Scientific & Clinical Advisory Boards

David Boyer, MD

Founder, Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group

Dr. Boyer is a world-renowned clinician, surgeon and educator. He is the founder of Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group with six locations in Southern California. He received a BS from the University of Illinois at Champaign, after which he completed a medical degree at the Chicago Medical School. In 1976 he finished his residency at U.S.C. County Medical Center’s Doheny Eye Institute. A year long retinal surgery fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital, located in Philadelphia, completed his training. He is currently a leading investigator for various national clinical trials on retinal diseases and serves as an advisor for multiple research, educational and charitable institutions.

Bernard Brais, MDCM, MPhil, PhD, FRCP

Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics at McGill University, Director of the CHUM Ataxia Centre in Montreal, and Co-Director of the Rare Neurological Diseases Group of the Montreal Neurological Institute

Dr. Bernard Brais completed his MDCM, Neurology residency and PhD at McGill. He is also trained as a historian of neurosciences and genetics. His research largely focuses on the genetic basis of neurogenetic disorders with founder effects in Quebec, with an increasing focus on disorders with ataxic manifestations such as Autosomal Recessive Spastic Ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS).  Since 2007, he has headed a team of researchers on ARSACS.  Dr. Brais has played important roles in identifying causal genes for Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD), Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy type II (HSANII), Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy with Quadriceps atrophy (LGMD2L), Pol III-related leukodystrophies, and ZAK congenital myopathy.

George Dickson, PhD

Professor Cell Biology, Royal Holloway University of London

Professor Dickson has spent most of his career studying neuromuscular disease and muscle cell biology, including the first cloning of an intact dystrophin gene, the discovery of the role of cell adhesion molecules in muscle stem cell fusion, the first identification of utrophin, and the first description of exon skipping in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Professor Dickson has also conducted notable research into gene therapy for atherosclerosis, and genetic vaccination against HIV/AIDS.  He is a member of the UK MDEX Consortium, UK HIV-Vaccine Consortium, and the EU-SKIP-NMD Project, and has been a platform leader in the EU Clinigene Network of Excellence.  He is a past President of the European Society of Gene & Cell Therapy, and a past Secretary and founder member of the British Society for Gene Therapy. He has been a member of the European Medicine Agency Committee for Advanced Therapeutics (Gene and Cell Therapies).  Professor Dickson was also a Royal Holloway Research Theme Champion for ‘Health, the Human Body and Behaviour’.

Erica Fletcher, PhD

Professor and Reader, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Erica Fletcher is Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, at The University of Melbourne where she heads the Visual Neuroscience Laboratory.  She is a clinically trained optometrist who holds both MSc and PhD degrees. Prof Fletcher’s interest in the mechanisms of photoreceptor degeneration stem back to her doctoral studies, which were completed under the supervision of Prof Michael Kalloniatis at the University of Melbourne. In 1996, Prof Fletcher was awarded a highly coveted, CJ Martin Award from the NH&MRC (Australia) to undertake her post-doctoral training with Prof. Dr. Heinz Wässle, at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. Prof Fletcher was appointed to an academic position in 2000 at The University of Melbourne. Since 2000, Prof Fletcher has had received considerable research funding primarily from the NH&MRC and also a number of international funding agencies, published widely in a range of high impact journals, whilst maintaining a teaching load and mentoring of research personnel. In addition Prof Fletcher serves on a number of editorial boards, provides leadership within optometry by serving on boards of management, as well as serving the research community through NHMRC advisory panels. In 2006 she was awarded the Irvin M and Beatrice Borish Award from the American Academy of Optometry for her contribution to vision research. Prof Fletcher’s research interests remain primarily focussed on understanding the causes of retinal diseases especially Age Related Macular Degeneration.

Peter Kaiser, MD

Chaney Family Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology Research, Cole Eye Institute and Founding Director of the Digital Optical Coherence Tomography Reading Center (DOCTR) at the Cole Eye Institute

Peter K. Kaiser, MD graduated magna cum laude with Highest Honors from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He completed an internal medicine internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, an ophthalmology residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and a vitreoretinal fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute before joining the vitreoretinal department of the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio where he is the Chaney Family Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology Research at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

As a National Eye Institute and National Institute of Health RO1-funded principle investigator, Dr. Kaiser leads a team involved in the evaluation of vascular biology in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). In addition, Dr Kaiser is actively involved in clinical research having served as Study Chairman for numerous major, multi-center, international clinical trials, and principal investigator in over 60 trials evaluating new treatments for AMD, DR, and other retinal disorders. He is the founder and director of the Digital Optical Coherence Tomography Reading Center (DOCTR), which is the OCT reading center for over 700 international sites and 45 multi-center, clinical trials. Dr. Kaiser has been honored to receive the Lew R. Wasserman Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness for his research. Complementing his research endeavors, Dr. Kaiser serves on numerous scientific advisory boards and addresses his research interests as an invited speaker at national and international conferences. He is a major contributor to the medical literature having authored 7 textbooks, 25 book chapters, and more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He is Editor-in-Chief of Retinal Physician, Associate Editor of International Ophthalmology Clinics, and serves on the editorial boards of American Journal of Ophthalmology, Retina, Retina Today, and Ocular Surgery News. Dr. Kaiser has been recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Retina Specialists with Achievement and Senior Achievement Awards, and has been listed as one of the “Best Doctors in America” since 2002. He is the team ophthalmologist for the Cleveland Browns (National Football League) and Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association).

Harry Janssen, PhD, MD

Professor of Medicine, Francis Family Chair in Liver Research and Head of Liver Clinic at Toronto Western and Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada


Harry Janssen is Professor of Medicine, Francis Family Chair in Hepatology and Head of the Liver Clinic at Toronto Western and Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.


Harry Janssen (1964) graduated from medical school at the Radboud University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. During his study he spent one year as research fellow in Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic. He obtained his PhD in Rotterdam on the role of immune modulating therapy in chronic hepatitis B. He then trained in Internal Medicine at Leiden University Medical Center and in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Rotterdam Erasmus University Medical Center. Following his registration as Gastroenterologist he returned to the Mayo Clinic for a research fellowship in Hepatology at the Center of Basic Research in Digestive Diseases. In 2001 he became a staff member and in 2006 he was appointed as full professor of Hepatology and Chief of the Section Liver Diseases and Transplantation in Rotterdam.


As principle investigator prof. Janssen coordinated numerous European and global multicenter studies on antiviral treatment for chronic viral hepatitis. He was awarded a Clinical Fellowship and an Innovational Research grant from the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research to study strategies of immune control in viral hepatitis and published many international articles on this subject. Professor Janssen has been chairman of the Dutch Association of Hepatology and was elected as Rising Star in Gastroenterology and Hepatology by the Association of the National European Societies of Gastroenterology. He has been member of the editorial board of Hepatology, Journal of Hepatology and Best Practice in Gastroenterology. He has published over 290 original peer-reviewed papers. In addition to his longstanding expertise in antiviral therapy of chronic viral hepatitis, professor Janssen is a leading scientist in the field of vascular disorders of the liver.

Geoffrey McCaughan, PhD, MD, MBBS, FRACP

AW Morrow Professor of Medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney, and Head of the Liver Injury & Cancer Program at the Centenary Institute, Sydney, Australia

Upon completion of his postdoctoral training at the University of Oxford in 1986 as a CJ Martin Fellow, Geoff returned to Sydney where he developed the basic research program for the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital of which he is now the Director.  He is Head of the Liver Injury & Cancer Program at the Centenary Institute, which covers Molecular Hepatology; Liver Cell Biology and; Alcoholic Liver Disease.

Geoff’s current research interests include the immunopathogenesis of human chronic liver disease, liver autoimmunity, liver transplant tolerance and molecular analysis of hepatitis C virus. His clinical research interests include treatment of hepatitis B and C, management of hepatocellular cancer and long term outcomes of liver transplantation.

Keyur Patel, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Toronto Western Liver Clinic, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada

Dr. Patel received his Bachelor of Medicine degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom and completed his clinical fellowships in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology/Hepatology in Western Australia. He completed a 3-year post-doctoral research fellowship in Clinical and Translational Research in viral hepatitis at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, San Diego, CA and Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham NC. He was on Faculty at Duke University 2004-2015, and he is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He was the lead clinical investigator for the TT-034 HCV study, and his research interests include early phase clinical therapeutic trials for viral hepatitis and fibrosis, along with the development of non-invasive biomarkers of fibrosis progression.

Sarah Youssof, MD

Assistant Professor, Director, Neuromuscular/ALS Clinics and MDA/ALS Center, University of New Mexico

Dr. Youssof is board certified in Neurology and Neuromuscular Medicine.  Dr. Youssof’s clinical interests are in neuromuscular diseases particularly myopathies, myasthenia gravis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She directs the adult Muscular Dystrophy Clinic and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinic at UNM. Her clinical research has focused on oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD), which causes significant morbidity from dysphagia.

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