These individuals are dedicated to CADASIL research collaboration and provide guidance to the cureCADASIL Board of Trustees on a volunteer basis. 

Fanny Elahi, MD, PhD

Fanny Elahi, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Pathology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Elahi’s work focuses on examining the link between disease of the brain’s small blood vessels and neurodegeneration. She is passionate about translating laboratory discoveries into clinical applications, and aims to inspire hope for a cure for CADASIL, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementias, and other neurodegenerative disorders. In 2020, cureCADASIL and Elahi worked to form a collaborative group of investigators (the CADASIL Disease Modeling Group; CDMG) with the goal to share knowledge and resources to move forward drug discovery for CADASIL. For more information about Dr. Elahi, please visit

Chris Hopkins, PhD, MBA

Chris Hopkins, PhD, MBA is biochemist/geneticist turned entrepreneur specializing in the creation of humanized animal models for rare disease biology discovery. Chris has a track record of translational success as an awardee of multiple SBIR grants and he also provides influencer commentary as blogger and regular LinkedIn contributor. Chris is passionate in working with Rare Disease groups to help them progress their therapeutic programs quickly. In his role as a member of the cureCADASIL advisory board, Chris will participate with the CADASIL Disease Modeling Group (CDMG), in taking decisive step towards developing models, finding biomarkers and testing therapeutic approaches to help treat and prevent the symptoms caused by dysfunction in the extracellular domain of NOTCH3.

As a member of the SAB at cureCADASIL, Chris uses his experience in entrepreneurship in biochemistry and genetics to help found the CADASIL Disease Modeling Group (CDMG).  The group brings together leading vascular biology researchers with the bold 5 step mission:

1) Create a USA-based aggregate patient registry within 1 year.
2) Deploy omics technologies to help understand disease mechanisms and reveal biomarkers within 1 year.
3) Get CADASIL-related grant funding within 1 year.
4) To help train and build the community, a research symposium will be held within 2 years,5) Create model systems built so biomarker conservation can be assessed and high-throughput drug screens performed within 3 years.

Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Dr. Arboleda-Velasquez’s current research program encompasses two areas, one from his previous research on cell signaling and the pathobiology of a SVD named CADASIL (cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy), a neurological syndrome associated with stroke, and a second that addresses the pathogenesis of diabetic retinal disease.

Dr. Arboleda-Velasquez served as Scientific Director for the 2013 Boston CADASIL Family Conference hosted by cureCADASIL Association June 27-29, 2013 and contributes to the Embrace newsletter published by cureCADASIL.

Swati Sathe, MD, MS
Director, Neurogenetics Program, Northwell Health, New York

Dr. Swati Sathe is a board certified neurologist with sub specialty training in neurogenetics. She received her medical degree followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at University of Mumbai. She went on to do a Neurology residency, fellowship in Neurogenetics and a Master degree in Clinical Investigation at New York University. She is currently Director of Neurogenetics at Northwell Health, New York.  Dr. Sathe is well published in her field and regarded as an expert in genetic neurological disorders.

Jennifer Majersik, MD, MS
Chief, Division of Vascular Neurology
University of Utah Hospital

Dr. Majersik established her vascular neurology practice within the Stroke Center at the University of Utah in 2008. In 2010, she became Director of the University of Utah Stroke Center in addition to her position as Fellowship Director.

Michael Wang, MD, PhD
Director, VA Hospital, Neurology
University of Michigan Health System

Dr. Wang is a clinician scientist at the University of Michigan and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. He cares for patients with CADASIL at both of these centers and directs a laboratory which studies the molecular biology and pathology of CADASIL. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Wang is the Director of Molecular Stroke Research, and, at the Ann Arbor VA, he serves as the Chief of the Neurology Service.

Irene Griswold-Penner, PhD
Cofounder and CSO of Imago Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Imago engages in preclinical and clinical development of stress-activated kinase, Jun N-terminal kinas (JNK) drug candidates implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, fibrosis and additional indications.

Dr. Griswold-Penner’s background in therapeutic development for neurodegenerative diseases will contribute to cureCADASIL by providing expertise in developing biomarkers and therapies that could result in therapies to reduce disease progression for CADASIL patients.

Karen Orjuela, MD
Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director, Neurohospitalist Fellowship
University of Colorado at Denver

Dr. Orjuela sub-specializes in Vascular Neurology and has particular interest in the acute care of cerebrovascular diseases, secondary stroke prevention, cryptogenic stroke, inherited cerebrovascular disorders and stroke in children and young adults. Also, she has research interest in stroke disparities worldwide particularly stroke systems of care in developing countries. She sees patients in the inpatient and outpatient setting at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Center.

Li-Ru Zhao, PhD
Professor of Neurosurgery
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Dr. Zhao is presently working as Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  She completed her Ph.D. in Wallenberg Neuroscience Center at Lund University, Sweden and Post Doctorate studies at University of Minnesota Medical School. She has received several honors and awards. She has authored numerous articles, Books, book chapters and abstracts.

Michelle A. McGuinness, MS, RAC
Regulatory Affairs, Quality & Compliance Leader, Greater Philadelphia Area

Michelle Mc Guinness is a biopharmaceutical leader with expertise in the quality, regulatory and compliance aspects of pharmaceutical manufacturing & marketing. She is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and the American Society for Quality.
Ms. Mc Guinness understands the scientific aspects of CADASIL as well as the impact that a rare disease has on a family. Ms. Mc Guinness’s father had CADASIL and she is committed to advocacy, awareness & finding a cure for CADASIL.

Artiom Gruzdev, PhD

Dr. Gruzdev received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focus includes generating transgenic animals (mouse models) for the study of various diseases, iPSC technology, coordinating large scale human population studies focused on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants, and other aspects of molecular biology including its application to cardiovascular ischemia-reperfusion injury.