Bernard Brais, MDCM, MPhil, PhD, FRCPProfessor 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, PhDProfessor 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 â€˜Health, the Human Body and Behaviour’.
Sarah Youssof, MDPhysician and Owner, New Mexico Neuromuscular Center
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 runs the New Mexico Neuromuscular Center. Formerly she directed 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.