Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Clinical Translational Core Faculty

Ali Fatemi, M.D., M.B.A.
Ali Fatemi is a core co-director and also serves as one of the Directors of the IDDRC in addition to his roles as the Chief Medical Officer at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Director of the Division of Neurogenetics and the Moser Center for Leukodystrophies. He is also Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University. He is well-versed in a wide range of laboratory techniques and animal procedures and serves as PI for several clinical trials in leukodystrophies and supervises the KKI clinical trials team of coordinators. He has served on the scientific advisory board of several rare disease foundations and industry partners and has had multiple interactions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a physician/disease advocate during Pre-IND and IND meetings with industry partners. He provides expertise in molecular neuroscience topics, clinical trial design (specifically for rare diseases), and outcome measure selection.


Sujatha Kannan, M.D
Sujatha Kannan, MD is core co-director. She is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) and Pediatrics, and holds the Richard J. Traystman Distinguished Chair at JHU. She also is the Vice Chair for Research in ACCM at JHU. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms and progression of glia-mediated cellular and metabolic derangements leading to brain injury during development, and has used this information to design targeted nanotechnology-based therapy which she has patented and is advancing into the clinic. She has expertise in evaluating neurobehavior and brain inflammatory responses using immunohistochemistry, protein and mRNA expression of cytokines and small animal imaging in various animal models of, among others, chorioamnionitis, pediatric traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and hypoxic-ischemia/stroke. Her lab also has expertise in confocal imaging of cells and tissue and evaluation of glial and neuronal injury. She has worked in multidisciplinary settings over the last 18 years in evaluating and comparing the efficacy of drugs and nanodevices, in in vivo and in vitro models of neuroinflammation. Another particular strength of Dr. Kannan is her expertise in taking discoveries from bench to bedside. She holds 15 issued patents (all licensed) and several pending patents related to this technology and has co-founded companies for clinical translation.


Luther Kalb, Ph.D.
Luther (Luke) Kalb is core faculty.  He is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University and works in the Department of Neuropsychology and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  Dr. Kalb’s research focuses on improving mental health outcomes among vulnerable populations, particularly among youth with developmental disabilities. His research portfolio also extends to assessing the effectiveness of community-based mental health programs, psychometrics and measure development, developing methods to address selection bias, and use of health information systems and emerging technologies to improve clinical care and research methodologies.


Mary Blue, Ph.D.
Mary Blue is core faculty. She also directs the Brain Histology and Imaging Facility at Kennedy Krieger and is an associate professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She provides consultation, hands-on training and fee-based services for the conduct of animal behavior experiments and neuropathological assessments with histological and immunohistochemical stains, microscopy, and image and morphometric analyses.



Richard Jones, Ph.D.
Richard Jones is core faculty.  He is currently the administrative laboratory manager for the Genetics Laboratories at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as a research associate in neurology at Johns Hopkins. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association.



Mingyao Ying, Ph.D.
Mingyao Ying is core faculty. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine




Gayane Yenokyan, M.D., Ph.D.
Gayane Tenokyan is core faculty. She is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Biostatistics and an Interim Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Biostatistics Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the lead statistician on a number of statistical projects and has mentored the junior faculty and graduate students at the center.



Toby Gordon, Sc.D.
Toby Gordon is core faculty. She is an Associate Professor with expertise in the areas of healthcare policy, management of hospitals and health systems, and technology commercialization. Toby has joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Health Policy and Management and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Surgery. Toby serves as the Academic Program Director of the Healthcare Management Programs, directs the Discovery to Market technology commercialization course and is the Deputy Director for Business Strategies for the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is currently the section editor of Medical Technology for the journal Surgical Innovation, and serves as a healthcare expert for the European Commission.


Nicola Heller, Ph.D.
Nicola Heller is core faculty. She is an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and allergy and clinical immunology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Heller is an immunologist and has focused her career on cellular and molecular studies in the context of immune dysregulation and inflammation in neuroinflammation and other diseases. She provides consultation, hands-on training for cellular phenotyping and functional analyses, and provide fee-based access to the equipment.



Robert A. Wood, M.D.

Robert A. Wood, MD is core faculty. He is a Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit (PCRU) in the Johns Hopkins ICTR at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center ( Dr. Wood provides guidance on study design, risk assessment and mitigation, medical management issues.