Meet the Team

Christopher B. Shields, M.D.

Dr. Shields is the Founder of NeuroCures. He is a Neurosurgeon and Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience at Indiana University and the University of Louisville.

Dr. Shields’ vision for NeuroCures is unique. He recognizes that even with the best treatments, patients are left with residual neurological deficits. The mission of NeuroCures is to transform the lives of patients with neurological disorders through innovative clinical care and ultimately cures across the neuroscience continuum including: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) acquired Spinal Cord and Head Injuries and Multiple Sclerosis.

Dr. Shields has operated on over 22,000 patients in his clinical practice since receiving his certification as a neurosurgeon in 1974. He established the renowned Kentucky Spinal Cord and Research Center as one of the major spinal cord research institutes in the world. The center has ranked as high as 5th among neurosurgery departments in the United States receiving NIH grants.

Recognizing the value of translational research, Dr. Shields founded the iconic Frazier Rehab Institute, a leading national rehabilitation facility. He recruited top rehabilitation research scientists to the center to enhance the translation of laboratory discoveries to the clinic. These innovators “retrained” the body after injury to increase function and mobility. The positive results for patients earned worldwide acclaim and collaboration. Both institutions have stood for decades as Dr. Shields’ legacy to advance research and enable patients to walk again.

Most recently, Dr. Shields has established the Norton Neuroscience Institute, a leading clinical neuroscience center, consisting of 13 neurosurgeons and 17 neurologists. Through these accomplishments, he has a proven track record of creating highly successful clinical and research organizations. It is his hope that NeuroCures will build upon their success to discover novel solutions and advance cures to improve the lives of patients across the neuroscience continuum.

Dr. Shields has participated in numerous professional neurosurgical organizations and has received many awards. He is the past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and the American College of Surgeons. He was the inaugural recipient of the Friend of American Board of Neurosurgical Nurses award in 2015. Dr. Shields is widely published, with 128 papers appearing in peer reviewed journals and a total of 200 publications and book chapters to his credit. Dr. Shields has dedicated his medical career to the neurological sciences.

Dr. Shields remains focused on finding better, more innovative treatments for neurological diseases and trauma. He firmly believes that a cure for neurological disease and injury will be found. “We are providing the best treatments for neurological patients we see today,” he says, “but our vision is to cure the effects of neurotrauma and prevent neurological diseases in the future.” Dr. Shields is collaborating with some of the world’s top researchers and clinicians so that the NeuroCures Team can accomplish this mission.

Xiao-Ming Xu, Ph.D.
Board Member

Dr. Xu is the Mari Hulman George Professor of Neurological Surgery and Scientific Director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Group, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Xu is also a regular member of the NIH NSD-A Study Section.

Dr. Xu’s research goal is to study mechanisms underlying traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and brain injury (TBI) and to develop novel repair strategies to promote anatomical reorganization and functional recovery in experimental models of these injuries. His long-term goal is to translate effective treatments from animal models to humans.

In addition to publishing 160 papers in refereed journals, Dr. Xu has continuously received NIH and other research funds to support research on spinal cord and head injury and neuroprotection, spinal cord regeneration, nerve repair after spinal cord injury, paralysis, remyelination after spinal cord injury, and vascular disruption after spinal cord injury.

Dr. Xu is currently an Editor-in-Chief of Neural Regeneration Research. He is the Co-Chair of the International Neural Regeneration Symposium that is held biannually. Dr. Xu’s vast experience, expertise, and vision in developing neuroprotective, regenerative and rehabilitative treatments for spinal cord and other neurological injuries are groundbreaking.

“NeuroCures is about more than finding treatments,” Dr. Xu said, “because many researchers are conducting such studies already. Our goal is to find ways to prevent or reverse neurological trauma, not simply treat it. We believe in this mission.”

His work is a key element to NeuroCures’ belief that a cure for neurological disease and injury can be found, possibly affecting a wide range of current and future patients.

Teresa M. Leezer, CEO
NeuroCures Foundation

Teresa is a global strategist and innovative leader with more than twenty years of Fortune 100 management experience translating to $10 Billion in medical product sales and $250 Million in biomedical startup value. She has secured over $20 Million in development capital from venture, federal and angel financings for early therapeutic, novel biologic and first in class medical device technology startups.

Her management, marketing and global branding expertise encompasses all aspects of company, portfolio and product innovation. As an international launch leader, she is a proven global strategist with keen management skills that drive the creation of new technologies, products and resources to benefit the global community.

In leading diverse teams, Teresa builds consensus and unites efforts around a common goal and vision. She leverages her experience from Hoffman-LaRoche, Merck Labs and Bristol Myers Squibb, as well as her entrepreneurial skills in the creation, management and development of innovative companies, transformational therapies, novel devices, and breakthrough solutions to increase quality of life for patients and their families.

Teresa has managed every phase of the Product Life Cycle: Pre-Clinical, IND Enabling, Clinical Trial Development, Launch, Growth and Maturity. Her Strategic Branding, Marketing, Sales and Management expertise spans the institutional, physician and over the counter markets. Global product launch sales include worldwide blockbusters Fosamax, Zantac, Reyataz, Sustiva, Aleve and Rocephin. Biotechnology startups include RhinoCyte, Inc. and Alltranz/Zynerba Pharmaceuticals ($275 Million IPO/ NASDAQ).

Teresa’s category experience includes: neurology, genomics, regenerative osteoporosis, oncology, virology, anti-infectives, anti-fungals, rheumatology, anesthesiology, dermatology, cardiovascular, pain management, gastroenterology, and immunology.

She has directed significant co-marketing initiatives including the first pharmaceutical product co-promotion in Zantac ($4 billion in global sales) with Roche and Glaxo Smith Kline. Teresa led the co-promotion of Fosamax ($4 billion in global sales) with Merck and Wyeth-Ayerst. She has directed contract sales organizations in the co-promotion of market leaders Flonase ($900 Million) and the first direct to consumer product launch of Aleve ($350 Million).

Teresa has served on numerous community, nonprofit and company boards including RhinoCyte and AllTranz/Zynerba from 2007 to 2015 preparing Zynerba ($275 Million) for an IPO listing on the NSADAQ.

Board of Directors

  • Kevin Bramer, Chairman of the Board
  • Lance Burton, National Spokesperson
  • Mary Hass, Development Committee Co-Chair
  • Ingrid Johnson, Board Governance Chair
  • Mustaque Juneja, M.D., Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Cindy Norton, Development Committee
  • Shirley Powers, Board Governance Committee
  • Mike Richardson, Board Governance Committee
  • Tim Shaughnessy, Former KY Senator
  • Jean West, Development Committee Co-Chair
  • Xiao-Ming Xu, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Advisory Committee

Robert E. Rich, Counsel

Taft Stenttinius & Hollister, LLP

Bob practices in the health care and managed care medical field, as well as in general tax planning and the defense of tax issues, exempt organization and private foundation matters, probate administration, estate tax planning and personal service contracting, and in the formation and operation of partnerships and limited liability companies of all kinds. He has had extensive experience in the organization and operation of independent physician associations, multi-specialty medical practice groups and medical school faculty practice plans.

Bob has been the speaker at numerous seminars, such as the Cincinnati Bar Association, C.L.E. Seminars, Southwestern Ohio Tax Institute, Kentucky Continuing Legal Education Law and Medicine Seminar, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Family Practice Seminar.

He is a past president of the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, Lighthouse Youth Services Inc. and the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association. He is currently a Volunteer Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Bob is listed in Best Lawyers in America for health care law and tax law and was named a 2015 “Lawyer of the Year” for Cincinnati Health Care Law. Bob was also selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers, published by Cincinnati Magazine.

Bob is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1969 and 1970.

He can be reached at

Joy A. Cavagnaro, PhD, DABT, RAC

President of Access BIO

Access BIO is a consultancy specializing in science-based regulatory strategies and preclinical product development services to facilitate biomedical research and emerging technologies. Specific product areas of expertise include vaccines, cellular and gene therapies, animal-based and plant-based biotherapeutics, biotechnology-derived and tissue engineered products. Dr. Cavagnaro received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the UNC Chapel Hill followed by postgraduate work at Duke and Boston University Medical Centers. She has over 25 years experience in biotech spanning academia, the CRO and biotech industries and government. Prior to establishing Access BIO, Dr. Cavagnaro was Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Human Genome Sciences, Inc. Dr. Cavagnaro enjoyed a career in government at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research before rejoining industry. During her tenure she was appointed to the Senior Biomedical Research Service, served as FDA’s topic lead for safety for the ICH initiative for seven years and rapporteur for the ICH S6 Guidance on Preclinical Safety Evaluation of Biotechnology-derived Pharmaceuticals. She also chaired the working groups responsible for FDA’s 1996 Comparability Guidance Document and 1995 Points to Consider in the Manufacture and Testing of Therapeutic Products for Human Use Derived from Transgenic Animals. Her last official FDA duty was to Chair the Annual FDA Science Forum on Regulatory Sciences, December 1997. Prior to joining FDA Dr. Cavagnaro was principal study director for biotechnology products at Covance (formerly Hazleton Labs). Dr. Cavagnaro is Past Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society, National Capital Area Chapter of the Society of Toxicology and Immediate Past Chair and Founder of BioSafe, a focused expert science committee within BIO which identifies key scientific and regulatory issues and developments related to the preclinical safety evaluation of biopharmaceutical products. Dr. Cavagnaro is current North American Chair of DIA’s Biotech SIAC and is co-chair of Chesapeake Research Review’s Independent IRB. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the NIH National Gene Vector Laboratory and is a member of the Clinical and Regulatory Affairs Committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy. Dr. Cavagnaro was the US BIO representative to the ABPI/BIA Early Stage Clinical Trials Taskforce.

Gwen Tilton, CPA

Director of Tax Services
Dean Dorton & Ford

Gwen is the Director of Tax Services at Dean Dorton & Ford. She has more than 35 years of experience in public accounting. She was elected President of Cotton & Allen in July 2007, and previously chaired Cotton + Allen’s tax department and litigation consulting group prior to the combination with Dean Dorton and Fort. Gwen has been a member of the Dean Dorton board of directors and the managing director of the Louisville Office.

Amy Berg, Counsel

Middleton Reutlinger, LLP

Amy B. Berge with Middleton Reutlinger Law, serves as an advisor and litigator, providing strategic counseling and business advice to both small and large companies regarding intellectual property, technology, advertising, online privacy, and licensing. A significant part of Amy’s practice involves the development, management, exploitation, and enforcement of international trademark portfolios.

Amy assists in obtaining and maintaining trademark and copyright registrations, domains and other online disputes. She negotiates technology and licensing agreements, and litigates in these areas as needed to protect her clients’ rights. Amy has litigation experience before federal and state courts, as well as the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Amy was honored as the 2018 Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America® for Copyright Law. She was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2006-2018, in the fields of Copyright Law and Intellectual Property. She is consistently listed in America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Intellectual property and was named a Kentucky Super Lawyers® for Intellectual Property in 2013-2018.

Josh Starr

Solid Giant Ltd

For over fifteen years Josh has worked with large fortune 100 brands as well as world changing nonprofits on digital marketing projects. He enjoys the impact that he helps his clients create, and the results they generate. He and his wife Rachelle are the founders of a national nonprofit based in Louisville called Scarlet Hope.

Len Moisan, Founder and President, The Covenant Group

Len has served as a Senior Vice President at two universities and a consultant to scores of nonprofit organizations and companies, he and his colleagues have been responsible for helping generate over $1 billion in revenues and facilitating and coaching the work of thousands of volunteers. Over the firm’s 20 year history, all campaigns managed by The Covenant Group have averaged a 98% success rate and 145% of goal. His church campaigns have averaged a 100% success rate and 155% of goal.

Dr. Moisan has served as an educator, coach, manager, entrepreneur, and private consultant. As a Vice President at Bellarmine University, he more than doubled the annual fund, increased college admissions by more than 30 percent in 3 years; won 15 regional or national awards and exceeded the capital campaign goal by 75 percent. He holds a B.A. in English and a master’s degree in counseling from Northern Illinois University, a specialist degree in leadership studies from Lynchburg College and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Gigi, have three children and live in Louisville.

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