Alex Montaldo is one of the co-founders of stoPD. He is a film and theater actor based in New York and Los Angeles, a Lee Strasberg Institute graduate, and has a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
Alex is a skilled athlete, a boxer, and a certified stage/film fighter. He is also a staunch supporter of animal rights and animal welfare, has participated in drama therapy programs for psychiatric patients.
Alex is an advocate for the importance of intense exercise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and participated as an invited speaker in National Parkinson’s Foundation events in Los Angeles and Northern California, support groups and hospitals in New York and New Jersey. Alex is currently working with a team of experts at developing a theater program specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s.
Roberta Marongiu, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Neurological Surgery. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Weill Cornell Brain and Mind Institute. In the laboratory, she has been assisting Dr. Michael G. Kaplitt in developing novel AAV gene therapy approaches for Parkinson’s disease and collaborating with researchers in Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Marongiu earned her Ph.D. in Medical Genetics and Neuroscience from University of Rome “Sapienza” Italy, and the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Marongiu’s research focuses on the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease and the development of new adeno-associated virus vector (AAV)-mediated brain gene therapies for Parkinson’s disease. She is currently studying drug therapy induced-motor complication and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. She is particularly interested in characterizing how sex-related differences influence the disease onset and progression.
Suzanne Keller – A Groupon sowed the seeds for Suzanne’s love of boxing – a job in fashion made it’s practice a personal necessity. At a Cinco De Mayo party at her boxing gym, she learned about boxing program for Parkinson’s patients run by Alex & Roberta in Brooklyn. She wrote a snail mail letter to Dr. Roberta Marongiu & started volunteering at Gleason’s shortly thereafter. Suzanne received her PD coaching certification in June 2015 and Gleason’s in February 2016. Suzanne works at the Administrative Manager for the program.
Dorrius Forde helped train former WBA welterweight champion Andrew Six Hands Lewis and former IBF junior lightweight champion Gary St. Clair. He is one of the top boxers out of Guyana. Dorrius turned to training boxers and help them fulfill their dreams. He trains people to be self-confident, focused, and discipline.
Peter “PJ” Lawson is a boxing and fitness trainer. He won many tournaments in NY such as 2006 Metro Finalist, 2006 National Quarter Finalist, 2007 Metro Golden Champ, 2008 Golden Glove Finalist, and 2008 DC Mayor Cup Champ titles. Additionally, he uses entrepreneurial wisdom acquired through many marketplace trials and successfully channels his passion for helping restless and lost individuals in urban communities. He does this through South Warzone No Bullying — a program he began in 2014. This organization was especially designed to give disadvantaged, underprivileged, and fatherless youth an opportunity to learn special defense tactics while gaining a sense of confidence.
*CERTIFIED AND REGISTERED USA BOXING TRAINER
Mario Marin is a former professional fighter having trained martial arts all his life. His Muay Thai experience started with Sifu Neil Cauliffe at the original NY Martial arts academy in Whitestone, Queens in 1987. Since then he has trained at numerous gyms in the U.S. including the famed Degeberg Academy in Chicago Illinois, Zaragoza Boxing with Pro coach Willie Buenavides, Gleason’s gym, The Wat with Phil Nurse, and Renzo Gracie academy. A former MMA fighter and active submission grappling competitor, his course naturally took him to Thailand where he trained and fought for the world famous Tiger Muay Thai Fight Team in 2012/13. He has since taken on the role of Muay Thai coach at the world famous Gleason’s Gym and has also returned to Phuket to establish relationships with many of the gyms there, including the famous Phuket Top Team, for the purpose of bringing amazing Thai instructors to the U.S. for seminars.
The Rev. Howard Major III, a United Church of Christ minister, is Assistant Pastor at the West End Collegiate Church in Manhattan. He also heads the inter-religious LifeCeremonies, a service providing rituals and commemorations for those religiously unaffiliated or non-religious. He is a late blooming boxer at Gleason’s Gym and hopes one day to be an amateur contender (once, anyway). He especially admires the members of stoPD who courageously contend with Parkinson’s disease. He lives in Brooklyn.
Mia Christo is honored to be an instructor with stoPD’s theater program. Mia received her MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and her BS in Television and Film Production from St. John’s University. She is currently Adjunct Faculty teaching Acting. Her work spans from feature films, Off-Broadway productions, commercials, industrials, voice-over ads, and award-winning web series. Currently you can hear Mia as the voice of Whole Foods Market. Recent credits include: Jane in Black Sheep (originated role), Denise Savage in Savage in Limbo, and Amy, in the award winning web series Stop The Bleeding! Follow her motto: Create. Give. Live.
More @miachristo and www.miachristo.com
Chelsea Elexis Van is a Doctor of Physical Therapy student and a current Muay Thai instructor at Red Planet Muay Thai. She has competed in Muay Thai with camp Sitthongsai at Art of War MMA gym, and in 2015 was ranked a top 2 amateur female fighter, strawweight division, in the International Kickboxing Federation. Chelsea has experience as a self-defense trainer and board member with Warrior Sisters, and as a life-skills coach for survivors of trauma. Chelsea loves how boxing influences self-efficacy, resilience, and health, and she’s excited to be with stoPD.