Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer at the National MS Society, has been a leader in the pursuit of innovative ways to move us closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis since receiving his PhD in microbiology and immunology in 1993. Dr. Coetzee has contributed to the field of MS research in numerous ways, including everything from his postdoctoral work researching the structure and function of myelin, to ultimately helping to create programs such as the Society’s Translational Research Partnerships in Nervous System Repair and Protection in MS. His diverse experience in multiple areas of MS has provided him the insight and ability to create critical partnerships and effective collaborations worldwide; his leadership and commitment to the NOW $250 million fundraising initiative will propel research and treatment advances for people affected by all forms of MS. Under Dr. Coetzee’s leadership, the National MS Society created its Career Transition Fellowship, the first transition award for postdoctoral fellows to be established by a patient advocacy organization, and the MS Clinician Scientist Development Award, a joint venture award between the National MS Society and the American Academy of Neurology to recruit young physician-scientists to MS clinical research. Dr. Coetzee was also a leader in establishing the Translational Research Partnerships in Nervous System Repair and Protection in MS Program, a five-year, $15 million commitment to fund four large collaborative research teams focused on developing tools and strategies to promote nervous system repair and protection in MS. This program became the cornerstone of the Society’s $32 million Promise: 2010 campaign and Dr. Coetzee was a major force in raising funds for the accomplishment of those efforts.
Dr. Coetzee received his PhD in microbiology and immunology from Albany Medical College in Albany, NY in 1993. He began his lifelong commitment to ending MS when he received the National MS Society’s Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship to support his research on the structure and function of myelin. Dr. Coetzee joined the National MS Society’s Research Department in 2000 as the Director of Research Training Programs. Subsequently, he held various positions, including Director of Research Initiatives and Outreach, Associate Vice President of Research Initiatives and Outreach, and Vice President of Discovery Partnerships where he assumed responsibility for the development, launch and leadership of Fast Forward in 2006, a Society initiative that continues to break down barriers that impede commercial development, clinical trials, and ultimate patient availability of new treatments for all forms of MS. Research articles by Dr. Coetzee have been published in a variety of journals, including, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Neurochemical Research, Journal of Neurocytology, Cell, Genomics, Genes & Development, and the Journal of Molecular Biology. Dr. Coetzee has been a requested panelist and presenter at multiple conferences and summits, and testified at several Congressional hearings in Washington, DC. Dr. Coetzee has served as a member of the Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, Institute of Medicine of the National Academics since 2006.