Scientific Advisory Committee

 

James Eubanks, Ph.D.

Dr. Eubanks completed his bachelor's degree in Arts and Agricultural Sciences at the University of California, Davis in 1985, and received his Doctoral degree in Physiology/Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego in 1991. Upon completion of his Doctoral degree, he conducted postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute and at Duke University before coming to Toronto.  Dr. Eubanks started his lab at the Toronto Western Research Institute in 1994 studying aspects of developmental neurobiology, stroke-induced neurodegeneration and the pathogenesis of epilepsy.

In 1996, Dr. Eubanks became interested in how epigenetic factors influenced the sensitivity of the brain to epilepsy and stroke, and started investigating whether or not specific methyl DNA-binding factors played a role in these processes.  When mutations of the MeCP2 gene were identified as primary causes of Rett syndrome in 1999, his focus became delineating how MeCP2 normally regulates brain development and function, and identifying how the absence of MeCP2 affects brain activity.  In 2013 he began investigating how mutations of CDKL5 affect both the function of neurons and the behavioral properties of mice. By identifying deficits related to CDKL5 and MeCP2, his work is providing a framework for rationale drug development to treat Rett syndrome and CDKL5-related disorders, and some of his findings currently serve as targets for early stage rationale drug development programs. He is currently a senior scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, where he serves as the Chair of the Genetics and Development research division, and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto.

 

John Vincent. Ph.D.

Dr. John B. Vincent undertook his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Manchester. He completed his Ph.D. at University College London Medical School, London, in 1994, with Dr. Hugh Gurling, in the Department of Academic Psychiatry. Since then he has worked with Dr. James Kennedy in the Neurogenetics Section at the Clarke Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto and with Dr. Stephen Scherer in the Dept. of Genetics at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Since 2002, he has worked as a Senior Scientist/Principal Investigator back at CAMH, and is a Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and cross-appointed in the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. His work is on the genetics of major psychiatric disorders, but with the main focus looking at the genetics and genomics of autism and intellectual disability, including Rett syndrome. In 2004, he co-authored a seminal paper on the identification of an alternative version of the Rett syndrome protein, MeCP2, with the implication that this new version is more relevant to Rett syndrome, which has since been shown by numerous studies to be correct (Mnatzakanian et al, 2004).

 

 

Dr. Melissa Carter, Clinical Geneticist

DR. MELISSA CARTER, M.Sc., M.D., is currently a staff Clinical Geneticist at The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa. She completed residency in Medical Genetics at the CHEO in 2009, then a clinical fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics at Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Carter co-founded the Rett syndrome clinic at Holland-Bloorview in May 2013. The clinic now follows 50 girls and young women with Rett syndrome and related disorders, including CDKL5 disorder. 

 

 

 

 

 

Farrah Jessani, B.Sc. Pharm

Farrah Jessani, B.Sc. Pharm is currently a Pharmacist/Owner at Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto.  She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmacy at the University of Alberta in 2004.  Farrah is involved in multiple community initiatives to increase patient awareness and clinical education.  She is also passionate about providing the highest level of patient care and is an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical industry.  Farrah is also currently a preceptor with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto.