associate Professor of Neurology, the Fovette E. Dush early career professor of neurology, and a staff physician at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital. He has over 120 peer- reviewed publications including more than 40 first and last author publications. He has received grant funding from the NIH (NIDDK R-01 grant, NIH K23 grant), VA (CSR&D Merit grant), ADA (Junior Faculty Award), JDRF, and the AAN. He serves as the co-section editor for the Innovations in Care Delivery website for the Neurology journal. Dr. Callaghan also serves as the vice chair of the AAN Health Services Research subcommittee. He is currently the vice chair of the Peripheral Nerve Society’s Education committee and a board member for the International Diabetes Neuropathy Consortium. He serves on the MDiabetes Enrichment committee. He recently became the co-Director of the Neuromuscular division and the Associate Program Director of research for the neurology residency program. He previously served as the diabetic neuropathy chair for the scientific sessions meeting planning committee of the ADA, as the co-chair for the health services research special interest group for the ANA, on the Michigan Program on Value Enhancement (MPrOVE) committee, and on the national Epic adult neurology steering board.

Dr. Callaghan has two main research interests, the epidemiology of peripheral neuropathy and neurology health services research.

John K. Kim, Ph.D.Kim2
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.

Mark Bromberg, M.D.
University of Utah