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Executive Committee

The Local Executive Committee [LEC]

The Local Executive Committee consists of the Wellstone MD CRC Director, Co-Director, the Project and Core leaders and Office of Patient Communications and Liaison (OPCL). The LEC members are: Dr. Emerson, Dr. Kunkel, Dr. Kathryn Wagner, PI, and Daniel Perez.

The Local Executive Committee meets at least once monthly. The roles of the LEC are: to maintain the existing collaborations among the principal investigators and their component projects; to foster new collaborations among the projects and determine whether the progress and goals are being met; to oversee the financial accountability and viability of the seven (7) component projects and cores, and, to plan the overall direction of the Wellstone MD CRC, long-term strategies, and new technologies.

The Authority of the Director

Charles P. Emerson, Jr., Ph.D. : Director

The Director of Core A and Wellstone MD CRC is Charles P. Emerson, Jr., Ph.D. Dr. Emerson is Professor of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is an internationally recognized developmental biologist for his research on skeletal myogenesis. He has been the recipient of NIH Career Development and Merit Awards and two NIH training grants. Dr. Emerson will serve as the Wellstone MD CRC Director as well as the lead investigator in myoblast cell culture studies to understand the cellular pathology of FSHD in Project 3 and to establish a FSHD myoblast cell repository in Cell Core C.

Louis M. Kunkel, Ph.D. : Co-Director

The Wellstone MD CRC Co-Director is Dr. Louis M. Kunkel, Ph.D. who is the Director of the Program in Genomics at Children's Hospital, Boston. He is also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Pediatrics and of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is an internationally recognized geneticist with years of experience and scientific success in the understanding of the basis for muscular dystrophies. Over the past three decades, he has devoted his career to understanding the molecular basis of, and developing therapy for neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Kunkel is universally recognized for the identification of the gene and encoded protein, dystrophin, which is mutated in boys with Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy, in 1986-1987. He has received 22 awards and honors for scientific leadership and achievement including memberships in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Gardner Foundation International Award in 1989, Silvio O. Conte Decade of Brain Award in 1991, the MDS's S. Mouchly Small Scientific Achievement Award 1999, and the William Allan Award for Distinguished Service in Human Genetics in 2004. In addition to serving as Co-Director, Dr. Kunkel is the principal investigator in Project 2: RNA / RNAi profiling studies for FSHD biomarker identification.

Kathryn Wagner, M.D., Ph.D. : Co-Director 

The Wellstone MD CRC Co-Director is Dr. Kathryn Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., who is Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Genetic Muscle Disorders at Kennedy Krieger. Dr. Wagner is an internationally recognized neuromuscular specialist who has devoted her career to developing novel therapies for the muscular dystrophies. This has been most notable in the field of myostatin biology where she demonstrated that absence of myostatin resulted in improved muscle regeneration and decreased fibrosis in animal models of muscular dystrophy. She has translated laboratory findings into the clinic and has been the PI of multiple investigator- and industry-initiated clinical trials. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigators and the chairperson of the international TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics. Dr. Wagner now brings this translational expertise to therapeutic development for FSHD in Projects 1 and 3 and as a Co-Director of the Center and Core A, Director of the Training Core B,  and Co-Director of the Resources Core C.

 Responsibilities of the Program Director and Co-Directors

The Director and Co-Director are responsible for:

  • fulfilling the scientific objectives of projects outlined in this Wellstone MD CRC application;
  • providing critical oversight of the scientific excellence of the four (4) component projects;
  • ensuring and maintaining a unifying research theme of the Wellstone MD CRC;
  • effective management of the Wellstone MD CRC funds;
  • establishing the three (3) cores and providing access to cores for internal and external Wellstone MD CRC researchers working on FSHD, and the;
  • leveraging synergistic interactions to maximize scientific impact of this Wellstone MD CRC.