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Meet the RCP Team!

RCP Governing Board

The RCP Governing Board is a highly compensated position, with specific time commitments and significant responsibilities. Governing Board Members each spend 20% of their time devoted to the development, growth, and expansion of the RCP’s initiatives. Collectively, the three Governing Board members’ efforts fulfill the role of the RCP Executive Director. The RCP governing board will work alongside researchers and clinicians at all steps of every project, sharing expertise and skill sets to cross-fertilize existing ideas and improve and troubleshoot to generate unexpected new directions.

Adam Hantman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Edward R. Perl Investigator at the University of Chapel Hill.

Standing member of Sensory-Motor Neuroscience study section of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and will co-chair the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Thalamocortical Interactions in 2024.

The Hantman Lab at UNC Chapel Hill takes a multidisciplinary approach (genetics, anatomy, physiology, dynamical systems, etc.) to understanding how the nervous system generates patterns of activity that control our bodies.

Stephen G. Lisberger, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Neurobiology, George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor for Research in Neurobiology at Duke University.

Served as the Treasurer of the Society for Neuroscience, Senior Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience, and Chief Editor of Neuroscience, the flagship journal of the International Brain Research Organization.

Awarded the Young Investigator Prize and the Bernice Grafstein Prize from the Society for Neuroscience. Elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lisberger’s lab has made great strides in understanding how the cerebellum guides learning of simple motor skills, and of how we use what we see to guide how we move.

Roy Sillitoe, Ph.D.

Professor of Pathology & Immunology, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and the Chao Family Endowed Chair at the Jan and Dan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Director of Education at the NRI, Co-Director of the Graduate Program in Developmental Biology and the Graduate Program in Development, Disease Models & Therapeutics at Baylor College of Medicine.

Co-Chair, 2023 GRC on Cerebellum. Serves on the Editorial Board of the journal, Cerebellum.

Awarded the 2021 NINDS Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship.

Sillitoe’s Lab investigates the impact of cerebellar neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration on neuronal health, circuit wiring, and daily behaviors. The ultimate goal of his lab is to uncover novel biological brain markers that could inspire early intervention in cerebellar diseases and related conditions, with the goal of improving the quality of life in affected individuals.

RCP Advisory Board

The RCP Advisory Board currently consists of Peter Tsai, M.D., Ph.D., and Vikram Shakkottai, M.D., Ph.D., of UT Southwestern Medical Center. The Advisory Board role is an unpaid, scientific advisory position and we anticipate this board will grow substantially in number in coming months. Members of the Advisory Board are consulted on an as-needed basis.

Peter Tsai, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of the Cerebellar Neurodevelopmental Disorders Clinic at Children’s Health℠. He specializes in autism, cerebellar disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders. He is an Associate Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Tsai earned his medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He completed a residency in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital as well as a residency in pediatric neurology and fellowship in behavioral neurology at Children’s Hospital – Boston.

Dr. Tsai’s research and clinical interests include the development of mechanism-based therapeutics for the treatment of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Tsai has won numerous research awards, including the Child Neurology Society’s Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award, the Child Neurology Shields Research Grant award, UT Southwestern’s Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars award, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke K08 – Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Developmental Award and the American Academy of Neurology’s Neurology Research Training Scholar award.

Vikram Shakkottai, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Shakkottai obtained his medical degree at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, and his PhD at the University of California, Irvine. He received his Neurology Residency training at Washington University/Barnes-Jewish hospital, and was a fellow in Movement Disorders at the University of Michigan. He joined the full-time faculty at University of Michigan in 2010. He moved to UTSW in 2021.

The long-term goal of Dr. Shakkottai’s clinical and laboratory research is to determine whether alterations in neuronal physiology contribute to motor dysfunction and degeneration in cerebelalr ataxia. Work in Dr. Shakkottai’s laboratory has identified shared dysfunction in the cerebellum in murine models of ataxia, with identification of several ion channels that act in concert, and converging on large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels.  BK channels are likely a key target for therapy in degenerative ataxias.

Dr. Shakkottai’s Clinical Interests include: Cerebellar Ataxia, Inherited & Sporadic Disorders of Cerebellar Dysfunction, Balance Disorders and Other Movement Disorders.

Once Upon A Time Foundation

The Once Upon a Time Foundation is the parent entity of RCP. Once Upon a Time has allocated $30 million to the RCP to date, in addition to $14 million already funded to launch the Raynor Cerebellum Lab at UT Southwestern. Once Upon a Time provides continual administrative and financial support for RCP initiatives.

Bethany Cale

Bethany serves as a Senior Program Director and Director of Grant Operations for the Once Upon a Time Foundation. Bethany joined the Foundation in 2018 as an Associate Program Director. In her time at the Foundation, Bethany has worked as the Program Director for the Philanthropy Lab and coordinated our research efforts in Electronic Data & Mental Health and Child Apraxia of Speech. As Senior Program Director, Bethany oversees all programming and grant activity.

Kathy Thomas, M.S. CCC-SLP

Kathy serves as a Senior Program Director for Child Apraxia Treatment at the Once Upon a Time Foundation. Kathy joined the Foundation in 2015, and oversees all Child Apraxia Treatment programming. Kathy is a certified speech-language pathologist with over 30 years of experience treating adults and children with complex communication needs.

Katie Cooke

Katie serves as an Associate Program Director of the Once Upon a Time Foundation. Katie’s other areas of focus at the Foundation are the coordination of our Child Apraxia Treatment and Electronic Data & Mental Health Research grants, as well as the administration of our Child Apraxia Treatment online course, advanced workshops and online resources.