Physician Photo

Merit Ester Cudkowicz, MD

Chief, Neurology Service

Director, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinic; Director, Neurological Clinical Research Institute

Co-Director, Neuromuscular Division

Dr. Cudkowicz is a neurologist who specializes in the care of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She is actively pursuing research to discover new treatments for people with ALS and related disorders.

  • Phone: 617-724-3914
Department of Neurology
Clinical Interests
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Neurodegenerative disorders
Neuromuscular disorders
Clinical research
Experimental therapeutics
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Harvard Medical School
Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Patient Gateway
Yes, learn more
Foreign Languages
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients


Dr. Merit Cudkowicz is the Julianne Dorn Professor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cudkowicz completed medical training at the Health Science and Technology program of Harvard Medical School, and she was a resident in Neurology at Mass General. She obtained a Master's degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Cudkowicz's research and clinical activities are dedicated to the study and treatment of patients with neurodegenerative disorders, in particular amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Dr. Cudkowicz directs the Mass General ALS clinic and the Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) (formerly the NCTU). She is one of the founders and co-directors of the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), a group of 92 clinical sites in the United States and Canada dedicated to performing collaborative academic led clinical trials in ALS. In conjunction with the NEALS consortium, she planned and completed seven multi-center clinical trials in ALS and is currently leading three new trials in ALS. Dr. Cudkowicz received the American Academy of Neurology 2009 Sheila Essay ALS award. She is actively mentoring young neurologists in clinical investigation. Dr. Cudkowicz is on the Research Council of the American Acadenmy of Neurology and the medical advisory board for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.


My research activities are dedicated to the study and treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington's Disease (HD). I design human clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of therapies that have shown promise in preclinical studies. I built a neurology clinical trial unit and also formed an international consortium to test novel therapies in ALS, the Northeast ALS (NEALS) consortium. The NEALS consortium consists of 92 clinical sites in the United States and Canada dedicated to performing joint academic led clinical trials in ALS. We completed seven multi-center clinical trials in ALS. We are leading three new trials in ALS, ceftriaxone, KNS 760704 and a an antisense oligonucleotide to superoxide dismutase (SOD1) in people with familial SOD1 ALS. There is a critical need in neurology for highly trained clinical investigators who work collaboratively with basic scientists to develop new therapeutic strategies. In collaboration with Drs. Ravina, I was awarded a contract from the NINDS to create a training course in Clinical Trial Methods for neurologists.



Cudkowicz ME, Shefner JM, Simpson E, Grasso D, Yu H, Zhang H, Shui A, Schoenfeld D, Brown RH, Wieland S, Barber JR and the Northeast ALS Consortium. Arimoclomol at dosages up to 300 mg/day is well tolerated and safe in ALS. Muscle and Nerve 2008;38 (1):837-44.

Cudkowicz ME, Andres PL, Macdonald SA, et al. Phase 2 study of sodium phenylbutyrate in ALS. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2009;10 (2):99-106.

Aggarwal S, Zinman, L, Simpson E, McKinley J, Jackson KE, Pinto H, Conwit RA, Schoenfeld D, Shefner J, Cudkowicz M and the Northeast ALS and Canadian ALS Consortia Clinical Trial Testing Lithium in ALS Terminates Early for Futility. Lancet Neurology 2010: In Press.

The Clinical Trial of Ceftriaxone in ALS

A webinar recording explaining the design and scientific rationale behind the Clinical Trial of Ceftriaxone in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Ceftriaxone Trial Video

A video explaining the design and scientific rationale behind the Clinical Trial of Ceftriaxone in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, 2011 Part II

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, October 13, 2011. Clinical and research presentations on ALS, Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease

Respiratory Assistance Video

A video for ALS patients discussing and demonstrating uses of bipap and cough assist machines.

Appointments announced

THE MGH WILL WELCOME new chiefs for the Department of Neurology and the Department of Urology later this spring.

New neurology chief shares lessons

The 15th Annual Women in Medicine Month Celebration on Sept. 20 featured a keynote lecture by Merit Cudkowicz, MD, chief of Neurology.

Strides in Understanding and Treating ALS

The Northeast ALS Consortium, co-founded by Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Merit Cudkowicz, MD, has spurred basic and translational research that has led to investigational therapies and improved patient outcomes.

Novel ALS drug slows symptom progression, reduces mortality in phase 2 trial

Treatment with dexpramipexole – a novel drug believed to prevent dysfunction of mitochondria, the subcellular structures that provide most of a cell's energy – appears to slow symptom progression in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

Phase 1 ALS trial is first to test antisense treatment of neurodegenerative disease

The initial clinical trial of a novel approach to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – blocking production of a mutant protein that causes an inherited form of the progressive neurodegenerative disease – may be a first step towards a new era in the treatment of such disorders.

Mass. General Neurological Clinical Research Institute and Prize4Life receive Bio-IT World Award for creation of ALS data platform

The MGH Neurological Clinical Research Institute and Prize4Life, an organization dedicated to accelerating discovery of treatments and a cure for ALS, received a Best Practices Award at the 2013 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo for their creation of PRO-ACT ,the largest database of information from ALS clinical trials and patient care.

Neurology Associates
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114-3117

Phone: 617-724-3914
Fax: 617-726-5346