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 (MS) 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 he 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 is 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 is 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.

Michelle Fabian, MD, an attending physician, joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis as a fellow in July 2009. Dr. Fabian received her MD 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. Her clinical interests include the treatment of MS and neuromyelitis optica. Dr. Fabian is the Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials at the MS Center. She also is involved in medical student education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. With Sylvia Klineova, MD, Dr. Fabian published the patients’ handbook titled, “Living and Thriving with Multiple Sclerosis.”

Ilana Katz-Sand, MD, attending physician, joined the Neurology faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine in July 2013 after a two-year fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis funded by a Sylvia Lawry Fellowship Training Grant from the National MS Society. She completed her internship in Internal Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in 2008 and her residency in Neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in 2011. Dr. Katz-Sand is committed to providing excellent clinical care to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neuroimmunological disorders. She also aims to advance the field by contributing to clinical and translational research related to MS and other neuroimmunological disorders.

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.

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.

Nesanet Mitiku, MD, joined Mount Sinai’s Departments of Neurology and Rehabilitation in March 2013 and treats patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related demyelinating disorders. She is also a researcher exploring the reparative and neuroprotective mechanisms relevant to MS. Dr. Mitiku received her Bachelor’s in Science in Environmental Systems Engineering, her MD, and her PhD in genetics from Stanford University. She completed a residency in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington from 2008-2011. Her fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis was completed at the University of Washington from 2011 to 2013. From July 2011 thru January 2013, Dr. Mitiuku was Acting Clinical Instructor at the University of Washington as well as a Staff Physician (WOC) in the Rehabilitation Care Services at the VA Puget Sound Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Mitiuku is the recipient of multiple scholarships and awards in teaching, research, and leadership including the K12 Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program Career Development Award, the Master MS Fellowship Award, the Foundation of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Scholarship, the MS Awareness Scholarship, the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting Fellow Scholarship, the National MS Society Clinical Care Physician Fellowship Award, the Katherine McCormick Research Award (Stanford), the Pre-doctoral Intramural Research Training Award (NIH), and the GTE/Dean’s Award for Outstanding Leadership (Stanford). Dr. Mitiku’s primary clinical goal is to help individuals with MS function maximally and achieve the best quality of life possible through individually tailored rehabilitation programs.

Fellows

Rebecca Farber, MD

Robert Gross, MD

Nurse Practitioners

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 MS nurse 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. In addition, she works part-time at Mount Sinai’s Infusion Center. Ms. Mathewson is particularly interested in nutrition and exercise 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 for fun and fitness.

Social Workers

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.

Researchers

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.

Christophe Gerald, PhD, is a part-time Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Gerald received a PhD in Molecular Biology and Virology in Lyon, France and trained in Immunopathology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gerald spent 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry; his last position, he studied blood biomarker profiles in patients with depression and anxiety spectrum disorders. In 2008, Dr. Gerald founded Transcription Diagnostics, Inc., which focused on the use of blood-based transcription profiles to assist the drug discovery process and provide patient management tools, working with the pharmaceutical industry, academic centers, and patient management networks. At the end of 2010, Dr. Gerald joined Mount Sinai as a part-time faculty where he generates blood-based biomarker profiles to further our mechanistic understanding of MS and other neurological disorders.

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.

Research Staff

Yadira M. Bencosme, MPH, CCRC, joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis research team in March 2007. She maintains her certification by keeping current on clinical research practices and regulatory standards. She also maintains a certification as a health education specialist in order to effectively promote health and wellness. Mrs. Bencosme is the lead coordinator in various clinical trials at the Center. She obtained her master’s 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.

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 Mount Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry. She joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis 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.

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.

Shelly Phelps, BSN, graduated from Elmira College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Ms. Phelps worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Neurology Clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center until she joined the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS research team in 2007. She has been the lead coordinator in various clinical trials at the Center. In addition to her role as a coordinator she participated in the multi-center clinical trial directed by Dr. Fred Lublin as a Clinical Research Associate.

Administration

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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