Medical Advisory Board

Aliza Ben-Zacharia, DrNP, ANP, MSCN

Neurology Teaching Assistant
The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson
Center for Multiple Sclerosis
The Mount Sinai Medical Center
New York, NY

Aliza Ben-Zacharia, DrNP, ANP-BC is dual board-certified, acute care NP by ANCC & adult NP by the Academy of NPs. Dr. Ben-Zacharia is a nurse practitioner with years of experience in acute care, neurology and rehabilitation. In 2010, she earned a doctorate degree in nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University. In 2014, she has earned a master degree in nutrition from Columbia University. Dr. Ben-Zacharia provides direct patient care, follow-up, training/education and counseling for patients and their families. She is the PI of multiple clinical trials about BMI & progression of MS, quality of life and screening for depression in MS. A skilled educator, Dr. Ben-Zacharia has developed multiple educational programs for patients and professionals and has published articles and chapters about multiple sclerosis, disease-modifying agents, symptom management, and palliative care. She is a certified MS nurse, and is the chair of the communication committee of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN) and a board member at large in the Consortium of MS centers (CMSC). She is on the advisory board of MS Perspectives, a quarterly magazine for patients with MS and their families. Dr. Ben-Zacharia has won a few awards for her excellence in rehabilitation and Neurology/MS, and recognition of her educational role by the Hall of Fame, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is one of the captains of the annual MS Walk.


Brenda L. Banwell, MD

Chief, Division of Neurology
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Professor of Neurology, Perelman School of
Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Banwell graduated with a degree in medicine from The University of Western Ontario in 1991. She pursued a residency in pediatrics at The Hospital of Western Ontario, University of Western Ontario, from 1991-1994 and a pediatric neurology residency at The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto from 1994-1997. Dr. Banwell then spent two years completing a neuromuscular disease fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. In 1999, Dr. Banwell was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics (neurology) at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto. She was promoted to associate professor in 2006 and full professor in 2012. As of July 1, 2012, Dr. Banwell has taken on the role of chief of neurology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Banwell’s clinical and research interests are in pediatric multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory brain disorders. She remains the lead investigator of the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Program, which has now partnered with the pediatric demyelinating disease program in Philadelphia. Dr. Banwell is the director of the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Clinic. Her clinical studies focus on the cognitive and neuroimaging features of pediatric multiple sclerosis, while the basic science work focuses on T and B-cell autoimmunity studies, MRI imaging, and studies of viral triggers. Dr. Banwell is the principal investigator of a 23 site, eight year study of acute demyelination in children from every pediatric health care facility in Canada and now CHOP (funded by the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation and CHOP). She holds CIHR Investigator Grants, operating grants from the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society, and has been successfully funded for over 12 years. Dr. Banwell has more than 100 manuscripts published in high impact journals (including JAMA, Lancet Neurology and Nature Medicine), as well as 11 book chapters. She has over 100 invited lectureships or visiting Professorships in Canada, the United States and Europe.


Daniel Becker, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Director International Neurorehabilitation Institute

Dr. Becker is a board-certified neurologist, spinal cord injury medicine specialist and disability analyst, and is faculty in the Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center where he focuses on evaluation and treatment of long-term effects of transverse myelitis.

Dr. Becker earned his Medical Degree from Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg, Germany in 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he was a Research Assistant in Neuroscience investigating the role of embryonic stem cells in spinal cord injury repair at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. At Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine in 2004 and his residency in Neurology in 2007. From there, he completed a year-long fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.


Dr. Susan E. Bennett, PT, DPT, Ed.D, NCS, MSCS

Clinical Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science
Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
University at Buffalo
Founder and executive Director of Bennett Rehabilitation Institute

Dr. Bennett holds a BS degree in physical therapy, Masters of Science in Health Science Education, Doctor of Education degree in Health Behavioral Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  She is board certified as both a Neurologic Certified Specialist and Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist.  She established the physical therapy practice in 1992 as a solo practitioner.  The practice has grown and now includes 6 highly skilled and knowledgeable physical therapy colleagues with comprehensive rehabilitation services offered at 3 clinical locations.

Dr. Bennett is active in the American Physical Therapy Association, The Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC), The National MS Society, and MS Cure Fund.

Professional Affiliations

American Physical Therapy Association, Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC), Academy of Neurology, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, American Heart Association


Regina Berkovich, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Clinical Neurology Principal Investigator
ACTH Vs MP Trial Department
Neurology Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

Dr Regina Berkovich is an assistant professor of Clinical Neurology at the Comprehensive MS Care Center of the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC). She has specific training and expertise in Multiple Sclerosis and is one of the key opinion leaders in her field. The USC MS Center is the largest in Southern California; serving over 2500 patients with MS. She has a large clinical practice where she consults and follows up with MS patients on a regular basis. 

Dr Berkovich also carries out extensive clinical research in MS and has participated in many multicenter clinical trials in the capacity of principal investigator (PI) and co-PI. She developed several investigator initiated protocols and has been awarded research grants for originally designed Investigator Initiated Studies (IIS) from National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Mallinckrodt, and Teva Pharmaceutical. The Investigational New Drug Application (IND) was granted to her by the FDA for potential new indicator for the adrenocorticotropic hormone. 

Over years of working in clinical trials, Dr Berkovich developed close professional relationships with top scientists in the MS field. She designed and carried on collaborative ancillary studies, such as the Immunology study of ACTH in collaboration with Professor Lawrence Steinman, MD at Stanford University and MRI metrics of monthly ACTH in collaboration with Professor Rohit Bakshi, MD, PhD at Harvard University. 

In 2010, Dr Berkovich was awarded the Top Doctors Certificate by the Pasadena Magazine. She is a member of Los Angeles Society of Neurologists, Association of California Neurologists, American Neurology Association (ANA), and American Academy of Neurology (AAN).


Tanuja Chitnis, MD

Director, Partners Pediatric MS Center
MassGen Hospital for Children
Associate Neurologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Tanuja Chitnis M.D. is an Associate Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She is the Medical Director of the MS Natural History study (CLIMB study) at the Partners MS Center, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which follows over 2000 MS patients with annual clinical evaluations, neuroimaging, biomarker studies and genetics, with the goal of better understanding the pathogenesis, disease course and treatment response. She heads a research team including biostatisticians, database staff and clinical research fellows. She is also the Founding Director of the Partners Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 2004, which is the first clinic in New England addressing the clinical care needs of children with multiple sclerosis and related demyelinating disorders, and her Center is a Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence designated by the National MS Society. She is also the elected Chair of the International Pediatric MS Study Group (IPMSSG), which has a membership of over 150 clinicians worldwide from 40 countries, and leads an initiative to provide guidelines for the consideration and formulation of clinical trials in children with MS.

Dr. Chitnis completed her Medical school training at the University of Toronto, and is a board-certified neurologist. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and has held grants from the National MS Society, NIH as well as several foundations.


Kathleen Costello, MS, ANP-BC, MSCN

Research Associate and Nurse Practitioner
Johns Hopkins MS Center,
Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Kathy Costello, MS, CRNP, MSCN, is an Adult Nurse Practitioner and Research Associate for the Johns Hopkins MS Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD.  She is also the Executive Director for Project Restrore, a project designed to advance research in multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis. In addition she is the Director of the MS Specialist Certification Project for the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. She is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Multiple Sclerosis Nurse, and a Multiple Sclerosis Specialist. In 1979, she earned her diploma in Nursing from St Joseph Hospital in Baltimore.  She earned both her BS in Nursing and MS as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from the University of Maryland in 1980 and 1998, respectively. She was among the founders of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses and served as the president of that organization from 2002-2004. She is extremely active in the education of MS nursing professionals through extensive lecturing and peer development programs and was instrumental in the development of the certification exam for MS specialists. She is a member of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland and the International Organization of MS Nurses. She is published in numerous peer reviewed journals including American Journal of Rehabilitation Nurses, American Journal of Nurse Practitioners, and the International Journal of MS Care. She is an editor of the text: Nursing Practices in Multiple Sclerosis: A Core Curriculum, and has authored numerous book chapters.


Patricia K. Coyle, MD

Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs
Director, MS Comprehensive Care Center
Professor & Acting Chair Department of Neurology
SUNY at Stony Brook University Medical Center
Stony Brook, NY

Patricia K. Coyle, MD, is a professor and acting chair of neurology, and the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center at the Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, New York.  She received a BS degree with highest honors from Fordham University, Bronx, New York, and an MD degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha.  While at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she completed a residency and chief residency in neurology, followed by a two-year fellowship in neuroimmunology and neurovirology.  She then went on to establish a successful research laboratory in addition to building a busy clinical practice at the Stony Brook University Medical Center.  Dr. Coyle is the author of numerous articles on clinical and basic research aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS) and neurologic infections and she is recognized as a leading expert on MS and neurologic infections.  Her areas of expertise include Lyme disease, cerebrospinal fluid, therapeutics, neuroimmunology, and fatigue.  Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and other organizations.  She is currently involved in a number of therapeutic trials testing new immunotherapies for MS, as well as studies addressing neurologic aspects of Lyme disease.  In addition to her busy clinical and research careers, she has held active leadership positions in a number of national and international organizations and academic societies, including the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, and National MS Society.  She is a director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She lectures widely on MS and neurologic infections to national and international audiences.


Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, MD

Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs
Professor and Chairman of the Departments of Neurology
RUTGERS-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School,
and New Jersey Medical School
Director, RUTGERS-Robert Wood Johnson Center for Multiple Sclerosis
President Emeritus, Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ACTRIMS)

Dr. Dhib-Jalbut graduated Alpha-Omega-Alpha from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and completed his Neurology training at the University of Cincinnati. He then joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland where he specialized in MS and Neuroimmunology.

Dr. Dhib-Jalbut’s extramurally funded research includes how MS therapies work, biomarkers of treatment response in MS, and neuroprotective gene therapy. To date, he has contributed over 130 manuscripts to the scientific literature. He has served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Neuroimmunology, and is currently Associate Editor of the MS Journal and a member of the Editorial Boards of JICR, Cytokine, Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelinating Diseases, and MS International. He has served on several National and International scientific committees including Chairmanship of the Scientific Committee for the World Congress on MS in 2008. He also presided over the largest international MS Congress held in Boston in 2014. Dr. Dhib-Jalbut has been on the Best Doctors in America list since 2009 and has received several awards and recognitions including the Norman H. Edelman clinical science mentoring award at Rutgers, the Medical Excellence Award from the National MS Society, the Outstanding Medical Scientist Award from the Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Foundation and the Excellence in Research Award from the New Jersey Health Foundation.


Mark Freedman, HBSc, MSc, MD,CSPQ, FAAN, FRCPC

Sr. Scientist, Neuroscience Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Professor of Medicine, Neurology
University of Ottawa
Director, Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit, Neurology
Ottawa Hospital-General Campus

Dr. Freedman is currently professor of medicine in the field of neurology at the University of Ottawa, as well as director of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit at the Ottawa Hospital, General Campus and a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Dr. Freedman holds his Masters Degree in Molecular Neurochemistry and continued his postgraduate work specializing in neurology and neuroimmunology. His specialized training took him to the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; The National Hospital, Queen Square, London UK, as well as the Montreal Neurological Institute, where he subsequently was an Assistant Professor. He holds his specialist certification in Quebec CSPQ and all of Canada FRCP(C) and is a Fellow of both the American Neurological Association (FANA) and the American Academy of Neurology (FAAN). 

Dr. Freedman’s research includes the area of molecular neurochemistry, cellular immunology, neuroimmunology and clinical studies in MS. He is currently holding peer reviewed and industry related funding for translational research investigating immune mechanisms of damage in multiple sclerosis, with particular interest in the role of gamma-delta T-cells. He is also the lead investigator in the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplant Study in MS and co-chair of the International Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Study Group. 

Dr. Freedman serves on the editorial boards for several journals including the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. He has also served on several national and international committees and is currently the Treasurer of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ACTRIMS). 


Maria Houtchens, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Associate Neurologist
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Director, Women's Health Program, Staff Neurologist
Partners MS Center, Boston, MA

Maria K Houtchens, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a Staff Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. She is also Associate Neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she is Director of the Women’s Health Program at the Partners Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center. She received her medical degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT, and later completed her residency in Neurology and a fellowship in MS at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. As the Principal Investigator of many research projects focusing on MS, she has received numerous grants to study the efficacy and safety of MS drugs. Recognized for her hard work and dedication to her research, she was awarded the Best Neurology Abstract Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital and was the recipient of a Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her expertise is within the field of clinical neurology with neuroimmunology/MS as an area of clinical focus. In addition, she has received frequent invitations to participate in regional neurology meetings with opportunities to educate community neurologists on the most recent updates in the field of MS research and treatment. She has participated in grand rounds and presented clinical case discussions in many hospitals, both locally and nationally. Her work has been published in several peer-review journals including Multiple SclerosisNeuroimage, and Neurology. She has also written many book reviews and chapters on neuroimmunology, MS, and decision making in medicine.


Adam Kaplin, MD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis &
Transverse Myelitis Centers of Excellence
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D.,  graduated from Yale University before receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaplin has a joint appointment as a clinician-researcher in the departments of psychiatry and neurology at Johns Hopkins, where his research focuses on immune-mediated mechanisms of depression and cognitive impairment in CNS autoimmune diseases. He is the principle psychiatric consultant to the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis and Transverse Myelitis Centers.

Dr. Kaplin is the chairman of the scientific advisory board for the Montel Williams MS Foundation. He is also a medical advisor to the Cody Unser First Step Foundation (CUFSF), the Transverse Myelitis Association (TMA), the Johns Hopkins Project RESTORE, and the Nancy Davis MS Foundation.

Dr. Kaplin is the inventor and co-developer of www.mood247.com, a mood-tracking technology. He is also the CEO and president of Altammune, a startup biotechnology company specializing in developing aggressive new therapies to put autoimmune diseases into long-term remission.