The ALS Association

Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

Eugene P. Brandon, Ph.D.

Professional Position: Senior Director, Strategic Relations & Communications
Company: Viacyte, Inc.
Location: San Diego, CA

Dr. Eugene Brandon is a scientist working in translational medicine, which is turning new ideas into new treatments for disease. He has expertise in biomedical product development, regenerative medicine, cell and gene therapy, stem cell technology, endocrinology, and neurodegenerative diseases, with a particular focus on ALS. His PhD is in Pharmacology and Neurobiology and he has spent approximately 30 years in scientific research and development, in both academic and industry contexts. Since 2005, Eugene has been an active volunteer with the ALS Association.

Eugene’s career in scientific research began with a major in Biopsychology at Tufts University, followed by a position at New England Medical Center pioneering activated lymphocytes for the treatment of cancer in the early days of immuno-oncology. He earned his PhD at the University of Washington School of Medicine, with his doctoral work on intracellular signaling and neural function. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, he focused on cholinergic systems, motor neurons, and the neuromuscular junction. In the biotechnology industry, Eugene led the Parkinson’s disease and ALS gene therapy efforts at Ceregene, and most recently, the product development of a cell therapy for diabetes at ViaCyte. Over the course of these various positions Dr. Brandon has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier scientific journals and presented at numerous scientific conferences.

While at Ceregene, Eugene joined the Board of Directors of the Greater San Diego Chapter of the ALS Association. Over the years he has been increasingly involved, acting in each of the Executive Committee positions including five years as the Board Vice Chair and the last two as Chair. At the San Diego Chapter, Eugene has led the Strategic Planning and the formation of an Advisory Council, and currently serves on the Governance Committee.

Eugene’s involvement became more personal in 2008 when his friend and neighbor, Shane, about 50 years old with a wife and four young children, was stricken with ALS. Seeing ALS directly, including the emotions, transitions, and physical challenges, was enlightening and motivating as Eugene helped Shane navigate the various clinical trials and experimental treatments available. Sadly, Shane eventually succumbed to ALS in 2012.

With a broad understanding of the scientific advances as well as the patient’s perspective, Dr. Brandon is driven to contribute where he can to improving life for ALS patients. For the ALS Association, he is Vice Chair of the Research Committee, and Chair of the newly forming Scientific and Medical Research Advisory Council.

Dr. Brandon lives in San Diego with his wife of 20 years, Rebecca, their four children, and ten pets.

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