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). 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.
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Perkins joined the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) 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 research career of 16 years 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. In addition, 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 MMRF’s 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 in West Haven, CT, 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 in Kenilworth, NJ. In this role, 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.
Scientific Program Director
Brockway-Lunardi joined MRA in May 2009 with more than 10 years of experience in scientific program management, science policy, and biomedical research. Prior to MRA, she was scientific program manager at the International Life Science Institute North America where she coordinated programs on nutrition and health. From 2004-2008, Brockway-Lunardi 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. 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
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.
Marketing and Development Director
Lauren C. Leiman is Director of Marketing and Development for MRA. Leiman joined MRA in 2010 from Millennium Promise Alliance, an organization committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, where she worked as the director of major gifts. Her previous experience includes 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 and a master's degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York 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.
Development Manager, CRM and Donor Communications
Henry Woodside is the Development Manager, CRM and Donor Communications. Woodside joined the MRA in mid 2012 from working as an independent contractor. Previous to that he worked for eight years at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as their Database Administrator where he managed their Raiser’s Edge and Kintera databases. While there he gained development experience in direct mail, special events and major gifts. He also managed the online sales of their Leadership Awards, Creating Change conference and the Winter Party Festival. He has a BA in sociology from Hendrix College.
Communications and Outreach Manager
Marissa Maybee is the Manager of Communications and Outreach at MRA. She leads the organization's outreach activities through traditional and social media, administers the MRA blog and website, and dabbles in graphic design as needed. Prior to joining MRA, she worked in a programs and industry research role at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), developing conference content to highlight industry innovations in research, deal-making, and financing. Maybee began her career in the PR industry, working in media research at Vocus. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Kenyon College, where she studied English and history; she is currently pursuing her MBA in marketing and healthcare at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.