Dr. John Porter, former Program Director of Neuromuscular Disease at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has joined MDF as its Interim Chief Science Officer. Dr. Sharon Hesterlee, who formerly filled this position, will remain active with MDF as a member of our Scientific Advisory Committee. Sharon recently accepted a position as Executive Vice President of Patient Advocacy and Public Affairs at Bamboo Therapeutics.
Dr. Porter is uniquely qualified to lead MDF’s aggressive drug development and research agenda. His academic research career spans more than 30 years, including 10 years at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he led research grant programs focused on diseases affecting the motoneuron, neuromuscular junction, nerve, and skeletal muscle. He most recently served as CEO for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a Duchenne patient advocacy organization, in 2015.
“I am very pleased to be able to expand my involvement with MDF,” said Dr. John Porter. “I have already had the pleasure of working with this organization in an advisory capacity, and I look forward to making deeper contributions in the lead science role.”
“We are thrilled that Dr. Porter is on board to lead the research and drug development program at MDF,” said MDF’s CEO, Molly White. “His expertise is a perfect fit for this role. John is very familiar with MDF 3.0, our 3 year drug development acceleration initiative, and has worked closely with both industry representatives and most of the DM academic research field over the last twenty years. His expertise in muscle disease, his deep knowledge of myotonic dystrophy and his network of professional relationships from industry, federal agencies and academia make him a uniquely qualified leader for MDF’s CSO role.”
Dr. Porter served a 10-year term as Executive Secretary for the interagency Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee (MDCC) at NIH and has participated on advisory boards for a wide variety of companies, publishers, foundations and academic organizations. He continues to consult for several neuromuscular disease research and development organizations.
While Dr. Sharon Hesterlee is moving on to fill the role of EVP of Patient Advocacy and Public Affairs at Bamboo Therapeutics, a gene therapy company focused on rare disease, she will remain active with MDF as a member of our Scientific Advisory Committee and will also represent MDF on the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee (MDCC), a federal advisory committee that was mandated by the MD CARE Act.
“Sharon has made a spectacular contribution to MDF’s drug development acceleration and research platform, and she’s been a friend and colleague to all of us at MDF. We will very much miss working with her day-to-day, but are delighted that she’ll join the MDF Scientific Advisory Committee, and the MDCC, representing MDF. Sharon will add enormous value to MDF in both of these roles and we are grateful for her ongoing commitment,” said Molly White.
In her new role, Dr. Hesterlee will work with Bamboo’s patient communities to ensure that their feedback informs and enhances its therapeutic development programs.