A critical part of our approach is our people. Meet the members of our Executive Board and of our Scientific Advisory Board..
Dietrich A. Stephan, PhD
Co-Founder and Board Chairman
Dr. Stephan is a co-founder of and serves as Chairman of the Executive Board at Curable. He is the founder of numerous companies, among them DiaVacs, Silicon Valley Biosystems, and Navigenics. Navigenics is recognized as having set the foundation for at-scale delivery of genome-based personalized medicine and shaping the regulatory and policy framework for this new field. Navigenics was acquired by Life Technologies in 2012. In the past Dr. Stephan has served as Executive Director of the Gene Partnership at Children’s Hospital Boston-Harvard Medical School — the nation’s No. 1-ranked pediatric hospital — where he worked to re-architect their care delivery model to bring modern genomic tools and strategies to bear to improve outcomes. Prior to that he served on the leadership team at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). His roles at the institute were Professor and Chairman of the Neurogenomics Department and Deputy Director for Discovery Research of the institute overall, where he oversaw research and development. He has founded several additional companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Aueon (cancer diagnostics) and Amnestix (a pharmaceutical company developing cognitive enhancers acquired in 2007). Dr. Stephan is on the board of directors of several organizations, including the Personalized Medicine Coalition. Dr. Stephan won the Bio-IT World Grand Prize in 2005 and the Most Influential in Bringing Genomics to the Clinic award in 2010. Dr. Stephan has been featured twice on page A1 of the Wall Street Journal for his contributions to medicine. He is currently the Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics in the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.
Lisa B. Boyette, MD PhD
Co-Founder and CEO
Dr. Boyette is a co-founder and CEO of Curable and serves on the Executive Board. She is a biomedical engineer, physician, and classically trained immunologist who specializes in bringing an innovative translational approach to understanding disease pathogenesis using a milestone-driven portfolio of coordinated programs. Her extensive cross-training enables her to communicate and work with clinicians who care for PSC patients, engineers who design analytic platforms and instrumentation, and basic researchers unraveling the genetic and molecular pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. In her capacity as CEO, Dr. Boyette has started and is responsible for overseeing all active research programs at Curable. She engages with academic, government, and industry partners to bring the finest cutting-edge tools to the forefront of PSC research. She is a tireless advocate for increased attention and funding for rare diseases, particularly those such as PSC which are debilitating and life-threatening for patients. Prior to founding Curable, Dr. Boyette performed clinical research to understand the role of the innate immune system in solid organ transplant rejection and tolerance. She is also an expert in the area of adult and pluripotent stem cells, regenerative medicine, and genetic engineering. She was a policy fellow at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Coach Mike Ditka
During his time as Head Coach of the Chicago Bears, Coach Ditka unfortunately became acquainted with PSC and cholangiocarcinoma through his relationship with Walter Payton. As a result he knows first hand how devastating these diseases can be and how quickly they can take down a patient who previously seemed at the pinnacle of health. Coach Ditka has made tremendous accomplishments professionally; he is one of only two people to have won the Super Bowl as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach. Iron Mike has repeatedly demonstrated through his endeavors as a player, a coach, a businessman, and an activist that he knows how to make forward progress in the face of obstacles. He also brings to our Executive Board his unique experience being a part of and coordinating the activities of high-functioning elite teams. He hails from Pittsburgh originally, where he played for the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted to the NFL.
John Browner, MBA
Mr. Browner is an energy sector executive whose son has PSC. He serves on the Curable executive Board and co-chairs the fundraising committee. He is committed to driving new resources into programs to understand PSC pathogenesis and advance therapeutic development, and he brings a keen understanding of investor relations to Curable’s corporate development initiatives. He works closely with the strategic development team to cultivate long-term industrial and philanthropic partnerships that enable Curable to accelerate delivery of new PSC therapies and diagnostics.
Keith Lindor, MD
Dr. Lindor is a leading PSC researcher and executive vice provost and dean of the College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University and formerly dean of the Mayo Medical School. He serves on the Curable Executive Board. Dr. Lindor’s interests include research on clinical trials and means of optimizing the medical management of people with cholestatic disorders such as PSC. He works closely with the internal Curable team to develop new features in the PSC America Clinical Trials Network and leverage 21st century analysis tools to bring down the costs of multi-site clinical trials in the rare disease space. Dr. Lindor serves as a liason between the Curable Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board.
Kate Nelson, MBA
Kate has over 20 years of business and change management experience helping large and small companies worldwide get people ready, willing, and able to work in new ways. Kate is the co-author of two popular books on organizational change management, The Change Management Pocket Guide and The Eight Constants of Change. Kate’s clients have spanned the retail, consumer products, life sciences, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. Kate has authored articles in regionally, nationally, and internationally distributed publications and is frequently cited as an expert in the field of organizational change. Kate is also a frequent speaker at conferences and organizational events on the topic of managing change and developing an engaged and productive workforce. Before co-founding Change Guides in 2005, Kate worked with Deloitte Consulting serving clients and shaping the firm’s Change Management practice. She earned a BS from the College of William and Mary, an MBA from the Fisher School of Business and a MS from the School of Natural Resources at Ohio State University. Kate is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the global Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ruth Blatt, PhD
Dr Blatt writes about popular music from a management perspective using research on management and entrepreneurship. She shows a different side of musicians by taking them seriously as navigators of their own careers, as leaders of small businesses, and as part of self-managed creative teams. She has a Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the University of Michigan and is also currently writing a book.
Roger Chapman, MD
Board Member and Liaison to the Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Chapman is an international leader of PSC research at the University of Oxford and founding member of the International PSC Study Group, as well as a founding member of the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group. He serves on the Curable Executive Board and maintains a longstanding interest in the etiology, clinical features, and treatment of PSC and its relationship to liver dysfunction in inflammatory bowel disease. As a national leader of PSC research in the UK, Dr. Chapman has been involved in a number of large-scale efforts to understand the genetics of PSC and brings to the Curable Board invaluable expertise in coordinating multi-site, often international scientific investigations within the broader PSC research community. He advises a number of companies working to bring new therapeutics and diagnostics to market for cholestatic disease. Dr. Chapman serves as a liason between the Curable Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board.
Scientific Advisory Board
Konstantinos N. Lazaridis, MD
Dr. Lazaridis is a member of the Curable Scientific Advisory Board. He runs the Genomic Hepatobiology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic and cares for patients with PSC as a clinical hepatologist. His research centers on understanding the genetic predisposition and the genetic-environmental interaction that contribute to the development of chronic cholestatic liver diseases. Over the past decade, Dr. Lazaridis and his colleagues have created and maintained the largest research resource of PSC patients, including a family registry in the U.S. This resource is linked to a repository of DNA samples and banked biospecimens. Dr. Lazaridis’ laboratory uses these unique research resources and state-of-the-art experimental methods to systematically investigate the genetic and environmental components that predispose to the development of PSC. He is recognized internationally as a leading expert on PSC and is keenly interested in development of early detection assays for PSC, improving the prognosis for patients, and individualizing therapy in cholestatic disease.
James L. Boyer, MD
Dr. Boyer serves on the Curable Scientific Advisory Board. He is the Ensign Professor of Medicine and Emeritus Director of the Liver Center at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Boyer has extensive experience both caring for patients with PSC and developing new therapies to combat PSC in the laboratory. He was the founding Director of the NIDDK funded Liver Center at Yale and continued in that position for 25 years. He is also past Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Liver Foundation. Dr. Boyer has a broad interest in all aspects of basic and clinical hepatology. His laboratory’s major efforts have been the study of mechanisms of bile formation and cholestasis, currently supported by a MERIT award from NIDDK. He is past president of both the American and the International Association for the Study of Liver Disease. He is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including Distinguished Achievement Awards from the AGA, AASLD and American Liver Foundation. Dr. Boyer is recognized internationally as a leading expert on PSC, is the author of more than 400 publications, and continues to see patients and run a laboratory at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dan Kastner, MD PhD
Dr. Kastner serves as a member of the Curable Scientific Advisory Board. He studies the genetics, pathophysiology and treatment of inherited disorders of inflammation through an integrated clinical and laboratory research program at the National Institutes of Health, where he is currently the Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. He was previously Clinical Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Clinical Research. Throughout his career at the NIH, Dr. Kastner’s research has focused on using genetic and genomic strategies to understand inherited disorders of inflammation. His group has investigated single-gene and genetically complex inflammatory disorders for almost twenty-five years. His laboratory has utilized genomic approaches in genetically complex disorders, such as Behçet’s disease, and also proposed the now widely accepted concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote disorders of innate immunity. Dr. Kastner’s projects are frequently begun in response to patient encounters, and his group’s research, which is aimed at understanding the precise mechanisms of inherited inflammatory disease, forms the conceptual basis for new therapeutic trials. Dr. Kastner has won a number of awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2012.
Fadi G. Lakkis, MD
Dr. Lakkis serves as a member of the Curable Scientific Advisory Board and contributes expertise in the areas of transplantation biology, autoimmunity, and translational immunology. He is currently Professor of Surgery, Immunology, and Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Scientific Director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. The goal of Dr. Lakkis’s research is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of acute and chronic rejection in solid organ transplantation, specifically the innate mechanisms responsible for initiating and perpetuating the alloimmune response and the role of memory T cells in allograft rejection. Dr. Lakkis established and is part of a human immunology group investigating innate and adaptive immune function in solid organ transplant recipients, as well as part of a collaborative group examining the same phenomena in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. Prior to his current position, Dr. Lakkis was Director of Transplant Medicine at Yale University. He has served as a Board member of the American Society of Transplantation and received numerous awards for his translational work, including from the American Society of Transplantion, the American Society of Nephrology, and the National Kidney Foundation. As an internationally renowned immunologist, Dr. Lakkis has authored over 100 publications and has recently published a textbook on Immunotherapy.
M. Richard Boyette, CEM, CSDP
Mr. Boyette contributes expertise to the Scientific Advisory Board in the area of program and project management. He is currently a Program Manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command within the Department of Defense. As the parent of a patient with PSC, Mr. Boyette has experienced at close range the clinical problems associated with this disease. As an engineer with four decades of experience in industry and government, he understands the need for team-based analysis and integrated approaches to problem solving when dealing with complex problems. He brings to the table a deep working knowledge of project management, contract management, and funding stream coordination. He has published in the areas of energy conservation, project management, and complex problem solving. He is a passionate supporter of improved access to healthcare coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, as well as integrated healthcare delivery for patients with complex clinical disorders.
Theo Heller, MD
Gideon Hirschfield, MB BChir, PhD
Dr. Hirschfield is a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Hepatologist at the University of Birmingham, UK. He leads the autoimmune liver disease program at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one of Europe’s largest comprehensive Transplant Hepatology programs. He focuses on translational research into the causes and treatments of autoimmune liver disease, with particular interests in improving quality of care, careful patient phenotyping and stratification in PSC and other cholestatic disorders. He is involved in a number of new Phase 2 clinical trial programs for these diseases, as well as national efforts to improve liver services for patients with PBC, PSC and AIH and coordinate PSC research studies within the UK. He is recognized internationally as a leading expert on PSC.
Simon Rushbrook, MBBS, PhD
Dr. Rushbrook manages patients with acute and chronic liver disease and conducts research at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in East Anglia and at the University of Cambridge. He has a particular research interest in PSC and genomics of the liver. In collaboration with other leading UK hepatologists, he established a UK consortium of investigators that are collecting DNA from patients with PSC and continues to lead this scientific initiative, which leverages the world-class research infrastructure embedded in the NHS through support from the NIHR Comprehensive Clinical Research Network. This effort has resulted in the establishment of the largest single cohort of PSC patients in the world. Through this consortium investigators can network with clinicians nationwide about enrolling their patients in new PSC trials and capture longitudinal clinical data from PSC patients. Dr. Rushbrook has a PhD in viral immunology and pursues basic research into cellular contributions to the inflammatory and fibrotic aspects of PSC development. He is recognized internationally as a leading expert on PSC.