About MRA » Leadership Team
Wendy K.D. Selig is President and CEO of the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), a public charity focused on finding and funding the most promising translational melanoma research worldwide that will accelerate progress toward a cure. Ms. Selig drives and manages MRA’s strategic priorities, research portfolio, engagement with more than 90 corporate and non-profit Allies, and day-to-day operations. MRA, founded by Debra and Leon Black under the auspices of the Milken Institute, is the largest private funder of melanoma research, awarding $8-10 million in new grants each year.
Ms. Selig has held leadership roles in numerous coalitions, including United for Medical Research (UMR) and Once Voice Against Cancer (OVAC). She has served on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director's Consumer Liaison Group (DCLG) and is currently chair of the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Cancer Research (NCCR). She is also a member of the Patient Leadership Council of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) and the Government Affairs Committee of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).
Prior to joining the MRA, Ms. Selig spent nearly a decade in leadership positions at the American Cancer Society (the Society) and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). Most recently, she served as ACS CAN's Vice President of External Affairs & Strategic Alliances where she built strategic partnerships with corporations, foundations, trade associations and federal agencies.
Ms. Selig’s work with the Society and ACS CAN began in 2000, when she served first as Managing Director, Federal Government Relations and later Vice President for Legislative Affairs. From 1989-2000, Ms. Selig served on Capitol Hill as a senior staff member for U.S. Representative Porter J. Goss (R-FL), the House Rules Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
A native of Princeton, NJ, Ms. Selig is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Princeton University and holds a Masters in Science (With Distinction) from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She and her husband Michael live with their two children in McLean, VA.
Dr. Perkins joined the Melanoma Research Alliance as Chief Science Officer in 2013 where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the MRA’s scientific strategy to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. Her interests center on translational research including genomics, drug discovery and advancement of novel therapeutic approaches. Prior to joining the MRA, she was Chief Scientific Officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for five years, following a 16-year research career at two major pharmaceutical companies.
While at the MMRF, Dr. Perkins led the continued expansion of its venture philanthropy investments including its Biotech Investment Award and Clinical Fund programs. She was responsible for the expansion of the MMRF’s Genomics Initiative, which sequenced the first myeloma tumor genome in 2009 and has comprehensively analyzed 250 myeloma patient samples with an array of genomic technologies including next-gen sequencing. More recently, Dr. Perkins led the development of the genomics and data sharing strategy underpinning the 1,000 patient longitudinal study, CoMMpasssm, which aims to develop new targets and biomarkers through deep clinical and molecular data capture and analysis.
Prior to joining the MMRF, Dr. Perkins was Director of Cancer Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where she contributed to advancing novel targeted therapies toward clinical study, including Nexavar® and other innovative signal transduction inhibitors. While at Bayer, she also served as the Director of Research Licensing and was responsible for oncology licensing activities in support of cancer research programs. Prior to joining Bayer, she led a cancer research group at the Schering-Plough Research Institute where she participated in several early-stage research programs, including novel target-finding research using human genomics data.
Dr. Perkins graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD and MS in Biological Chemistry and conducted postdoctoral studies at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology. She earned her BS in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Laura Brockway-Lunardi joined the Melanoma Research Alliance in 2009 with more than 10 years of experience in scientific program management, science policy, and biomedical research. She currently manages MRA’s research awards, including the solicitation, peer review, and oversight of approximately $8 million per year in funded programs. She is also responsible for coordinating MRA’s annual Scientific Retreat.
Prior to MRA, Dr. Brockway-Lunardi was scientific program manager at the International Life Science Institute North America, where she coordinated programs on nutrition and health. From 2004-2008, she was senior science policy analyst at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, developing policy recommendations on biomedical research issues, including conflicts of interest, scientific publishing, and grant review, as well as contributing to advocacy efforts for federal research funding. She was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences, contributing to their studies of intellectual property in academic-industry relationships and U.S. science and technology competitiveness.
Dr. Brockway-Lunardi received her doctorate in Vision Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she was president of the Industry Roundtable, an organization dedicated to fostering a greater awareness of science careers outside academia. She received her bachelor's degree in biology with honors from Florida State University.
Alexandra Carney is the Scientific Program Manager for MRA. She graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Throughout her college career, Carney volunteered regularly as an EMT with the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Lauren C. Leiman is Senior Director, Marketing and Development, for the Melanoma Research Alliance. Previously, she was the Director of Marketing and Development for MRA from 2010-2014. Leiman joined MRA in 2010 from Millennium Promise Alliance, an organization committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, where she led the major gifts fundraising effort and spent significant time in sub-Saharan Africa.
Her previous experience includes developing strong partnerships and collaborations working in business development and investor relations at Steel Partners, Ltd., an activist hedge fund, and business operations at Tribeca Entertainment, a New York-based film production company.
Leiman received her undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School. She also holds an MBA in international business from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School and a master's degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University.
Logan E. Kastner is Director of Marketing and Development for the Melanoma Research Alliance. Kastner joined MRA in 2015 from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), where she worked as senior director of member value creation and meeting services.
While at GMA, Kastner was responsible for leading GMA’s membership retention efforts across 250+ members by developing and managing strategic platforms to enhance the GMA membership experience and value proposition. In addition, she had primary responsibility for the content development, planning and execution of GMA’s annual flagship events; GMA Executive Conference, GMA CEO Leadership Forum and GMA Emerging Leaders Program. She also managed a team of meeting logistics professionals on the successful execution of GMA sponsored meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops.
Her previous experience includes a strong background in project management within the world of advertising and marketing, where she serves in key account and project management roles with major brands. Kastner graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from Northeastern University.
Jennifer Engel is the Development Manager, Foundations and Campaigns for MRA. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a BA in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Spanish. During her fourth year, she worked as an intern at UVA’s Center for Politics. In the two years following graduation, she taught English in Madrid, Spain and Shenzhen, China.
Rachel Gazzerro is responsible for constituent relationship management and donor communication software, including the establishment of standard business processes, data management, and reporting. Gazzerro joined MRA in 2015 from the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization, where she worked in the development department managing the Institute’s CRM and coordinating major benefit and cultivation events. She previously worked in the development department at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and managed the Orientation Programs at The Catholic University of America. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in political theory from The Catholic University of America.
Emily Dammeyer joined the Melanoma Research Alliance in 2015 after more than 10 years at Children’s National Health System, where she held a variety of roles in public relations and digital communications. Most recently, she served as Digital Content Manager for Children’s National, where she co-led the development of a digital strategy and launch of a new website. She oversaw a team of content producers, the editorial process and developed the content strategy and social media strategy for the organization.
Dammeyer previously served as Public Relations Manager at Children’s National, where she created and executed national and local media relations plans with strong results. She has managed high-profile cases, led crisis communications, and developed award-winning integrated marketing campaigns.
Dammeyer began her career at the Washington office of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, working on several public health and social marketing accounts, including the iconic Red Dress Campaign. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Randy Marsh is the Executive and Operations Manager at MRA. He manages all aspects of operation support for MRA. Prior to joining MRA, he spent many years in operational management in both the not-for-profit and public sector. He most recently was Director of Operations for ORBmedia, a not-for-profit journalism startup organization. Prior to ORBmedia he served as Operations Director for Tradewinds Transportation and for Sprint. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors in Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and completed his coursework for a Master’s degree in International Law at the American University in Cairo.