Meet Our Team

Faculty and staff at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis include:

Faculty

Fred D. Lublin, MD, is an international authority on the clinical and scientific aspects of multiple sclerosis and has been recognized as one of the foremost experts in experimental therapies. He is Director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai, and is the Saunders Family Professor of Neurology at The Mount Sinai Hospital. As a neuroimmunologist, Dr. Lublin has a special interest in immune functions and abnormalities affecting the nervous system. He and his colleagues were among the first in the country to be involved in studies of Interferon beta-1b. He is currently involved in several new clinical research protocols on promising agents for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and is the national coordinating investigator for a multi-center trial of combination therapy in multiple sclerosis.

Aaron E. Miller, MD, is a professor of neurology at Mount Sinai and Medical Director at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Recruited to direct clinical affairs at the Center, Dr. Miller is widely recognized for his preeminence as a clinician. Dr. Miller became the chief medical officer and chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) in 2001, and served as chairman of the Clinical Advisory Committee of the New York chapter of the NMSS from 1991-2004. He was the first chairman of the multiple sclerosis section of the American Academy of Neurology, and currently serves as editor of Continuum, AAN's bimonthly continuing education publication. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the AAN in spring 2009.

Stephen Krieger, MD, is an attending physician at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis and is assistant professor of neurology. He joined the Center as a fellow in multiple sclerosis in 2006 after completing his neurology residency training at Mount Sinai. He is the recipient of a 2006 American Academy of Neurology scholarship and the Sylvia Lawry fellowship in clinical research from the National MS Society. A graduate of Columbia College, he received his MD degree from Yale University and completed his medical internship at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. Dr. Krieger is currently participating in research on a variety of MS clinical trials. As part of his involvement in neurology education, he has been named the Assistant Director of the Neurology Residency Program, and a fellow of the Institute of Medical Education. He also leads a monthly seminar on neuro-ethics for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His professional interests include multiple sclerosis, neuropsychiatry and behavior, and modern neuroimaging techniques.

Michelle Fabian, MD, attending physician, joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis as a fellow in July 2009. Dr. Fabian received her MD degree from Case Western Reserve University and completed her neurology residency at The Mount Sinai Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident from 2008-2009. In 2009, she was named The Mount Sinai Hospital Resident of the Year. She is the recipient of a 2009-2011 Sylvia Lawry fellowship from the National MS Society. In addition to her clinical training, during her fellowship in multiple sclerosis Dr. Fabian will be obtaining a master's degree in clinical research through the Icahn School of Medicine.

Fellows

Ilana Katz-Sand, MD is a Sylvia Lawry Fellow at the CGD MS Center. Dr. Katz Sand attended medical school at Columbia University and completed her Internal Medicine internship at Columbia University Medical Center. She currently works alongside physicians and staff in the MS Center caring for patients and participating in research projects. She is  taking part in many clinical studies, for example, projects that are aimed at understanding the relationship of diet and MS, studying the spinal fluid of MS patients, and a study to try and identify outcome measures for arm dysfunction of MS Patients.

Sylvia Klineova, MD

Nurse Practitioners

Aliza Ben-Zacharia, CRRN, MSN, ANP-BC, is a board-certified nurse practitioner with years of experience in acute care and rehabilitation. In 2010, she earned a doctorate degree in nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University. Ms. Ben-Zacharia provides direct patient care, follow-up and training for patients and their loved ones and assists in clinical trials. A skilled educator, Ms. Ben-Zacharia has developed educational programs for patients and professionals and has published articles and chapters about multiple sclerosis, disease-modifying agents, symptom management, and palliative care. She is a certified MS nurse, and is a member of the board of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses.

Gretchen K. Mathewson, FNP-BC is a board-certified nurse practitioner with experience in acute and family care. She earned a Master's degree with honors in Family Practice from Columbia University. Ms. Mathewson provides education, counseling, direct patient care, and follow-up for patients and their families. Ms. Mathewson plans to obtain her certification as an MS nurse this spring.

Psychiatry and Social Workers

Dr. Jennifer M. Finkel, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine, also serves as the primary psychiatric consultant to the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis.

Upon completing her psychiatry residency at NYU/Bellevue, Dr. Finkel embarked upon a fellowship at Mount Sinai which focused on the relationship between medical illnesses and psychiatric disturbances. Her primary focus of study was in MS, and Dr. Finkel has since continued to work closely with the MS community for the past five years.

Dr. Finkel has dual board certification in both Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine. She also serves as Associate Director of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Consultation Psychiatry.

Tova Epstein, LCSW, and Donna Siegal, LCSW, are social workers for the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. They provide support to patients and their loved ones in matters related to the patient's condition, treatment, and social-service needs.

Researchers

Patricia Casaccia, MD, PhD is Professor of Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomics, and Neurology. She is the Chief of the Center of Excellence for Myelin Repair at the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine. Dr Casaccia's work adopts molecular and cellular techniques to find new therapies for MS. The laboratory focuses on myelin repair with a special emphasis on the effect of aging and gender differences. In addition, her research addresses the mechanism of neuronal damage in patients with MS and she is developing novel screening for the discovery of new therapies to protect the neurons and replace damaged myelin. New methodologies leading to personalized medicine include the generation of neural stem cells from patients' skin, and the analysis of DNA and RNA from the blood of MS patients. Her work is funded by grants from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Gareth John, PhD is Associate Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and is head of the Beker Multiple Sclerosis Research Laboratories at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS.

The John laboratory focuses on mechanisms that regulate the formation and repair of lesions in multiple sclerosis. Dr. John and his staff are working under five active grants from the NIH, the National MS Society, pharmaceutical companies, and private benefactors. Their work has been published in Nature Medicine, Journal of Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and others. Their studies share a common long-term goal of identifying novel therapeutic strategies for inflammatory demyelinating diseases, particularly MS. The research program in the laboratory is also collaborative, in that it allows basic science researchers and physicians to interact and work together towards a common goal.

Matilde Inglese, Md. PhD is an Associate Professor of Neurology, Radiology and Neuroscience at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She received her medical degree magna cum laude from the University of Genoa, Italy and earned a PhD degree from the same university after her formal training in neurology. Her current research, supported by the National Institute of Health, focuses on the development and application of new structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques at high and ultra-high field strength, to study multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. This work aims to identify the mechanisms of degeneration which lead to the accumulation of irreversible clinical disability, and to provide surrogate markers to monitor the efficacy of neuroprotective treatments in vivo.

Christophe Gerald, PhD

Research Coordinators

Tarah Gustafson, RN, BSN, is Research Manager at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. She graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's of science in nursing and is a licensed RN. Tarah has worked in multiple sclerosis clinical research for more than15 years.

Colleen Farrell, MA, CCRC, graduated from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, in 2002 with a BS in psychology. She graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2004 with an MA in speech and hearing sciences. While at the University of Texas, she worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Psychology. Afterwards, she served as a clinical research coordinator in the Mount Sinai Department of Psychiatry. She joined our team in 2007 as a senior clinical research coordinator. In March 2009 she became a certified clinical research coordinator, demonstrating her advancement in the highest ethical standards and practices in the clinical research profession.

Yadira M. Bencosme, MPH, CCRC, joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis research team in March 2007. After two years she obtained her certification as a clinical research coordinator. She has been the lead coordinator in various clinical trials at the Center. Ms. Bencosme obtained her master's degree in public health from Hunter College in May 2007 and her BA from New York University in 2000, with a major in public health and political science.

Christine Hannigan, BS, graduated from Hofstra University in 2003 with a bachelor's of science degree in community health and has been employed by Mount Sinai for almost five years. She works on of several studies, including clinical trials and internal projects. Ms. Hannigan is concurrently attending graduate school, pursuing a master's degree in public health.

Ruthie A. Perez, MS, is the administrative assistant/project coordinator for the Center. She graduated Cum Laude in 2003 from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York, with a BS and MS in allied health studies, with concentrations in health care administration and management, and health care systems and policy. At the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis, she works on CombiRx contracts, CombiRx finances and coordination of the annual CombiRx Conference.

 

Patient Care Coordinators

Shantavia Duncan

 

Administration

Donna Polisar, PhD, Administrator, serves as the liaison between clinical and academic issues within the Center and is also in charge of business operations.


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