View our full Milken Institute team 

Staff


  • Taylor Cusher
    Senior Associate

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    Taylor Cusher is a senior program associate at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, where she supports several programmatic areas including The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN), the Philanthropy Advisory Service and Consortia-pedia. Prior to her time at the Institute, Cusher provided administrative support for the Cardiac Catheterization and Imaging Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. She also served as junior staff with the American Cancer Society and March of Dimes, focusing her efforts on growing volunteer networks and increasing the availability of resources for patients in the Massachusetts area. Cusher holds a B.S. in kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her master’s degree in public health, focusing on prevention and community health, from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. She resides in Washington and works at the institute’s D.C. office.

    My favorite part of my job: Seeing incredible innovation and ingenuity from patient groups, scientists, and everyone in between.
    Something surprising about me: I was in an indie film when I was 4. Starring role: eating a pickle on the side of the road.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Constantly thinking about food and recipes, always up for cat videos, and wish that every morning could start with chai and a great book. 

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  • Caitlin Franz
    Associate

    Caitlin Franz is an associate at FasterCures. She specializes in digital communication and provides programmatic support to the Collaboration 2.0 team. She curates social media content and maintains the FasterCures website. Before joining the team at FasterCures, Franz was a web producer and social media manager at the NPR affiliate of North Central Florida, WUFT. She earned her B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida. Throughout college, Franz worked as a freelance writer and interned with the Washington Media Institute, Acosta Sales & Marketing and Georgetown Media Group.

  • Cynthia Grossman, PhD
    Associate Director, Science of Patient Input

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    Cynthia (Cyndi) Grossman is associate director, Science of Patient Input at FasterCures. Prior to joining FasterCures, Grossman was chief of the HIV Care Engagement and Secondary Prevention Program in the Division of AIDS Research (DAR) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Her grant portfolio focused on research to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, including reducing the risk of onward transmission. She has spent her career encouraging research to address the unmet patient needs related to mental health, stigma, and other social determinants of health. She has also played a lead role in defining the social and behavioral scientific agenda for microbicides as HIV prevention as well as HIV cure related research. Grossman hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology from Earlham College, a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed her postdoctoral work at Brown University.

  • Samantha Mayberry
    Associate Director, Programs

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    Samantha Mayberry is an associate director for programming at FasterCures. She began her time at the organization in September 2011 as an intern prior to joining the program team. In her role as associate director, she manages FasterCures’ annual event Partnering for Cures, now in its ninth year, which promotes cross-sector solutions for cutting edge issues in medical research. She also helps to oversee the TRAIN program, the organization’s affiliate network of venture philanthropy foundations. And she contributes to the Patients Count program, working to expand opportunities for patients' perspectives to shape the processes by which new therapies are discovered, developed and delivered. 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 and Martha’s Table.

    My favorite part of my job: I enjoy having the opportunity to gain vast knowledge about nearly every aspect of medical research, especially seeing the new ideas and innovations that come out of Partnering for Cures.
    Something surprising about me: I was named after Samantha from Bewitched.
    My life in 140 characters or less: A southern native, moved to the fabulous District to attend GWU. I spend my time adventuring via bike & judging the local french fry scene.
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  • Kim McCleary
    Acting Executive Director and Managing Director

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    Kim McCleary is managing director and serves as acting executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. FasterCures is an action tank driven by a singular goal -- to save lives by speeding up and improving the medical research system. She leads FasterCures' Patients Count program to advance the science of patient input and expand patient engagement in FDA’s assessment of benefits and risks for medical products. McCleary also works closely with FasterCures’ network of patient-focused venture philanthropy organizations, The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN). Prior to joining FasterCures’ staff, McCleary was president & CEO of the CFIDS Association of America from 1991 until 2013. McCleary serves on the steering committee for the Medical Device Innovation Consortium’s Science of Patient Input project and is a member of DIA’s Advisory Council for North America. McCleary is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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  • Joseph Ortega
    Senior Associate

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    Joseph Ortega is the operations manager for FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, where he facilitates all daily logistics, financial administration and facilities management aspects for the center. He also provides event planning and day-of coordination for FasterCures’ major events. Before joining FasterCures in 2007, Ortega served as an international meetings associate for a fundraising association in Arlington, Va. He brings extensive experience in fundraising organizations including positions he held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ashoka. Additionally, Ortega worked as executive assistant for the president and CEO of the largest Latino advocacy, research and legislation organization in the country. He also served for nearly 14 years as the assistant to the publisher and CEO of the largest Spanish-language, daily newspaper in the United States. In addition, he worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra as executive assistant and scheduler in the Washington office. Ortega studied at California State University, Los Angeles as a political science major. He works at the Institute’s Washington office.

    My favorite part of my job: Working with a team of knowledgeable and extremely capable individuals that are making a big difference in the area of medical research makes coming to work a real pleasure.
    Something surprising about me: Was part of the founding class of medical school fellows at the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biological Sciences Minority Advancement Research and Training program (UBSMART) at UC Irvine.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Operations Manager by day/English teacher by night. I like to help people :)
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  • Karen Rogers
    Director, Strategic Outreach

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    Karen Rogers leads outreach and engagement efforts for FasterCures. In this role, she works closely with the leadership and program staff on knowledge management, stakeholder outreach, publications and materials development, and marketing. She joined the Milken Institute in 2010 as a communications manager for FasterCures and the Melanoma Research Alliance. Previously, Rogers held communications positions at innovative nonprofits focusing on the public sector and health, including the Partnership for Public Service, Association of Public Health Laboratories and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Xavier University in Ohio and a master’s degree in public communication from American University in Washington.

    My favorite part of my job: Hearing inspiring stories of people who are dedicated to searching for cures and treatments.
    Something surprising about me: Although I fell far short of a World Cup career, I used to coach soccer for five-year-olds.
    My life in 140 characters or less: Midwesterner who dreaded science in school finds herself fascinated by public health & makes a career out of explaining science & its impact.
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  • Kristin Schneeman
    Director, Programs

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    Kristin Schneeman joined FasterCures in April 2005 as director of programs, 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. Among other initiatives, she runs The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) program, which provides a platform for knowledge-sharing and relationship-building to support the growth of venture philanthropy in medical research. Schneeman brings to FasterCures 25 years' experience in public policy, politics, academia and the media. She 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, she directed research projects on future challenges facing governments and on complex negotiations in business, politics and international relations. Schneeman began her career as a producer of documentary films, for which she was the recipient of an Emmy Award in 1990.

    My favorite part of my job: Through our TRAIN program, I get to work with and be inspired by incredibly passionate, effective patient advocates who are changing history for us all.
    Something surprising about me: I was fortunate to win an Emmy Award for a documentary film about the Iran-Contra Affair (anyone remember what that was?).
    My life in 140 characters or less: My passion has been getting good ideas put into practice through smart policy and smart politics. Also good food, books, and bike rides.
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  • Colin Ward
    Senior Associate

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    Colin Ward is a senior associate of policy and evaluation at FasterCures. He focuses on supporting coalition-building with government stakeholders to advance the FasterCures vision for biomedical innovation. Through projects like Rx for Innovation, he synthesizes themes from key opinion leaders and works with the policy team to translate them into actionable recommendations for the President’s administration and members of Congress. Ward joined FasterCures after two years with Huron Consulting Group, where he spent time in diverse patient care settings observing and evaluating provider-patient-payer interactions at the operations and system levels. Ward received a bachelor of science degree from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health with a major in health policy and management. Ward’s time at Gillings included varied internship and research engagements, including authoring a report on malaria elimination with the International Organization for Migration in Geneva and working on health system capacity-building with the Ministry of Health of El Salvador.

    My favorite part of my job:

    Listening to, learning from and brainstorming with the leaders in our industry.

    Something surprising about me:

    Collegiate rower turned Yogi/CrossFitter (They go together better than most would think!)

    My life in 140 characters or less:

    Terp turned Tarheel returns to the DMV for friends, family and fun. Seeks life sittin' on the dock of the (Chesapeake) bay.

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  • Mark Williams
    Associate

    Mark Williams is an associate at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. He supports the work of FasterCures’ policy portfolio, as well as The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN). He also provides operational support for the leadership team and the annual Partnering for Cures event. Before joining FasterCures, Williams was a pro bono policy consultant with the Disaster Accountability Project. Prior to that role, he worked for five years in policy with the National Health Service, dedicated to tackling financial crime, patient-staff violence, and security threats in health-care facilities across the United Kingdom. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Lincoln and his Master of Science degree in international security and global governance from Birkbeck, University of London. He is also currently a trainee emergency medical technician with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, providing first response medical services in Montgomery County, Md. He works at the Institute's Washington, D.C. office.


Senior Fellows


  • Paul T. Antony, MD

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    Paul Antony is a physician executive with decades of experience fostering innovation in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. He served as the chief medical officer for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) before being named CEO of Callidus Biopharma, Inc., which he successfully guided through its initial drug discovery efforts to its eventual acquisition by Amicus Therapeutics. He holds MD and MPH degrees from the George Washington University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Anna Barker, PhD
    Professor and Director, Transformative Healthcare Networks, and Co-Director, Complex Adaptive Systems Network, Arizona State University

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    Anna Barker is co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative and Professor at Arizona University (ASU), where she employs complex systems models to create transformative knowledge networks that address trans-sector problems in biomedicine. She is also director of the recently launched National Biomarker Development Alliance. Prior to ASU, she served as the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), leading strategic programs such as The Cancer Genome Atlas, Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer, and the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers. Prior to NCI, she was a senior executive at Battelle Memorial Institute and subsequently co-founder and CEO of a public biotechnology company. She completed her master of arts and doctoral degrees at the Ohio State University.

  • Robert Cook-Deegan, MD
    Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University

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    Robert Cook-Deegan, MD, is Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. He was previously at Duke University, 2002-2016. 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 250 articles. His research interests include  gene patents and intellectual property arising from genomics, sharing of data and materials in research and its applications, and health and science policy.  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). Before going to Duke, he taught a health and science policy seminar for, 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.

  • Michel Goldman, MD, PhD
    Founder, I3H Institute and Professor, Immunology and Pharmacotherapy, Universite Libre de Bruxelles

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    Michel Goldman is a professor of immunology and pharmacotherapy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and founder of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I3H), a ULB center that has the mission of fostering research, education, and outreach networks for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. Between 2009 and 2014, Goldman served as executive director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint undertaking between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. Managing a budget of €2 billion, he was responsible for the launch of 59 public-private consortia. Prior to joining IMI, Goldman headed the Department of Immunology-Hematology-Transfusion at Erasme Hospital in Brussels and served as director of the Institute for Medical Immunology at ULB. Goldman earned a medical degree from ULB and received his doctorate in medical sciences from Université de Genève. He is board-certified in internal medicine and clinical biology.

  • Bernard Munos
    Founder, InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation

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    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

  • Bray Patrick-Lake
    Director, Patient Engagement, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Duke University; Member, National Advisory Panel, Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

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    Bray Patrick-Lake is the director of stakeholder engagement for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, where she supports efforts to actively engage patient advocacy organizations and other stakeholders in improving clinical trials. She also serves as co-chair of the National Institutes of Health’s working group on building the million-person research cohort for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. During the past 15 years, Patrick-Lake has founded and led several nonprofit organizations, including the PFO Research Foundation, which she started in response to the lack of definitive scientific information regarding patent foramen ovale (PFO). Patrick-Lake has served as a patient representative at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in workgroups for the European Medicines Agency and the National Institutes of Health, and as a guest lecturer and an external reviewer for several organizations. She holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a master of forensic sciences degree from National University.

  • John Wilbanks
    Chief Commons Officer, Sage Bionetworks

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    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