ATLANTA (July 19, 2023) CMT Research Foundation (CMTRF), a patient-led, non-profit focused on delivering treatments and cures for Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease*, today announced that two world-class researchers have joined its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Dr. Bipasha Mukherjee-Clavin, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Neuromuscular division of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has joined the SAB as well as Corey Hopkins, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and inaugural director of the Center for Drug Design and Innovation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center,
The SAB is a distinguished group of 12 professionals with various expertise in CMT that convenes to consider the scientific merits of each research proposal being considered by CMTRF and to define the milestones and expectations of the project. In less than five years CMTRF has become the most significant force in the CMT research arena, funding 19 projects that have all advanced the mission of finding a treatment or cure. SAB-mandated investments have produced five clinical candidates – with one heading for clinical trials in the next year – a remarkable success story.
Dr. Bipasha Mukherjee-Clavin (bee-PAA-sha MOOK-er-jee CLAY-vin) co-directs the Johns Hopkins Charcot-Marie-Tooth multi-disciplinary clinic and is the incoming site PI for the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium international CMT natural history studies. As a stem cell biology-trained physician-scientist, Dr. Mukherjee-Clavin’s research is focused on the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to model genetic Schwann cell and peripheral nerve disorders to undercover novel pathways and potential treatments. During her PhD she published one of the first studies of CMT1A using patient derived stem cells and in 2022, she was awarded the Passano award, given to a promising early career physician-scientist in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Mukherjee-Clavin completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by pre-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco. She then completed her MD/PhD degrees, Neurology residency, and clinical Neuromuscular fellowship in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She joined the Johns Hopkins Neurology faculty in 2022.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Mukherjee-Clavin, a brilliant and passionate physician-scientist on our SAB,” says Edritz Javelosa, CMTRF’s Chief Scientific Office. “An expert in stem cell biology and the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Charcot-Marie-Tooth multi-disciplinary clinic, she brings valuable knowledge and experience to the group.”
“I am really excited to join the CMTRF SAB and am particularly energized by their commitment to developing therapeutics for CMT, an area of great clinical need,” says Dr. Mukherjee-Clavin.
Dr. Corey Hopkins has more than 20 years of experience in both the pharmaceutical industry and academic drug discovery. He was a project team leader at Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, where he led projects that resulted in two clinical candidate designations. Dr. Hopkins then moved to the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, where he was responsible for multiple projects that were licensed to industrial partners and directly led to a compound being advanced into clinical trials.
Since joining UNMC in 2016, Dr. Hopkins has had one project licensed and has had two patents granted. Under his direction, the newly launched UNMC Center for Drug Design and Innovation will bridge the gap between drug discovery and drug development, promoting a new “mixed model” of drug discovery has seen a dramatic increase in partnerships between biotechnology companies and the traditional large pharma companies. Dr. Hopkins holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University and earned his Ph.D., at the University of Pittsburgh.
“We also welcome Dr. Hopkins to CMTRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. His expertise in drug discovery and development will help us identify research projects with high potential to develop into a drug, treatment, or cure for CMT, “says Dr. Javelosa. “As we continue to fund and support such promising endeavors, we are excited to have Dr. Hopkin’s guidance and insights on the SAB.”
CMT Research Foundation (CMTRF) is a patient-led, non-profit focused on delivering treatments and cures for CMT. The foundation identifies significant obstacles or deficiencies impeding progress towards a cure and seeks out collaborators to address these issues. It’s their mission to raise funds to invest in promising science with high potential of leading to treatments and cures. Founded by two patients who are driven to expedite drug delivery to people who live with CMT, the 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organization is supported by personal and corporate financial gifts.
*Charcot-Marie-Tooth encompasses a group of inherited, chronic peripheral neuropathies that result in nerve degradation. CMT patients suffer from progressive muscle atrophy of legs and arms, causing walking, running and balance problems as well as abnormal functioning of hands and feet. CMT affects one in 2,500 people (about the same prevalence as cystic fibrosis), including 150,000 Americans and nearly 3 million people worldwide. At the moment, there is no treatment or cure for CMT.