Science Advisory Board

ACT-AD’s Science Advisory Board examines and advises on issues related to the current state of Alzheimer’s Disease research and treatment.

Board Members

Paul Aisen, M.D.  /  Founding Director, USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute

Aisen is the founding director of the USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (USC ATRI) at the Keck School of Medicine in San Diego, Calif.  A distinguished Alzheimer’s disease scientist, Aisen leads the institute in “pursuit of its mission to accelerate the development of effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease through innovative, collaborative, multicenter clinical trials.”

Before joining USC, he was director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) at the University of California, San Diego, from 2007 until 2015. He also previously served as professor of Neurology and Medicine and director of the Memory Disorders Program at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Aisen received his M.D. from Columbia University in 1979. He interned at Case Western Reserve University and completed his residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital and a fellowship at New York University. He is board certified in internal medicine, rheumatology, and geriatrics.

Jeffrey L. Cummings, M.D., Sc.D.  /  Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Cummings is director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada and Cleveland, Ohio.

He has expertise in clinical trial design and analysis, global trial implementation and trial outcome measures. Cummings is the author of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), the most commonly used tool for clinical trials characterizing behavioral disturbances in dementia syndromes.

Cummings completed his Neurology residency and a Fellowship in Behavioral Neurology at Boston University. This training was followed by a Research Fellowship in Neuropathology and Neuropsychiatry at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London, England.

Prior to the Cleveland Clinic, he was professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA. AT UCLA, he was also director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research  and director of the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics. He is past president of the Behavioral Neurology Society and of the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

Cummings has authored or edited over 30 books and published 600 peer-reviewed papers.

Phyllis E. Greenberger, MSW  /  Senior Vice President of Science & Health Policy, HealthyWomen

Phyllis Greenberger is the senior vice president of Science & Health Policy for HealthyWomen. In her role she supports HealthyWomen to advance policies that will improve the health of women and women serving as health care decision makers. Prior to joining HealthyWomen, she was the president and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research and a women’s health consultant.

As a well‐respected women’s health advocate, Greenberger has earned widespread media attention, including being selected by The Medical Herald as one of the 20 most influential women in medicine today. Greenberger has presented and spoken to numerous international and national audiences, frequently testifies before Congress advocating for additional research and funding for women’s health, and has served on numerous boards and committees, including on the Scientific Advisory Board for Women Heart, a national coalition for women with heart disease, and the University of Wisconsin (UW) Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Executive Advisory Committee.

Greenberger is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the “Award for Research Excellence” by the National Association for Women’s Health, “Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-­Based Medicine’s Achievement Award,” “Champion of Women’s Health” by Ladies’ Home Journal, and the “Washington Woman of Genius” by Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She received an award for public advocacy from the Clinical Research Forum, and she was named the 2013 “Woman of the Year” by the NAPW.

Janice Hitchcock, Ph.D.  /  President and Senior Consultant, Hitchcock Regulatory Consulting, Inc.

Hitchcock is a regulatory consultant with 27 years of drug development experience.  She was at Eli Lilly and Company for 17 years, where she was the Regulatory Affairs Director responsible for early- and late-phase drug development programs in Alzheimer’s disease, including several public-private collaborations, as well as engagement with external stakeholders on Alzheimer’s disease regulatory policy.  Hitchcock received Lilly Research President’s Awards in 2009 and 2015, and was named one of Lilly’s top 100 Innovators in 2013 for her regulatory contributions to the first clinical trial in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

Hitchcock received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University in 1988.  Her doctoral thesis was a finalist for the Society for Neuroscience’s Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Miami, she headed a behavioral pharmacology research laboratory at Hoechst Marion Roussel/Aventis, including two years at the company’s research institute in Strasbourg, France.  Hitchcock is also co-author of several patents.  She currently provides strategic regulatory consulting to industry and academic groups.

Russell Katz, M.D.  /  Former Director, Division of Neurology Products for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Katz is the former director of the Division of Neurology Products for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Throughout his 30+ year career with the FDA, Dr. Katz has had a major influence on the research regulation into investigational treatments and approval of new therapies for neurologic diseases.

Katz received his M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1977.  Following residencies in neurosurgery and neurology, he began his career with the FDA as a medical officer in its Division of Neuropharmacological Drug Products in 1983, which reviews and approves drugs and biologics for neurologic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. In 1999 he was appointed director of the division. In 2005, he became the director of the Division of Neurology Products.

Katz has written and lectured extensively on drug development and regulatory approval of drugs and biologics.  He was the recipient of the 2013 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Award from the Alzheimer’s Association for his contributions to leading the way in promising and innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s treatment, prevention and care.

George Perry, Ph.D.  /  College of Sciences Dean, University of Texas at San Antonio

George Perry is dean of the College of Sciences and professor of Biology and Chemistry at The University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as the Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology. Recognized as one of the top Alzheimer’s disease researchers, he has been cited more than 76,000 times (H=139) with over 1,400 publications.

He is editor for numerous journals, including editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

His credits include: fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Microscopy Society of America, Texas Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Academy of Science of Mexico, Portugal, and Spain.

Perry’s research is primarily centered on how Alzheimer’s disease develops and the physiological consequences it causes at the cellular level.

Creighton H. Phelps, Ph.D.

Phelps retired in 2017 as deputy director of the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, NIH, Bethesda, M.D. He also directed the NIA – Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program from 1992-2017.

From 1989-1992 he served as the senior vice president and chief science officer of the National Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago and then rejoined the NIA to oversee the development of infrastructure to advance Alzheimer’s research, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center in Seattle, and the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer’s disease in Indianapolis.

Phelps received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and completed post-doctoral training at University College London, England. He then held faculty positions at the University of Connecticut Health Center and helped to establish the neuroscience program at Wright State University.

He continues to work closely with national advocacy organizations, as well as with several NIH institutes focused on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. He coordinated a project culminating in issuance of the NIA-Alzheimer’s Association guidelines for the clinical and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reisa A. Sperling, MD, MMSc  /  Professor, Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Sperling is a neurologist, with specialties in dementia and imaging research. She is a professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of the Neuroimaging Core and the Outreach Core of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

She is the principal investigator on multiple NIH and Foundation grants utilizing multi-modality imaging techniques to test the neural correlates of memory changes in cognitive aging and early Alzheimer’s. She is the PI of the Harvard Aging Brain Study, which is funded by a Program Project grant from the NIA.

Sperling oversees a number of clinical trials of potential disease-modifying therapeutics in early Alzheimer’s disease and serves on the Steering Committees for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network.

She has published more than 120 peer-reviewed research articles on memory, aging and early Alzheimer’s. Her research is focused on the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Her recent work involves the use of functional MRI and PET amyloid imaging to study alterations in brain function in aging and early Alzheimer’s disease.

Sperling led the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association working group to create guidelines for the study of “Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.”  She is Project Leader for the ADCS Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic AD–the “A4” trial.  This is a three-year secondary prevention trial in 1,000 clinically normal older individuals with biomarker evidence of early AD pathology.