ALS Therapy Development Institute Expands Research Team with Four New Hires

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New scientists and technicians support the Institute’s Precision Medicine Program and Discovery Biology Unit

Left to right: Yiding Yan, Therese Dane, Alessandro Calo and Oltiana Mosko recently joined the science team at the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

A direct impact from Ice Bucket Challenge funding in certain research projects enabled us to strategically invest in our science team

The ALS Therapy Development Institute expanded its Kendall Square team recently when it filled four new research positions with scientists and technicians, all of whom are highly qualified in their specific fields.

The Institute’s expansion was made possible in large part to the social media phenomenon known as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” Nearly $4 million was donated directly to the Institute, and every dollar was assigned directly to ALS research, including $1 million to the Precision Medicine Program, allowing it to expand enrollment from 25 to 300 people.

“A direct impact from Ice Bucket Challenge funding in certain research projects enabled us to strategically invest in our science team. Adding new talent in the lab allows us to do more and go faster, which is what a commitment to developing treatments for ALS requires,” says Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO and CSO at the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Three of the four new employees were hired to support the Precision Medicine Program and its growth:

Alessandro Calo is a new Research Associate. Calo has undertaken successful internships as a researcher and laboratory technician in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, including at Northeastern University Antimicrobial Discovery Center, the Rare Disease Research Unit at Pfizer Inc., and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. He is proficient in bacterial and mammalian cell culture, DNA/RNA miniprep/midiprep, transformation, transfection, lentivirus transduction, immunofluorescence, co-immunoprecipitation, deglycosylation and luciferase assay.

Therese Dane also joins as a Research Associate. She has been a Peer Review Specialist at the Journal of Visualized Experiments and a Research Technician at Leslie-Kate Wright’s Bioengineering Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she cultured human embryonic kidney (HEK-293T), and cultured human leukemia (HL-60) cells for comparison studies. She is qualified in PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA recombination, RNA Isolation and purification, Karyotype analysis, bacteriophage titering, phage purification and transformation, as well as bacterial genetics and cultivation.

Oltiana Mosko is a new Clinical Administrative Assistant in the Precision Medicine Program and manages the distribution and maintenance of Actigraph devices for patient use. She programs the devices, downloads and inputs data and monitors supplies. She has experience running bioassays and laboratory bench studies, writing scientific reports and maintaining research lab operations and equipment. Mosko also brings significant non-profit experience to her role at the Institute.

The Institute also hired Yiding Yan as an Associate Scientist in Discovery Biology. Yan has five years of research training at the Biochemistry Lab and Cell Biology Lab at Boston University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She has spent close to 15 years in biopharmaceutical companies, where she was involved in a broad range of technology for in vitro research. Her previous experience focused on mouse genetics modeling of human disease, inflammation kinase assays, cancer biology cell-based assays, siRNA DMPK study and cell automation. Her specialties include cell assays development and gene construction.

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About The Precision Medicine Program at the ALS Therapy Development Institute
Precision medicine is an emerging field of biomedical research that aims to leverage patients’ genomic and other molecular or cellular data together with their clinical information to more rapidly identify potential therapies. The Institute’s Precision Medicine Program seeks to gain critical new insight into the mechanisms of ALS through integrative analysis of each participating patient’s genetic data, obtained by full genome sequencing, and their clinical data including a combination of monthly self-reporting, questionnaires, motion tracking, and voice recordings. This information will be linked to data obtained by analyzing patient-derived cells that are differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). These patient-derived cells will facilitate identification and development of better-focused ALS drug discovery screens.

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute
The ALS Therapy Development Institute and its scientists actively discover and develop treatments for ALS. The Institute is the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by ALS patients and their families, the charity understands the urgent need to slow and stop this horrible disease. Based in Cambridge, MA, the Institute has served as one of the leaders in sharing data and information with academic and ALS research organizations, patients and their families. For more information, visit

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