Meet Our Team
Faculty and staff at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis include:
Fred D. Lublin, MD, is founder and Director of the CGD Center, and Saunders Family Professor of Neurology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Lublin 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. As a neuroimmunologist, Dr. Lublin has a special interest in immune functions and abnormalities affecting the nervous system. He is past Chair of the New York City/Southern New York Chapter of NMSS Clinical Advisory Committee. Dr. Lublin and his colleagues at the National MS Society have re-defined the clinical course definitions of MS. He is currently involved in several new clinical research protocols on promising agents for the treatment of MS, and he was the national coordinating investigator for the NIH-funded multi-center trial of combination therapy in MS. He is a Co-Chief Editor of the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. He has been caring for patients with MS and related disorders for over 35 years. During that time, he has participated in the development of almost all of the currently available treatments for MS.
Michelle Fabian, MD, is an attending physician at the CGD Center. She received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and a MD degree from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Fabian completed her neurology residency at The Mount Sinai Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident. In 2009, she was named The Mount Sinai Hospital Resident of the Year. She was the recipient of a 2009-2011 Sylvia Lawry Fellowship from the National MS Society, after which she joined the CGD faculty as Assistant Professor of Neurology in 2011.
Dr. Fabian is the site Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials at the MS Center. She has co-authored numerous articles and book chapters on multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica, and her work has been presented at national and international conferences. She has frequently lectured to physicians and patients regarding MS clinical care and she has co-authored the annual Research Update for the MSAA in 2016 and 2017. She is committed to the outstanding education of residents and medical students, and she currently serves as the assistant director of the neurology clerkship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Fabian’s passion lies in the clinical care of patients with multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and other neuro-immunological disorders. She believes that the optimal approach to patient care is one that combines the best medical treatments with an equally strong focus on wellness and quality of life.
Ilana Katz-Sand, MD, is an attending physician at The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Katz-Sand treats patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO), and other autoimmune diseases that affect the central nervous system. She joined the Center as a fellow in 2011, funded by a Sylvia Lawry Fellowship Training Grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Katz-Sand received her MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and she completed her neurology residency at Columbia University, where she was elected chief resident in her final year and was recognized by the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Foundation Circle of Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Katz-Sand is the Principal Investigator on several studies at the Center, with a focus on translational research. Her work has been published in medical journals, and she has presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Katz-Sand is also involved in education, teaching residents and medical students at Mount Sinai, as well as giving lectures on MS and NMO to other physicians and patients.
Sylvia Klineova, MD, joined the Neurology faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in July 2014, following a two-year fellowship in MS. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in clinical science research. Dr. Klineova received her Doctor of Medicine from the Universita P.J. Safarika in Kosice, Slovak Republic, where she also completed a residency in Neurology. In 2012, Dr. Klineova completed a residency in Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Klineova’s current research interests are advanced MRI and optical coherence tomography imaging in MS. With Dr. Michelle Fabian, Dr. Klineova published the patients’ handbook titled, “Living and Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis.”
Stephen Krieger, MD, is an attending physician at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis and is an Assistant Professor of Neurology. He joined the Center as a fellow in MS 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 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. He is the Director of the Neurology Residency Program, and he is a fellow of the Mount Sinai Institute of Medical Education. Dr. Krieger has presented original MS research at AAN, ECTRIMS, and CMSC, and he has lectured nationally on MS with an emphasis on new therapies and symptom management. In 2015, Dr. Krieger proposed the topographical model of MS, a new conceptualization of MS disease course that was accepted for presentation at several national/international meetings and was the subject of an article in Scientific American.
Aaron E. Miller, MD, is 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 he served as chairman of the Clinical Advisory Committee of the New York chapter of the NMSS from 1991-2004. Dr. Miller was the first chairman of the multiple sclerosis section of the American Academy of Neurology, and he currently serves as editor of Continuum, AAN's bi-monthly continuing education publication. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the AAN in spring 2009.
Oluwasheyi Ayeni, MD
Rachel Brandstadter, MD
Asaff Harel, MD
Sam Horng, MD, PhD
Aliza Ben-Zacharia, CRRN, DrNP, ANP-BC, is a dual board certified acute care nurse practitioner (NP) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and an adult NP by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Ben-Zacharia has years of experience in acute care, neurology, and rehabilitation. In 2010, she earned a doctorate degree in nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Ben-Zacharia provides direct patient care, follow-up, training/education, and counseling for patients and their families. She is the Principle Investigator of multiple clinical trials about BMI and progression of MS, quality of life for people living with MS, and screening for depression in MS. A skilled educator, Dr. Ben-Zacharia has developed multiple educational programs for patients and professionals and has published articles and chapters about MS, disease-modifying agents, symptom management, and palliative care. She is a certified MS nurse, and she is the chair of the communication committee of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses and a board member in the Consortium of MS Centers. She has won awards for her excellence in rehabilitation and Neurology/MS and recognition of her educational role by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Hall of Fame. She is one of the captains of the annual MS Walk.
Gretchen K. Mathewson, FNP-BC, CMSN, is a board certified nurse practitioner and a certified multiple sclerosis nurse with experience in acute and family care. She earned a master's degree with honors in Family Practice from Columbia University in 2009. Gretchen became a Dystel Nursing Fellow with the National MS Society in 2013, and is currently participating in the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Mount Sinai, in collaboration with the Center Institute. She provides education, counseling, direct patient care, and follow-up for patients and their families. Gretchen is particularly interested in nutrition, exercise and mindfulness, and their impact on mental and physical health. A regular participant of the MS Bike Ride, she encourages her patients and colleagues to join her team.
Tova Epstein, LCSW, and Donna Siegal, LCSW, are experienced clinicians who graduated from Hunter College School of Social Work and have worked at The Mount Sinai Hospital for many years. Both have experience in evaluating and treating the psychosocial aspects of chronic illness. In addition to providing individual counseling, they have developed unique programs and groups to address the needs of people living with MS. They provide information and support to address work-related challenges and make referrals to relevant community services.
James F. Sumowski, PhD, is Associate Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and neuropsychologist in the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Sumowski specializes in cognitive processing and memory, and he is the foremost leader on the concept of reserve against cognitive decline among persons with MS: the notion that healthy active lifestyles provide protection against decline despite MS disease. His work has been published in high impact neurology journals (e.g., Brain, Neurology), and he has provided platform presentations at national and international meetings (e.g., AAN, ECTRIMS). Dr. Sumowski's work on cognition in MS has been principally funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he is now leading a large prospective NIH R01 project investigating modifiable risk and protective factors linked to cognitive decline in persons with MS.
Patrizia Casaccia, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized authority in the field of myelin. She is Professor of Neuroscience, Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and Neurology, and she is the Chief of the Center of Excellence on Myelin Disorders: Mechanisms and Repair at the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Casaccia received her medical degree in Rome, where she also started the residency in Neurology. She then moved to the United States, where she obtained a PhD in Neurobiology. After post-doctoral work at Weil Cornell Medical Center in New York, she moved to the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at NYU, and then to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (also known as Rutgers Medical School). In 2008, she moved to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where her work has acquired a translational focus. Dr. Casaccia's work adopts molecular and cellular techniques to find new therapies for MS. The laboratory research addresses several aspects of MS, from the elucidation of the effect of the environment on gene expression to studying mechanisms of axonal damage and myelin repair. Dr. Casaccia serves on several review panels for scientific journals, and she is on grant advisory panels for the National Institute of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Matilde Inglese, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Neurology, Radiology, and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine. She received her medical degree magna cum laude from the University of Genoa, Italy, and she earned a PhD from the same university after her formal training in Neurology. Her research focuses on the development and application of new structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques at high and ultra-high field strength to study MS and other neurological diseases. This work aims at identifying 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.
Gareth John, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and is head of the Beker Multiple Sclerosis Research Laboratory at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The laboratory focuses on mechanisms that regulate the formation and repair of lesions in MS. Dr. John and his staff are working under 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.
Tarah Gustafson, RN, BSN, is Research Manager at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis . She received a bachelor of science in Nursing from Georgetown University and is a licensed RN. Ms. Gustafson has worked in MS clinical research for more than 19 years, first at Georgetown University Hospital and then at Mount Sinai.
Ruthie A. Perez, MS, joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis in February 2008. She has a BS and MS in Allied Health Studies. As a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Research Division at the Center, she handles finances and does regulatory submissions for several clinical trials and internal projects.
Elise Digga, BA, Elise joins the MS team as a clinical research coordinator with experience in the healthcare sector. Elise graduated from Wellesley College as a premed student with a Bachelor’s degree in Italian studies. She previously worked as a research assistant at Tufts Medical Center in Boston focusing on healthcare disparities, and most recently as a project coordinator at NYU College of Nursing where she helped adapt an interprofessional program for healthcare audiences.
Sarah Rothstein, BS, joins the MS team with previous experience working as a research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania within the Department of Radiology. She grew up in the Philadelphia area and received her Bachelor’s of science in Public Health from Temple University. Ms. Rothstein is the lead coordinator of various internal projects and clinical trials.
Hennesys Disla, BA, joins the MS team with previous experience in Research Laboratories, She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and minor in Immunology in 2009. She is focusing on Biotechnology research projects and attends the Center for Excellence in Youth Education as a teacher’s assistant. Ms. Disla is the lead coordinator for the Microbiome study and various clinical studies.
Gabrielle Pelle, MA, Gabrielle joins the MS team as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator. Having recently graduated with her Masters in Experimental Psychology from Brooklyn College, she plans to successfully integrate her academic career with her experienced research history. Gabrielle was previously the Administrator and Clinical Research Coordinator of a private clinical research site, conducting multi-specialty Phase II-Phase IV industry sponsored clinical trials.
Donna Polisar, PhD Administrator, serves as the liaison between clinical and academic issues within the Center. She also serves as a conduit for patients when they have any concerns. She produces the MS Newsletter, organizes the After-Hours Seminars, and is responsible for business operations.
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