Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine

Les Turner Symposium on ALS

Monday, November 7, 2022
8 a.m.- 4 p.m. CT

Now in its 12th year, the Les Turner Symposium on ALS features presentations from leading ALS scientists and clinicians, as well as people living with ALS; plus research posters, a Q&A panel and more. The symposium is free and open to the public. It will be held in person with opportunities to stream presentations from home.

Keynote Speaker

Nicholas Maragakis, MD
Professor, Department of Neurology
Director, ALS Center for Cell Therapy and Regeneration Research
Medical Director, Johns Hopkins ALS Clinical Trials Unit
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for ALS Specialty Care at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine



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Location:
Prentice Women’s Hospital
Conference Room L (Floor 3)
250 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Virtual presentations also available


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Presentation Speakers

Frank Granata

Prior to his ALS diagnosis, Frank Granata was a successful finance executive whose work took him around the world. Frank was diagnosed with ALS in 2020 at the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine. He takes an active approach in his care and regularly uses humor, the support of his family and the Les Turner ALS Foundation’s Support Services to get through the challenges of living with ALS. We are grateful to have Frank share his story about living with ALS, the impact that the disease has on his life, and his hope for research.

Robert Kalb, MD

Robert Kalb, MD, is director of the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern University and chief of the Neuromuscular Disease Division in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he is also the Joan and Paul Rubschlager professor of neurology. Kalb’s research uses a cell and molecular biology approach and focuses on two topics: 1.) activity-dependent development of circuits in the central nervous system and 2.) healthful compensatory responses of cells and organisms to stressful conditions. The Kalb Lab uses genetically manipulated mice, primary neuron tissue culture and C. elegans in its studies.



Hande Ozdinler, PhD

ALS, Mouse Models, and Therapeutic Strategies

Hande Ozdinler, PhD, is an associate professor of neurology (neuromuscular disease) in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Ozdinler’s research aims to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for early vulnerability and progressive degeneration of upper motor neurons. These neuron populations are clinically relevant as their degeneration leads to diseases such as HSP, PLS, and — with their degeneration of spinal motor neurons — ALS. The Ozdinler Lab also works toward building effective treatment strategies, developing drug discovery platforms that incorporate upper motor neurons, and the identification of biomarkers and early detection markers.



Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD

Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Investigator. Kiskinis earned a PhD from Imperial College London and carried out postdoctoral training at Harvard University, where he pioneered the first models of ALS using personalized stem cell-based approaches. In 2015, his laboratory was established at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern. The Kiskinis Lab seeks to harness the power of pluripotent stem cells to understand how neuronal function is impaired in ALS/FTD patients as well as identify points of targeted and effective therapeutic intervention for ALS/FTD. Kiskinis also serves as the scientific director of the Stem Cell Core Facility at Northwestern.



Erik P. Pioro, MD, PhD

Erik P. Pioro, MD, PhD, is medical director of the neuromuscular division and vice chair of translational neurology in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he is also the Lewis John Pollack professor of neurology. Here, he specializes in the clinical care and research of adult neurologic patients with motor neuron diseases, particularly ALS. His translational research focuses on characterizing the neuroimaging (MRI and PET) abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord of people living with ALS as well as identifying their underlying molecular correlates in patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells and postmortem tissue. Pioro previously served as director of the Section of ALS & Related Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic for over two decades.



Cat Lutz, PhD, MBA

Cat Lutz, PhD, MBA, is the vice president for the Rare Disease Translational Center at JAX, where she studies and develops resources for ALS and other rare neurological disorders. She is a trained neuroscientist and geneticist who has worked extensively with mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on ALS. Her lab has worked to model in mice many of the genetic forms of ALS and has ensured that these preclinical mouse models are available globally to the scientific community to accelerate discovery and treatments. From 2015-2022 she established and was the senior director of the In Vivo Pharmacology Efficacy Testing Service at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), where she designed preclinical ALS platforms for use in testing therapeutics for industry and academic partners.



Jonathan R. Brent, MD, PhD

Jonathan R. Brent, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurology (neuromuscular disease) in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Brent completed the medical scientist training program at Columbia University where he studied the roles of dysfunctional RNA binding proteins in ALS. He completed residency and a neuromuscular fellowship at Northwestern. Since joining the faculty in 2019, Brent has cared for patients with a broad range of neuromuscular disorders with a specific focus on ALS/MND in the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic. His research focuses on the interplay between molecular motor proteins, axonal transport, and the neuronal cytoskeleton in motor neuron diseases such as ALS. The goal of this work is to lay the foundation for the development of therapeutics targeting dysfunctional cytoskeletal proteins in ALS.



Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, MD, PhD

Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is a member of the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General and an associate member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She trained as a medical geneticist in France and at Columbia University. Her team investigates the molecular mechanisms driving neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. She has established collaborations with academic and pharmaceutical partners to develop novel approaches to therapy, including RNA-targeting antisense oligonucleotides and immunotherapies for patients with ALS and FTD.



Clinical Conversations Panel


Senda Ajroud-Driss, MD

Senda Ajroud-Driss, MD, is an associate professor in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she also serves as program director of the neuromuscular medicine fellowship. Driss received her medical degree from The Medical School of Tunis, Tunisia, then completed her neurology residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a neuromuscular fellowship at Northwestern. She is board-certified in neurology and in neuromuscular medicine and has been treating patients with ALS in the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic for the past 16 years. Driss also leads the Les Turner ALS Center’s clinical trial program.



Colin Franz, MD, PhD

Colin Franz, MD, PhD, is a physician and scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University and sees patients at the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine. His clinical subspecialties include neuromuscular medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and neuromuscular ultrasound. He is the director of the Electrodiagnostic (clinical) and Regenerative Neurorehabilitation (research) laboratories at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab hospital. His research is heavily inspired by the patient populations he cares for. His laboratory team takes a highly technology-oriented approach to precision neurorehabilitation. Some of his current studies include developing transient (resorbable) implanted devices to deliver therapeutics to regenerating axons and making human neurons derived from patient-derived pluripotent stem cells to determine and isolate how individual genetic factors affect neurotrauma outcomes.



John M. Coleman III, MD

John M. Coleman III, MD, is an associate professor of medicine (pulmonary and critical care) and neurology and a member of the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine. He attended medical school at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency at Loyola Medical Center. He then went to the University Pittsburgh Medical Center for training in pulmonary and critical care medicine and sleep medicine. In 2013, Coleman, with his specialty in chronic respiratory failure, was recruited to Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and joined the Les Turner ALS Center. Over the last 10 years, Coleman has been one of two pulmonary physicians in the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center, providing respiratory care and support for people living with ALS. In addition, he serves as the head of the Les Turner Support Services committee and is on the board of directors of the Les Turner ALS Foundation. Coleman has published several papers and delivered international talks on proper respiratory care for people living with ALS.



Lauren Webb, LCSW

Lauren Webb, LCSW, is director of support services and education at the Les Turner Foundation. Webb has worked in the neuromuscular community for over 20 years—providing direct patient care for individuals with ALS, working for a neurological specialty reference laboratory, coordinating clinical trials at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and overseeing the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s nationwide Care Center Network. She has a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in health administration and policy from the University of Chicago. Webb is a devoted advocate who approaches people and problems with humility, curiosity and humor.



A look into previous Symposiums

Thank You to Our Generous 2022 Sponsors

Les Turner ALS Foundation







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