John Winkelman, MD, PhD, chief of the Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, has joined Flex Pharma Inc’s scientific advisory board. Flex Pharma is a biotechnology company that is developing treatments for exercise-associated muscle cramps, nocturnal leg cramps, and spasms associated with severe neuromuscular conditions.

Winkelman is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Prior to MGH, he served for 17 years as medical director of the Sleep Health Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Winkelman’s clinical work, teaching, and research focuses on the epidemiology, neurobiology, and clinical consequences of primary sleep disorders. His clinical research has included clinical trials in sleep-related movement disorders, particularly extensive involvement in the development of approved agents for restless legs syndrome (RLS). Winkelman is chair of the American Academy of Neurology practice parameter committee for the treatment RLS, serves on the executive committee of the International RLS Study Group, is an associate editor of Sleep and serves on the editorial boards of Sleep Medicine and CNS Drugs. He has published more than 100 articles, reviews, and book chapters. Winkelman received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his PhD from Harvard University in Psychobiology. He finished a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in neurology (Sleep Disorders Medicine) at MGH.

“Dr Winkelman brings a wealth of clinical development experience in sleep-related movement disorders which is extremely valuable to Flex Pharma as we embark on clinical studies in nocturnal leg cramps,” says Rod MacKinnon, MD, nobel laureate and Flex Pharma co-founder, board member, and co-chair of the company’s scientific advisory board, in a release. “Dr Winkelman is an international thought leader in his field and his pioneering clinical work will help guide our development efforts.”

Also on the scientific advisory board of Flex Pharma are:

  • Rod MacKinnon, MD, co-founder and chair, is an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor, Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at The Rockefeller University, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • Bruce Bean, PhD, co-founder and chair, is the Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • David Julius, PhD, is a professor and chair, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco and member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.
  • Roger Tung, PhD, is scientific founder, president, and CEO of Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc, founding scientist and former vice president of drug discovery of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc and a co-inventor of Lexiva and Agenerase.
  • Christopher Walsh, PhD, is an emeritus professor from the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently a consulting professor, Department of Chemistry at Stanford University and an advisor to the ChEM-H center at Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.