March 25, 2024

Announcing the Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholars

Kevin Chen M.D., and Stephanie Eid, Ph.D., have been named the inaugural Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholars at the NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies.

Kenneth and Frances Eisenberg

Thanks to the generosity of Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg, we are proud to announce the appointment of two new emerging scholars. Kevin Chen, M.D., and Stephanie Eid, Ph.D., are the inaugural Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholars at the NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies.

“Ever since my days at the Taubman Institute, when we became friends through Alfred Taubman, Ken and Frances have always been strong supporters of emerging talent. And, they have a keen eye for the best and the brightest.” explains Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D. “Early in his career, Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., became one of the first emerging scholars they supported. Today he is director of the Eisenberg Depression Center.”

And what do we have to look forward to from the two new Eisenberg Emerging Scholars?

Kevin Chen, M.D.:

Kevin Chen, M.D.

A dual threat as a clinical assistant professor of both neurology and neurosurgery, Dr. Chen is applying stem cells to treat neurologic diseases. He focuses on induced pluripotent stem cells, created from tissue easily obtained from adult patients. Once genetically reprogrammed to become stem cells, these cells can be transformed into specialized cells, like nerves. 

Dr. Chen uses these cells to study nerve behavior and neural circuits developed directly from patients with ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other dementias. He can also use these cells to investigate what exposures may cause these diseases, create interventions, and utilize them to test therapies in an environment that more accurately reflects the human disease instead of animal models.

Stephanie Eid, Ph.D.:

Stephanie Eid, Ph.D.

Dr. Eid is investigating how and why peripheral neuropathy happens down to the cell level. The end goal is to develop effective therapies for the debilitating condition that affects 30% of prediabetic patients and 50% of diabetic patients and currently does not have effective treatments. Dr. Eid’s research has already uncovered that obesity and high blood lipids, not high blood sugar, are the precursors to peripheral neuropathy, resulting in a paradigm shift in treatment approaches. She has discovered that placing animal models on a low-fat, healthy diet can reverse nerve damage. She is now extending her research to explore how Schwann cells, the supporting cells of peripheral nerves, maintain the health of nerve axons under normal conditions but promote damage in those with prediabetic and diabetic neuropathy. Her findings will help inform the best therapy to treat this debilitating condition.

“First and foremost, Frances and I want to do what we can to change as many lives as possible for the better,” explained Kenneth Eisenberg. “These young researchers have already shown the incredible potential they have to do just that. We cannot wait to see what their research will bring in the future.”