Announcing the Sharks for the 2014 Shark Tank Competition

Epilepsy News From:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We are pleased and honored to announce our panel of "sharks," who will help determine the winners of the 2014 Shark Tank Competition on Friday May 6, 2014, at the Epilepsy Pipeline Conference. The group is composed of some of the top minds in the fields of new therapy development, finance, and research.

Meet Our Sharks (in alphabetical order):

Jim Abrahams

Jim Abrahams is a renowned film director and co-founder & executive director of the Charlie Foundation, a foundation dedicated to advocating for ketogenic diet therapies for neurological disorders. His directing credits include Airplane! and the Naked Gun series. His son Charlie, who is now 22 years old, was only a year old when he suffered daily seizures.

After exhausting all available anti-seizure medications and a brain surgery, Charlie was started on the ketogenic diet. Today he is seizure and medication-free. The Charlie Foundation is celebrating their 20th anniversary as a foundation dedicated to advocating ketogenic diet therapies for neurological disorders.

Jim Abrahams

Jacqueline French, MD (Moderator)

Jacqueline French, MD, is a professor in the Department of Neurology NYU in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and director of the Clinical Trials Consortium, an academic group that has performed a number of early phase clinical trials in epilepsy and has developed new methodologies for epilepsy trials. Dr. French has focused her research efforts on the development of new therapeutics for epilepsy and new methodologies for clinical trials.

Dr. French trained in Neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and did her fellowship training in EEG and epilepsy at Mount Sinai hospital and Yale University. She has been active in creating guidelines for the American Academy of Neurology and the International League Against Epilepsy. She chaired an AAN/AES committee that produced two widely quoted guidelines on the use of new anti-epileptic drugs. Dr. French is the past president of the American Epilepsy Society and is the 2005 recipient of the American Epilepsy Society Service Award and the 2013 Epilepsy Foundation Hero award. She has served on the board of the American Epilepsy Society and is the past secretary of the American Society of Experimental Neurotherapeutics. She has served as chair of the International League Against Epilepsy North American Regional Commission and Commission on Therapeutic Strategies. She has authored over 150 articles and chapters, is the editor of three books, and lectures internationally on clinical trials and use of anti-epileptic drugs.

Jacqueline French, MD

Ari Mayer Mackler, PhD, MBA

Ari Mayer Mackler, PhD, MBA. is a basic scientist by training. He obtained his Ph.D. in reproductive physiology and immunology from Loma Linda University and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in developmental and molecular biology. He completed his business studies at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Upon leaving academics, Dr, Mackler joined the pharmaceutical industry, focusing attention on reproductive medicine and cancer. In 2011, he left pharma and entered the agriculture side of science and business to explore the biomedical potential of phytonutrients. He is the vice president, clinical development, at POM Wonderful, Paramount Farms and Paramount Citrus and focuses primarily on the benefits of pomegranate, pistachio, almond, and citrus crops.

Ari Mackler

Martha Morrell, MD

Martha Morrell, MD, has been chief medical officer of NeuroPace, Inc., and a clinical professor of Neurology at Stanford University since July 2004. Dr. Morrell has been actively involved in helping to bring new therapies to patients. Her responsibilities at NeuroPace include all clinical and pre-clinical research for a novel responsive neurostimulator for the treatment of medically uncontrolled epilepsy. She has been actively involved in investigational trials of new epilepsy therapies as an academic investigator and has authored or coauthored more than 150 publications.

Before joining NeuroPace, she was the Caitlin Tynan Doyle Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University and director of the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Previously she was on the faculty of the Stanford University School of Medicine where she served as director of the Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, she completed residency training in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as fellowship training in EEG and epilepsy.

Her service to professional societies includes being a member of the Board of Directors of the American Epilepsy Society, member and chair of the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation, member of the Council of the American Neurological Association and chair of the Epilepsy Section of the American Academy of Neurology. She is an elected Ambassador for Epilepsy of the International League Against Epilepsy and received the American Epilepsy Society's 2007 Service Award for outstanding leadership and service. She is currently incoming chair of the American Society of Experimental Neurological Therapeutics (ASENT).

Martha Morrell, MD

Andy Smith

Andy Smith joined the Credit Suisse healthcare investment banking division in 2013. He also serves as vice president on the Board of CIRCLE for Epilepsy, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research and finding a cure for epilepsy through a transparent and lean structure that allows both donors and recipient companies to understand the full benefit of each dollar.

He received a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia (UVA). During his time at UVA, he worked on the National Youth Counsel for Epilepsy, as well as with the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, aiding in the promotion of awareness for epilepsy. He has had simple partial seizures since he was 8 year old, and his epilepsy remains uncontrolled.

Andy Smith

Elson Lee So, MD

Elson Lee So, MD, is professor of neurology and director of electroencephalography at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. So serves on the editorial boards of Epilepsia, Epilepsy Research, and Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. He is currently the president of the American Epilepsy Society (AES). He has also served on the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation and the Council of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.

He is the past chair of the Section of Clinical Neurophysiology of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. So has directed educational courses, symposiums and plenary sessions at the American Academy of Neurology, AES, the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. He chaired the Joint AES-Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) Task Force and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Workshop on SUDEP. His research interests are in advanced SPECT imaging, SUDEP, and the natural history, treatment outcomes and electroclinical aspects of intractable epilepsy. He is a named inventor of the Office of Intellectual Property of the Mayo Clinic.

Elson So, MD

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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