Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows 

The ALS Association is proud to support the development of bright, early career scientists through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Many of our fellows have gone on to establish their own laboratories and mentor more ALS researchers along the way, while others have gone on to careers in industry, nonprofits or medical writing.

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2023 Fellows

S. Can Akerman, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Inhibiting Dipeptide Repeat Propagation in C9-ALS 

Annie Collins, B.M. B.Ch., UMass Chan Medical School 
Novel Therapeutic Oligonucleotides for the Treatment of Sporadic ALS 

Mario Flores, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health 
Diabetes and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 

Alexander Lin-Moore, Ph.D., Brown University 
Novel Suppressors of Neurodegeneration in SOD-1 G85R Models 

Sitao Zhang, Ph.D., University of California San Diego 
Age-Dependent Loss of Proteasome Activity as a Driver of TDP-43 Mislocalization 

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2022 Fellows  

Caiwei Guo, Ph.D., Stanford University  
Unraveling the Mechanism of Cryptic RNA Splicing Induced by TDP-43 Pathology
Researcher SpotligHT

Miriam Linsenmeier, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Potentiation of a Nuclear-Import Receptor to Counteract Aberrant TDP-43 Assembly  
Researcher Spotlight

Anuradhika Puri, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis  
Applying the Human Disaggregase, HtrA1, to Counter ALS
Researcher Spotlight

Kevin Rhine, Ph.D., University of California San Diego  
Determining Changes in RNA and Protein Metabolism in ALS iMNs  
Research Spotlight

Jayakrishna Shenoy, Ph.D., Brown University  
Structural Studies of TDP-43 Self-Assembly as a Therapeutic Target for ALS  
Research Spotlight

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2021 Fellows  

Ahmad Al Khleifat, Ph.D., King’s College London, UK  
An Integrated Genome-Based Approach to Individualised Treatment in ALS
and FTD

Researcher Spotlight

Stephen Johnson, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital  
Smartphone-Based Digital Phenotyping in People with ALS  
Researcher Spotlight 

John Kalambogias, Ph.D., Columbia University  
Dysfunction and Degeneration of Corticospinal Tract Neurons
in ALS Mouse Models

Researcher Spotlight   

Devesh Pant, Ph.D., Emory University  
Pathomechanisms of ALS Caused by SPTLC1 Mutations
Researcher Spotlight 

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2020 Fellows  

Yuka Koike, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
The Mechanism by which Loss of Stathmin-2 Induces Neurodegeneration in ALS
Researcher Spotlight    

Sonia Vazquez-Sanchez, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego  
Determining Mechanisms of TDP-43 Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation and Aggregation
Researcher Spotlight   

Lauren Gittings, Ph.D., Barrow Neurological Institute  
Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Cognitive Impairment in C9orf72 ALS/FTD
Researcher Spotlight 

Janani Parameswaran, Ph.D., Emory University 
Pathogenic Mechanisms of ALS Caused by KIF5A Mutations
Researcher Spotlight 

Marion Sommers-Spijkerman, Ph.D., University Medical Center Utrecht-Translational Neuroscience, The Netherlands  
Family-Based Self-Compassion Intervention for Reducing Self-Stigma in ALS
Researcher Spotlight 

Caroline McHutchison, Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, Scotland  
Longitudinal Cognition and Behavior in Presymptomatic ALS Gene Mutation Carriers  
Researcher Spotlight 

Yichen Li, Ph.D., University of Southern California  
Validating SYF2 Suppression as a Therapeutic Strategy for Diverse Forms of ALS  
Researcher Spotlight   

Nishal Shah, Ph.D., Stanford Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory
Ten-Finger Typing Using an Intra-Cortical Implant for Fast Communication in ALS
Researcher Spotlight 

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2019 Fellows  

Christine Marques, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School  
Unravelling Shared Molecular Mechanisms in Familial ALS  

Zhe Zhang, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine  
Understanding Repeat RNA Transport and RAN Translation in C9ORF72-ALS/FTD
Researcher Spotlight   

Emily Thompson, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University  
Loss of Cortical Astroglia Subpopulation Exacerbates Dendritic and Synaptic Defects of Upper Motor Neurons in ALS  
Researcher Spotlight    

Lauren Laboissonniere, Ph.D., University of Florida 
Endobody Vaccine for the Treatment of C9 ALS/FTD  
Researcher Spotlight 

Paul McKeever, Ph.D., Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto, Canada  
Linking Brain Cell Subtype-Specific Transcriptomic and Epigenomic Mosaicism in C9orf72-ALS/FTD  
Researcher Spotlight 

Valeria Gerbino, Ph.D., Columbia University  
The Cell Autonomous and Non-Cell Autonomous Role of TBK1 in Disease Progression in a Mouse Model of ALS  
Researcher Spotlight

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2018 Fellows   

Edward Barbieri, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania  
Programming Human Chaperone Systems Against Neurodegenerative Disease  
Researcher Spotlight  

Alyssa Coyne, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University  
Mechanistic Insights into C9orf72-Mediated Disruptions in the Nuclear Pore Complex  
Researcher Spotlight  

Jorge Gomez-Deza, Ph.D., Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development / National Institutes of Health  
Identification of Novel Therapeutic Targets for ALS Using a Photoinducible DLK (Dual Leucine Zipper Kinase) in Human Neurons  
Researcher Spotlight  

Ananya Ray-Soni, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital
Targeting TDP-43 Pathology in C9ORF72-Mediated ALS   

Andrei Ursu, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute – Florida  
Alleviation of Pathological Mechanisms of Genetically Defined ALS by Small Molecules Targeting RNA G4C2 Repeat Expansions  
Researcher Spotlight  

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2017 Fellows   

Sarah Ackerman, Ph.D., University of Oregon  
Contributions of Astrocyte Function and Dysfunction to ALS  

Meredith Corley, Ph.D., University of California San Diego   
Accurate RNA Structural Studies of Transcripts Targeted by RNA Binding Protein hnRNP A2/B1
Researcher Spotlight 

Anthony Giampetruzzi, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School  
Identifying Therapeutics for ALS Using ALS-Linked Mutant Profilin-1  
Researcher Spotlight 

Yue Li, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute – Florida 
Development of RNA-Templated Small Molecules to Treat C9 ALS/FTD
Researcher Spotlight 

Nibha Mishra, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital  
Identifying Determinants of FUS Nucleocytoplasmic Localization by CRISPR/Cas9 Genetic Screen in ALS Patient Cells  
Researcher Spotlight 

Maria Purice, Ph.D., St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital  
Linking TDP-43 Pathology with Stress Granule Dynamics  
Researcher Spotlight 

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2016 Fellows   

Amanda Gleixner, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh  
Linking Impaired Nucleocytoplasmic Trafficking in C9ORF72 ALS to Altered Nuclear Pore Complex O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc)  
Researcher Spotlight  

Vicente Valenzuela, Ph.D., University of Chile   
Gene Therapy to Attenuate ER Stress Alterations in ALS  
Researcher Spotlight    

Bruno Miguel da Cruz Godinho, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School  
Silencing Mutant SOD1 and C9orf72 in vivo Using Innovative Hydrophobic siRNA Scaffolds: A Novel Therapeutic Path for the Treatment of ALS  
Researcher Spotlight 

Sergey Stavisky, Ph.D., Stanford University  
Clinically-Useful Brain-Machine Interface Control of a Robotic Prosthetic Arm by People with ALS  
Researcher Spotlight 

Tiffany Todd, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
Modeling Selective Vulnerability and Disease-Specific Functions in Mice by the Comparison of C9orf72 Repeat Models to a Novel Disease Control  
Researcher Spotlight   

Jeanne McKeon, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School  
Disruption of Actin Dynamics as a Pathogenic Mechanism in ALS  
Researcher Spotlight 

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2015 Fellows   

Antonia Dominguez, Ph.D., Stanford University
Functional Analysis of C9orf72 Mutations in ALS via Targeted Genome Engineering

Fernande Freyermuth, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital  
Targeting FUS Misfolding to Mitigate RNA Processing Alterations Linked to ALS  

Marian Hruska-Plochan, Ph.D., University of Zurich, Switzerland   
Deciphering the Pathogenic Mechanisms of C9ORF72 Dipeptide Proteins  

Jone Lopez-Erauskin, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego  
Identifying Key Molecular Targets to Counteract Muscle Denervation in ALS  

David Medina, Ph.D., Barrow Neurological Institute  
Modulating Retinoid Signaling as a Therapeutic Approach for ALS  

Kaspar Roet, Ph.D., Boston Children’s Hospital  
Which Potassium Channel Drives ALS Motor Neuron Hyperexcitability?  

Tao Sun, Ph.D., Stanford University  
Genome-Wide Identification of RNA Editing Dysregulation and Upstream Regulators in ALS  

Dejun Yang, M.D., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School  
Determining the Mechanisms of ALS-Associated Poly (GR) Toxicity and Screening for Therapeutic Drugs

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2014 Fellows   

Veronique Belzil, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
Characterizing the Contributions of Epigenetic Changes in C9 FTD/ALS  
Researcher Spotlight    

Claudia Fallini, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School    
Characterizing the Pathogenic Role of TDP-43 in PFN1-Linked ALS  

Florent Laferriere, Ph.D., University of Zurich, Switzerland  
Contribution of Protein Aggregation in the Pathogenesis of ALS: Seeding, Spreading and Toxicity  

Philip McGoldrick, Ph.D., University of Toronto, Canada  
Pathomechanisms of C9orf72 Repeat Expansions in Real Time  

Ke Zhang, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  
The Role of Nuclear Transport Defects in the Pathogenesis of ALS/FTD  

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2013 Fellows  

Jennifer Gass, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
Understanding the Relationship between Progranulin, Sortilin-1 and TDP-43   

Jonathan Labbadia, Ph.D., Northwestern University  
Programmed Remodeling of Heat Shock Response Underlies Onset of ALS  

Yang Li, Ph.D., Barrow Neurological Institute  
Structure and Function of a New Candidate ALS Biomarker – RBM45 (RNA Binding Protein 45)   

Russell McLaughlin, Ph.D., Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland   
Molecular Rapprochement of Neurology and Psychiatry: Are ALS and Schizophrenia Biologically Convergent?  

Zhaoming Su, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute – California  
Rational Design of Small Molecules Targeting GGGGCC Expanded Repeat in C9ORF72 Gene Implicated in ALS-FTD  

Marka Van Blitterswijk, M.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
Predicting the Phenotype in C9orf72 Expansion Carriers Using Machine Learning  

Qiang Zhu, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego   
Gain of Toxicity from C9orf72 ALS/FTD Mutation is Therapeutically Alleviated with Antisense Oligonucleotides  

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2012 Fellows  

Jacob Ayers, Ph.D., University of Florida  
Pathogenic Role of Wild-Type Superoxide Dismutase in ALS  

Brandi Davis-Dusenbery, Ph.D., Harvard University  
Disrupted microRNA Biogenesis in ALS Patient-Derived Motor Neurons  

Regina Kolaitis, Ph.D., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital  
The Role of VCP in Regulating the Assembly and Disassembly of Stress Granules  

Helene Tran, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School  
A Drosophila Model of the Hexanucleotide Repeats-Induced Toxicity in ALS  

Dmitry Yudin, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center  
Contribution of Neurotensin to Degeneration of Vulnerable Motor Neurons in ALS

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2011 Fellows  

Ying Li, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  
The Role of Human IPSC-Derived NG2 Glia on Human Motor Neuron Survival: Strong Implication of NG2 Glia in Pathogenesis  

Amanda Phillips, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University  
Focal Transplantation of Human Neural Progenitor Cell-Derived Astrocytes Isolated from ALS Patients into the Rat Spinal Cord  

Mercedes Prudencio, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville  
Identification of Pathogenic TDP-43 Targets In Vivo  

Shuying Sun, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego  
Determining Damage within Specific Cell Types caused by SOD1, TDP-43 and FUS/TLS Mutations  

Ole Wiskow, Ph.D., Harvard University  
Phenotypic Characterization of Purified Motor Neurons from ALS Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells  

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2010 Fellows  

Hussein Daoud, Ph.D., Center of Excellence in Neuromics, Canada  
Whole Exome Capture and Parallel DNA Resequencing of Familial ALS Cases  

Javier Jara, Ph.D., Northwestern University  
Understanding the Landscape of Neuroinflammation and Identification of Key Players Using MCP1-CCR2-SOD1G93A Triple Transgenic Mice In Vivo  
Researcher Spotlight 

Dara Ditsworth, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego  
Determining Non-Cell Autonomous Contributions of TDP-43 and FUS Mutations in ALS Using Embryonic Stem Cells  

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2009 Fellows  

Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, M.D., Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego  

Tania Gendron, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Jacksonville

Soledad Matus, Ph.D. University of Chile  

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2008 Fellows  

Taiji Tsunemi, M.D., Ph.D., University of Washington  
Role of Autophagy in ALS  

Marin Manuel, Ph.D., Northwestern University   
Motor Unit Properties in a Mouse Model of ALS  

Teresa Sanelli, Ph.D., University of Toronto, Canada   
Role of TDP-43 in ALS  

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2007 Fellows  

Sandrine Da Cruz, Ph.D., Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego
Determining the Contribution of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in ALS Pathogenesis   

Gurudutt Pendyala, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute  
The Metabolome of the Cerebrospinal Fluid: Signature for ALS  

Caroline Rouaux, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital
Molecular Controls Over Early Specification and Differentiation of Corticospinal Neurons (Upper Motor Neurons)  

Marcelo Vargas, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin  
Effect of Astrocytic Nrf2 Activation on the Onset and Progression of Motor Neuron Degeneration in an ALS Animal Model  

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2006 Fellows  

Monica Carrasco, Ph.D., Harvard University  

Jinseol Rhee, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
Investigation into the Function of p190RhoGEF in the Formation of New Nerve Cells during Development 

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2005 Fellows

Jonathan Lin, M.D., Ph.D., University of California San Francisco  

Agnes Lukaszewicz, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Molecular Specification of Motor Neuron Progenitor Cell Fate Specification in the CNS  

Eran Perlson, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Proteomic Analysis of Retrograde Signaling in ALS  

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2004 Fellows 

Christine Haenggeli, M.D., Johns Hopkins University 
Therapeutic Delivery of Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter for ALS

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Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program