Dr. Roberta La Piana, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery
Associate Member, Department of Radiology
Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University
Roberta La Piana earned her MD at University of Pavia, Italy, where she then specialized in Pediatric Neurology and Psychiatry. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience at McGill University.
She has been working on hereditary myelin disorders for more than 10 years and she contributed to the MRI-pattern definition of known genetic leukoencephalopathies (Aicardi-Goutières Syndrome, POL3R-related disorders). Dr. La Piana became interested in adult-onset undiagnosed forms of leukoencephalopathies and developed an interdisciplinary profile which combines the expertise in neuroradiology and genetics with her clinical training. In the past five years, this work led to the discovery of expanding phenotypes of several known leukodystrophies and the identification of novel mutations.
In 2013 she launched the White Matter Rounds at the Neuro aimed to discuss atypical white matter diseases cases. Initially held at a local level, these interdisciplinary monthly meetings are now attended by an average of 30 participants from 15 participating centers in Canada, Europe and Middle East.
Sunita Venkateswaran, MD, FRCPC
Associate Professor, Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
University of Ottawa
Sunita Venkateswaran completed her medical degree and post-graduate training in pediatrics at Western University (1997-2004). This was followed by a pediatric neurology fellowship at McGill University (2007) and subspecialization fellowship in Pediatric Demyelinating Disorders at The Montreal Neurological Institute and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (2007-2009). She joined CHEO in 2010. Her clinical and research interests include and Pediatric and Adult onset leukodystrophies, Neurodegeneration and Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA) disorders and pediatric demyelinating diseases. A long-standing member of the WM Rounds network, Dr. Venkateswaran works closely with Dr. Roberta La Piana on unsolved adult-onset leukodystrophies.
Dr. Jennifer L. Orthmann-Murphy, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology,
Co-director of Age Span Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and related neuroinflammatory disorders, University of Pennsylvania
Jenn Orthmann-Murphy is an assistant professor in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed an MD-PhD program at Penn, and a neuroscience PhD with Steven Scherer, studying astrocyte and oligodendrocyte gap junctions. After finishing her neurology residency at Penn, she pursued a combined postdoctoral and clinical neuroimmunology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, developing a cutting edge in vivo remyelination platform with Dwight Bergles. She started her lab at Penn in October 2018 to study the role of glial cells in myelin disorders. She also sees patients with multiple sclerosis, and leads an ‘Undiagnosed White Matter Disorders’ neurogenetics clinic. She is co-director of the Age Span Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroinflammatory disorders.
Heidi L. Edwards
President & Founder of the Sisters' Hope Foundation
Heidi Edwards is the President and Founder of Sisters’ Hope Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Alvernia University and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations from St. Francis University. She has worked in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition for over twenty years. Her passion to help others affected by ALSP, desire to gain knowledge of the disease and become an expert in this field began over ten years ago. Heidi’s passion is raising awareness and advocating for those affected by ALSP. Her journey with the disease started when her aunt was diagnosed, followed by her mother, uncle, two sisters, and most recently cousin and nephew.
In 2020, she knew she needed to continue pushing forward with Sisters’ Hope Foundation because her sisters were both showing signs of disease progression. As the only sister without the genetic mutation of the CSF1R gene, she needed to be their voice. Her mission to save future generations started with a Facebook group for her sisters and grew into a global foundation which supports patients, families, and caregivers in all corners of the world and in multiple languages.
Sridar Narayanan, PhD
McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute,
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University
Dr. Sridar Narayanan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, and is a core investigator in the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute. His overall research interest is to study mechanisms of injury, repair and progression in multiple sclerosis (MS) through the development and in vivo application of advanced brain image acquisition and analysis techniques. Dr. Narayanan also has extensive experience developing and supervising the implementation and deployment of MRI protocols in multicenter clinical studies of MS and other neurological conditions.
Dr. Natalia Shor
Département de Neuroradiologie
Natalia Shor is neuroradiologist at the Department of Neuroradiology at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Université Paris VI in Paris, France, the Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital and the Paris Brain Institute.
Dr. Shor is actively involved in research with a special interest in the diagnostic approach of adult-onset neurometabolic disorders and genetic mimickers of multiple sclerosis.
David Rudko, PhD
Department of Neurology/Neurosurgery, Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Director of 7 T Pre-Clinical MRI Unit, Co-Director of Human MRI Unit, Co-Director of Radiofrequency Coil Design Laboratory
McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University
David Rudko is an Assistant Professor of Neurology/Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering at McGill University. He is the Director of the Ultra High Field Pre-Clinical MRI Unit at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute. He is also Co-Director of the Human MRI Unit and the Radiofrequency Coil Development Lab. His research focuses on the application of novel MRI methodology in conjunction with biophysical modeling to augment the current understanding of brain anatomy and physiology. He develops MRI physics acquisition and signal processing techniques, as well as computational neuroanatomy strategies for mapping brain tissue microstructure. A current stream of research in his lab investigates how factors involved in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in MS contribute to chronic active lesion formation. In addition, his group designs custom radiofrequency coil technology for ultra-high field (UHF, > 3T) MRI. His lab is supported by operating grant funding from NSERC, the United States Department of Defense, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, CIHR and the McGill Healthy Brains For Healthy Lives Initiative.
BF Francis Ouellette
Executive Director, Neuro Bioinformatics Core Facility
TOSI Open Science Officer
B.F. Francis Ouellette is currently the Executive Director of the Neuro Bioinformatics Core Facility and the TOSI Open Science Officer. In the past, Francis was an Associate Professor at the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, as well as the Scientific Coordinator for the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop series. Before that, Francis was the associate director of the Informatics and Biocomputing platform and a senior scientist at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) in Toronto, Ontario. Before his move to Toronto in 2007, Francis was an Associate Professor in the department of Medical Genetics at UBC, and Director of the UBC Bioinformatics Centre (UBiC) at the Michael Smith Laboratories. Francis was trained at McGill University (undergraduate and graduate studies), as well as the University of Calgary, McGill University and Simon Fraser University (graduate studies). After working on the yeast genome sequencing project at McGill University, he took a position at the NCBI as GenBank coordinator from 1993 to 1998. Since his work at NCBI, Francis has been dedicated to ensuring openness of Science: the data it generates, and the publications that report them through his work on advisory and editorial boards he serves on.