Paul Tesar was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and received his undergraduate degree in biology from Case Western Reserve University. His undergraduate thesis focused on mesenchymal stem cell biology in the laboratories of Dr. Stephen Haynesworth and Dr. Arnold Caplan. Paul went on to earn his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford as a recipient of a prestigious scholarship from the National Institutes of Health. His graduate studies under the tutelage of Professor Sir Richard Gardner and Dr. Ron McKay provided a paradigm shift on how we understand and utilize stem cells for research and medicine and culminated in a landmark paper in Nature describing the discovery of a new type of pluripotent stem cell, epiblast stem cells. This work stands among the most recognized in all of stem cell biology and earned Paul some of the highest graduate student accolades including the Beddington Medal from the British Society for Developmental Biology and the Harold M. Weintraub Award from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Paul returned home to join the CWRU School of Medicine faculty in 2010 as a Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation Scholar and his laboratory has pioneered new regenerative approaches to treat nervous system disorders including multiple sclerosis, pediatric leukodystrophies, cerebral palsy, and brain cancer. Paul is currently an Associate Professor and the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor of Innovative Therapeutics at CWRU School of Medicine in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences. Paul’s scientific achievements continue to be recognized with a number of prestigious awards including being named a Robertson Investigator of the New York Stem Cell Foundation in 2011. One of only four international awardees, the honor recognizes and supports scientists leading their generation in stem cell research. Additionally, Paul received the International Society for Stem Cell Research Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2015, the New York Stem Foundation – Robertson Stem Cell Prize in 2017, and the Diekhoff Award for Graduate Student Mentoring in 2018. Paul has also co-founded a Cleveland-based biotechnology company to advance new therapies from the laboratory into clinical testing to better the lives of patients and their families.
Dr. Grace Hobson is Senior Research Scientist, Head of the Neurogenetics Research Laboratory and Director of Diagnostics for Leukodystrophies at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. She is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. She obtained a B.S. in biology from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA and a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She was a high school and junior high school science/biology teacher before getting a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in Newark and embarking on a career in research and molecular diagnostics. Dr. Hobson’s research is aimed at understanding molecular mechanisms in PMD that will allow the development of rational treatments and ultimately a cure. She has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, the PMD Foundation, the Kylan Hunter Foundation, and the Carson Scott Suter Foundation to fund this work. Dr. Hobson’s contact with families, genetic counselors and physicians through her molecular diagnostics work has allowed her to refer families to the PMD Foundation for information and support. Dr. Hobson has participated in meetings, symposia, workshops and family conferences on PMD. In addition, she helped to organize the family meeting in 2000 that launched the PMD Foundation and she hosted symposia for families and researchers at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in 2003 and 2009.
Dr. Geneviève Bernard received her Medical Degree (2002) and Master’s degree in Neurosciences (2003) from Université de Montréal. She completed her residency in Pediatric Neurology at McGill University (2008) and her fellowship in Neurogenetics and Movement Disorders at Université de Montréal (2011) under the supervision of Pr. Bernard Brais, Pr. Guy A Rouleau and Dr. Sylvain Chouinard. She started her career as an independent investigator and pediatric neurologist in October 2011 at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) and MUHC Research Institute. She is the recipient of the Research Scholar Junior 1 salary award from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec en Santé (2012-2016) and the Canadian Institute of Health Research New Investigator salary award (2017-2022). She is currently an Associate Professor at McGill University, in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Pediatrics and Human Genetics and a member of the Division of Medical Genetics at the MUHC. Dr. Bernard and her team, together with her international collaborators, discovered the three genes responsible for 4H leukodystrophy, for EPRS-related leukodystrophy and contributed to the discovery of the causal gene for HEMS (Hypomyelination of Early Myelinating structures). Dr. Bernard published, in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Wolf (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and numerous international collaborators, the largest clinical, radiological and genetic characterization study on 4H leukodystrophy. Dr. Bernard published more than 75 peer-reviewed publications, including some in high impact factor journals such as Am J Hum Genet, Arch Neurol, Mov Disord, Ann Neurol, Neurology, and Nat Commun, several book chapters and numerous abstracts. She is the Canadian representative on several international consortia, including the Global Leukodystrophy InitiAtive (GLIA).