The Centers

Our Center Without Walls (CWW) program has provided support that has permitted the medical community to link together multidisciplinary scientific programs and expertise across the country to advance the understanding of the cause of MS and to develop new treatments. The Center is a break-through success because of the vision, insight and flexibility of these extraordinary doctors. The Center’s theme is simple; communication – doctors working together toward a mutual goal. When this goal is reached, all will share in the victory.  The Center’s network of the top MS institutions that have established leading, innovative research programs presently include UCSF, UCLA, Harvard, Yale, USC, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health Sciences University.

Semi-annual scientific symposiums provide an open forum for discussion and presentation of ground-breaking ideas and research data. During these meetings, thirty plus key investigators share their latest research progress, and guest speakers are often invited to share their on-going work with the CWW group. The specific scientific accomplishments of individual Centers are featured as highlights in our annual Newsletter.

View our most recent Grant Recipients.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Headshot of Nancy L. Sicotte

Nancy L. Sicotte, M.D.

Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Howard Weiner, M.D.

Johns Hopkins

Peter Calabresi, M.D.

Oregon Health Sciences University

Vijayshree Yadav, M.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D.

University of California, San Francisco

Emmanuelle Waubant, M.D.

University of Southern California

Lilyana Amezcua headshot

Lilyana Amezcua, M.D.

Yale University

David Hafler, M.D.

Shop Erase MS Today
Get Tickets Today

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - Nancy L. Sicotte, M.D.

Director, Multiple Sclerosis Program
Director, Neurology Residency Training Program
Vice Chair for Education Department of Neurology

Nancy L. Sicotte, MD is professor and vice chair for education in the department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She is the Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program and founding Director of the Neurology Residency Training Program. She is also the site director for the third-year UCLA medical student neurology clerkship rotation. Dr. Sicotte graduated with honors from Brown University with a BS in Psychology. She earned her medical degree from University of California Irvine School of Medicine where she graduated first in her class. She completed an internship in internal medicine, residency in neurology and fellowship in neuroimaging at UCLA Medical Center and has been a member of the faculty since 1999.

Since joining the department of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2010, Dr. Sicotte has developed an integrated multiple sclerosis program that includes patient care, education and research. Her research focuses on the use of advanced structural and functional imaging to study MS disease progression including cognitive impairment and depression. She is a founding member of the North American Imaging in MS (NAIMS) Cooperative, which utilizes state of the art imaging approaches across multiple centers in the US and Canada to develop reliable imaging markers of disease progression in MS. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Sicotte is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Society and Consortium of MS Centers. She received the Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Award of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2001. She currently serves as the Chair of Research Advisory Committee C of the National MS Society and is a member of the local chapter board of directors. She has received numerous awards including Best Doctors in America and UC Irvine Medical School alumni awards for excellence in academics and clinical medicine. Most recently Dr. Sicotte received the 2016 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s “Golden Apple” for excellence in graduate medical education. She has been a member of the volunteer faculty at the Venice Family Clinic since 1998.

Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital - Dr. Howard L. Weiner

Robert L. Kroc Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School
Director and Founder of the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center
Co-Director of the Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Established the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2000

Howard L. Weiner is the Robert L. Kroc Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School, Director and Founder of the Partners MS Center and Co-Director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The Partners MS Center is the first integrated MS Center that combines clinical care, MRI imaging and immune monitoring to the MS patient as part of the 2000 patient CLIMB cohort study. He has pioneered immunotherapy in MS and has investigated immune mechanisms in nervous system diseases including MS, Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, stroke and brain tumors. He has also pioneered the investigation of the mucosal immune system for the treatment of autoimmune and other diseases and the use of anti-CD3 to induce regulatory T cells for the treatment of these diseases. As part of his interest in the mucosal immune system, he is investigating the gut microbiome in MS. He is the author of the book CURING MS and the award winning film documentary WHAT IS LIFE? THE MOVIE. In 2004, Harvard Medical School honored him with the establishment of the Howard L. Weiner Professorship of Neurologic Diseases. Dr. Weiner is the 2007 recipient of the John Dystel Prize for MS Research and the Koetser Memorial Prize for Brain Research. In 2012 he received the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award for investigating the innate immune system in Alzheimer’s disease.

 

>> Visit Brigham and Women’s Hospital MS Website

Johns Hopkins – Dr. Peter Calabresi M.D.

Professor of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center
Director of the Division of Neuroimmunology

Peter A. Calabresi, MD is a Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections and Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Precision Medicine Center of Excellence.  He attended Yale College and Brown Medical School, and trained in Neurology at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY and Neuroimmunology at the NIH in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Calabresi has been the principal investigator or scientific advisor on several global phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. He has designed and directed several clinical trials investigating combination drug therapies in MS. Dr. Calabresi also mentors trainees and oversees translational laboratory research projects. His laboratory studies how to stop the immune attack and arrest neurodegneration, and also strategies to promote myelin repair.

Dr. Calabresi has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Neurology, and the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. He served as Chair of a grant review committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and was a standing member of the NIH Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors Study Section. His specific laboratory research interest lies in understanding the mechanisms of T lymphocyte differentiation into effector memory T cells and how these T cells interface with glial cells in the brain to modulate remyelination. Dr. Calabresi has published over 400 research papers including numerous articles on imaging and the immunopathogenesis of MS. He was the recipient of a five-year NMSS Collaborative Center grant from the National MS Society to study endogenous remyelination in MS, and the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Calabresi is a member of AOA, and was co-awarded the Barancik prize for innovation in MS research in 2015, and was elected to the American Association of Physicians in 2017.

 

>> Visit Johns Hopkins MS Website

 

Oregon Health & Science University - Vijayshree Yadav, M.D.

Dr. Yadav is a MS Fellowship trained Board-Certified Neurologist and a Clinician-Scientist with joint appointments as a Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and a Veterans Affairs Merit Grant Awardee at the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care Services (VAPORHCS). She is the Director of the OHSU Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center, a Staff Neurologist at the VAPORHCS and an Assistant Director of Clinical Care at the MS Center of Excellence-West (MSCoE) at the VAPORHCS. Dr. Yadav holds Endowed Professorship by Tykeson Family Foundation in Wellness Research since 2015. Dr. Yadav also serves as the Fellowship Training Director of the Joint MS and Neuroimmunology program at OHSU and VAPORHCS. She also holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Research. Her research includes examining the role of Vascular Disease Risk Factors on brain metabolism in people with MS using advanced brain imaging techniques. She is currently evaluating role of an oral antioxidant called Mitoquinone on fatigue in MS. She led a novel study evaluating role of low-fat diet in people with relapsing-remitting MS that showed significant improvement in fatigue. Her research has been funded by National Institute of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, National MS Society, Private Foundations and Pharmaceutical Companies. Dr. Yadav’s interest and research in Complementary and Alternative (CAM) therapies for MS has been recognized nationally and internationally. She has published several peer reviewed journal articles and regularly presents her research at national and international meetings.

UCLA - Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D.

Professor, Dept. of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles
Director, UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program
Jack H. Skirball Chair for Multiple Sclerosis Research

Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D. received her MD from Vanderbilt University, did neurology residency at the Univ. of Texas Southwestern, and MS fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Voskuhl is the Director of the MS Program, the Jack H. Skirball Chair in MS Research, and Professor of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Voskuhl was a recipient of the Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Award and was PI of two separate five-year MS Collaborative Center Awards from the National MS Society. She is an internationally recognized expert in MS, doing translational work from the bedside (clinical observations) to the bench (research) to the bedside (novel clinical trials). Dr. Voskuhl has led four novel clinical trials testing new treatments based on results from her laboratory. She received the UCLA Innovation Award in 2018, as well as the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) Excellence Award for Sex and Gender Aspects in Health Research in 2018, a global award spanning all areas of health research. Dr. Voskuhl was selected for the Kenneth P. Johnson Memorial Lecture Award for MS research by ACTRIMS in 2019. She serves on Advisory Boards for the U.S. Department of Defense MS Research Program and the German Neurocure Clusters of Excellence. Dr. Voskuhl's clinical work focuses on MS diagnosis and treatment management.  Her laboratory is currently funded by the NIH to discover neuroprotective treatments targeting cells in the central nervous system to reduce disabilities in MS patients.

 

UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program & Research

 

UCSF - Emmanuelle Waubant, M.D.

Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Race to Erase MS Medical Director since 2001

Emmanuelle L. Waubant, MD, PhD, received her medical degree at the University of Lille, France. She then trained in France as well as at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in adult neurology, neuroimmunology and MS clinical research.  She is currently Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at UCSF. She has served as the Race to Erase MS medical director since 2001. She also directs the Regional Pediatric MS Center at UCSF and is the secretary for the American Committee on Treatment and Research in MS. Dr. Waubant serves or has served on the clinical care, fellowship and research grant review committees of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and on the advisory board of the Society’s Northern California Chapter. She is the Chair of the Clinical Trial Task Force of the International Pediatric MS Study Group. She is a member of the International Pediatric MS Study Group Steering Committee. She is ACTRIMS president-elect. She also directs several translational research projects and mentors medical students, fellows and junior faculty on various clinical, research and career development aspects in the field of MS and related diseases. In 2018, Dr. Waubant started an international consortium (international Women in MS) to foster a community of clinicians and scientists, and contribute to mentoring and blossoming of junior women in the field of MS. Dr. Waubant’s specific interests include the translation of promising agents from the bench to bedside to advance patients’ care, and risk factors for MS susceptibility and disease modification in pediatric and adult MS.

University of Southern California - Lilyana Amezcua, M.D.

Dr. Amezcua is an Associate Professor of Neurology, fellowship program director and recently appointed the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Champion at the University of Southern California (USC), Keck School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of California Irvine in Irvine, California, her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by neurology residency and clinical fellowship in neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis at USC. She received her Master of Science degree in clinical, biomedical, and translational science from USC, Preventive Medicine, under a Clinical Translational Science Institute NIH KL2 award.  Her research is focus in racial and ethnic health disparities including modifiable (from non-modifiable genetic factors involved in disease severity and progression of MS. She has received numerous awards including induction into the Health Professionals Hall of Fame (2015) and National Health Care Champion (2022).

Yale University - David Hafler, M.D.

Gilbert H. Glaser Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Yale
Neurologist-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Hospital
Founding Associated Member of the Broad Institute at MIT
Founding Member of the International MS Genetic Consortium

Dr. Hafler is the Gilbert H. Glaser Professor and Chairman Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine and is the Neurologist-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He graduated magna cum laude in 1974 from Emory University with combined B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biochemistry, and the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1978. He then completed his internship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins followed by a neurology residency at Cornell Medical Center-New York Hospital in New York.

Dr. Hafler received training in immunology at the Rockefeller University then at Harvard where he joined the faculty in 1984 where he was the incumbent of the Breakstone Professorship of Neurology at Harvard, an Executive Director of the Program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School and on the faculty of the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology program. He was a founding Associated Member of the Broad Institute at MIT. In 2009 he move to Yale as the Chair of the Department of Neurology.

Dr. Hafler is a clinical scientist with a research interest in understanding the mechanism of multiple sclerosis with over 300 publications in the field of MS, autoimmunity and immunology. His laboratory has defined immunodominant epitopes of autoantigens, and has developed new technologies to measure both functionality and frequency of autoreactive T cells. More recently, Dr. Hafler has focused on broadly characterizing the molecular pathogenesis of the disease, both at the DNA, mRNA, and proteomic level. Dr. Hafler is a founding member of the International MS Genetic Consortium, a group recently formed to define the genetic causes of MS including scientists from University of Cambridge and University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Hafler has been elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, The American Neurological Association, the Alpha Omega Society, and was a Harvey Weaver Scholar of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is currently a member of the editorial boards for Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Journal of Experimental Medicine, and is co-founder of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. He received the 1st National Multiple Sclerosis five year Collaborative Center Award for tackling the MS genetic effort. Hafler leads the NIH Autoimmunity Prevention Center Grant at Yale, and is a Jacob Javits Merit Award Recipient from the NIH. He has won many awards including last year’s Dystel Prize for MS research from the American Academy of Neurology and National MS Society.