NEW YORK, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) today announced the appointment of Todd Sherer, Ph.D., as chief executive officer of the organization. In his previous capacity as chief program officer, Dr. Sherer was instrumental in setting and implementing the MJFF's unique scientific strategy to intervene aggressively in closing crucial gaps that slow potential treatments' path from the laboratory to Parkinson's patients. In addition, Sherer built the organization's internal team of scientists with broad expertise across research areas, helped to oversee its Scientific Advisory Board, and served as acting CEO from April to July 2010.
As chief executive officer, Dr. Sherer will continue to direct the organization's research strategy while providing day-to-day management and oversight of the Foundation, reporting to the Board of Directors.
Michael J. Fox said: "Todd has an uncommon ability to look at therapeutic progress from both the scientist and the patient perspectives. He has earned the respect of his research peers, who willingly follow him in new and challenging directions, as well as that of people living with the disease, who support our Foundation and look to us as a source of hope. The Board is confident that he is the ideal candidate to take the reins as we enter an exciting phase of growth and continue to push toward new and better Parkinson's treatments in the near term."
Katie Hood, who has been with MJFF since 2002, serving as CEO since 2007 and, prior to that, Deputy CEO, is stepping down to address pressing needs of her young family. Ms. Hood, who was a key architect of the Foundation's paradigm-shifting model for driving translational research, will continue to provide leadership as a member of the Foundation's Founders' Council. This group comprises current and former board members and strategic advisors including Andy Grove, Donna Shalala, and Lonnie and Muhammad Ali.
The Foundation also announced that MJFF co-founder Deborah W. Brooks will add the title of executive vice chairman. Ms. Brooks' business acumen and creativity were instrumental in shaping the Foundation's initial strategic vision and leading the nascent organization to global prominence for impact in medical research funding. As executive vice chairman she will continue to work with the organization full-time, contributing to strategy development and providing day-to-day oversight of the fundraising, marketing/communications and digital strategy teams.
Sherer's work with the Foundation began in 2003, when he received an MJFF grant to investigate the role of environmental factors in causing Parkinson's. He joined the staff full time as Associate Director, Research Programs in April 2004. He was promoted to Vice President, Research Programs in June 2006, and Chief Program Officer in November 2010. In addition to research funding, Sherer's team has led an effort to engage the pharmaceutical industry in Parkinson's disease drug development and encourage and expand subject participation in clinical research. Dr. Sherer came to the Foundation as a successful Parkinson's disease bench researcher with more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
During her tenure as CEO, Ms. Hood expanded the Foundation's strategy to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical applications and more than doubled annual grant allocations. A Harvard Business School and Duke University graduate, Ms. Hood also implemented many of MJFF's rigorous operational and cost-control measures that have enabled the organization to dedicate nearly 90 cents out of every dollar spent to its research effort. Hood, 36, was the second-youngest CEO on the 2010 "Philanthropy 400," the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual ranking of the 400 U.S. charities that raise the most money from private sources.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding over $238 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.
SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation