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Walter Kowtoniuk

Walt is the father of two and spends his days playing with is kids, teaching them about the world, and having fun watching them grow up. Walt is also passionate about making a difference for patients. He spends his days focused on genetics and genomics and the insights they bring into disease biology. Walt works where science meets business and strategy, enabling insights from the lab to become the next generation of medicines that can change lives. He is enthusiastic about launching companies with emphatic, truly patient-centric cultures that effectively and efficiently execute drug discovery. He places priority on taking the time to listen to the patients whom we endeavor to help, recognizing that the value we aim to create is defined by the magnitude of the difference we can make in their lives.

Brett S. Abrahams

Brett S. Abrahams, Ph.D. is the Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation, a biotech start-up developing neuroprotective therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders. Before joining Magnolia, Dr. Abrahams was Senior Director and Head, Pre-Clinical Biology at Ovid Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVID), a company developing new treatments for rare forms of autism and epilepsy. Prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Abrahams was a member of the faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he retains an adjunct appointment. His lab used genomic strategies to identify genes that increase risk for neurocognitive disorders and study these in model systems and patients. Results from his scientific research have been widely disseminated through publication of high impact peer reviewed manuscripts (e.g. New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Nature, and Science Translational Medicine) and coverage in the popular press (e.g. ABC News, BBC News, Reuters, The Telegraph, and Time Magazine).

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Mark Bear

Dr. Mark Bear is a Picower Professor of Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and a past Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Dr. Bear served as Director of The Picower Institute from 2007 to 2009. Prior to moving to MIT in 2003, Dr. Bear was on the faculty of Brown University School of Medicine for 17 years. After receiving his B.S. degree from Duke University, he earned his Ph.D. degree in neurobiology at Brown. He took postdoctoral training from Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and from Leon Cooper at Brown. Bear’s laboratory has substantially advanced knowledge of how cerebral cortex is modified by experience. Dr. Bear has made fundamental discoveries on bidirectional synaptic plasticity, metaplasticity, the molecular basis of amblyopia (a cause of visual disability in children), and the pathophysiology of fragile X syndrome (the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism). Dr. Bear has won multiple awards that include the United States Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, The Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, the Brown University Class of 2000 Barrett Hazeltine Citation for Teaching Excellence, the William and Enid Rosen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Understanding Fragile X Syndrome, National Fragile X Foundation Pioneer Award, and the Ray Fuller Award, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Bear been at the forefront of the efforts to translate knowledge of synaptic plasticity into new treatments for autism and amblyopia.


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