Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research established

Fen-Biao Gao
Fen-Biao Gao, PhD

On April 12, 2017, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved using a portion of funds from the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund to create a new endowed chair at UMMS: the Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research.

Fen-Biao Gao, PhD, professor of neurology, has been named as the inaugural holder of the Cellucci Chair. Dr. Gao’s early career at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and University of California, San Francisco focused on the study and diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a disease process that results in progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain. Since joining UMMS in 2010, Dr. Gao and his lab have revealed new connections between FTD and ALS, including one single gene that is directly linked to both conditions.

“Dr. Gao’s efforts to advance understanding of these common molecular mechanisms that lead to neuronal degeneration and death, and his collaborations with Robert H. Brown, Jr., DPhil, MD, and others complement and strengthen our Neurology Department’s world-class translational research into ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases,” said UMMS Chancellor Michael F. Collins. 

Since 2011, the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund has been successfully raising money to support the boldest research ideas in interdisciplinary labs at UMass Medical School. The fund is named in honor of the late Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci, who died from complications of ALS on June 8, 2013.

“The Cellucci Family is thrilled and humbled with the establishment of the Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research,” said Gov. Cellucci’s wife Jan Cellucci. “Dr. Gao is an extraordinary scientist of international stature. He and Dr. Brown, and their research teams, are close to a multitude of historic milestones. I am confident that Paul’s vision of the UMass Medical School ALS team’s ultimate success will be realized. Only through our sustained fundraising support will these world class researchers be able to turn their milestones into new, long-term ALS therapies.”

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