Scientific Advisory Board 


Issam Awad, MD, MSc, FACS

Issam Awad MD MSc FACS

Issam Awad, MD, MSc, FACS is a John Haprer Seeley Professor of Neurosurgery and director of  Neurovascular Surgery at the University of Chicago. He is a past Chairman of the Cerebrovascular Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the 51st President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Awad is a leading cavernous angioma researcher and co-editor of the text Cavernous Malformations. As founding Chairman of the Angioma Alliance Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Awad provides us with expertise and guidance to effectively facitlitate and push the limits of CCM Science.

 Douglas Marchuk, PhD

Douglas Marchuk, Ph.D. is a Principal Investigator, Professor and Vice-Chair of the department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Marchuk’s lab was responsible for the identifcation of both the CCM1 and CCM2 genes in 1999 and 2002, respectively. Currently, his team uses human genetic studies and mouse models to understanding the mechanisms behind cavernous angioma formation. His is also working in collaboration with Dr. Awad’s study team to investigate drug treaments in mouse models of cavernous angioma.  He has been a co-organizer of the annual Angioma Alliance CCM Scientific Meeting, along with Dr. Issam Awad, and Chief Scientific Officer,Amy Akers, since its inception in 2005.

Leslie Morrison, MD

Leslie Morrison MD

Dr. Leslie Morrison is a pediatric neurologist and an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico Medical School. Dr. Morrison has a research interest in neurologically based genetic disorders, particularly familial cavernous angioma and oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy which have founder mutations within the Hispanic population of New Mexico. Dr. Morrison has worked with Dr. Doug Marchuk, another of our scientific advisors, performing a genetic analysis on those with the common Hispanic cavernous angioma founder mutation who are being seen at UNM. She is currently the lead investigator for the CCM project of the Brain Vascular Malformations Consortium.

Rustam Al-Shahi Salman MA(Cantab) MB BChir PhD MRCP(UK)

Rustam Al-Shahi Salman MA(Cantab) MB BChir PhD MRCP(UK) is a clinician scientist and honorary consultant neurologist in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the principal investigator for the Scottish Intracranial Vascular Malformation Study (SIVMS), a population-based cohort study that follows individuals diagnosed with AVMs, cavernous angioma, and venous angioma. Dr. Al-Shahi Salman has been a primary reviewer for the construction of the clinical database associated with the Angioma Alliance DNA/Tissue BioBank and Patient Registry.

Brent Derry, PhD

Dr. Derry is a Senior Scientist of Developmental & Stem Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, SickKids Hospital. His research interests primarily focus on using C. elegans (worms) as a model for human disease and studying the molecular mechanisms for the normal process of programmed cell death. This line of research has led him to discover a unique function in the worm version of CCM1 and has demonstrated how worms can be a fantastic research tool for learning about the basic biology of a disease system.

Kelly Flemming, MD

Dr. Flemming is a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Dr. Flemming runs a research project dedicated to investigating the natural history of CCM illness. Her research aims to better understand the long-term behavior of CCM lesions (risk of bleeding, seizure, etc) and how these activities affect the human condition. This type of research helps to inform both clinical decision making as wells as clinical trial design.

Kevin Whitehead, MD

Dr. Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Cardiology at the University of Utah. His research interests focus on developing and characterizing animal models (mouse) for cardiovascular disease. He has worked to investigate the abnormalities of blood vessel development in CCM mice and he was part of the team that first discovered the effects of statin drugs on CCM blood vessels.

Helen Kim, MPH, PhD

Dr. Kim is a genetic epidemiologist at the University of California San Francisco who specializes in stroke and cardiovascular disease research. Dr. Kim works closely with Angioma Alliance and is a lead investigator on the Brain Vascular Malformations Consortium project where her team is looking for genetic changes (modifiers) responsible for CCM symptom variation within families.


Scientific Advisory Board Alumni

We’d like to thank the follow former board members for their years of service and continued support…

José Biller, MD

Dr. José Biller is a professor of neurology and neurological surgery at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Eric Johnson, PhD

Eric Johnson is founder, CEO and clinical director of ACireGeneTics. His former positions include,  senior research scientist, director of the Neurogenetics laboratory, and chief of the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

 Michel Berg, MD

Michel Berg, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Neurology and the Medical Director of the Strong Epilepsy Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY.