Robert J. Soiffer, M.D., 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.
Brian J. Reithel, Ph.D., Board Chair Elect
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.
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).
David L. Porter, M.D.
Dr. Porter is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He is a recipient of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Service to Mankind Award, which is bestowed for “dedicated service to the highest standards of the medical profession, his humanistic approach to patient care, and his tireless efforts in researching cures for blood cancers.” He has authored more than 100 research articles, abstracts, and book chapters, is an associate editor for the American Journal of Hematology and has served as a manuscript reviewer for numerous medical journals, including Blood, Annals of Internal Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Porter has expertise in the care of patients with hematologic malignancies including acute and chronic leukemia, and in all aspects of autologous, related donor, unrelated donor and umbilical cord blood SGT. He has developed or been an active participant in numerous local and national research activities. He is an accomplished clinical investigator and has published extensively in the field of stem cell transplantation and hematologic malignancies. His principal research interests are in development of novel methods of cellular therapy, stem cell transplantation and of allogeneic adoptive immunotherapy.
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.
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.
As the global marketing director of Medtronic’s Venous business, Ravyn Miller leads the development and execution of the commercial strategy. Her responsibilities include collaborating with more than 15 regional managers to address country-specific issues, managing toward the achievement of top- and bottom-line goals, and working alongside industry partners (e.g. physician societies) to drive key initiatives. Known for her passion, fearlessness and boisterous laugh, Ravyn finds fulfillment in leading efforts that result in effective team work and improved patient quality of life.
In her previous roles at Medtronic, Ravyn led a market development effort focused on reducing cardiac health care disparities for women and people of color, worked as a Health Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., and was the national implementation leader for the CVG Strategic Solutions organization, which delivered customer value beyond the product.
Ravyn has earned several awards including but not limited to: 2019 Minneapolis- St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Honoree, DiversityMBA Magazine’s Top 100 Emerging Leaders and Medtronic’s Marketing Excellence Award, which annually recognizes the company’s top marketers.
As a member of the National Minority Forum Junior Advisory Board, Ravyn advises on future strategic direction for the organization as well as helps to plan sessions for the annual meeting to narrow health care disparities. She coaches and/or provides feedback to budding medical device entrepreneurs as a Board member of the University of Minnesota’s Venture Center Business Advisory Group. To ensure children have the opportunity to experience the power of music, Ravyn is a director-at-large for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young People’s Symphony Concert Association.
As a member of Medtronic’s African Descent Network, she helps shape strategies aimed at creating a diverse and inclusive work environment for all employees. She is member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and volunteers with organizations focused on homelessness in the Twin Cities area. Ravyn completed her Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University and earned a dual Masters in Divinity and Business from Vanderbilt University.
Uri Herzberg, Ph.D.
Dr. Uri Herzberg is the 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. Prior to this role he led the Regulatory Affairs department at Celularity. From 2010 through 2017 he led the preclinical and translational development group at Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation. At the role he led the preclinical and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.