Dr. John Kissel, Chair of Neurology at OSU Wexner Medical Center, Retires After 40 Years

Dr. John Kissel has treated patients with neuromuscular disorders from all over the United States. He specializes in spinal muscular atrophy and has been instrumental in his practice at one of the country’s leading centers in neuromuscular medicine.

Dr. Kissel’s interest in SMA began during his time as a fellow at Ohio State University Hospital in the early 1980s, along with Dr. Jerry Mendell. He worked with Dr. Arthur Burghes, who became instrumental in many major advances that broadened our understanding of the basic science behind SMA, including generation of an accurate mouse model for the disease. His interest was cemented after a chance meeting at a scientific conference in Paris led to a speaking engagement with the Families of Spinal Muscle Atrophy, now Cure SMA.

As one of the first neurologists to focus on treatments for adults with SMA, Kissel has conducted numerous clinical trials at Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital throughout this career. He was a principal investigator in the clinical trial network, Project Cure SMA, for a number of years where he conducted trials such as the Phase II Valproic Acid in Ambulant Adults with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (VALIANT SMA) trial, funded by Cure SMA.

Dr. Kissel has served on the Cure SMA Medical Advisory Committee for more than a decade and further contributed to Cure SMA by serving on the science and medicine committee under the board of directors as well. He has also participated in many workshops and panels at the Cure SMA Annual Conference. Cure SMA thanks Dr. Kissel for lending his time and talents to Cure SMA over several decades.

Upon his retirement, Dr. Kissel hopes his legacy is seeing his team continue on to make even greater progress in the neuromuscular field. “I think the most satisfying part of the job is you hope you can train people who take the message and carry the message out,” said Dr. Kissel. Currently, Cure SMA is funding one of Dr. Kissel’s mentees at OSU, Dr. Bakri El Sheik, for his project, “Determining the motor unit response following SMN restoration in late-onset spinal muscular atrophy”.

To view a video about Dr. Kissel’s work please see here

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