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Brian J. Reithel, Ph.D., Board Chair
Dr. Brian Reithel is Professor of Management Information Systems at The University of Mississippi. He has been a faculty member and consultant in the information technology field since 1984. In addition to serving as Dean of the School of Business Administration, he has served in a variety of other leadership roles at UM including: Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations, Co-Director of the $525 million Commitment to Excellence Campaign, Interim Director of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, Co-Chair of the Sesquicentennial Celebration, and Chair of the MIS/POM Department. A prolific scholar, he has authored more than 90 research articles and papers for leading journals and scientific conferences. He is also a trusted source for the popular press on questions related to emerging information technologies with appearances in PC World magazine, Inc Magazine, The New York Times, ComputerWorld, National Public Radio and more. In 2005, he served as the national President of the Association of IT Professionals, at the time AITP was the world's oldest association for the information technology industry. He has also served as the President of the national Foundation for Information Technology Education. He provided strategic guidance for the development of one of today's leading FDA-regulated blood establishment computer systems, bexWISE, through his involvement with IT Synergistics, LLC from 2002 - 2020.
Robert J. Soiffer, M.D., Immediate Past Board Chair
Dr. Robert Soiffer received his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. He completed fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Robert J. Soiffer, M.D. is currently Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is Chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Vice-Chairman of Medical Oncology, and Co-Director of Bone Marrow Transplant Service at DFCI. Dr. Soiffer is a former President of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He served on the advisory board for the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Executive Steering Committees for Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network. He has published more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Soiffer’s research focuses on modulation of immune responses in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The ultimate goal for his clinical trials and research grants is to optimize graft-versus-leukemia activity without inducing graft-versus-host disease.
Judith Gasson, Ph.D., Vice Chair
Dr. Gasson has spent more than 30 years at UCLA in various teaching, research and senior leadership roles. She currently serves as Senior Advisor DGSoM Research and Innovation, a role that she has held since November, 2015 and as a Director of the UCLA Technology Development Corporation. In this capacity, she works with faculty inventors, business students and faculty, and the Office Technology Development to facilitate the translation of innovative discoveries to address unmet medical needs. She also serves on the Boards of the National Marrow Donor Program, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Biocom-LA and the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation.
She served as the Director of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and President of the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation from September 1995 until September 2015. JCCC is one of only 47 institutions designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute, and consistently rated among the nation's top ten institutions, according to U.S. News & World Report. Under her leadership, JCCC became an international pioneer in "translating" laboratory discoveries into more effective new therapies for cancer patients everywhere.
Dr. Gasson also served as Senior Associate Dean for Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine from September, 2012 until she retired three years later. She began her career at UCLA in 1983 as a Professor of Medicine (Hematology-Oncology) and Biological Chemistry. Her work was instrumental in purifying for the first time a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, also had impacts on the granulocytes and monocytes of the immune system.
Her academic credentials include a BS degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University and a Doctorate in Physiology from the University of Colorado. She did her post-doctorate work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, studying glucocorticoid hormones.
Krishna Komanduri, M.D., Secretary
Dr. Komanduri holds the Kalish Family Chair in Stem Cell Transplantation and is Professor of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology and is the Director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program and Associate Director for Clinical Innovation at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Komanduri received his undergraduate education at MIT (1987), his MD at the University of Minnesota Medical School (1991) and trained at UCLA (in Internal Medicine) and UCSF (in Hematology/Oncology). Prior to moving to Miami in 2008, he was a faculty member at UCSF and at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. His laboratory research is focused on studies of cancer immunology and has been widely published and supported by the NIH and cancer-related foundation.
Dr. Komanduri is the immediate Past-President of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). He also serves as Co-Chair of the CIBMTR Working Committee on Infections and Immune Reconstitution and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Marrow Donor Program (BeTheMatch) and as a member of the MIT NEWDIGS “think and do” tank on financing of novel curative therapies in oncology. He has also served as Chair of the Immunology and Host Defense Scientific Committee for the American Society of Hematology and as a clinical expert for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review Policy Roundtable on CAR-T Therapies. He also co-chaired the 2018 ASBMT consensus conference on grading and reporting of toxicities for CAR-T cell therapies and continues to serve as co-chair of the ASBMT Committee on Cellular Therapies. He has been the recipient of awards including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (in 2009).
Abby West is a longtime journalist and publishing executive, now working in marketing at Audible. She has a long history at prominent national magazines, including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, and People, as well as at Yahoo. Abby also became a PBSC donor in 2014, answering the call 17 years after she was moved to join the Be The Match registry while she was reporting on a drive to recruit more African-American donors.
Ms. McGeorge has 35 years of experience working with health care clients. She recently retired as the Global Managing Partner, Health Care Industry Practice, Grant Thornton LLP, where she worked extensively with large health systems, managed care organizations, insurance companies, and life sciences companies. She has assisted clients in all aspects of financial and strategic consulting, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, physician contracting, executive compensation, tax planning, risk assessment, regulatory issues, and IRS matters. Ms. McGeorge was formerly a partner with Deloitte and Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP
Ms. McGeorge sits on a number of public and private corporate boards and is the Chair of the Audit Committee for Magenta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MGTA), a clinical stage biotech company based in Cambridge, MA, The Oncology Institute (NASDAQ:TOI), a value based care oncology services company based in Cerritos, CA, CitiusTech (https://www.citiustech.com), a healthcare technology company based in Mumbai, IN, and Princeton, NJ, and Nimbus Therapeutics (https://www.nimbustx.com), a clinical stage biotech company based in Boston, MA. She is also an adjunct faculty member of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also an advisory board member of HCA Health Innovations, a health care venture capital firm based in Nashville, TN and Winston-Salem, NC.
Ms. McGeorge was formerly a board member of the Be The Match Foundation (2013-2022) and chaired the board for the last three years of her tenure. She is a volunteer courier for NMDP, as well.
Ms. McGeorge received a BBA, Business, Accounting, from The College of William and Mary, and an MS, Accounting/Taxation from the University of Virginia. She is member of Women Business Leaders in Health Care, Women on Boards 2020, and the 1918 Society for the College of William and Mary.
Elizabeth Shpall, M.D.
Dr. Elizabeth J. Shpall is the Howard and Lee Smith Professor of Cancer Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). Dr. Shpall is the Director of the GMP and Core Cell Therapy Laboratories, Director of the Cord Blood Bank and Chair ad interim of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Department. She is an internationally recognized expert and leader in the field of stem cell biology, hematology, and clinical hematopoietic transplantation for the treatment of cancer. Dr. Shpall pioneered development of strategies for ex-vivo expansion of stem cells and novel strategies addressing obstacles of successful cord blood transplantation, improving outcomes for patients. As the founding president of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT), her visionary translational research has advanced the field and set international standards for stem cell and cord blood transplantation and more recently immune effector cell therapy. She founded and grew to prominence the MD Anderson Cord Blood Bank. This vital resource provides cord blood stem cells for transplantation and cellular therapy for cancer and neurologic diseases, collecting over 130,000 units and providing stem cells for transplantation and cellular therapy for other diseases to more than 2,500 patients in need worldwide.
Dr. Shpall has authored more than 500 papers/chapters and is the Principal Investigator on numerous grants and trials. She serves as the Leader of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Support Grant. She was elected by her MD Anderson peers to receive the Irwin H. Krakoff Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, and the Otis W. and Pearl L. Walters Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Research. She has received he MD Anderson President's Recognition for Faculty Excellence Award and the R. Lee Clark Prize for Excellence-Clinical Faculty. She was awarded the 2017 ASCO Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Drake Medal, which is the highest recognition bestowed upon its former graduates for their contributions to academic medicine. Dr. Shpall was inducted into the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2018 and from 2018-2021 served on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Heart Lung and Blood Intramural Program. She has held more than ten investigator-initiated INDs for stem cell expansion and engineering studies. She and her team have developed several different strategies to enhance cord blood engraftment (ex vivo expansion and improved homing). She is the Principal Investigator on the Texas Medical Center Regenerative Medicine grant evaluating mesenchymal stem cell therapy for cancer patients with lung, cardiac and brain injuries. She also co-leads the burgeoning institutional CARTOX program providing critical oversight in the diagnosis management of patients at MD Anderson receiving chimeric antigen receptor-based therapies. Dr. Shpall is a current board member of FACT, and a past president of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT).
Garheng Kong, MD, PhD, MBA
Garheng Kong founded HealthQuest Capital in 2012 to improve people’s lives through improving healthcare on a significant scale. His vision was to build a best-in-class team of the highest talent and integrity to work with outstanding entrepreneurs to transform healthcare through high growth companies while generating outsized risk adjusted returns for investors.
A physician and engineer by training, Garheng has 20 years of experience investing in innovative healthcare companies with a long list of successes. He has served on the boards of HealthQuest portfolio companies Ajax, Alcresta, Avedro, Avizia, BardyDx, Castle Biosciences, CleanSlate, Etairos, Health Channels, Magnolia Medical, Spirox, Trice Medical, Venus, and VirMedica. Some of his notable past successes include IPOs with Avedro (AVDR), Cempra (CEMP), Alimera (ALIM), Applied Genetic Technology Corp. (AGTC), Proteon (PRTO), Histogenics (HSGX) and TransEnterix (TRXC).
Garheng’s interests and industry footprint are broad as he also serves on the board of LabCorp (LH), Alimera Sciences (ALIM), Melinta (MLNT), StrongBridge (SBBP), the Duke University Medical Center, SEBIO, Corporate Chaplains of America and advises numerous industry groups such as IDEO and Lam Research. He is a fellow of the Aspen Institute's Health Innovators Fellowship.
Garheng received two undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biological Sciences from Stanford, while on an athletic scholarship. He then earned an MD, PhD and MBA from Duke University, graduating first in his class in each instance. His early career included stints at GlaxoSmithKline, McKinsey and a medical device start-up, TherOx, before joining Intersouth Partners and then Sofinnova Ventures.
Laurie Strongin is founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Hope for Henry Foundation which is reinventing the pediatric patient experience in hospitals around the country. Laurie's work with Hope for Henry and the memoir she published, "Saving Henry," have placed her at the forefront of supporting the rights of patients and their families and the responsible use of new medical technologies. Laurie's advocacy has led her to service on the nation's preeminent science policy and bioethics panels. Her activism has produced op-eds in national newspapers; appearances on television and radio; collaborations with Congressional leadership; and recognition from the White House. An in-demand inspirational speaker, Laurie has been featured as a People magazine "Heroes Among Us" and was the subject of profiles in the USA Today and the Washington Post and on Good Morning America. Laurie serves on the board of directors of the National Marrow Donor Program and on the Advisory Committee of the Association of Child Life Professionals.
Lynn Abrahamsen is a health services executive with over forty years of healthcare experience. Most recently, she served as the chief executive officer of Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., chief operating officer for Hennepin County Medical Center, executive director of Neighborhood Health Care Network and vice president of Fairview Health System. In these executive leadership roles, Abrahamsen facilitated a wide-range of responsibilities including strategic planning, optimizing operating systems, executing budget stabilization and facilitating governance changes. In addition to the NMDP/Be The Match Board of Directors, she also serves on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota North and South Dakota and Milkweed Editions. Abrahamsen received her Master’s of Hospital and Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Melinda Caltabiano joined Dendreon in 2017 as Director of Apheresis Operations overseeing Dendreon’s expansive Apheresis collection network throughout the United States. She ensures patients have convenient access to cell collection, in their communities, to facilitate their cancer treatment. Melinda is also partnering with Dendreon’s colleagues in China to help grow their apheresis network and bring Dendreon’s life extending cancer treatment to Asia for men suffering from prostate cancer.
Prior to joining Dendreon, Melinda spent more than 20 years at New York Blood Center as Director of Clinical Services. Melinda also served in the United States Peace Corps in Slovakia for two years working on local environmental projects and youth development programs. Currently, she serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors for Be The Match and sits on the Diversity and Healthcare Disparities Advisory Group. Melinda has a BA from Manhattan College and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Michael E. Lang
Mike Lang is the Founder and Managing Director of Executive Advisory and Consulting Services at EMLG, LLC. EMLG is a full service IT solution provider. The focus is to help develop strategies and operating systems to improve IT delivery and efficiency within the organization and business. Lang is closely aligned with EMLG, LLC in driving value with their customers and partners. Lang is a Managing Director at Data Exchange LLC.
Previously, Lang was Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Honeywell International. Lang was responsible for deploying new technology and the core tools necessary to drive Honeywell's businesses and strengthen IT's role as a critical business partner throughout the company. His role included increasing productivity and improving the effectiveness of Honeywell's IT, while safeguarding the company's critical information, intellectual property, and physical resources. He also led the Honeywell IT Council, which sets the direction and focus for the function.
Prior, Lang served as Vice President and CIO of Honeywell’s $15 billion Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business, where he was responsible for driving progressive change initiatives, providing strategic oversight of the IT function, and creating strong business partnerships within the company's ACS business. Before this role, Lang served as Vice President and CIO for Honeywell Building Solutions (HBS), a strategic business unit of ACS.
Prior to Honeywell, Lang served in a variety of leadership positions at General Electric (GE), most recently serving as global Chief Technology Officer for GE’s Insurance Solutions business. Prior to joining General Electric in 1989, Lang worked at Diebold,
Inc. and Westfield Companies.
Lang earned an undergraduate degree in computer science from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.
Ravyn Miller is a health care professional with a passion for people, impact, and equity.
As the Vice President for Medtronic’s Defibrillation Solutions Portfolio Strategy and Business Development Growth team, she is responsible for creating and executing strategies that accelerate technology and patient access. In previous roles at Medtronic, she led global product launches, helped shaped reimbursement policies and increased health equity for women and people of color. Ravyn is also an active member of the African Descent Network which recruits, engages and develops Black talent. Prior to Medtronic, Ravyn was a Sales Representative with JNJ in Houston, TX and Nashville, TN.
Ravyn has earned company recognitions, such as the Marketing Excellence Award and is a two-time Star of Excellence recipient. In 2107, she was recognized by Diversity Inc. as one of the Top 100 Emerging Leaders Under 50 and in 2019, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal named her as a Women in Business Honoree, which recognizes 50 of the region’s most influential women in business and community
Beyond work, Ravyn serves on the Board of Directors for Be the Match and sits on the Advisory Board of the following organizations: Marani Health, National Minority Quality Forum and the University of Minnesota’s Venture Center Business Advisory Group.
Ravyn earned a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a dual Master of Business Administration and Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She is an ordained minister and a self-proclaimed “brunch enthusiast”.
Stephanie Lee, M.D.
Stephanie Lee, MD holds the David and Patricia Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair for cancer research and is a Professor at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle. Dr. Lee is an NIH-funded clinical investigator whose research interests include health services/outcomes research, quality of life/patient reported outcomes and allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation with a special interest in chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). She is the Principal Investigator of the Chronic GVHD Consortium, a group of U.S. institutions that collaborate to conduct observational and therapeutic trials of chronic GVHD. She has published over 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Lee also holds a number of leadership positions including Associate Director of the Clinical Research Division and Research Director of the Transplant Long-Term Follow-Up Program at Fred Hutchinson and Co-Scientific Director of the Immunobiology and GVHD Working Committees of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. She was the 2020 President of the American Society of Hematology.
Uri Herzberg, DVM, PhD, MBA
Dr. Uri Herzberg is the VP and Head of Translational Research at Brickell Bio, a clinical-stage company striving to transform patient lives by developing innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune, inflammatory and other debilitating diseases. Prior to this role he held the positions of Distinguished Fellow and Lead of the Myasthenia Gravis Programs and VP for Pre-Clinical Research at Cabaletta Bio, a company focused on the discovery and development of T cell therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. From 2017 through 2019, he established and led the Regulatory Affairs department at Celularity. From 2010 through 2017 he led the preclinical development of several cell therapies and established the translational research group at Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation. In that role he opened several INDs and led translational efforts addressing all issues associated with safety, efficacy and mechanism of action of several cell-based therapy candidates. Dr. Herzberg has extensive experience in preclinical and early clinical development of cell-based therapeutics including regulatory strategy, IP generation, clinical trial design, physician education, target identification and indication selection. Prior to his time with Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, Dr. Herzberg was a research fellow and project leader at Johnson and Johnson. At J&J he served as project leader in advanced technologies and regenerative medicine. He is the holder of several patents for medical devices, cell-based therapies and small molecules.
Dr. Herzberg received his BS and DVM from Washington State University, his Ph.D. in veterinary biology and neuroimmunology from the University of Minnesota and his M.B.A. in pharmaceutical development from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Vicki Rasmusen, CPA (Inactive)
Vicki Rasmusen, CPA (Inactive) has over 40 years of business experience, with deep background in finance/audit, global operations functional leadership, business integration, and enterprise risk management. Vicki spent over 14 years with Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company, in global leadership roles in Finance, Risk Management and Operations. She also spent 8 years with Carlson Companies as a leader in global risk management, and 16 years with Big 4 public accounting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche, which included assignments in both the United States and Europe.
Vicki is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the College of St. Benedict where she studied in both the United States and Germany for Accounting, Business Administration and German. She also has Six Sigma certification from the University of Minnesota as well as other process improvement training and experience.
Vicki has been involved with the National Marrow Donor Program ® (NMDP)/Be The Match® as a Finance or Audit Committee member and past Chair since 2009. Since 2016, she has served as the Vice Chair of the combined Finance and Audit Committee. She joined the Board of Directors in October 2021. Vicki also serves on the board of directors of Allina Health System and is the current Chair of their Audit & Compliance Committee and a member of the Board Integrated Planning and Oversight Committee. She is also a past member of the board of directors of the St. Paul, Minn. YMCA, which had a focus on assisting homeless women and children through a progressive program that assisted with a return to self-sufficiency.