Herminia Diana Rosas, MD, MSc, Director
Diana Rosas is Associate Professor of Neurology and Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Neuroimaging in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases within the Mass General Institute for Neurodegeneration. She earned her MD at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed her neurology and post-doctoral training at Mass General/Harvard Medical School. She has been a member of the Huntington Study Group (HSG) for more than 20 years. She has served as a site investigator or principal investigator on many NIH or commercially sponsored clinical and observational studies. She was the Co-PI of a series of phase II and phase III studies of creatine, of the first secondary prevention trial conducted in at-risk HD subjects, and the first multicenter trial of an epigenetic therapy for HD. Her translational clinical research translational program focuses on developing biomarkers to better understand the onset of HD as well as progression, which can be variable even in families, and to using these biomarkers to make clinical trials more efficient. She has authored more than 100 peer-review publications, has served as a reviewer for NIH and has been on several editorial boards.
Steven Hersch, MD, PhD, Co-Director
Steven M. Hersch is Professor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration and Neurotherapeutics within the Mass General Institute for Neurodegeneration and Vice President for Clinical Research and Development at Voyager Therapeutics. He earned his Ph.D. at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and earned his MD degree at Boston University. He completed his residency in Neurology and Fellowship in Behavioral Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine where he joined the faculty and advanced to Associate Professor of Neurology. At Emory, he established a neuroscience laboratory, founded the first Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Center of Excellence, and led the development of this program for the HDSA, which currently supports multidisciplinary care in dozens of academic clinics across the United States. He was recruited in 2001 to establish a translational research laboratory in the Mass General Institute for Neurodegeneration and to lead the HD Clinical Center at Mass General. He joined Voyager Therapeutics in 2017, a gene therapy company that is focused on AAV delivered treatments for serious neurologic disorders with major unmet needs. At Voyager he leads translational medicine and early clinical development for HD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) and other CNS programs. Dr. Hersch’s laboratory research has included studying the synaptic organization and molecular pharmacology of the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia; the pathophysiology of HD; the toxic properties of the mutant huntingtin protein; the discovery and validation of potential treatments for HD in preclinical models; and the development of translational and clinical biomarkers. Dr. Hersch co-chaired the Huntington Study Group (HSG) for 15 years, an International Consortium dedicated to conducting clinical research and therapeutic trials with the goal of developing treatments for HD. He has participated in developing standard clinical instruments for HD and has served as a site investigator, steering committee member, or principal investigator on many NIH or commercially sponsored clinical and observational studies. He was the PI of a series of phase II and phase III studies of creatine, of the first secondary prevention trial conducted in at-risk HD subjects, and the first multicenter trial of an epigenetic therapy for HD. He was the academic principal investigator for a therapeutic trial of a novel treatment for irritability sponsored by Azevan Pharmaceuticals and conducted by the NIH NEURONEXT Network and served on its executive committee. Dr. Hersch has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications, has served as a reviewer or editorial board member for numerous scientific journals, has served on many institutional, Foundation, and NIH scientific and grant review committees and advisory boards, and was a member of the Advisory Council for the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Anoopum Gupta, MD, PhD
Anoopum Gupta received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and his PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. He completed his residency in neurology at the Mass General Brigham Neurology Residency at Harvard Medical School. His clinical interests are in neurogenetic and neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease, cerebellar ataxias, and parkinsonism. His research program involves the use of accessible technologies combined with signal processing, computer vision, and machine learning methods to deeply understand how neurologic disease impacts motor and cognitive behavior. Broadly he is involved in research at the intersection of computational science and medicine.
Ellen Penney, MD, PhD
Ellen Penney, MD PhD, is an Instructor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Penney completed her undergraduate degree in neuroscience at Oberlin College and received her MD and PhD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency in neurology at the Mass General Brigham Neurology Residency at Harvard Medical School. She received fellowship training in movement disorders at Yale New Haven Hospital and Mass General. As part of the Mass General movement disorder unit, Dr. Penney sees patients in the Mass General Dystonia Clinic and the Mass General Huntington’s Disease Clinic. She is the Director of the X-linked Dystonia and Parkinsonism (XDP) Brain Bank and oversees dissection, processing and distribution of brain tissue for XDP research. She also conducts research using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to study abnormal RNA and DNA structures that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease and XDP. The goal of this research is to identify common pathways that lead to neurodegeneration and may be targets for drug development.
Kaloyan Tanev, MD
Dr. Tanev is the Director of Clinical Neuropsychiatry Research at MGH; he served as the Medical Director of the Huntington’s disease program at the University of Connecticut Health Center for 3 years, prior to joining MGH. He is interested in developing awareness of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as HD.
Elizabeth Christiansen, MS, CCC-SLP
Liz is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in adults with neurogenic speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and her Master of Science from MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is licensed by the board of Massachusetts and has her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Before coming to MGH, Liz worked in a variety of settings including homecare and inpatient rehabilitation. She is passionate about helping patients improve the quality of their lives and views individuals holistically, treating both the mind and the body.
Ellen Godena, EdM, MSW, LICSW
Ms. Godena is a clinical social worker/psychotherapist who provides individual and family psychosocial assessments, psychotherapy and crisis intervention for patients using cognitive/behavioral approaches and provides referrals, as needed. She also assists counseling patients in families and providing education regarding advanced directives, palliative care, and hospice treatment options. She works closely with our patients and families to make sure that their needs are met.
Julie received her BS degree in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University in 1998. In addition to her BS degree she also received a certificate in Therapeutic Massage from Healing Touch Institute in 2003 and a certificate in Occupational Therapy with a concentration in Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation from Tufts University in 2008. Currently, she is working as a Senior Occupational Therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she has worked since 2007. After a couple of years working at Mass General she applied for and achieved status as an Advanced Clinician through the Clinical Recognition Program. She works in the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Department where her focus has been on working with patients with neurological diagnoses. Julie is also part of the following interdisciplinary teams at Mass General: Parkinson’s, ALS, FND, and Dystonia.
Heather Salon, PT, DPT
Heather received her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. She received her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Simmons College in 1996, and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute for Health Professions in 2009. She became board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Neurologic Physical Therapy in 2011.
Heather joined the physical therapy service at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007. She works on the outpatient service with patients with neurological disorders. She works in both the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic as well as the Huntington’s Disorder Clinic and provides outpatient episodes of care for a wide variety of patients with neurological or vestibular disorders. She also serves as a mentor for the Mass General PT Neurological Residency program and is a lab instructor for the MGH Institute for Health Professions program. She is actively involved in the American Physical Therapy Association/Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy at both the state and national level.
Charlotte Sida, MSW, LICSW
Charlotte obtained her BA from Fairfield University and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College. Charlotte has nine years experience within the non-profit sector. Her work has varied from serving the homeless, youth and adults with developmental disabilities, and vulnerable and chronically ill children and their families. She has four years experience facilitating various support groups of all ages as well as individualized therapeutic support. Prior to joining the team at Massachusetts General Hospital, she has worked in a variety of medical settings including, Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently, Charlotte works full-time as an Oncology Social Worker at Boston Children’s Hospital and part-time in the MIND clinic at Mass General.
Victoria Siddall, Social Work/Resource Specialist
Ms. Siddall recently joined our team. She can help our patients and families by connecting them to community resources in their area, including different types of care and home care options. She can also help patients and families navigate Social Security Disability and Medicare.
Natalie Connors, Clinical Research Coordinator
Natalie received her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018. After graduating, she joined the MGH Huntington’s Disease clinical research team and works on both observational research studies and clinical trials investigating HD. Natalie is a Huntington Study Group (HSG) credentialed research coordinator, and is passionate about helping connect patients and family members with innovative research projects.
Emily Hegel, Research Nurse
Emily is a registered nurse with several years of clinical trials experience in addition to experience working on the floors taking care of hospitalized patients. Emily combines her love of research and clinical care in her work with HD patients and families.
Ameena Iqbal, Clinical Research Coordinator
Ameena received a bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from MIT. As a clinical research coordinator, she enjoys working with participants on the Center’s observational research studies.
Samantha Yi, Clinical Research Coordinator
Samantha graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is one of the Center’s clinical research coordinators focusing on our longitudinal clinical research biomarker studies.
Diane Lucente, Genetic Counselor
Diane Lucente, MS, LCGC worked as a research technician investigating genetic causes of neurological diseases for several years before training to become a Genetic Counselor, a role that she has filled for the past 20+ years. For the past 15 years, she has been a Research and Clinical Genetic Counselor in the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine and Department of Neurology. She provides clinical care to patients and families with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions, including diagnostic testing for patients with symptoms and presymptomatic testing for individuals with a 50% chance of inheriting a genetic condition. She is also actively involved in research, the focus of which is to try and determine the natural history and underlying causes for many neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions.
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