- Jeffrey Guptill, MD, MA, MHS
Chair, Medical and Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Guptill is Associate Professor of Neurology at Duke University School of Medicine and serves as Director of the Duke Early Phase Clinical Research Unit which is the phase 1 and proof-of-concept clinical trial unit at Duke. He completed a master’s degree in Anatomy & Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine and received his medical school training at Medical College of Virginia. He then completed the adult neurology residency program at Duke University Medical Center, followed by neuromuscular medicine/EMG and advanced neuromuscular disease fellowships, also at Duke. He was a fellow at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and finished a Neurology Drug Development Fellowship cosponsored by UCB Biosciences, Inc, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, DCRI, and the Hamner Institutes.
Dr. Guptill’s research interests include the development of diagnostic and predictive biomarkers and conducting clinical trials of novel therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenia gravis. His goal is to understand why available treatments do not work for some patients and to identify targets for developing new therapies to help patients with these debilitating diseases. His research is supported by NIH, private foundations, and the pharmaceutical industry. He leads the NeuroIMmunology BiosampLE (NIMBLE) network – a multisite clinical research network and biosample repository for rare neuromuscular diseases, particularly myasthenia gravis. He is also a member of the executive committee for the NIH funded rare disease clinical research network for myasthenia gravis (MGNet), where he chairs the natural history study and career enhancement core. He currently serves as vice chair of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Medical Scientific Advisory Board.
Vice Chair, Medical and Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Tufts University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He completed his post-doctoral training in Immunology at Harvard Medical School where he also spent several years on the faculty as an Assistant Professor. He is now on the faculty at Yale School of Medicine, serving as a tenured Associate Professor of Neurology and Immunobiology.
His investigative interests are in human translational immunology and neurology. He and his group are specifically interested in defining the mechanisms by which B cells, and the antibodies they produce, affect tissue damage in autoimmunity. In his time at Yale he has formed a coordinated, multidisciplinary program that aims to answer fundamental questions with respect to the immunopathology of myasthenia gravis (MG). Specifically, he has sought to move the field forward by focusing on identifying and isolating the rare B cells that produce pathogenic MG autoantibodies. He and his group were the first to identify and isolate these rare cells from which they have produced a series of human MG monoclonal autoantibodies (mAbs). These mAbs have provided unprecedented insight into the details of MG autoimmune mechanisms. This includes identifying patients expected to respond to B cell depletion therapy, detailing the molecular mechanisms of autoantibody-mediated pathology and describing the origin of self-reactive B cells.
Further recognition within the MG field includes an appointment as the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the MGFA and grant support for MG-based studies including an NIH R01, R21, and several foundation awards from the MDA, Conquer MG, and the MGFA. Moreover, he is a PI on a newly awarded NINDS Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, which will develop the first NIH-supported multi-site translational and clinical research center for MG. His scholarly research is recognized by his peers and demonstrated by both impactful publications and invitations to deliver seminars detailing his investigations at national and international sites.
- Linda L. Kusner, Ph.D.
Dr. Kusner, along with Dr. Burns of University of Virginia, organized the 13th International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders that was held in New York City with the support of New York Academy of Sciences, National Institute of Health, and Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America.
- Robert Ruff, MD
Robert L. Ruff, MD, PhD is the former Chair of MGFA’s Medical Scientific Advisory Board. He is a neurologist and biophysicist. Dr. Ruff is professor emeritus of Neurology and Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs where he served as acting Director of Rehabilitation Research and Development Service and National Director for Neurology. Dr. Ruff has been involved in MG research and treatment for more than 30 years. Dr. Ruff serves as a member of several committees.
- Mike Hehir, MD
Dr. Hehir is an Associate Professor and Division Chief of Neuromuscular Medicine in the Department of Neurological Sciences at the Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. As a neuromuscular neurologist, his clinical, research, and educational interests are in the evaluation and management of adult and pediatric patients with neuromuscular disorders, particularly myasthenia gravis. Dr. Hehir has a strong track record of leading collaborative, multi-center clinical research projects related to the care of patients with myasthenia gravis. He is the current co-chair of the Education Committee for the Scientific Advisory Board of the MGFA and was the Co-Chair of the annual MGFA Scientific Session Meeting from 2015 to 2018. He was also named the MGFA Physician of the Year in 2016. At UVM, Dr. Hehir is the director of the ACGME accredited neuromuscular medicine fellowship and also direct the neuromuscular curriculum for the UVM neurology residents. Dr. Hehir's current research efforts are directed at improving care and reduce cost for MG patients. He is leading the development of a multi-center clinical trial to determine to determine the safety and quality of life impact of systematically decreasing immunosuppressant medication dosages in patients with myasthenia gravis who have prolonged periods of MGFA Minimal Manifestations and Pharmacologic Remission. Dr. Hehir is also developing a new method to measure the burden of treatments for myasthenia gravis and other neurological disorders through an American Academy of Neurology, American Brain Foundation, MGFA Clinician Scientist Development Award in Myasthenia Gravis.
- Amanda Guidon, MD
Dr. Amanda Guidon is a neuromuscular neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Brown University and received her medical degree from the University of Rochester. She completed her internship, neurology residency and a two-year neuromuscular fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.
Dr. Guidon joined the MGH faculty in 2013. Her clinical practice is dedicated to patients with neuromuscular diseases, and particularly immune-mediated disorders such as myasthenia gravis and CIDP. She has an additional clinical and research interest in the neuromuscular complications of cancer and its therapies. She is the Director of the MGH Myasthenia Gravis Clinic and Program Director of the Partners Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship.
Dr. Guidon participates in clinical trials in myasthenia and serves on the medical and scientific advisory board of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA). She is board certified in Neurology, Neuromuscular Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
- For the full list of Medical and Scientific Advisory Board members, see here.