Neurological Clinical Research Institute

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.

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The 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 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 with the Barrow Neurological Institute, the two entities have supported 39 clinical research studies in ALS. 

Co-founded by Dr. Merit Cudkowicz , 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 over 115 membership sites dedicated to ALS research across North America, Israel, Australia, and Ireland.

Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT)

The NCRI is the Clinical Coordinating Center for the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT), a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) initiative. NeuroNEXT was created to conduct studies of treatments for neurological diseases through partnerships with academia, private foundations, and industry. The network is designed to expand the NINDS capability to test promising new therapies, increase the efficiency of clinical trials before embarking on larger studies, and respond quickly as new opportunities arise to test promising treatments for people with neurological disorders.

The NeuroNEXT program aims to:

  • Provide a robust, standardized, and accessible infrastructure to facilitate rapid development and implementation of protocols in neurological disorders affecting adult and/or pediatric populations. The network includes multiple Clinical Sites, one Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC) and one Data Coordinating Center (DCC).
  • Support scientifically sound, possibly biomarker-informed, exploratory clinical trials that provide data for clear go/no-go decisions.
  • Energize and mobilize federal, industry, foundations and patient advocacy partners by leveraging existing relationships between NINDS and NeuroNEXT to organize high impact exploratory clinical trials for neurological disorders.
  • Expand the pool of experienced clinical investigators and research staff who are prepared to be leaders of multicenter clinical research trials.
  • Working with NeuroNEXT is a cooperative venture between NINDS, the NeuroNEXT network and the applicant.

For more information:

Who We Are

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
NCRI Associate Director
Massachusetts General Hospital

James Berry, MD
NCRI Associate Director
Massachusetts General Hospital

Kristin Drake
Senior Director Business Development, Strategic Initiatives, and NCRI Operations

Marianne Kearney Chase
Director of Research Operations

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

Jen Scalia
Associate Site Director

Kristin Schwab
Director of Clinical Research Operations, Stroke Research Center

Alex Sherman
Director of Systems

Hong Yu, MPH
Director of Data Management

Beverly Smits
Operations and Project Manager


NCRI Faculty

Research Projects

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

View Clinical Research Studies

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 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.

Research Positions

We are currently seeking to hire dedicated candidates to join our group. To view detailed job descriptions and application instructions, please visit the MGH Careers page and search for the posting ID number listed after each job title below.

NCRI Openings

Assistant Project Manager (3053822)
Project Manager (3073827)
Clinical Research Coordinator I (3062431)
Clinical Research Coordinator II (3062433)
Staff Assistant II (3062273)

Data Management-
Clinical Data Manager (2061724)

Internship Opportunities

Please visit the David Glaser Mass General / Project ALS Internship Program page for more information on our internship opportunities.

Fellowship Opportunities

Please visit the Neurology Education page to find more information and apply for residency, fellowship and observership programs.


Innovations in ALS Clinical Trials at Mass General

Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, Chief of Neurology at Mass General Hospital discusses innovations in ALS clinical trials since she started in the field in 1994.

Biomarkers to Accelerate ALS Therapy Development

Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, Chief of Neurology, discusses biomarkers that can help to diagnose patients quicker and target individualized treatments to patients.


Contact Us

Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI)

Mailcode: 165CPZ-6

Suite 600 165 Cambridge Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible

E-mail Address

General Inquiries:

Research Inquiries:

Clinical Research Staff

Marianne Kearney Chase
Director of Research Operations
Phone: 617-726-5893

Beverly Smits
Operations and Project Manager

Patient Appointments & Clinical Office

ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic Phone: 617-724-3914

E-mail us

Neurology Access Center 1-855-644-6387

Donate now

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