top of page

The SPSRF Medical Advisory Board

The Medical Advisory Board at The Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation (SPSRF) plays a pivotal role in advancing the treatment and understanding of Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). These dedicated experts actively support our research initiatives, contributing their extensive knowledge and expertise to propel our mission forward.


Engaging in regular meetings and collaborative efforts, they work alongside us, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of those affected by SPS. Their dedication fuels our collective efforts to discover better treatments and ultimately find a cure for this challenging condition.

The SPSRF Medical Advisory Board

James Weiss, M.D.

Medical Advisory Board Chair

Dr. Jim Weiss recently retired from practicing nephrology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of his sons was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome as a young teenager. Both of his children have another rare disorder, Gaucher disease. Jim is a cofounder of a western Pennsylvania organization focused on care for underserved communities.

Marinos Dalakas, M.D.

Medical Advisory Board Member

Dr. Marinos Dalakas is Professor of Neurology and Director of the Neuromuscular Division at Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory in the Department of Pathophysiology at the University of Athens Medical School in Athens, where he has been Emeritus Professor since 2016. 

Dr. Dalakas joined The SPSRF Medical Advisory Board in 2022.

Duarte Machado, M.D.

Medical Advisory Board Member

Dr. Duarte Machado is a board certified neurologist with subspecialty training in Movement Disorders. He is currently Director of Program Excellence and Recognition at the Hartford Healthcare Ayer Neuroscience Institute’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center in Cheshire, CT. Dr. Machado has conducted numerous clinical research projects. Dr. Machado joined the SPSRF Medical Advisory Board in 2023.

Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D.

Medical Advisory Board Member

Originally from Dublin, Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D. obtained his medical degree from University College Dublin (2000), undertook internal medicine and neurology training in Ireland, and completed as a fellow in movement disorders and then autoimmune neurology at Mayo Clinic. He became a consultant at Mayo Clinic in 2009, as a joint appointee in the Department of Neurology and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He is co-director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory. He is a professor of neurology and associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathology in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He is certified by the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology. Dr. McKeon’s research and clinical interests pertain to the evaluation and treatment of patients with autoimmune CNS disorders.

Dr. McKeon joined The SPSRF Medical Advisory Board in 2022.

Scott Newsome, D.O.

Medical Advisory Board Member

Dr. Scott Newsome specializes in the care of patients with neuroimmunological and neuroinflammatory disorders of the central nervous system with a special interest in evaluating and treating patients with Stiff Person Syndrome. Dr. Newsome works within the division of Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital and is currently the Director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosciences Consultation and Infusion Center, the Stiff Person Syndrome Center, and the Co-Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Experimental Therapeutics Program.

Amanda L. Piquet, MD, FAAN

Medical Advisory Board Member

Dr. Amanda Piquet is an Associate Professor, the Director of the Autoimmune Neurology Program, and Associate Director of the Neuroinfectious Disease and Autoimmune Neurology Fellowship at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center (CU-AMC). She graduated from Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, completed her neurology residency at Harvard’s Neurology Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and completed a fellowship in Autoimmune Neurology & Neuroimmunology at the University of Utah. Her main clinical and research interests focus on central nervous system autoimmunity and other neuroinflammatory disorders, including Stiff Person Syndrome. 

Isharat Yusuf, Ph.D.

Medical Advisory Board Member

Isharat (Ish) Yusuf is an immunologist with over 14 years of biotech/pharma experience. Ish is currently an Executive Director and Head of Immunology at Architect Therapeutics. Before joining Architect, she was at Gossamer Bio where she held positions with increasing scope and responsibility, including the Senior Director of Immunology. Before joining Gossamer Bio, she held research scientist positions at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR, La Jolla) and at MedImmune/AstraZeneca. Ish completed her post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Shane Crotty at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and her B.Sc. from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

bottom of page