Diane Stephenson, Ph.D.

Coalition Against Major Diseases

Diane Stephenson is a neuroscientist by training with 30 years combined experience in academic neuroscience and drug discovery. She is passionate about translational science and has a long time dedication to the discovery of therapies to treat diseases of the nervous system. Diane received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University. In her academic career, Diane focused her research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease while in industry she focused on drug discovery for Alzheimer's disease, stroke and Parkinson's disease. From 1981-1989, Diane was an associate research scientist at the ALS and Neuromuscular Research Foundation in San Francisco. In 1990, she joined Eli Lilly where she collaborated with pioneers of the amyloid hypothesis. At Pharmacia, Diane focused on stroke and Parkinson’s disease with emphasis on primate models. 

At Pfizer, she directed a lab focused on target identification, validation and prosecution of novel candidates for AD disease modification as well as defining novel candidates to treat neuropsychiatric diseases. Diane has over 55 scientific publications and six patents in the neuroscience area. Her specific areas of technical expertise include neuroimaging, neuropathology, biomarkers, neuroinflammation, synaptic biology and animal model characterization. As an ambassador for public-private partnerships, she has initiated numerous external academic collaborations including worldwide alliances. Diane joined Critical Path Institute as Director of the Coalition Against Major Diseases (CAMD) in August 2011. In her current role, Diane leads a multidisciplinary team comprised of academic experts, industry scientists, patient advocacy groups and regulatory experts collectively aimed at accelerating treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. 

The mission of CAMD is to accelerate the development of therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases by generating the best methods and tools for evaluating drug efficacy, expediting clinical trials, and streamlining review by regulatory agencies. The members of CAMD work to develop tools that can identify patients with neurodegenerative diseases at an early, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic stage, thereby offering a greater chance for therapies to improve the quality of life for patients and families.