Center Without Walls Junior Investigators
Lilyana Amezcua, MD
Dr. Amezcua is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the MS Comprehensive Care Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Amezcua is interested in how genes may be involved in poor prognosis, MS risk factors and healthcare disparities. By utilizing the genetic admixture of the Hispanic population with MS, she hopes to uncover genetic determinants that may be important in disability and in how MS patients respond to therapy.
Murugaiyan Gopalt, PhD
Dr. Gopalt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Neurologic Diseases Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr.Murugaiyan is interested in the role of dendritic cells in the regulation of inflammatory T helper cells and anti-inflammatory T cells in patients with MS and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).
Kevin O’Connor, PhD
Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale School of Medicine. His laboratory studies the immune response that occurs in autoimmune disease and cancer. While attending Tufts he studied the role of the developing immune system in autoimmune pathology. In 2000 he joined the laboratory of Dr. David Hafler at Harvard Medical School to begin his post-doctoral training. During this period he initiated a program aimed at understanding the role that B cells and autoantibodies play in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). His group helped define the autoantibody repertoire in MS and a number of inflammatory neurologic diseases. In 2007 he became an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He and his team were among the first to characterize tertiary lymphoid tissue in germ cell tumors. They also described the molecular characteristics of plasma cells that populate the muscle tissue of patients with myositis. They refined the role of Epstein-Barr virus in the MS brain and have begun to define the role of humoral immunity in children with MS. Recently, he and his team identified a network of B cells and antibodies that populate the MS central nervous system. His current research is focused on identifying the molecular entities that initiate and sustain the autoimmune response in MS, myositis and cancer.