Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, director of the Sean M. Healey Center for ALS, has been named co-chair of the Optimizing Clinical Research Working Group for the 2022 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) ALS Strategic Planning Effort.

Dr. Cudkowicz is the chief of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a recognized global leader in ALS research and treatment. As the head of the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General, she leads a multidisciplinary team of laboratory investigators, clinicians, project managers, bioinformatics specialists and others working together to radically accelerate innovations in pursuit of ALS. The entire team, together with a Science Advisory Council and experts from around the globe, are exploring new ways to cure, control and prevent ALS.

As Co-chair of the Optimizing Clinical Research NINDS group, she will play a key role in guiding the composition of the working group, leading working group discussions, coordinating with other working groups to harmonize priorities, leading a discussion of the priorities at the public meeting, and drafting final documents. 

“It’s a great honor to lead a group of scientists, clinicians, advocates and people living with ALS to determine the highest priorities for how the NINDS sets its ALS research agenda,” said Cudkowicz. “This is exactly the model of collaboration needed to make significant advances in the fight against ALS.”

The goal of the strategic planning effort is to identify the highest priorities for research that will lead to the discovery of effective interventions for the diagnosis, treatment, management, prevention, or cure of ALS. These priorities will be developed by working groups of scientists, clinicians, advocates, and people living with ALS via teleconference meetings and will be presented and discussed at an online public meeting on October 26 – 27, 2022.