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Robert Langer, Sc.D.
Chairman of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board
Robert Langer is the chairman of Ovid’s Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board. Dr. Langer is one of 10 Institute Professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has written over 1,500 scholarly articles. He is also the most cited engineer in history (h-index 286, with over 338,000 citations according to Google Scholar). He has served as the chair of the FDA’s Science Board, and has been recognized with over 220 awards, including the United States National Medals of both Science and Technology and Innovation. Dr. Langer was named as one of the 20 most important people in biotechnology by Discover magazine and one of 15 innovators who will reinvent our future by Forbes. TIME and CNN named him as one of the most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America. He was also recognized as one of the world’s 25 most important individuals in biotechnology by Forbes and by BioWorld. Dr. Langer holds 35 honorary doctorate degrees and has been elected to the National Academies of Medicine, Engineering, Sciences and Inventors.
Jacqueline A. French, M.D.
Jacqueline A. French, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Neurology, director of Translational Research and Clinical Trials in Epilepsy and a neurologist at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. She is also a founder and director of the Clinical Trials Consortium, an academic group that has performed a number of early-phase clinical trials in epilepsy. She currently serves as chief scientific officer of the Epilepsy Foundation. Previously, Dr. French chaired an American Academy of Neurology (AAN)/American Epilepsy Society (AES) committee that developed two guidelines on the use of new antiepileptic drugs. She also helped to create guidelines for the International League Against Epilepsy. Dr. French was also president and served on the board of the AES and was the secretary of the American Society of Experimental Neurotherapeutics. She has authored more than 200 articles and chapters, is the editor of three books, and lectures internationally on clinical trials and the use of antiepileptic drugs. She was the 2005 recipient of the AES Service Award, the 2017 Lennox Award and the 2013 Epilepsy Foundation Hero award. Dr. French received a medical degree from Brown University. She completed her residency in neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and completed fellowships in epilepsy at Mount Sinai Hospital and Yale University
Alex Kolevzon, M.D.
Alex Kolevzon, M.D., is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He serves as the director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for the Mount Sinai Health System and the clinical director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai. His research interests pertain to understanding the neurobiology of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, biomarker discovery and developing novel therapeutics. Most recently, his group has focused on studying specific genetic forms of autism, including Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and ADNP syndrome, in order to explore targets for pharmacological intervention. Dr. Kolevzon leads the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Seaver Autism Center, which conducts studies that range from small pilot trials to multi-centered, pivotal FDA studies. He also leads a national rare disease clinical research network dedicated to clinical trial readiness and studying the natural history of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. He is a sought-after speaker regionally, nationally and internationally, and is extremely committed to medical student and residency education as an active teacher, mentor and clinical supervisor.
Joy A. Cavagnaro, Ph.D, DABT, ATS, RAC, FRAPS
Joy A. Cavagnaro, Ph.D., DABT, ATS, RAC, FRAPS is the president of Access BIO, where she consults on science-based preclinical development strategies for novel drug, biologics and device combinations. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her career spans academia, the clinical research organization and biotechnology industries and government. She has co-authored numerous white papers, articles and book chapters related to various aspects of preclinical safety assessment. During her tenure at the FDA Center for Biologics Research and Evaluation, she was appointed to the Senior Biomedical Research Service and served as FDA’s safety topic lead and rapporteur for “ICH S6,” advocating for the “case-by-case” rational science-based approach to preclinical safety evaluation. In 2011, she received SOT’s Biotechnology Specialty Section First Career Achievement Award, and in 2019, she was a recipient of the Society’s Arnold J. Lehman Award recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to risk assessment and/or the regulation of chemical agents, including pharmaceuticals. She is founder and past chair of the leadership committee of BioSafe, an expert preclinical science committee within BIO.
Amit Rakhit, M.D., M.S.A., MBA
Amit Rakhit, M.D., MBA, is a member of Ovid Therapeutic’s Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board. Previously, Rakhit served as president and chief medical officer at Ovid Therapeutics from April 2016 to August 2021. Prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Rakhit served as senior vice president of Worldwide Medical at Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) from March 2014 to March 2016, and as vice president of Program Leadership and Management from June 2011 to February 2014. During that time, he worked on neurologic and hematologic conditions such as: spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and hemophilia. Prior to that, he worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) from August 2001 to June 2011 in various roles within clinical development and medical affairs. Dr. Rakhit ultimately served as vice president of the international medical organization with oversight of the medical teams in more than 25 countries across North and South America, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim. Dr. Rakhit earned his Bachelor of Arts in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, his Master of Science from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and his Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and London Business School. Dr. Rakhit completed his fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Harvard Medical School and practiced as part of the pediatric cardiac transplant service at Boston Children’s Hospital prior to joining the industry. Dr. Rakhit currently is an advisory trustee for the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a healthcare advisor for the Partnership for NYC.