CREATIVE TEAM

ZACH JORDAN

Writer / Director / Producer

Zach is Founder / Partner at Joe Digital, Inc. and has created and developed content for some of the leading platforms in traditional and new media. As a documentary filmmaker, he worked as a camera man on “America’s Deadliest Catch”, was Producer and Cinematographer on “Buckle Brothers: A Documentary on the Soul of a Cowboy”, which was one of 10 documentaries chosen to premiere at the 2005 AFI Film Festival in LA, and as a camera man on “Derailroaded”, the award-winning documentary on Larry “Wild Man” Fischer.

In addition to feature documentaries and TV, Zach directed and produced the digital series “Operation Midnight Climax”, about the CIA sponsored LSD experiments in brothels during the 1950’s, which was featured at the 2009 ITV Fest in Hollywood, as well as the Thrill Spy Film Festival in Washington, D.C. Working with MSN Video for the last few years, Zach has written, directed, shot, and / or voiced several digital series that were featured on the MSN Video network, as well as other platforms. His original MSN series “Road Raves”, garnered a 2012 Webby Award for him and his partner in Joe Digital, Peter Schankowitz.

Before starting Joe Digital, Zach was a founding US Producer and VP of Business Development at VideoJug.com, one of the world’s largest producers of factual, online content. During his tenure, Zach wrote and produced over 2,000 videos, including over 300 original titles for the MSN Live Earth event, in 2007, featuring Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr. Michael Oppenheimer and celebrity environmentalist Ed. Begley, Jr. Zach has written and produced projects for Kiva, Friends of the Earth, and is a survivor of the late 90’s San Francisco dot-com boom, where he began his career producing short form, web and branded content. In a past life, he worked as a voiceover artist, lending his voice to over 15 regional commercials, a few video games for Xbox, and the Walmart in-store networks. Most recently, Zach worked as an Executive Producer on “American Idol Season 12 and Season 13”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and “X Factor”, for the Fox Digital team.

PETER SCHANKOWITZ

Writer / Producer

Peter is an entertainment industry veteran who has run several of the major independent studios in Hollywood and created and produced several well-known series and specials. As an Executive Producer, he has created, developed and produced projects for most of the network and cable outlets, including ABC, Fox, NBC, UPN, MTV, BRAVO, LIFETIME, ANIMAL PLANET, HISTORY CHANNEL, COURT TV, VH1, and many first run syndication projects. He has produced hundreds of hours of television, documentaries and specials and tens of thousands of pieces of online content covering everything from entertainment to branded video content. His online originals have appeared on numerous sites, major portals, and in branded campaigns around the globe.

In 2009 he co-founded Joe Digital, Inc., a full-service content production and distribution company specializing in custom, brand specific content, marketing and distribution strategies. The company produces network television series as well as branded entertainment for the likes of Nike, the NBA, major professional corporations and major philanthropic organizations such as the micro-lending company Kiva. Most recently, the company has served as Fox’s digital content production and strategy partner for several hit series, including “American Idol”, “The X Factor”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and several of the network’s scripted series. In a prior life he was an attorney at a major international law firm. His previous positions include:

VideoJug America, Inc. , CEO and President
Responsible for the set up, operations and all creative aspects of building the world’s largest library of factual, HD video expertise at www.videojug.com. During his tenure, the company grew to 60 employees. Peter created the proprietary production models and oversaw the company’s video formats and the production of over 15,000 digital films. Under his direction all key online indicators (uniques, impressions, etc.) doubled. He also headed up the company’s monetization efforts and was able to attract brands and major partners including Microsoft. In conjunction with MSN Video, he created and produced over 300 videos that were utilized by MSN during the 2007 “Live Earth” concert in over 45 countries around the globe and grew that relationship into an ongoing requirements contract by which the company delivered thousands of short from content pieces to MSN’s various channels.

Vin Di Bona Productions, President of Worldwide Development
Responsible for all aspects of the creation, development, sales and production of alternative television series for one of Hollywood’s leading production companies (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”). Produced numerous projects for all of the major networks during his tenure and expanded the company’s business to overseas markets including the UK, France, Turkey and other territories.

Film Roman, Inc. , President of TV Programming and Development
Responsible for all creative and business development for the world’s leading animation company and home to the likes to “The Simpsons”, “King of the Hill”, “X-Men”, “Tripping the Rift” and other hits.

JAY MIRACLE

Editor

Jay studied sculpture at UC Berkeley and through volunteer work at the Pacific Film Archives, became involved in Bay Area feature production; which included Francis Ford Coppola (“Apocalypse Now” – Sound Editor), George Lucas (“Star Wars” – Assistant Editor to George and Marcia Lucas) and Milos Forman (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – Assistant Editor to Milos Forman and Lynzee Klingman).

In addition, Jay worked with other renowned independent filmmakers: Werner Herzog (“Stroszek”), Erroll Morris (“The Gates of Heaven”), Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker (“Action One”), Barbet Schroeder (“Koko, the One Who Talks”) and Wim Wenders (“Hammett”).

Jay was a documentarian for Malcolm Forbes on several of his balloon trips – including his birthday party in Tangiers – and moved to L.A., where he directed two productions at Theater 40.  This connected him to work as a Director, Writer, and Editor for Propaganda Films and Satellite Pictures, which led to several other projects:

  • “Hearts of Darkness, A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” (Showtime – Feature Documentary – Editor – won a Primetime Emmy for Editing and the American Cinema Editors Editing Award)
  • “Bettie Page Reveals All” (Independent Feature Documentary – Editor)
  • “Impostors” (Discovery Channel – Documentary Special – Director/Writer/Co-Producer – Nominated for a Primetime Emmy)
  • “Return to Tarawa” (Discovery Channel – Documentary Special – Writer/Editor)
  • “Playing with Fire” (H.B.O.  – Documentary pilot – developed into a Dramatic Feature – Story Producer – Starring Ray Liotta and John Leguizamo)
  • “American Midnight” and “Lost Lightning, The Stolen Secrets of Nikola Tesla” (Liberty Entertainment  – 2 One Hour TV Specials – Director/Writer)
  • “Dick Powell, Thanks a Million” (A&E Biography Series – Writer)
  • “American Casino” (Discovery Channel Series – Story Producer)

He recently completed Editing “Bronies, the Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony”, and was an additional Editor on the 2014, Oscar-winning “20 Feet from Stardom”.

ALEX LU

Composer

Named by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as a “Composer to Watch,” Alex’s versatility allows him to move fluidly between projects of all scope. Recent work include the dramatic, quirky orchestral underscore for the animated feature MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS (additional music), the folk-driven music for SXSW award-winning documentary, MINE: TAKEN BY KATRINA, a jazz-inspired quintet for the independent film A SWINGIN’ TRIO, and an intimate acoustic score for the documentary READ ME DIFFERENTLY. In addition to composing, Alex has worked in the music department for Ridley Scott’s ROBIN HOOD, PROMETHEUS, and THE GREY, directed by Joe Carnahan.

DATA ADVISOR

ALEXANDER KARAPETYAN, Ph.D.: Advisor

Dr. Alexander Karapetyan is Director of Research and Development Group, at Haas School, University of California at Berkeley, where he is responsible for delivery of solutions in the areas of academic research; data mining; planning; experimental and enterprise computing; as well as information acquisition.  His other duties involve forecasting, identification and planning for strategies, to provide the Haas School with a competitive advantage in the areas of knowledge generation. He oversees the laboratory for conducting experiments in the areas of economic behavior. Alex holds a Ph.D in Applied mathematics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. In the early 90’s Alex served as Expert for the Office of the President of Russia in Moscow, where he devised a set of mathematical and statistical models of the post-USSR Russian economy.

After moving to the United States, he worked for Intel, and served as Director of the Geographic Information Systems Division of the International Center for Development Policy in Washington, D.C. Alex’s areas of interest include distributed applications, grid computing, and mobile technologies.

ALZHEIMER’S ADVISORS

VIRGINIA M.-Y. LEE

Ph.D., M.B.A.: Advisor

Research Interests
Biology of tau, synucleins, TDP-43 and amyloid beta precursor proteins (APPs) in health and disease.

Key words: Alzheimer’s disease; tauopathies; APP; Parkinson’s disease; synucleinopathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, TDP-43 proteinopathies.

Description of Research
Dr. Lee’s research focuses on disease proteins that form pathological inclusions in hereditary and sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neurodegenerative disorders of aging. Her work demonstrated that tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 proteins form unique brain aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases and provided critical evidence that aggregation of brain proteins is a common mechanistic theme in diverse neurodegenerative diseases including AD, PD, FTLD, ALS and related disorders. Significantly, Dr. Lee’s studies implicated the abnormal aggregation of tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 in mechanisms that compromise neuronal viability. Most importantly, this research has opened up new avenues of research to identify targets for drug discovery to develop better treatments for these disorders.

Research Techniques
Protein biochemistry; cell and molecular biology; monoclonal antibody production; immunochemical and immunocytochemical techniques; tissue culture; transgenic mouse models; and electron microscopy.

Rotation Projects
Lab rotation projects are difficult to define in a rapidly moving field. Please contact Dr. Lee to discuss possible rotation projects.

Education:

Royal Academy of Music, London, England, 1964.
B.Sc (Chemistry)
Univ. of London, England, 1967.
M.Sc (Biochemistry)
Univ. of London, England, 1968.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
University of California at San Francisco, 1973.
M.B.A.
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1984

Selected Publications

Cohen TJ, Hwang AW, Restrepo C, Yuan CX, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM-Y. An acetylation switch controls TDP-43 function and aggregation propensity. Nat Commun 6: 5845, 2015.

Goosens J, Vanmechelen E, Trojanowski JW, Lee VM, Van Broeckhoven C, van der Zee J, Engelborghs S. TDP-43 as a possible biomarkers for frontotemporal lobar degeneration: a systematic review of existing antibodies. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 3: 15, 2015.

Porta S, Kwong LK, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VMDrosha Inclusions Are New Components of Dipeptide-Repeat Protein Aggregates in FTLD-TDP and ALS C9orf72 Expansion Cases. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 74: 380-387, 2015.

Brettschneider J, Del Tredici K, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ.Spreading of pathology in neurodegenerative diseases: a focus on human studies. Nat Rev Neurosci 16: 109-120, 2015.

Ballatore C, Gay B, Huang L, Robinson KH, James MJ, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM-Y, Brunden KR, Smith AB 3rd. Evaluation of the cyclopentane-1,2-dione as a potential bio-isostere of the carboxylic acid functional group. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 24: 4171-4175, 2014.

Crescenzi R, DeBrosse C, Nanga RP, Reddy S, Haris M, Hariharan H, Iba M, Lee VM-Y, Detre JA, Borthakur A, Reddy R. In vivo measurement of glutamate loss is associated with synapse loss in a mouse model of tauopathy. Neuroimage 101C: 185-192, 2014.

Peeraer E, Bottelvergs A, Van Kolen K, Mahieu M, Duyschaever H, Verdonck L, Torremans A, Sluydts E, Van Acker N, Kemp JA, Brunden KR, Trojanowski JQ, Dewachter I, Lee VM-Y, Moechars D. Intracerebral injection of preformed synthetic tau fibrils initiates widespread tauopathy and neuronal loss in the brains of tau transgenic mice. Neurobiol Dis 73: 83-95, 2014.

Boluda S, Toledo JB, Irwin DJ, Raible KM, Byrne MD, Lee EB, Lee VM-Y, Trojanowski JQA comparison of Aβ amyloid pathology staging systems and correlation with clinical diagnosis.Acta Neuropath 128: 543-550, 2014.

Ballatore C, Smith AB 3rd, Lee VM-Y, Trojanowski JQ, Brunden KR. :Aminothienopyridazines as imaging probes of tau pathology: a patent evaluation of WO2013090497. Expert Opin Ther Pat 24: 355-360, 2014.

Tran HT, Chung CH, Luk KC, Iba M, Zhang B, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM-Y. α-Synuclein immunotherapy blocks uptake and templated propagation of misfolded α-Synuclein and neurodegeneration. Cell Reports 72: 1-12, 2014.

JOHN Q. TROJANOWSKI, MD, Ph.D.

Advisor

Dr. Trojanowski obtained his M.D./Ph.D. in 1976 from Tufts University in Boston. After a medicine internship at Mt. Auburn Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he began pathology/neuropathology training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (1977-1979) and completed training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1980 where he was appointed assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (1/1/1981) and rose to tenured full professor in 1990. Dr. Trojanowski held or currently holds major leadership positions at the University of Pennsylvania including:

  • Director, National Institute of Aging (NIA) Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (1991-present),
  • Principal Investigator, NIA Program Project Grant on Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD) disease (1990-2010),
  • Director, Medical Pathology (1988-2002),
  • Interim Director (2001-2002) and Director (2002-present), Institute on Aging
  • founding Co-Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (1992-present)
  • Director, NINDS Morris K. Udall Penn Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research (2007-present)
  • the first William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., M.D. Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology (2003-present)
  • Co-director, Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Drug Discovery Program (2004-present)

For over 20 years, Dr. Trojanowski has conducted research on AD, PD, ALS, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and other aging related nervous system disorders. Most of his >700 publications focus on the pathobiology of neurodegenerative disorders, especially the role of abnormal protein aggregates (misfolded proteins) in these diseases. The major goal of his research now is to translate understanding on mechanisms of aging related neurodegenerative diseases into meaningful diagnostics and interventions to treat or prevent these disorders.
Dr. Trojanowski has received awards for his research including:

  • MERIT Award (1986-1994), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Metropolitan Life Foundation Promising Investigator Award For Alzheimer’s Disease Research (1991)
  • Membership, American Society of Clinical Investigation (1991)
  • Established Investigator Award, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (1994)
  • Metropolitan Life Foundation Award For Alzheimer’s Disease Research (1996)
  • Potamkin Prize For Research In Pick’s, Alzheimer’s And Related Diseases (1998)
  • First Pioneer Award from the Alzheimer’s Association (1998)
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher 2000 (most highly cited neuroscientists for 1997-2007)
  • The Stanley Cohen Biomedical Research Award of the University of Pennsylvania (2000)
  • Membership, Association of American Physicians (2000)
  • The 2004 Irving Wright Award of Distinction of the American Federation for Aging Research
  • 2005 Rous-Whipple Award of the American Society for Investigative Pathology
  • 24th Annual Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Neuropsychiatry Research
  • Dr. Trojanowski was elected president of the American Association of Neuropathologists (1997-1998).
  • Dr. Trojanowski was elected to the Institute of Medicine (2002), and he has served and continues to serve on local and national aging research committees including the NIA Neuroscience, Behavior and Sociology of Aging Study Section (1987-1991), the National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) of the NIA (1994-1998), the NACA Working Group Chair (1996-1998), the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the National Alzheimer’s Association (1994-1997), as well as for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (1992- present), the NIA Board of Scientific Counselors (1998-2002), the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars In Aging Award (1998-2002), the Alliance for Aging Research (2002-present), and the Association of Frontotemporal Dementia (2003-present), and the Organizing Committee of the International Conferences On Progress In Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Disease (2001-2010).

To help the public understand what is needed to cure and/or prevent disorders like AD, Dr. Trojanowski led an effort to prepare an educational film on healthy brain aging and AD (“Alzheimer’s Disease: Facing the Facts”) that aired on more than 80% of PBS outlets throughout 2009. This film won a 2008 CINE “Golden Eagle Award” and a 2009 Emmy Award for short documentary films.

Sharon J. Sha, MD, MS

Advisor

Dr. Sha received her Bachelor’s degrees in Cognitive Science and Molecular Cell Biology emphasizing in Neurobiology from UC Berkeley.  She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Physiology and MD from Georgetown University.  She trained in Neurology at UCLA and Stanford University and completed a clinical and research fellowship in behavioral neurology at UCSF where she focused on identifying biomarkers for genetic forms of frontotemporal dementia and caring for patients with movement disorders and cognitive impairment.

Dr. Sha’s clinical expertise include Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy Body disease, corticobasal syndrome, progressive supranuclear palsy, Huntington’s disease, ataxia, multiple system atrophy, and other dementias.

Dr. Sha’s non-clinical time is spent conducting clinical trials in order to identify disease modifying treatments for dementia. She has a special interest in genetic forms of dementia and the cognitive impairment in parkinsonian-related disorders.

PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

  1. Kramer JH, Jurik J, Sha SJ, Rankin KP, Rosen HJ, Johnson JK, Miller BL. Distinctive neuropsychological patterns in frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 2003; 16(4): 211-8.
  2. Sha S, Hou C, Viskontas IV, Miller BL. Are frontotemporal lobar degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration distinct diseases? Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2006; 2(12):658-65. 
  3. Sha SJ, Layzer RB. Myasthenia gravis and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome in the same patient. Muscle Nerve 2007;36(1):115-7.
  4. Khan BK, Yokoyama JS, Takada LT, Sha SJ, Rutherford NJ, Fong JC, Khan B, Karydas A, Wu T, Ketelle R, Baker MC, DeJesus-Hernandez M, Coppola G, Geschwind DH, Rademakers R, Lee SE, Rosen HJ, Rabinovici GD, Seeley W, Miller BL, Rankin KP, Boxer AL. Atypical, slowly progressive behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia associated with C9ORF72 hexanucleotide expansion. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2012; 83(4): 358-64
  5. Sha SJ*, Takada LT*, Rankin KP, Yokoyama JS, Rutherford NJ, Fong JC, Khan B, Karydas A, Baker MC, DeJesus-Hernandez M, Pribadi M, Coppola G, Geschwind DH, Rademakers R, Lee SE, Seeley W, Miller BLǂ, Boxer ALǂ. Frontotemproal dementia due to C9ORF72 mutations: Clinical and imaging features. Neurology 2012; 79(10):1002-11
  6. Takada LT, Sha SJ. Neuropsychiatric features of C9orf72-associated behavioral variant Frontotemporal dementia and Frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 2012; 4(5):38
  7. Sha SJ, Boxer A. Treatment implications of C9ORF72. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 2012; 4(6):46
  8. LaMarre A, Rascovsky K, Bostrom A, Toofanian P, Wilkins S, Sha SJ, Perry D, Miller ZA, Naasan G, Laforce R, Hagen J, Takada L, Tartaglia MC, Kang G, Galasko D, Salmon DP, Farias ST, Kaur B, Olichney JM, Park LQ, Mendez MF, Tsai P, Teng E, Dickerson BC, Domoto-Reilly K, McGinnis S, Miller BL, Kramer J. Inter-rater Reliability of the new criteria for behavioral variant Frontotemporal dementia. Neurology 2013; 80(21):1973-77
  9. You SC, Geschwind MD, Sha SJ, Apple A, Satris G, Wood KA, Johnson ET, Gooblar J, Feuerstein JS, Finkbeiner S, Kang GA, Miller BL, Hess CP, Kramer JH, Possin KL. Executive Functions in Premanifest Huntington’s Disease. Movement Disorders 2013 [Epub ahead of print]

NON-PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER CREATIVE ACTIVITIES:

  1. Sha SJ, Kramer JH. Neuropsychology, Overview. Encyclopedia of Neurological Sciences 2003; 578-584.
  2. Sha SJ. “Dementia”. In Tarascon Clinical Neurology Pocketbook. Ed: Melanie G. Hayden Gephart. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning (2013).
  3. Sha SJ, Rabinovici GD. “Atypical Alzheimer’s Disease”. In Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia. Ed: Michael Geschwind and Caroline Racine. Oxford: Blackwell (2013).

ABSTRACTS

  1. Sha SJ, Rosen HJ, Schauer G, Weiner M, Miller BL, Kramer JL. Executive Tests, Are they all that they seem? A Comparison of Achievement Scores and Errors of Executive Tasks as an Indication of Frontal Volumes.  Poster Presentation, International Neuropsychological Society 32nd Annual Meeting, 2004 Feb4-7.
  2. Sha SJ*, Takada LT*, Rankin KP, Yokoyama JS, Khan B, Karydas A,  Fong JC, Rutherford NJ, Baker MC, DeJesus-Hernandez M, Coppola G, Rademakers R, Seeley W, Miller BL, Boxer AL.The Phenotype of the Hexanucleotide Repeat C9FTD/ALS (C9ORF72). Poster Presentation, American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, 2012.
  3. Sha SJ, Ghosh PM, Lee SE, Corbetta-Rastelli C, Jagust WJ, Boxer A, Rankin K, Seeley WW, Gorno-Tempini M, Miller BL, Rabinovici GD. Predicting the Pathology of Corticobasal Syndrome Using Modified Clinical Criteria, MRI and FDG PET. Poster Presentation, American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, 2013.

Joshua D. Grill, Ph.D

Advisor

Joshua D. Grill, PhD, is the Director of the Katherine and Benjamin Kagan Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Development Program and the leader of the Recruitment and Education Core of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. He is also co-Principal Investigator of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT) at UCLA. He is an Assistant Professor of Neurology. Dr. Grill earned his doctorate in Neuroscience in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Grill’s areas of expertise include neurobiological changes that accompany normal aging and disease and his current research is focused on clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease.