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Michael Stewart, Chair

Born in Pittsburgh, now residing in Colorado, Regional Vice President Michael Stewart has lived and worked across three time zones. With an undergraduate degree in Government from the City University of New York - John Jay College and a law degree from the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Michael brings a diverse background to his role overseeing all aspects of Hartford Insurance Company’s Staff Counsel operations in 20 states, including litigation management, strategic planning and budgeting.

Aside from his 25 plus years as a litigator handling trial and appellate matters in state and federal court in Louisiana, he also spent time working for a Washington, D.C. firm specializing in Government Contracts. While in New Orleans, Michael was a volunteer attorney representing children in Family Court through the CINC (Children in Need of Care) program.

A Bone Marrow recipient in 2016, Michael has become an active volunteer with NMDP, including acting as a Volunteer Courier. He served on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Louisiana Inline Hockey Club from 2007 through 2011 and has volunteered as a coach for the past 12 years in Louisiana and Colorado.

Melissa H. Kong, Vice Chair

Dr. Kong is grateful to NMDP for helping to save her husband's life when he needed a bone marrow transplant. She praises God for a healthy husband, a son and identical twin daughters, and feels blessed for the opportunity to serve others going through the bone marrow transplant process. Her personal experience as the primary caregiver and health care advocate for her husband motivates her desire to help other caregivers and family members of patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.

Melissa is the Medical Director of Ablacon, a company developing electrographic flow mapping, a novel and transformative technology for guiding the treatment of patients with cardiac arrhythmias. As a cardiac electrophysiologist, she was a partner at Silicon Valley Cardiology, a high-volume private practice with an extensive clinical research program and has expertise in the management and ablation of complex arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular, and ventricular tachycardias as well as comprehensive cardiac device management including pacemaker, cardioverter-defibrillator, cardiac resynchronization therapy device implantation and both laser and mechanical lead extraction. She has also served as the EP liaison on the Heart Failure Council of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and was a Sequoia Hospital Foundation board member for six years. As an author on numerous peer-reviewed articles, Melissa remains actively involved in clinical research. She also serves as an advisory board member and/or consultant to several public and private healthcare companies.

She received her MD from Duke University, where she also completed her internship/residency in internal medicine, fellowship in cardiovascular disease, and subspecialty fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology. She is board-certified in cardiology and in cardiac electrophysiology. She received her AB from Princeton University, where she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She also enjoys flying, piano and wildlife photography.

Ramesh Subrahmanian, Secretary

Ramesh Subrahmanian is a global business leader with over 30 years of experience in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. He founded Alchemy Advisors in 2016, advising clients on growth and investment strategies. He also serves on the boards of Healthium MedTech and Everlife Holdings.

From July 2017 to October 2019, Ramesh served as President, International of Acelity, a global leader in wound care. Acelity was acquired by 3M in Oct 2019 for $6.7 billion.

From 2011 to 2016, as Group President, International at Stryker, a $15 billion diversified medtech company, he led Stryker’s business outside the US & Western Europe (having also led the European business from 2011-2013).

Prior to Stryker, Ramesh served as SVP & President, APAC for Merck where he led a $3 billion pharma & vaccines business from 2006. Before joining Merck, Ramesh held commercial & functional roles over 19 years with Sanofi & predecessor companies in Germany, India and the United States.

An active leader on health care industry issues, Ramesh served as chairman of PhRMA’s Asia Committee and was a founding board member of APACMed. He was a member of the Singapore PM’s Economic Strategy subcommittee in 2009. He has served on several boards including chairing key board committees.

Ramesh is a UK trained chartered accountant with a degree in Commerce & Economics from Bombay University.

Ramesh is deeply grateful to the entire team at NMDP for their work in getting him an unrelated donor stem cell transplant and is committed to helping others experience the miracle of a second chance at life.

Dianna Cervantes, Treasurer

Dianna Cervantes is a senior financial executive with over 20 years of accounting, finance and leadership experience working with both public and privately held companies.  Dianna’s career reflects a demonstrated track record of leading successful initiatives to maximize enterprise value and foster collaboration. Dianna excels at building highly productive and respected teams.

Dianna received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Hawaii, where she was an NCAA Division I athlete competing in cross country. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas.

Dianna’s commitment to NMDP and its mission began in 2018 when she provided a life-saving bone marrow donation to a 13 year-old girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She and her donor recipient met one year after the successful transplant and continue to grow their relationship. Dianna’s commitment to NMDP has only grown in the years since her donation and she has been a member of the Investment Committee since October 2021 and joined the Foundation Board of Directors in October 2022. 

Amy Ronneberg, CEO NMDP

With more than 20 years as a proven leader in multiple industries, Amy Ronneberg has demonstrated exceptional financial and operational leadership coupled with strategic business acumen. As CEO of NMDP, Ronneberg leads an organization of more than 1,300 professionals and 3,000 volunteers, fighting so all people, irrespective of background, get the cell therapy they need.

Ronneberg joined the NMDP in July 2013 as the chief financial officer and was responsible for planning, implementing and directing NMDP's finances, facilities and real estate management, reporting and tax management. In that role, Ronneberg partnered with and advised NMDP executives and board of directors in developing and implementing an operating and financial business plan to meet the changing health care environment.

Along with her finance duties, Ronneberg was also president of NMDP BioTherapies business and led new business development while overseeing the development and delivery of a strategic plan to grow and expand our portfolio of product offerings.

Prior to joining NMDP, Ronneberg spent 12 years at Capella Education Company, where she served as chief accounting officer, vice president of finance and led enterprise-wide operations and customer service. She also worked for Ernst & Young for several years as an audit manager.

Ronneberg has served on several boards and is currently on the board of Magenta Therapeutics (MGTA), board observer of Tmunity Therapeutics and the Finance Committee for Allina Healthcare and the World Marrow Donor Association.

Ronneberg earned a Master of Business Administration from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn. and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Jason M. Ahlgren

Mr. Ahlgren holds the position of client relationship manager with Riverbridge Partners, LLC, an investment management firm in Minneapolis, MN.  In this role since February 2014, he deepens relationships with clients through regular contact and portfolio review meetings, develops business through networks to increase assets under management, develops investment plans and administers portfolios, assists colleagues with client services and maintains adherence to models through quality control and drift measures.

Previously, Mr. Ahlgren served as a retirement planning specialist with Ameriprise Financial, as a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial, and held accounting and finance positions at Valspar Corporation and Regis Corporation.

Mr. Ahlgren holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, the Certified Financial Consultant designation (ChFC) and Series 7 and 66 Licenses.  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in finance.

Mr. Ahlgren is a volunteer member of the NMDP Twin Cities Leadership Council where he participates in strategy and execution of increasing charitable support and awareness for NMDP’s mission.

Gustavo A. Alcocer

Gustavo A. Alcocer joined OLIVARES Y COMPAÑÍA, S.C., as a partner in 1999. He manages the Corporate and Commercial Law Group and is Co-Chair of the Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals Group. Prior to joining OLIVARES, he acted as In House counsel for Banamex for 11 years in various positions, including Vice President of International Legal Affairs in New York and Executive Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Grupo Financiero Banamex in Mexico City.

Mr. Alcocer possesses a wealth of transactional experience in M&A, finance and business law and advises our clients on complex M&A, finance, asset sale & acquisition, licensing, franchising, real estate transactional work, and regulatory work. Clients routinely turn to him for sophisticated strategic advice regarding structuring maintaining, and expanding operations in Mexico and intellectual property valuation and monetization. Additionally, Mr. Alcocer has worked with international companies in FCPA and anti-bribery compliance, as well as privacy and personal data protection.

Sarah Asma

Sarah Asma is an attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, a government agency in Florida where she works in criminal defense for indigent clients across Central Florida. She has practiced public defense work for 10 years and is a Board-Certified Criminal Trial Expert. Her caseload and experience include defending all types of cases and she has qualified with the Florida Bar and actively defends Capital cases. She is a graduate of both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, holding a bachelor’s degree is Psychology, a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management, and a Juris Doctorate.

In 2011, Sarah’s niece, Lauren was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia of the T-cells. She was two years old at the time. Be the Match facilitated Lauren’s life-saving marrow transplant in April of 2012. Since that time, Sarah and Lauren’s family have been dedicated volunteers and advocates for the organization. Sarah currently serves as the Campaign Committee’s Volunteer Board Chair, as well as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. Their entire family is eternally grateful toNMDP for giving Lauren a second chance at life.

In addition to her work as an attorney and with NMDP, Sarah is married to her husband, Neil, and is a mother to their daughters, Camille and Lillian. They live in Orlando and love being involved in their community. Sarah serves as a Director of The Moore Family Charitable Foundation. She also serves as Treasurer of Salmo Investments, Inc. and as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for The Faine House Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing and life skills to young adults who age out of foster care.

Andrew Block

Andrew Block is a highly strategic, values-driven executive with extensive experience in high growth public sector businesses. As a proven enterprise leader, he has a track record of developing strategy, achieving business objectives and providing strong shareholder return. He has experience across multiple sectors including hospitality, finance, distribution and logistics, and high-tech manufacturing.

Andrew joined ABM in 2018 as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). A veteran CHRO with 25 years of experience, Andrew is responsible for setting enterprise HR strategy. He is focused on attracting, developing and retaining talent at all levels of the organization through talent planning, organizational effectiveness and an enhanced HR operating model.

Before joining ABM, Andrew served as Senior Vice President, Talent and Organizational Performance for Buffalo Wild Wings. He also led Human Resources and Talent capabilities for C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., Wells Fargo, Ecolab, and Sony DADC.

Andrew holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Andrew also serves as a Board member for Be The Match Foundation, a non-profit organization that saves lives by helping those diagnosed with blood cancers through cellular therapy and donor matches.

Andrew’s many interests include running marathons, biking, traveling and learning about other cultures.

Bill Furlong

Bill Furlong is Chief Executive Officer of Vale Health, a digital business helping people live healthier lives by providing a marketplace of trusted, effective solutions for common health and wellness needs. Bill has spent most of his career in technology and online businesses. Prior to joining Vale Health, Bill was CEO of JuniperCommerce, a digital business to business marketplace for brands seeking to expand their distribution through retail stores. Bill spent most of his career in online travel, having served as Vice President to the North American retail business for Expedia Group and its travel brands. Before that, Bill was Vice President of the Americas business for VRBO/HomeAway, which was acquired by Expedia Group. Bill joined VRBO/HomeAway after serving as CEO of an internet software startup that he sold to VRBO/HomeAway. Earlier in his career, Bill held management roles at Microsoft and Time Warner and began his career at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York and Hong Kong.

Bill is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his MBA from Harvard University. In additional to his work with NMDP, Bill serves on the Board of the Parents’ Association for his daughter’s school, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.

Bill’s commitment to NMDP is grounded in the life-saving stem cell transplant enabled by Be The Match for his then nine year old daughter, Riley. NMDP found Riley’s best possible donor living in a small town outside Cardiff, Wales. Today Riley is a thriving high school student thanks to an incredibly generous donor and an organization committed to finding a stem cell donor for all.

Bill lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Alex and two daughters Annabel and Riley.

Suleika Jaouad

Suleika Jaouad is the author of the instant New York Times bestselling memoir, Between Two Kingdoms. She wrote the Emmy Award-winning New York Times column “Life, Interrupted,” and her reporting and essays have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Vogue, and NPR, among others. A highly sought-after speaker, her mainstage TED Talk was one of the ten most popular of 2019 and has nearly five million views. She is also the creator of The Isolation Journals, a community creativity project founded during the Covid-19 pandemic to help others convert isolation into artistic solitude; over 100,000 people from around the world have joined.

Joseph M. (Trey) Loughran, Emeritus

Mr. Loughran owes his son Jordan’s life to NMDP.  When Jordan needed a second bone marrow transplant, NMDP found a match in Carla, a wonderful mother of 2 from Chicago.  Jordan recently celebrated his 10th anniversary post transplant, which included catching up with Carla and her family, who have become part of the Loughran family.

Mr. Loughran has served in a number of senior executive roles across financial services, financial technology, data and analytics, and digital marketing.  He currently serves as CEO of Purchasing Power, LLC, an online consumer products and educational service company based in Atlanta. Prior to that he was President of Banking for Red Ventures, a digital marketing company, and he served in a number of senior executive roles at Equifax for 12 years, including leading two of its business units and chief marketing officer for the company.  Prior to Equifax Mr. Loughran held roles at BellSouth Corporation, McKinsey & Company, King & Spalding, and Lazard Freres & Co. 

Mr. Loughran is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead Scholar (now Morehead-Cain Scholar). He and his family reside in Charlotte, N.C.

Bruce S. Manasevit

Mr. Manasevit began his career as a wealth management advisor in 1998 and previously served as president and CEO of his family’s third-generation business.  Today, his team at Merrill Lynch works closely with a select group of high net-worth families, individuals and business owners who value a tailored, comprehensive strategy to help them achieve their personal and financial objectives.  Mr. Manasevit is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor.

Mr. Manasevit is an Ally member of the Finance Committee of the Triangle Community Center, a nonprofit organization supporting the LGBT community with social services for over 25 years.  He is also a trustee of the Fairfield Museum and History Center and former board member of The Fairfield Theater Company.

Mr. Manasevit received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and his Masters of Business Administration in finance from Columbia Business School in New York City.

In 1998, Mr. Manasevit and his father-in-law, Martin Strelzer, partnered with NMDP to establish The NMDP Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program  for the Study of Post-Transplant Complications (NMDP Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program).  It was established to honor the memory of his wife, Amy, who died from complications following a bone marrow transplant.  The NMDP Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program  bestows one of the largest and most coveted research grants in the field of cell transplantation to develop the next generation of physician-scientists by supporting and encouraging the discovery of new ways to treat and prevent post-transplant complications.

Anne McGeorge, Emeritus

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 is an operating partner for Havencrest Healthcare, a growth buy-out private equity firm based in Dallas, TX. She is also on the faculty of the Gilling Global School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She sit on the board of directors and is also the Chair of the Audit Committee for Magenta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MGTA), a clinical stage biotech company based in Cambridge, MA. She is also an advisory board member of Dioko Ventures, a health care venture capital firm based in Winston-Salem, NC.

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 of the College of William and Mary. She sits on several non-profit boards.

Roger Paschke, Emeritus

Mr. Paschke was named Chief Investment Officer for the Hearst Corporation and Hearst Foundations on January 1, 2008. In this role, he manages the Hearst Corporation's pension assets, those of The Hearst Foundations and related entities, with a combined total of approximately $6 billion. Previously, he was named to Chief Investment Officer's Power 100 list of the most influential people at pensions, endowments, foundations, insurance funds and sovereign wealth funds worldwide.

Previously, Mr. Paschke served as chief financial officer and senior vice president of OIL Group of Companies in Hamilton, Bermuda, world leaders in the provision of insurance products specific to the needs of the energy industry. From 1997 to 2006, he was responsible for the Company's approximately $5 billion in assets under management, including its corporate and pension investments, capital initiatives, credit ratings for the company's insurance entities and related debt issuances.

From 1978 to 1996, Mr. Paschke held a variety of positions at the University of Minnesota. Beginning in 1992, he was treasurer and associate vice president for finance, responsible for nearly $3 billion in assets under management, involving approximately 20 major investment management relationships and numerous other private equity partnerships and mutual funds.

Mr. Paschke holds a B.A. in Political Science and Criminal Justice Studies from the University of Minnesota.

John Presley

Having most recently served as Executive Chairman of Sevier County Bank, John currently serves as an independent consultant in the banking industry.  A graduate of Rhodes College (Memphis, Tennessee) with BA in Economics and Business Administration, and a certified public accountant, he started his career with Ernst & Whinney as an auditor.  He soon was recruited to one of his clients, National Commerce Financial where he served in various capacities for over 20 years, including starting a denovo bank in Richmond, Virginia and growing it organically to $ 1 billion in assets in five years.  He subsequently served as CFO for National Commerce, then $24 billion, and lead the transaction for their $7 billion sale to SunTrust.  Other positions held include CFO of the then $50 billion Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Head of Strategic Initiatives/M&A for the then $100 billion Fifth Third Bank, and over nine years as Lead Director for Lumber Liquidators ($3 billion market cap), and eventually Chairman, President and CEO of the business. 

John was diagnosed in February of 2016 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and had a difficult 9-month journey to achieve remission in order to make a bone marrow transplant possible.  He was the recipient of stem cells from an unrelated donor in November of 2016.  He is passionate about NMDP and joined their Foundation Board of Directors in October of 2022.

Deryn Pomeroy

Deryn Pomeroy serves as Trustee and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, based in Syracuse, NY. The Foundation was created to advance two specific objectives: (1) to raise awareness, support research, and improve quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis; and (2) to help communities celebrate their local history and folklore, and to document these descriptive moments with commemorative roadside markers. 

In 2004, Deryn’s father, William Pomeroy, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Then, while Bill Pomeroy’s life hung in the balance --- it was NMDP that came to the rescue. NMDP located a perfectly matched donor and Bill received his stem cell transplant. This life-saving experience would serve as a catalyst for Bill Pomeroy to create the Foundation.

Prior to joining the Pomeroy Foundation, Deryn’s credentials have been highlighted by her accomplishments in the field of education and working with young people.  Her career began as a Case Manager for pregnant and parenting teens at The Salvation Army. She served six years as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Syracuse University as well as a primary application reviewer for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Whitman School of Management. Subsequently, Deryn accepted the offer of a two-year stint where she trained new members at The Common Application’s corporate headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area.

Deryn holds a master’s degree in Secondary Education with honors from Niagara University and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language & Literature from The George Washington University.

 William G. (Bill) Pomeroy, Emeritus

Bill established the William G. Pomeroy Foundation® following his diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  He was matched with a donor and received a lifesaving stem cell transplant in 2005.  The Foundation raises awareness, supports research and helps improve the outcomes for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis.  They work closely with Be The Match and other organizations to support bone marrow drives in diverse communities to enable more transplants for people who cannot find a matching donor.  As of 2020, the Foundation has registered almost 30,000 people, producing more than 107 donor/patient matches.  Bill also has a passion for history and genealogy.  The Foundation’s other initiative is expanding nationwide: helping people celebrate their community’s history by providing grants for historic markers and plaques.

Bill is the founder and former owner of CXtec & TERACAI, two technology companies in Syracuse, N.Y.  Now retired, he maintains a minority stockholder interest and is a member of the Board of Directors.  He was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University and Ernst & Young.  

Bill serves on the Board of NMDP and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.  He is a First Connection Volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a Caring Connection Volunteer for BMT InfoNet.  Bill is a former member of the Board and Executive Committee for the National Marrow Donor Program, the Onondaga Historical Association, and Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.  He also served as a member of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School Advisory Council.  He is Trustee Emeritus for the Erie Canal Museum and The Salvation Army of Syracuse.

Bill earned his Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelor of Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Michael L. Rose, CFRE, Emeritus

Mr. Rose is Principal, McMillan Rose, LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Established in August 2014, McMillan Rose, LLC is a small boutique firm assisting client\partners in exploring philanthropy as a solution, and to achieve excellence in its application. The Company assists in learning how to identify, explore, and pursue viable opportunities in a rapidly changing philanthropic world. Additional McMillan Rose leadership solutions include personal and team coaching, mentoring relationships, board and executive development, crisis management and interim leadership services.

From 1987 through July 2014, Mr. Rose led Carolinas HealthCare Foundation (CHF) as executive officer. In 2007, CHF completed a $65 million capital initiative in support of the new Levine Children’s Hospital raising more than $73 million. Continuing to build on its momentum, in February 2010, CHF formed the Carolinas KIDS Cancer Research Coalition, a group of eight organizations collectively committed to raise $5.7 million in support of introducing Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. During his 27-year tenure at CHF, Mr. Rose led the Foundation in generating more than $250 million in philanthropic contributions and led/participated in securing more than $200 million in additional grant and contract support. 

In addition to managing the overall philanthropic process for Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), Mr. Rose Chaired the CHS Partnerships program and served in a variety of roles benefiting developing CHS programs and services. Reporting directly to the System CEO, he was frequently called on to provide advice and direction to other foundations within the CHS family and to other organizations throughout the nation. Upon his retirement, community donors and friends of Mr. Rose created a $200,000 endowment for excellence in his honor. 

A graduate of Mississippi College, Mr. Rose also holds advanced credentials in counseling and gerontology. 

Mr. Rose is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Children’s Rights, Charlotte, NC. He is also an Advisory member of the Board of Directors, Leon Levine Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of Heineman Foundation. He was a founding Director of the Leadership Gifts School and served as initial Chair. Mr. Rose’s previous service to the community includes Chair, Child Care Resources, Inc., and Chair, The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Council on Aging.

Rayne Rouce, M.D.

Dr. Rayne Rouce is a Houston native and pediatric oncologist at Texas Children’s Hospital with clinical interests in leukemia, lymphoma and cell therapy. Specifically, Dr. Rouce is focused on designing and validating new methods to harness the immune system to recognize and attack tumors, and also decreasing complications after bone marrow transplant. As a physician scientist, she is also passionate about increasing diversity in clinical trials, improving access to novel therapies, and ensuring all patients needing bone marrow transplant are equally able to find a suitable donor.

As a clinical and translational investigator conducting immunotherapy trials, she has significant experience in every aspect of translation and clinical trial development. Her role is unique within Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, as she serves as the liaison between the hematologic malignancies and cell and gene therapy groups, designing and implementing first-in-human clinical trials. In addition, she works tirelessly to ensure access to commercialized cell therapies and create enduring materials to manage the toxicities of gene-modified T-cells (a model that has since been duplicated for other novel cell therapies). This role has inspired the creation of an Immunotherapy Fellowship within the hospital, which she conceived and co-leads in an effort to train the next generation of translational immunotherapists in cell therapy. Stemming from this unique position, her goals are to lead the translation of investigational immunotherapies to multisite studies within cooperative groups and improve access to these boutique therapies in the United States and around the world. Her research is funded by several peer-reviewed research grants, and she is widely published. Her work funded by Amy Award focus on tackling toxicities with hopes of improving quality of life for patients undergoing bone marrow transplant. She also holds an NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award (CCITLA) with a focus on improving access to clinical trials.

In addition to her leadership positions within the American Society of Hematology, American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy and American Society for Transplantation and Cell Therapy, she serves as a translational and clinical mentor for a number of graduate and post-doctoral and teaches and facilitates a number of courses on immunotherapy for hematologic malignancies and the importance of diversity in clinical trials for medical and graduate students, residents, fellows and allied health professionals.

She is an avid community advocate, serving as the Associate Director of Community Outreach for BCM and leading the Diversity in Clinical Trials Task Force for the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. In these roles she forges bonds with the community, providing medical and scientific programming for school-aged children, churches, and community centers. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, an HBCU. She has achieved numerous academic accolades during her career, including academic honors societies, achievements for humanism and service to children, and awards for clinical care, research and teaching.

Melody Smith, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Melody Smith received her BS from Vanderbilt University, and she received her MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. She also completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern. She subsequently moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to complete her fellowship in Hematology & Medical Oncology. She joined the faculty at MSK in 2015 as an Instructor of Medicine on the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service, and she was promoted to Assistant Member Level 1 in 2017. During her time as junior faculty at MSK, she also obtained a Master of Science in Clinical & Translational Investigation from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Upon completion of her clinical fellowship at MSK, Dr. Smith conducted post-doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Marcel van den Brink with close collaboration with the lab of Dr. Michel Sadelain. As of September 2021, she joined the faculty at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor in the Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cell Therapy Division in the Department of Medicine where she established her independent lab. As a physician-scientist, her research focuses on strategies to develop cellular immunotherapies from allogeneic as opposed to autologous sources. She also investigates the regulatory mechanisms for the impact of the intestinal microbiome on CAR T cell outcomes. Dr. Smith is also involved in translational research, and she is the IND holder for a single-center clinical trial that is incorporating allogeneic CAR T cells in the post-allo-HCT setting as a strategy to decrease relapse in patients with high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (NCT05507827).

Among other roles, Dr. Smith serves as the co-chair of the ASTCT Women and URM Special Interest Group and the chair of the American Society of Hematology Research Training Award for Fellows. Her other positions in service to professional organizations include co-chairing committees and task forces dedicated to promoting diversity among hematology and cell therapy specialists. Dr. Smith looks forward to mentoring early career physician-scientists, particularly individuals from groups that are underrepresented in medicine and basic science.

Rebecca Wenngatz

Rebecca Wenngatz learned about NMDP after her nephew, Alex, received a stem cell transplant for a rare form of secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Alex is now more than 4 years post-transplant and cancer free, and his family is incredibly grateful for the extraordinary care Alex received from his doctors and for the transplant that NMDP facilitated. After learning about all the lifesaving efforts that NMDP provides, Rebecca’s family felt compelled to help other patients and their families by investing in programs such as the Patient Assistance Fund and Donor for All Research, through their family foundation, The Harper Family Foundation. Rebecca is on the board of directors of the Harper Family Foundation and currently is the acting chair of the board. Rebecca is also a member of the Campaign Committee that is dedicated to building awareness and raising funds for the NMDP.

Professionally, Rebecca is the Senior Manager of Merchandising Strategy at Evereve, Inc. Her work includes driving strategic initiatives and developing new processes and procedures to help a rapidly growing retail business. Prior to Evereve, Rebecca held roles at Target Corporation and Estee Lauder, Inc. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Spanish from the University of St. Thomas

Rebecca resides in Edina, Minnesota and enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, reading, being active, downhill skiing, and travelling.