Therapeutic Area Head Neuroscience and Respiratory
Dr Jina Swartz trained in Internal Medicine and Neurology in South Africa, where she obtained her MBBCh (MD) degree cum laude, followed by an MSc Medicine (in Neurology). Within Neurology, she has a special interest in neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinocerebellar degenerations), cerebrovascular disease, infectious neurology, epilepsy, pain and migraine, paediatric neurology and neurogenetics. Following the award of a post-doctoral research fellowship in 1998, she completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, exploring molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in cellular models of Huntington's disease and trinucleotide disorders. She was also recently appointed to the Fellowship of the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK.
Jina’s experience in clinical development spans almost twenty in industry. Dr Swartz worked in Exploratory Medicine/Translational Medicine in the Neurology CEDD at GlaxoSmithKline. She was then Senior Medical Director in CNS at Eisai Global Clinical Development. In 2010 she became Neurology Therapeutic Area Leader (Vice President) at Bracket/Signant. In 2014, she worked as Senior Medical Director in the CNS Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda. Her current role is Therapeutic Area Head Neuroscience and Respiratory/Immunology, Executive Medical Director in Global Clinical Development, based in Europe, at Merck Sharp and Dohme (Merck and Co), as an international expert in developing therapies for neurological disorders and chronic cough. Over this time frame, she has worked in increasing roles of responsibility within both Translational Medicine and Clinical Development, focussing on Alzheimer’s disease, dementias and disorders of cognition, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, pain, epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxias, Friedreich’s ataxia, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, sleep disorders and refractory chronic cough.
Dr Swartz previously performed sessions at the Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture, in London. She is also an Honorary Consultant at Imperial College London, where she performed clinical sessions at the West London Cognitive Disorders Treatment and Research Unit and is currently a visiting Lecturer on the MSc Pharmacology course at Kings College London. She also serves as an Industry Board Member at Ataxia UK and an External Advisory Board Member for Sheffield Translational Neuroscience Centre for Chronic Neurological Disorders.