News Release

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the Institute’s research program planning and priorities.

"I am delighted to welcome these distinguished new appointees to the advisory council," said NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D. "They include a world-renowned stroke investigator and leader in thrombolytic therapy, a specialist in pediatric neurology and neonatal brain disorders, a neurologist and director of multi-disciplinary research in evidence-based treatment, and a long-time advocate for neurological research who helps families affected by serious diseases."

Part of the National Institutes of Health, NINDS is the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. The 18 member council, composed of physicians, scientists and representatives of the public, meets three times each year to review applications from investigators seeking financial support for biomedical research and research training. At today’s council meeting, Dr. Landis introduced the following individuals:

Thomas G. Brott, M.D., is professor of neurology and director for research at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., where he is also the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum professor of neurosciences, as well as the James C. and Sarah K. Kennedy associate dean for research. In addition, he is adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, N.J. A pioneer in the field of stroke and cerebrovascular disease research, Dr. Brott was a leading investigator in the studies that identified tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) as an effective acute treatment for ischemic stroke. He also played a key role in designing the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS). Currently, Dr. Brott is principal investigator for the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST) and national co-principal investigator of the Siblings with Ischemic Stroke Study (SWISS), both funded by NINDS. Dr. Brott received his M.D. from the University of Chicago and completed his residency at the Harvard Longwood Neurology Program. He has received many awards and honors and has held several national leadership positions, including chair of the Advisory Committee to the Neurological Devices Panel of the Food and Drug Administration and chair of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association. He is a member of numerous professional societies and is widely published in the field.

Donna M. Ferriero, M.D., is chief of the Division of Child Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she is also professor of neurology and pediatrics and vice dean of academic affairs in the School of Medicine. Dr. Ferriero is director of the NINDS-funded Neonatal Brain Disorders Center and co-director of the Newborn Brain Research Institute at UCSF, which combines clinical and basic research on the mechanisms of injury and repair during brain development. Her work has been critical in defining the role of oxidative stress when newborns suffer from stroke or hypoxia-ischemia. Dr. Ferriero received her M.D. from UCSF, where she completed her child neurology residency. In 2005, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, Dr. Ferriero is president of the Child Neurology Society. She is also a member of the American Neurological Association, the American Pediatric Society, and serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals. Her many honors include the American Academy of Neurology’s Sidney Carter Award for excellence in child neurology, the Maureen Andrew Mentor Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, the UCSF Chancellor's Award for the Advancement of Women, and the American Heart Association’s Willis Award.

Barbara G. Vickrey, M.D., M.P.H., is professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she directs the Health Services Research Program in Neurology. She is also associate director for research at the Greater Los Angeles VA Parkinson Disease Center and an affiliated investigator at the RAND Corporation. Dr. Vickrey’s research focuses on translating clinical research findings into everyday medical practice and improved patient health outcomes. She led a multi-site clinical trial that demonstrated better patient and caregiver outcomes from new approaches in dementia care delivery. Her research has led to enhanced clinical trials for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and has contributed evidence that stroke teams in community hospitals can reduce mortality. Currently, Dr. Vickrey leads an American Heart Association Outcomes Research Center investigating methods to address racial and ethnic disparities in stroke. She received her M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine, and her M.P.H. from UCLA School of Public Health. In 1998 she received the Alice S. Hersh Young Investigator Award from AcademyHealth. Dr. Vickrey is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association.

Kimberly S. Zellmer, J.D., is an attorney and an advocate for research on Batten disease, a rare childhood neurodegenerative disorder that has affected her family. In 2002, she was appointed to serve on the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society. Currently, Ms. Zellmer is a member of the board of directors and vice president of the Batten Disease Support and Research Association headquartered in Columbus, Oh. Ms. Zellmer’s law firm in Kansas City, Mo., works with private charitable foundations and estate planning. She also assists families in creating trusts, guardianships and life plans for children with Down syndrome and other medical conditions, and for adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Ms. Zellmer received her law degree from the University of Missouri. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and several civic organizations.

NINDS ( is the nation’s primary supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.

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