Scientific Advisory Board
Lawrence M. Schwartz, PhD
Isenberg Professor of Integrative Science at University of Massachusetts
Scientist at Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute
Professor of Biology at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Adjunct Faculty in Pathology, BayState Medical Center
Dr. Lawrence M. Schwartz was appointed in 2010 as the the first Isenberg Professor of Integrative Science at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Schwartz is a Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts, as well as the Founding Director of the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute in Springfield MA where he served as Scientific Director from 2004 until 2010. He also served as the the Director of the Center of Excellence in Apoptosis. His laboratory examines the molecular mechanisms that mediate cell death during normal development and in pathology. One avenue of research focuses in Acheron, a novel gene cloned in the Schwartz laboratory that regulates the differentiation and death of skeletal muscle, and may play a role in the metastatic behaviors of some soft tissue tumors. A second line of investigation examines the role of ubiquiton E3 ligases Parkin and Human Homolog of Ariadne-1 in dopaminergic neuron survival.
William Marks, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology, UCSF Medical Center
Director, Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Care Center (PADRECC)
San Francisco Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center
Dr. William Marks, a specialist in epilepsy and movement disorders, has extensive experience in treating Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders with brain stimulators. He earned a medical degree at Johns Hopkins University and completed a residency and a fellowship in neurology at UCSF Medical Center. He currently is medical director of the UCSF Center for the Surgical Treatment of Movement Disorders. At the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, he is director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.
John W. Commissiong, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Commissiong has served as the Chief Scientific Officer and a Director of Amarantus since co-founding the company in 2008. Prior to Amarantus, Dr. Commissiong served as the CSO of Neurotrophics, Inc. and Prescient Neuropharma, Inc. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Commissiong has been focused on the discovery of novel neurotrophic factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases as well as understanding the fundamental underlying biology of protoplasmic type-1 astrocytes that secrete neurotrophic factors. He was Chief of the Neural Transplantation Unit, NINDS-NIH, from 1989-94 where his research focused on identifying therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. Dr. Commissiong was Head of the Neurotrophic Factors Group, NINDS-NIH, from 1994-97 where he focused on developing technologies to systematically identify novel neurotrophic factors with applications for specific Central Nervous System disorders. He co-founded Prescient Neuropharma in 1999, and discovered MANF in 2003. MANF is currently in preclinical development for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The work pioneered by Dr. Commissiong has led to significant advancements in the field of astrocyte-neuron biology. Dr. Commissiong believes that a fundamental understanding of astrocyte-neuron interactions in the Central Nervous System will lead to a new generation of therapies to treat brain-related disorders.
Dr. Commissiong did his Postdoctoral work in the Lab Preclin Pharmac, NIMH-NIH, concentrating on the application of quadrupole mass spectrometry in the analysis of neurotransmitters. He holds a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of Southampton, an M.Sc. in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Southampton, and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of the West Indies.