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Brain Health Nexus

Founding Steering Committee

The Brain Health Nexus Founding Steering Committee (FSC) is composed of international leaders in the brain health ecosystem who have directly participated in and/or led previous roadmapping efforts; embrace the one system vision of working across diseases, disciplines and other silos; and are committed to driving a shared mission and collective action.

The main purpose of the FSC is to establish a framework for developing an actionable roadmapping strategic and operational plan, based on collective experience. This framework will be communicated via a Draft White Paper to the participants of the Summit for input and consensus.

Executive Leaders

Executive Leaders
Co-Chair
Magali Haas, MD, PhD
Magali Haas, MD, PhD

CEO & President
Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Nicole Harmon, PhD
Nicole Harmon, PhD

Executive Director, External Affairs
Cohen Veterans Bioscience

bhn-inez-jabalpurwala
Inez Jabalpurwala, MBA

Founding President and CEO
Brain Canada

Global Director
Viral Neuro Exploration (VINEx)

Members

Harris Eyre, MD, PhD
Harris A. Eyre, MD, PhD

Co-Lead
OECD Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative

Co-Founder
PRODEO Institute

Brad Herbert, MBA
Brad Herbert, MBA

Former CEO
Healthy Brains Global Initiative

Former Operations Advisor
The World Bank

bhn-sean-hill
Sean Hill, PhD

Inaugural Director
Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics at CAMH

Peter Hoehn
Peter Hoehn

Head, Commercial Strategy 
Johnson & Johnson Science for Minds

Catherine Jacobson, PhD
Catherine Jacobson, PhD

VP, Pediatric Clinical Development
Équilibre BioPharmaceuticals

Frank Larkin
Frank Larkin

Chair (Consulting),
Veterans Advisory Council

Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Wolfgang H. Oertel, MD
Wolfgang H. Oertel, MD

President-Elect
European Brain Council

Shekhar Saxena, MD
Shekhar Saxena, MD

Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Diane Stephenson, PhD
Diane Stephenson, PhD

Executive Director, Critical Path for Parkinson’s
Critical Path Institute

Strategic Plan Inputs & Outputs

The Steering Committee will work on multiple workstreams that will inform the development of a strategic plan for building a roadmap of achievable, cross-sector impacts in the brain health ecosystem for the next five years.

Survey

Surface Brain Health Nexus summit expectations, insights on collaboration opportunities, field challenges, and common priorities

Interviews

Gain deeper insight into the motivations, goals and priorities of the brain health field and other feedback for fostering the buy-in and long-term engagement

White Paper

Underscore the rationale and urgent need for a shift from symptom-based, clinically empirical approaches to mechanism-based, data-driven approaches in the brain health ecosystem

Roles/Responsibilities

Pre-Summit:

  • Provide survey & interview protocol feedback
  • BHN steering committee meeting participation
  • White Paper development

Post-Summit:

  • Leadership of Working Groups to further expand pillars
  • Leverage networks to assist with outreach and execution of the Roadmap
  • Support of ongoing dialogue with brain initiative leaders globally
  • Serve as ambassadors of the Brain Health Nexus
  • Act as a conduit in information sharing in the brain health ecosystem
Important Announcement - Summit Postponed

Regretfully, due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, we have decided to postpone Brain Health Nexus (previously scheduled for February 2022) to October 18-19, 2022. 

We apologize for this inconvenience, but our first and foremost concern is the health and safety of our participants.

Share Your Ideas - Complete a Quick Survey

This survey aims to gather insights on the common challenges and opportunities impacting efforts to advance the brain health field.

Responses will help to inform the development of a white paper to be developed by the Brain Health Nexus Founding Steering Committee.

Magali Haas, MD, PhD

CEO & President
Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Dr. Haas is Chair, CEO and President of Cohen Veterans Bioscience, a non-profit brain research organization based in New York City whose mission is to fast-track diagnostics and therapeutics to advance precision brain health. Magali has over 15 years of pharmaceutical executive experience, predominantly at Johnson & Johnson, where she assumed broad end-to-end development leadership roles in early and late stage neuroscience clinical development, translational medicine, diagnostics and integrative solutions. To pioneer new approaches for precision therapeutics for brain health, she founded Orion Bionetworks in 2012, which was transformed to Cohen Veterans Bioscience in 2015, while also serving as founding Chief Science and Technology Officer for One Mind for Research. She serves on several advisory boards including Alto Neurosciences, Partnership for Assessment and Accreditation of Scientific Practice, VirtualBrainCloud, Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics and IMEC for nanoelectronics. Magali earned her BS in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University, and her MD and PhD in neuroscience with distinction from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Nicole Harmon, PhD

Executive Director, External Affairs
Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Dr. Nicole Harmon is a PhD-trained therapist with over 20 years of experience in psychology, philanthropy, patient advocacy, public health, and clinical research. She is currently the Executive Director of External Affairs at Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB), a non-profit 501(c)(3) biomedical research and technology organization dedicated to advancing brain health by fast-tracking precision diagnostics and tailored therapeutics.. 

At CVB, Dr. Harmon leads the organization’s communication campaigns and strategic partnership development with Veterans service and other disease-focused patient advocacy organizations to further CVB’s collaborative efforts to bring solutions to brain health challenges. She has collaborated with CVB leaders to establish the Brain Trauma Blueprint, a multi-stakeholder roadmapping effort facilitated through State of the Science Summits aimed at galvanizing leaders across the government, industry, academic, and not-for-profit sectors and accelerating an era of personalized medicine for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Prior to joining CVB, Dr. Harmon served as a leader for several non-profit organizations focused on health advocacy and improving research standards and care. Her most recent role as Chief Operating Officer for Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), a global consensus based standards development organization and the FDA’s partner for data standards, provided her the opportunity to speak internationally on the need for data to “speak the same language,” spearheading global data sharing and harmonization initiatives to reduce silos and positively impact clinical research.   During her tenure there she transformed CDISC’s financial roadmaps, program management and global brand. Additionally, she developed and managed complex partnerships with leading U.S and International funding partners, U.S. FDA, Japan PMDA, European Medicines Agency, NIH, WHO, EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiatives, Global Patient Foundations successfully achieving funding for and administering multiple large-scale projects.  Prior to her time with CDISC, Dr. Harmon evaluated patients with Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychiatric conditions in a post-acute rehabilitation hospital.

Nicole earned her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision where her research focused on the “Long Term Needs of Caregivers Following Acquired Brain Injury.” This research led to many opportunities to speak nationally and internationally, as well as to lead consortia to advocate for collaboration among the research and rehabilitation community to recognize brain injury as a chronic disease. 

Inez Jabalpurwala, MBA

Global Director
Viral Neuro Exploration (VINEx)

Founding President and CEO
Brain Canada

Inez has extensive experience leading cross-sector collaborations with organizations in health research, academia, and international development. She is currently Global Director of VINEx, a non-profit corporation initiated by the private medical device company, Rocket Science Health, to understand how viruses and other global environmental phenomena may affect the central nervous system. She was the Founding President and CEO of the Brain Canada Foundation from 2001 to 2020. When she joined, the organization had about $1 million in assets; she grew this to over $300 million. Under her leadership Brain Canada provided research grants totaling $250 million and involving more than 1,000 scientists and clinicians based at 115 institutions across Canada. To achieve these results, Inez managed multiple stakeholders, and secured more than 100 partnerships, including leading the approach to secure $160 million in matching funds from the Government of Canada, and fundraising to secure $130 million from a range of donors, institutions and organizations.

Inez has previously been a member of the US National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative Multi-Council Working Group; the Institute of Medicine (of the National Academies) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders; and BrainsCAN, a $66-million investment by the Government of Canada based at the University of Western Ontario, which seeks to create synergies with other Canadian institutions and international partners in the private and public sectors. She currently serves on the Board of Equitas—International Centre for Human Rights Education; is the immediate past President of the McGill Alumni Association, and on the Board of Governors of McGill University; a Desautels Global Expert in McGill University’s Faculty of Management; and a mentor through the Loran Scholars Program.

Inez is a member of the Economic Development and Public Finance committee of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal; a member of the Association of Quebec Women in Finance; a member of the International Women’s Forum; and a member of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative. She is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion in science and in society.

Inez was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network, in the “Trailblazers and Trendsetters Category” in 2007 and again in 2016. A skilled public speaker, she has been featured at major conferences around the world.

Inez holds a BA and MA in English Literature, and an MBA from McGill University; she has also completed the Master of Management program for voluntary sector leaders. Inez resides in Montreal, Quebec.

Harris A. Eyre, MD, PhD

Co-Lead
OECD Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative

Co-Founder
PRODEO Institute

Dr. Eyre is an executive working to optimize brain function in the modern world. He is co-lead of the OECD-PRODEO Institute Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative, which seeks to advance brain-based policy and investment innovations. He is President of PRODEO a group of streetwise and mission-driven brain health executives. He maintains advisory or adjunct roles with the Healthy Brains Global Initiative, Baylor College of Medicine, BrainLat, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and The University of Adelaide.

Dr. Eyre has authored 100+ papers and chapters in outlets such as Lancet Neurology, Neuron, World Psychiatry and The RSA Journal. He co-edited the book ‘Convergence Mental Health’ (Oxford University Press).

Brad Herbert, MBA

Former CEO
Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI)

Former COO
Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria

Former Operations Advisor
The World Bank

Brad Herbert has more than 40 years of experience in international development with a focus in the social sectors, including health and education. Brad worked with the World Bank for 29 years and spent the majority of his tenure based in developing countries, learning firsthand the value of country-led partnerships.  

In 2002, he left the World Bank to help establish the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDs, TB and Malaria. At the Global Fund, Brad was the Chief of Operations, with the rank of Assistant Secretary General at the World Health Organization. While at the Global Fund, he was directly responsible for putting in place the operational policies and the management team responsible for delivering the Global Fund’s multi-billion-dollar grant program in over 130 countries.  Brad has also spent many years serving on and chairing boards for international not-for-profit organizations.  He chaired the board of Mothers 2 Mothers, a not-for-profit organization based in Cape Town and in 2017 was asked by the new Deputy Secretary General of the UN to take over as Co-Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, a UN organization based in Geneva. 

Brad has managed major changes in management processes and helped to restructure several organizations. As a result of these years of development experience, his leadership roles, and his practical results-oriented approach to program policy, development, and accelerated program implementation, Brad was asked to take on the role of the first CEO of the Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI).  

Sean Hill, PhD

Inaugural Director
Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics at CAMH

Dr. Sean Hill is the Inaugural Director of the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada and Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology at the University of Toronto. He is also Titular Professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Under Dr. Hill’s leadership, the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics applies state-of-the-art data science, artificial intelligence, and multi-scale computational modeling to accelerate the diagnosis, prediction and treatment of brain disorders. After completing his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience at the Université de Lausanne, Dr. Hill held postdoctoral positions at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He then joined the Computational Biology group at IBM Research.

Dr. Hill has served as a co-director of the Blue Brain Project, leading the Neuroinformatics division. He led the Neuroinformatics strategy and platform development in the Human Brain Project (2013-2016). He served as Executive Director (2011-2013) and Scientific Director (2014-2016) of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr. Hill has extensive experience in large-scale data integration, and building and simulating biophysically-detailed models of brain circuitry. His research focuses on the cellular basis of brain states within thalamocortical circuitry. He has developed numerous large-scale models of cortical and corticothalamic systems during wakefulness, sleep and anesthetic conditions, which have contributed to our understanding of the cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying diverse brain states.  

Peter Hoehn

Head, Commercial Strategy
Johnson & Johnson Science for Minds

Peter Hoehn is currently Head, Commercial Strategy for Johnson & Johnson Science for Minds, focusing on innovative digital solutions and data for Serious Mental Illness and dementia.  In this role Peter is responsible for developing the overarching global strategy, portfolio recommendations, investment approach, external collaborations, and business models to establish new value creating digital business ventures.

Previously, Peter Hoehn was the Co Dx, Commercial Strategy Leader within the Global Commercial Strategy Organization of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, responsible for leading strategic marketing and market access for companion and complementary diagnostics (Co Dx) across all Therapeutic Areas.  Peter and his team lead the assessment of potential diagnostic projects and commercial evaluation of prospective diagnostic partners, and lead commercial strategy development, market access strategy and launch readiness for Janssen Co Dx projects.

Peter joined Johnson & Johnson in 2003 in the Pharmaceuticals Group Strategic Marketing organization as Global Commercial Leader for Reminyl, and in 2005 was promoted to Global Marketing Leader – Neurology, where he had global commercial responsibility for in-line neurology products as well as products in late stage of development.  In 2008 Peter joined the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) organization as Global Marketing Leader and was promoted to Vice President for WW Marketing and Strategic Marketing in 2010, and continued in this role at OCD until moving back to the Janssen Pharmaceuticals Business as Co Dx Commercial Strategy Leader. 

Peter received a BA in Government and Economics from the College of William and Mary, and a JD from New York University.  He started his career as a corporate lawyer, and entered the pharmaceutical industry as an attorney for Bristol Myers Squibb. After a short time as a lawyer at BMS, Peter moved into various strategy, marketing and sales management roles.

Catherine Jacobson, PhD

VP, Pediatric Clinical Development
Équilibre BioPharmaceuticals

Catherine is a Vice President of Pediatric Clinical Development at Équilibre BioPharmaceuticals Corp., a patient-focused and science- minded company determined to have best and first-in-class therapeutics.

During her three years at Tilray, she advanced the knowledge of cannabinoid-based medicines by working with regulatory authorities and various healthcare stakeholders to ensure patients in need around the world have reliable access to safe, regulated, pharmaceutical- grade medical cannabis. Catherine worked collaboratively with Tilray’s global team, government regulators, physicians and pharmacists to create effective systems for Tilray to enter new medical cannabis markets.

Prior to that, Catherine served as Director of Clinical Research at Privateer Holdings, where she identified opportunities for clinical research partnerships to advance knowledge of cannabinoid science by partnering with physicians and medical institutions to generate data that will inform best treatment practices.

Catherine has previous experience as Director of Research Investment for The Epilepsy Foundation and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California and Stanford University. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a PhD in Cell Biology and Neuroscience from the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.

Frank Larkin

Chair (Consulting), Veterans Advisory Council
Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Frank Larkin was formerly the United States Senate Sergeant at Arms (SAA). As chief law enforcement and executive officer of the Senate, the SAA enforces rules of the Senate; provides a range of technical and administrative services to Senators in their Washington, DC, and state offices; and maintains security in the Capitol and Senate office buildings.

Frank was a member of the Senior Executive Service, recently serving as both the Acting Director and the Vice Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) within the Department of Defense. He previously served as JIEDDO’s Director for the Counter IED Operations-Intelligence Integration Center. JIEDDO’s mission was to focus all Department of Defense actions in support of the combatant commanders’ efforts to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as weapons of strategic influence. Frank’s focus was in support of our deployed warfighters and special operations forces around the globe and the integration of a “whole of government” disruption effort targeting extremist networks that employ IEDs.

Frank served for more than two decades in the United States Secret Service (USSS), beginning in 1984 as a Special Agent assigned to the Philadelphia and Washington Field Offices, before assignment to the Presidential Protective Division. He was assigned to the Office of Congressional Affairs for a two-year fellowship on Capitol Hill, serving a year each with the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Frank entered the USSS supervisory ranks as Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office, where he led financial, electronic, and organized crimes investigations. Following the events of 9/11, he returned to Washington, DC, as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division, supervising White House security operations. As Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Technical Security Division, Frank was responsible for tactical countermeasures programs. In 2004, he was promoted to the Senior Executive Service, assuming the position of Deputy Assistant Director for Protective Research and Chief Technology Officer.

Following his USSS career, Frank was Director, Program Management & Leadership, for the Raytheon Company, and more recently, worked at Lockheed Martin’s Defense & Intelligence Solutions, responsible for providing operations and intelligence analysis support to the intelligence community.

A veteran of the US Navy, Frank has a significant military and law enforcement special operations background, serving as a special warfare operator in the Navy SEALs. After his Navy service, he was a uniformed patrol officer with the Norristown (PA) Police Department, a homicide detective with the Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney’s Office, and a Maryland State Trooper-Flight Paramedic.

Frank holds a BA degree in criminal justice and an MS degree in public administration from Villanova University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the US Secret Service award for valor, the Department of the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service award, and the Superior Civilian Service award.

Wolfgang H. Oertel, MD

President-Elect
European Brain Council

Prof. Oertel is Hertie-Senior-Research-Professor (2014- 2022), Professor for Neurology and former Chairman (1996-2014) at the Dept. Neurology, Philipps University Marburg, Germany. Prof. Oertel has served as president (2007-2011) of the German Parkinson Society (DPG), as board member (2009-2014) and president (2011-2012) of the German Society for Neurology, treasurer (2001-2002) of the International Movement Disorder Society (MDS), chairperson (2007-2009) of the European section of MDS and president (2013-2015) of the International REM-Sleep Behaviour Disorder Study Group, an organization he founded in 2009. In respect to infrastructural achievements he founded the German Brain Bank System in 1994, the German Competence Network Parkinson in 1999 – which he still coordinates – and initiated the Hertie Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Tübingen, Germany (2000). 

From 2015-2020 he was member and the representative of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in the high level advisory group “Scientific Panel for Health (SPH)” to the European Commissioner for “Research and Innovation”. Since 2018 he is the Vice-President of the European Brain Council, Brussels. 

Prof. Oertel’s main field of scientific interest are the prodromal and manifest stages of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer dementia and Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. In parallel he also keeps a strong interest in Restless Legs Syndrome. He has published over 800 reviewed scientific articles (h-factor: >110).

Shekhar Saxena, MD

Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Shekhar Saxena is Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. A psychiatrist by training, he was in the faculty of AIIMS, New Delhi before he joined World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998. From 2010 to 2018 he was the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. Author of more than 300 academic papers, he was an editor of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development 2018.

His expertise includes providing evidence-based advice and technical assistance to policy makers, businesses and civil society on mental health promotion and prevention and management of mental, developmental, neurological and substance use disorders and suicide prevention.

Diane Stephenson, PhD

Executive Director, Critical Path for Parkinson’s
Critical Path Institute

Diane Stephenson is a neuroscientist by training with 30 years combined experience in academic neuroscience and drug discovery. She is passionate about translational science and has a long-time dedication to the discovery of therapies to treat diseases of the nervous system. Dr. Stephenson received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University. In her academic career, Diane focused her research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, while in industry she focused on drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. From 1981-1989, Diane was an associate research scientist at the ALS and Neuromuscular Research Foundation in San Francisco. After joining industry, she collaborated with pioneers of the amyloid hypothesis and conducted translational research  focused on target identification, validation and prioritization of novel candidates and biomarkers across many CNS diseases. Despite advancing more than >40 different targets over many years through various stages of development, none were approved to reach patients in urgent need of therapies. 

Diane joined the nonprofit organization Critical Path Institute in 2011 and led the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD) with focus on Alzheimer’s disease, achieving regulatory milestones based on model informed drug development and data science. As an ambassador for public-private partnerships, Dr Stephenson has initiated numerous external academic collaborations including worldwide alliances and strategies that require multistakeholder consensus to solving problems. At present, she leads Critical Path for Parkinson’s (CPP), a multinational consortium advancing drug development tools with focus on early intervention.  By facilitating collaboration among stakeholders from the bio-pharmaceutical industry, academic institutions, regulatory agencies, and patient-advocacy associations, CPP fosters consensus and data-driven research to increase efficiency, safety, and speed in developing new therapies and technologies.