Scientific & Medical Advisory Council

ALS Canada Scientific & Medical Advisory Council (SMAC)

The role of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Council (SMAC) is to provide strategic advice to the Board and management of ALS Canada with respect to the research portfolio according to the strategic priorities, and to promote the value of the research community and its findings to various stakeholder communities, including clients and caregivers.

Click to download the Terms of Reference for SMAC

Chair

Charles Krieger, MD, PhD

Professor, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Charles Krieger has been studying ALS for over 30 years. In 2012, Dr. Krieger received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Volunteerism and he is an Honorary Life Member of both ALS Canada and the ALS Society of British Columbia. He both convenes an ALS laboratory, overseeing basic research in ALS at Simon Fraser University and is an active neurologist at the ALS clinic at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. Over the years, Dr. Krieger has become an expert on a number of topics in ALS research and most recently is focused on novel therapeutic strategies that involve delivery of gene therapy via transplanted bone marrow cells that can travel through the blood-brain barrier to degenerating areas in ALS.

Members

Heather Durham, PhD

Professor, McGill University

Dr. Heather Durham has been working on ALS for 30 years and is both a current member of the ALS Canada Board of Directors and the past Chair of the ALS Canada SMAC. She has received numerous awards including the William Fraser Leadership Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and she was a Killam Scholar. Dr. Durham was also the Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at McGill University from 2008-2011. Her work on ALS includes developing the first in vitro model of ALS in motor neurons, publishing seminal work on the role of protein folding and disposal in the disease and more recently, an understanding of RNA trafficking, epigenetics, and the contribution of dendrites to ALS pathology.

Andrew Eisen, MD

Professor Emeritus, Neurologist, University of British Columbia

Dr. Andrew Eisen has worked on ALS for more than 35 years and developed the first multidisciplinary ALS Clinic in Western Canada and one of the first in the world. He was the Associate Dean of Research and Head of the Department of Medicine at UBC in the 1980s as well as Head of Neurology in the 90’s, and have received innumerable distinctions in his career including notably, the prestigious Forbes Norris Award in 1999, given by the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations “for compassion and love of humanity in the study, management and support of ALS and Motor Neuron Disease”. He is both an Honorary Life Director of ALSBC and an Honorary Life Member of ALS Canada, and is a pioneer of clinical trials for ALS in Canada. Dr. Eisen is still very active in ALS research, publishing original manuscripts examining the impact of evolution and human development on the disease.

Angela Genge, MD, FRCPC, eMBA

Neurologist, Director of Clinical Research Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute

Dr. Angela Genge has been working on ALS for more than 20 years is currently a member of the Board of Directors at ALS Canada. She has won numerous awards including the Governor General Diamond Jubilee Award, the Y Woman of Distinction Award and she is both an Osler Fellow and Killam Scholar. Dr. Genge is a world leader in clinical trials for ALS and other neuromuscular diseases, having been principal investigator on nearly 20 ALS trials in the past 15 years.

Sanjay Kalra, MD, FRCPC

Professor, Neurologist & Co-Director of ALS Program, University of Alberta

Dr. Sanjay Kalra has worked on ALS for over 15 years and he is a former member of the ALS Canada Board of Directors. Dr. Kalra’s work focused on development of advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques for better monitoring and more efficient diagnosis of ALS.  He is the founder of the Canadian ALS Neuroimaging Consortium and has participated on international task forces to develop guidelines in both neuroimaging and clinical management of the disease.

Lawrence Korngut, MD, FRCPC, MSc

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurologist,  University of Calgary

Dr. Lawrence Korngut has been working on ALS for more than a decade. He is the National Principal Investigator of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) and is an active clinical trial leader in Canada. Dr. Korngut is also very interested in development of better biomarkers for monitoring ALS and also in nurturing stronger Canadian networks for neuromuscular and rare diseases.

Jasna Kriz, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Université Laval

Dr. Jasna Kriz has been working on ALS for over 15 years. Her expertise on ALS pathogenesis is broad, with a particular emphasis on the role of microglia and inflammatory mechanisms in the disease. Her lab has also produced a novel model for live imaging of neuronal response to injury and repair that will help in gaining a better understanding of how ALS is caused.

Christen Shoesmith, MD, FRCPC

Assistant Professor, Neurologist, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Christen Shoesmith has been working on ALS for more than a decade and is the Motor Neuron Disease Clinic Director at the London Health Sciences Centre. She is a leader in clinical trials and is also driving a national effort to develop Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for ALS.

Christine Vande Velde, PhD

Associated Professor, Université de Montréal

Dr. Christine Vande Velde has been working on ALS for 15 years. Her expertise is in understanding the cell biology behind ALS with particular focus on TDP-43 stress granules and misfolding of SOD1 with relation to impaired mitochondrial function in ALS.

Yana Yunusova, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Yana Yunusova is a speech-language pathologist who has worked on ALS for the past decade. Her primary research focus is on the form of ALS that affects speech and swallowing functions (bulbar ALS) and novel techniques to find biomarkers that will improve diagnostic and prognostic capabilities.

Lorne Zinman, MD, FRCPC, MSc

Associate Professor, Neurologist, University of Toronto

Dr. Lorne Zinman has focused his work on ALS for more than 15 years. He is the director of the largest ALS Clinic in Canada located at Sunnybrook Hospital where has earned numerous distinctions including a Best Doctors Award and a Canadian Diamond Jubilee Meal. Dr. Zinman has also served on the ALS Canada Board of Directors and is the Chairman of the Canadian ALS Research Network (CALS).

Ex officio (non voting)

Tammy Moore (CEO, ALS Canada)

David Taylor, PhD (Director of Research, ALS Canada)