Neurological Clinical Research Institute

The Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) at Mass. General is experienced in developing, facilitating, and conducting multicenter clinical trials in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological diseases.

OverviewThe Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) was co-founded in 1994 by Dr. Merit Cudkowicz and Dr. Steven Greenberg to conduct clinical research in neurological disorders. The NCRI develops, designs, supports and manages innovative observational and interventional trials for neurological disorders.  In collaboration with the Study Monitoring and Outcome Measures Center at SUNY Upstate Medical Center and the Mass General Biostatistics Center, the NCRI has an impressive record of rapidly and efficiently organizing, overseeing, coordinating, and conducting small and large multi-center, international clinical trials including randomized, double-blind, double-dummy and open label designs.

The mission of the NCRI is to accelerate translational research in neurological disorders through initiating and testing novel therapies.  The NCRI will fulfill this mission by supporting the entire therapeutic development process, including:

· Mapping the clinical development of potential therapies;
· Custom design of clinical research protocols;
· Bringing efficiency strategies and infrastructure to clinical research;
· Providing resources, experienced staff, and services to accelerate the conduct of clinical research;
· Fostering and empowering scientific collaboration;
· Creating partnerships among scientific leaders with complementary backgrounds;
· Establishing and managing disease-specific research consortia;
· Performing high quality site-level clinical research;
· Educating and mentoring future leaders in the field of clinical research; and
· Encouraging scientific innovation through funding.

Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS)

The NCRI serves as a Coordinating Center for the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), a non-profit, research consortium committed to the cooperative implementation, timely completion, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials and other research studies aimed at improving patient care and understanding of the disease process of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Together, the two entities have supported/conducted 19 clinical research studies in ALS.

Dr. Merit Cudkowicz co-founded and co-directs the NEALS Consortium. The NEALS Consortium was formed with the goal of bringing together leading ALS scientists and clinicians caring for ALS patients, to offer advice on the selection of the best therapies and direction of ALS research. Today there are 103 medical sites and more than 400 members across North America.

Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT)The NCRI serves as the Clinical Coordinating Center for the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT), an National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) initiative which provides a robust, standardized, and accessible infrastructure to facilitate rapid development and implementation of protocols in neurological disorders affecting adult and/or pediatric populations.   Today there are 25 sites nationally.



The Mass General Neurological Clinical Research Institute has over 60 staff members dedicated to neurology clinical research. 



Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc
NCRI Co-Director

Massachusetts General Hospital

Steve Greenberg, MD, PhD
NCRI Co-Director
Massachusetts General Hospital

Nazem Atassi, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital

James Berry, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Anne-Marie Wills, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Patricia Andres, DPT, MS, PT
Massachusetts General Hospital

Marianne Kearney
Director of Project Management

Francine Murphy
Office/Program Manager

Darlene Sawicki, NP
Co-Director of MGH ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic

Alex Sherman
Director of Systems

Bryan Sweet
Director of Grants Management

Hong Yu, MPH
Director of Data Management

Our Work in ALS
Our staff is dedicated to finding new treatments for ALS. Our team leads and manages clinical trials at major medical institutions throughout the United States and Canada. The Mass General NCRI can also give interested individuals with ALS access to participate in clinical trials of medications and therapies designed to lead to better treatments. Below is a list of our active trials in ALS.

Active Trials in ALS


Other Work
The NCRI also serves as coordinating center for studies initiated by members of the Mass. General Neurology Department. It is the Data Management core for all NIH-funded MGH SPOTRIAS projects (Dr. Karen Furie, PI) as well as for a Parkinson’s disease biomarker study (Dr. Scherzer, PI). The MGH NCRI provides expertise in IND submissions and reporting, trial execution and feasibility and efficiency for various disease populations inclusive of studies in ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Myasthenia Gravis, and Adrenoleukodystrophy.

Testing new drugs for ALS

Merit Cudkowicz, MD, director of the Mass General Neurological Clinical Research Institute, talks about clinical trials for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) Website Offers Resources for Patients and Researchers

The Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) website is devoted to supporting clinical research of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other motor neuron disease (MND).

Statement on Future U.S. BrainStorm Clinical Trial

Formal statement on the forthcoming US Brainstorm trial

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.

Anne B. Young, MD, PhD, Fellowship in Therapeutic Development 2014

Applications are being sought for a joint MGH/Biogen Idec two-year training program in translational neuroscience.

Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI)

Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 149
149 13th Street, 2nd Floor, Room 2274
Charlestown, MA 02129

Phone: 617-643-3980

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

E-mail Address

General Inquiries:

E-mail Dr. Cudkowicz:

Mailing Address

Neurological Clinical Research Institute
Mailcode: CNY B149-2-2274
Massachusetts General Hospital
149 13th Street, 2nd Floor, Room 2274
Charlestown, MA 02129

Clinical Research Staff

Marianne Kearney
Clinical Research Program/Project Manager
Phone: 617-726-5893

Francine Murphy
Office/Program Manager

Patient Appointments & Clinical Office

ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic
Phone: 617-724-3914