Robin Davisson, Ph.D.
President and CEO-Elect
Robin L. Davisson, Ph.D., joined the Melanoma Research Alliance in October 2015 as President and CEO-elect. Dr. Davisson brings to MRA more than 25 years of internationally recognized scientific research and deep engagement in graduate student and postdoctoral education and mentoring. At MRA, she spearheads the strategic priorities, research portfolio, engagement with corporate partners, and day-to-day operations.
Davisson is The Andrew Dickson White Professor of Molecular Physiology at Cornell University, and joined the faculty of Cornell University of 2006, with primary appointments in the College of Veterinary Medicine and in the Weill Cornell Medical College. She has received some of the most prestigious research awards in her field and was recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has published over 100 original research and review articles, and is a frequent invited speaker throughout the United States as well as in South America, Europe and Asia.
Dr. Davisson has also been tireless in her commitment to service to the scientific enterprise in this country and others. She has served on NIH Study Section review committees continuously for 15 years. She has also been a prominent leader of organizations in her field since the start of her training and career. She has also served as a peer reviewer of grants in other countries.
Dr. Davisson earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Iowa and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a master’s degree in psychology and her doctorate in pharmacology, also from The University of Iowa. While a graduate student, she won a Norwegian Marshall Fund Award for Graduate Study Abroad. She completed a four-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Iowa Cardiovascular Research Center and the Center for Hypertension Genomics before joining The University of Iowa faculty as an assistant professor in 1998. She earned tenure and was promoted to associate professor at Iowa in 2004 and was appointed full professor at Cornell in 2006. She holds a current appointment as adjunct professor of medicine at Georgetown University.
Acting President and CEO
Margaret Anderson is the executive director of FasterCures, a Milken Institute center that works to speed up the timeline for medicines to go from discovery to patients. She is a board member of the Melanoma Research Alliance and is currently serving as its Acting President and CEO.
A founding board member of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, Anderson is a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, the National Health Council board, the United for Medical Research Steering Committee, and the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. Previously, she was the deputy director of the Center on AIDS & Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development; program director at the Society for Women's Health Research; health science analyst at the American Public Health Association; and project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in the Biological Applications Program.
She holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University.
Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer
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 M. Brockway-Lunardi, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director
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.
Scientific Program Manager
Tasheema Prince is the Scientific Program Manager for the Melanoma Research Alliance. She brings over 12 years of experience working with researchers and scientists in the medical community, including the National Institutes of Health. She began her career at a medical publishing company in New York City, where over a 7-year period she held positions in editorial, marketing, sales, and production. More recently, she worked as a consultant for an international public health firm dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare, social service, and health education worldwide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stony Brook University.
Lauren C. Leiman
Senior Marketing and Development Director
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.
Director of Marketing and Development
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.
Development Manager, Foundations and Campaigns
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.
Database Manager, CRM and Donor Communications
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.
Director of Communications and Outreach
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.
Executive and Operations Manager
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.