Staff & Fellows


Margaret Anderson, Executive Director

margaret anderson

Margaret Anderson is the executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute that works to speed the time it takes for new medicines to go from discovery to patients. She is a founding board member and past-president of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, is a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, the National Health Council Board of Directors, United for Medical Research Steering Committee, and the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. Previously, Anderson was the deputy director and a team leader in the Center on AIDS & Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development, where she led public health projects; program director at the Society for Women’s Health Research; health science analyst at the American Public Health Association, where she managed a programmatic portfolio on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases, women’s health, and public health infrastructure issues; and analyst and project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in the Biological Applications Program, where she studied societal and business implications of genetic testing. Anderson holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University.

Cecilia O. Arradaza, Managing Director, Communications & Policy

cecilia arradaza

Cecilia Arradaza is FasterCures' managing director of communications and policy. She manages the organization's communications programs, stakeholder outreach strategies, and policy priorities. Arradaza brings to FasterCures more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications on key issues that impact medical research and the life sciences industry. She joined FasterCures from Chandler Chicco Agency (CCA), a health communications firm, where she managed public affairs programs for clients including Johnson & Johnson, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and VHA Inc. Before joining CCA, Arradaza implemented issues advocacy initiatives for pharmaceutical and foundation clients of Hyde Park Communications, managed media relations and public education efforts for the American Psychiatric Association, and was part of the health and international public affairs practices at Powell Tate. Arradaza began her health communications career at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Women's Health Network. She is on the founding board of Women Against Alzheimer's. She received her bachelor's degree from George Washington University at Mount Vernon College.

LaTese Briggs, Associate Director, Philanthropy Advisory Service


LaTese Briggs is the Philanthropy Advisory Service (PAS) associate director at FasterCures. Briggs previously served as a pharmaceutical market analyst for Decision Resources, a Boston-based research and consulting firm serving the biopharmaceutical industry. In this capacity, she provided expert analytics on the state of research and clinical development, including research challenges, market drivers, and unmet patient needs in the infectious disease space. She is trained as a biochemist, having completed her doctoral studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and then postdoctoral training at Harvard University/Broad Institute focusing on chemical biology and early drug discovery. She has authored several scientific articles and received a number of honors, including being named a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar.

Mark Lim, Associate Director, Medical Research Innovation


Mark D. Lim is the medical research innovation associate director at FasterCures and also serves on the scientific advisory board of the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery. Prior to joining FasterCures, Lim served a supporting role as the chief of technical staff at DARPA's Defense Sciences Office on a biomedical program that had efforts in new diagnostic and vaccine capabilities. He was the deputy program director for the Program for Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies, an extramural funding program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and also served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NCI Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research. Lim received his doctorate in chemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara and completed an NCI-funded postdoctoral fellowship in cancer nanotechnology at University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley. He has authored or co-authored 23 publications and book chapters on biospecimen quality challenges, federal funding opportunities for innovation, nanotechnology, and inorganic chemistry.

Samantha Mayberry, Associate, Program Coordinator


Samantha Mayberry is the associate program coordinator at FasterCures. She joined the team in September 2011 first as a research intern prior to joining the program team. She coordinates several programs including Partnering for Cures, the Philanthropy Advisory Service, and TRAIN, while providing project management oversight across all programs. Additionally, she provides research support specifically relating to medical research investment, philanthropy, and best practices.  Mayberry graduated from the George Washington University in December 2011 with a bachelor's degree in international affairs and a concentration in international economics. Prior to joining FasterCures, Mayberry interned and volunteered with various nonprofits in the District of Columbia including RAINN, N Street Village, Casey Trees, Martha’s Table, and DC Central Kitchen.

Kim McCleary, Director, Strategic Initiatives


Kim McCleary is Director of Strategic Initiatives at FasterCures, leading the charge on key programmatic areas including FDA and how it evaluates risk and benefit for patients, and medical innovation and how we determine value and reimbursement. Kim was most recently with the CFIDS Association of America, where she was the President & CEO from 1991 until June 2013. Kim earned a reputation as an articulate patient advocate, a keen policy strategist, a diplomatic bridge builder and a dedicated servant leader. She has worked with leaders throughout the executive and legislative branches to develop, implement and oversee effective policy. 

She helped found the Chronic Pain Research Alliance and joined with other leaders and Pfizer to establish the Campaign to End Women’s Pain in 2010. Kim led the Partnering to End Pain project selected by Sanofi U.S. as a finalist in the 2012 Collaborate | Activate Innovation Challenge. She has participated in every opportunity organized by the FDA to shape its Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative, including a range of consultations leading up the first of the 20 PFDDI workshops focused on CFS and ME held in April 2013. With leaders in the narcolepsy community, Kim helped design and launch the Unite Narcolepsy initiative to educate, engage and empower narcolepsy patients and their advocates to participate effectively in the PFDDI meeting held in September 2013.

Kim is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Joseph Ortega, Operations Assistant


Joseph Ortega joined FasterCures in 2007 as operations assistant after having served as an international meetings associate for a fundraising association in Arlington, Va. Ortega brings to FasterCures extensive experience in fundraising organizations including positions he held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ashoka. Previously, Ortega worked as executive assistant for the president and CEO of the largest Latino advocacy, research, and legislation organization based in Washington, DC. Ortega worked for nearly 14 years as the assistant to the publisher and CEO of the largest U.S.-based Spanish language daily newspaper based in California. He also worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra, (CA-31), as executive assistant/scheduler in the Washington, DC office. Ortega studied at California State University, Los Angeles as a political science major.

Gillian Parrish, Associate Director, Communications & Outreach


Gillian Parrish is the associate director for strategic partner engagement, communications, and events programming for FasterCures, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to reducing the time it takes to move promising scientific discoveries out of the lab and to patients. A public affairs professional with over 12 years’ experience in healthcare communications and alliance development, Gillian focuses on educating stakeholders about the systemic, cultural obstacles that slow medical progress across all diseases, and amplifying solutions that can pave the path forward.  Before joining FasterCures in 2009, she served as vice president of healthcare alliances at Edelman, a global public relations firm, where she managed third-party outreach, strategic partnership development, public affairs, and media relations for a broad range of healthcare, health policy, and health technology clients. Gillian holds a bachelor's degree in public communication from American University and a master's degree in global marketing from Emerson College.

Karen Rogers, Associate Director, Communications


Karen Rogers is the associate director of communication at FasterCures and join the team as communications manager in 2010. She most recently served as publications manager at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. Previously, she worked in communications at the Association of Public Health Laboratories and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. She has communicated health messages to multiple audiences by serving as editor of various print and electronic publications and serving as Web master. Rogers graduated with honors from Xavier University with a bachelor's degree in public relations, with minors in history and Spanish. She earned a master's degree in public communication from American University.

Kristin Schneeman, Director, Programs


Kristin Schneeman joined FasterCures in April 2005 as program director, with primary responsibility for its innovation portfolio of projects and activities, focused on best practices in the funding and conduct of medical research and innovative collaborations among players in the research enterprise. She brings to FasterCures 20 years' experience in public policy, politics, academia, and the media. Schneeman served for three years as a senior adviser and policy director to a gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, as a policy aide to a U.S. Congressman, and for four years as the front-line manager and chief-of-staff for a senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore. At Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, she directed a research project – the top priority of the dean of the school – on future challenges facing governments, and at Harvard Business School she worked with a noted professor who specializes in analyzing and advising on complex negotiations in business, politics, and international relations. Schneeman began her career as a producer of documentary films on political and social issues, for which she was the recipient of an Emmy Award in 1990.

Lisa Simms, Director, External Affairs & Operations


Lisa Simms is the external affairs and operations director for FasterCures. She brings more than 13 years of experience in project and event management, office management and administration, community mobilization, and outreach for a variety of political and advocacy organizations including LISTEN, Inc., The Alliance for Justice, Time Dollar Institute, Children's Defense Fund, Democratic National Committee, and the National Rainbow Coalition. Simms is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Melissa Stevens, Deputy Executive Director

melissa stevens

Melissa Stevens is deputy executive director for FasterCures, a nonprofit think tank and center of the Milken Institute that works across sectors to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise, and accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for deadly and debilitating diseases. Stevens manages planning and implementation of FasterCures programs. She also directs the organization’s medical philanthropy efforts including the Philanthropy Advisory Service, designed to help foundations, philanthropists, and their advisors make more impactful investments in medical research and better assess the return on philanthropy. Previously, she worked in the health sciences practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, advising commercial and federal clients across the healthcare continuum. Stevens received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and an M.B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

Karlee Stewart, Associate, Communications Coordinator


Karlee Stewart is the associate communications coordinator for FasterCures. She joined the organization in 2012 as a recent honors graduate of Northeastern University with a bachelor of arts in journalism with a concentration in public relations. During her four years in Boston, she worked in corporate communications at MathWorks and in public relations, most recently at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, heading their social media efforts. Throughout college, she played a key role in creating the success of Her Campus Northeastern, an online magazine dedicated to Northeastern women's issues. She managed the Her Campus' team of more than 25 writers, editors, photographers, and staff members, working to produce weekly articles and content, and coordinated with the magazine's national organization and the university's administration. She has also worked as the promotions director for the university's radio station and the public relations coordinator for Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority – Phi Eta chapter.

Shawn Sullivan, Associate, Executive Administrator & Policy Analyst


Shawn Sullivan is the associate executive administrator and policy analyst at FasterCures. He joined the team as a program associate in March 2011 to assist Executive Director Margaret Anderson and to perform program research and government affairs projects for the organization. Sullivan most recently worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Michael Michaud (ME-2) and was a congressional outreach coordinator for the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. He also has more than five years of office administration experience for an IT sales and support organization in Miami, Fl. Sullivan is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in government and politics.

Timothy Swope, Associate, Research Policy Analyst

DSC 0526

Timothy Swope is the research policy analyst for FasterCures, where he produces real-time analysis on policy developments and initiatives vital to the medical research ecosystem, including coverage of the NIH, FDA, and CMS. Swope was formerly the Policy and Communications Analyst at the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) which represents a broad spectrum of organizations that seek to advance the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine concepts and products for the benefit of patients. Before joining the PMC, Swope worked for the American Recreation Coalition and Senator John Kerry’s Political Action Committee as an intern. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University. He is working towards a joint degree in Master of Government and Master of Business Administration on a part-time basis at Johns Hopkins University's D.C. Campus.


Kathi E. Hanna, Ph.D.


Kathi E. Hanna, Ph.D. has more than 25 years of experience in science, health, and education policy as an analyst, writer, and editor. Hanna served as research director and editorial consultant to President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission and has provided editorial services to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. In the 1990s, she served as senior advisor to the President's Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses and later served as the lead analyst and author of President Bush's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans and the Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare. In the 1980s and 1990s, Hanna was a senior analyst at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, contributing to numerous science policy studies requested by congressional committees on science education, research funding, science and economic development, biotechnology, women's health, mental health, children's health, human genetics, bioethics, cancer biology, and reproductive technologies. In the past two decades, she has served as an analyst and editorial consultant to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. National Academies, the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections, FasterCures, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the March of Dimes. Hanna received an A.B. in biology from Lafayette College, an M.S. in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College, and a doctorate in government and health services administration from the School of Business and Public Management at George Washington University. Blog posts from Kathi: Let’s Allow Young Scientists to Try it Their Way | How long can innovation be stalled? | Mental Health: Research and Development at a Crossroads

Bernard Munos


Bernard Munos is founder and chief apostle of InnoThink, a consultancy dedicated to bringing evidence-based innovation models to the pharmaceutical industry. Previously an advisor for corporate strategy at Eli Lilly, he has long focused on disruptive innovation in drug development, and the radical redesign of R&D. Munos’ research has been published in Nature and Science, and he has presented his findings to the National Academies, the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel, the National Institutes of Health Leadership Forum, the World Health Organization, the OECD, the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Council for American Medical Innovation, and many others. He received his M.B.A from Stanford University, and holds other graduate degrees in economics and animal science from the University of California, Davis and the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences. Blog posts from Bernard: The Future of Medicine | Give me your Innovators Yearning to Breath Free | Can There be Too Much of a Good Thing? Yes, if it's Intellectual Property

John Wilbanks


John Wilbanks is the chief commons officer at Sage Bionetworks, and a data commons expert and advocate. He has spent his career working to advance open content, open data, and open innovation systems. Wilbanks also serves as a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and as a senior advisor for big data to the National Coordination Office. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney "Pete" Stark, served as the first assistant director at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was vice president of science at Creative Commons. In February 2013, the U.S. government responded to a We the People petition spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, and announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks received his bachelor of arts in philosophy from Tulane University. Blog posts from John: Transitioning to Open Systems in Drug Discovery | Understanding Open Science 

Robert Cook-Deegan, M.D.

Cook Deegan Robert 3

Robert Cook-Deegan, M.D. is Research Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (New York: Norton, 1994 & 1996; tr. Korean, Japanese) and an author on over 200 articles. His most recent research interest has been the Myriad Genetics case and gene patenting.  From 1991-2002, Cook-Deegan worked at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Academy of Sciences in various capacities, including director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship program and the National Cancer Policy Board.  During his final three years at the National Academies, he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator at Georgetown University (1999-2002), and a seminar leader at Stanford-in-Washington (1996-2003). He also worked for the National Center for Human Genome Research in its first year, and was a AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow and spent six years at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He received his MD degree from the University of Colorado in 1979 and his bachelor' s degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1975 from Harvard College. Blog posts from Robert: BRAIN Initiative, meet Human Genome Project | There is No Nobel Prize for Managing IP