Dr. Zain Kassam is a special advisor to OpenBiome, and was the Chief Medical Officer until January 2018. He is a gastroenterologist, internal medicine physician and epidemiologist.
Zain was named a Top 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovator by MedTech and is a Scientific Advisory Board member for the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research & Education. Dr. Kassam's research focuses on innovative microbiome-directed therapies that deeply impact human health and disease. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed abstracts, publications and book chapters and holds grants from the CDC, CCFA and private foundations.
Dr. Kassam received his MPH degree with a focus on Clinical Trials at Harvard University on a Frank Knox Fellowship and completed his post-doctoral training in microbiome engineering at MIT. He completed both his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at McMaster University, where he was the Chief Medical and Chief Gastroenterology Resident and was awarded the National Resident Leadership Award by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Mark Smith, PhD
Mark has led much of the seminal work on fecal transplantation and the human microbiome, publishing in leading journals such as Nature and NEJM. He translated fecal transplantation from a topic of research into clinical practice by founding OpenBiome, where he pioneered the universal donor model as a safe, effective and cost-efficient solution to the C. difficile epidemic. Under Mark's leadership, OpenBiome treated more than 20,000 patients through a network of over 800 hospitals. He co-founded Finch Therapeutics to develop defined microbial therapies that treat diseases beyond C.difficile.
Mark graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in Biology and received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from MIT.
Carolyn is the Executive Director of OpenBiome. She was a member of the founding team and previously served as Director of Outreach and Public Affairs, where she oversaw OpenBiome's efforts to expand the availability of FMT across 1,000 hospitals and clinics, present its work to the public, and contribute to the discourse on the regulation of fecal microbiota.
Previously, Carolyn worked at the US Agency for International Development, where she helped launch the Global Innovation Fund, a $200 million institution backed by foreign aid agencies from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and South Africa to test and support low-cost, high-impact interventions to improve global health and prosperity.
She holds an MPA and a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where she was awarded the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative (SINSI) Fellowship, a four-year program to support outstanding individuals to launch careers in public service.
Majdi Osman, MD MPH
Majdi is the Clinical Program Director at OpenBiome. He is an Internal Medicine physician who trained at University College London.
He previously worked at the World Health Organization and completed his Master's in Public Health at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health on a Frank Knox Fellowship. He was trained in tropical medicine and infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and has taught and practiced medicine throughout Africa. He co-founded YBank, a non-profit dedicated to adolescent health. His research focuses on infectious diseases, quality improvement and clinical safety. He is excited to be part of OpenBiome in its mission to deliver safe access to FMT.
Steve is the Interim Chief Operating Officer of OpenBiome.
He has been a venture capitalist, CEO, and entrepreneur, and has 20 years of experience funding innovation across healthcare, from research through clinical to commercial. As Managing Director, of the Novartis Venture fund for twelve years, he was actively engaged in all investment decisions across the portfolio, managed the medical device practice, while also investing in biotech.
Prior to Novartis, Steve was on the life science team at Prism Venture Partners, where he focused on medical devices. He started in venture capital as a Kauffman Fellow with Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, where he focused on software startups. He started his career as a turn-around CEO, buying a defunct industrial distribution business out of bankruptcy, and rebuilding it over the next five years. He also was Interim-CEO of Rox Medical, a venture funded device company developing a therapy for hypertension.
Steve holds an M.B.A. with distinction from the University of Michigan Business School and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Jim Sigler, MBA, has 28+ years of experience in drug development. At Genzyme, he and his team brought Carticel™, the first biologic therapy of its type, from academia all the way through FDA submission, inspection, licensure, and commercialization. At Reprogenesis, he and his team executed a crash re-formulation and pre-clinical model development effort that resulted in the resumption of a Phase III trial less than nine months after suspending the trial. At Acceleron, he and his team completed in-house manufacture of the first clinical drug substance for the company, and the outside manufacture of clinical drug product, less than two years after the company’s initial financing and barely seventeen months after board approval to build the in-house capability.
Jim received his BS in Biology/General Studies from Cornell University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Kathy comes to OpenBiome with over 30 years of experience in financial management, including 25 years dedicated to the non-profit sector. Kathy has spent most of her career in community-based organizations, and developing affordable housing. She is responsible for the development of over 400 affordable housing units on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Along with Kathy's years of experience, she brings with her a great understanding of grant and contract management, compliance, and financial reporting skills. Kathy is excited to be part of OpenBiome and looks forward to the wonderful work the OpenBiome continues to do.
Scott Olesen, PhD
Scott is Scientific Director for OpenBiome. He was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where his research focused on how population-wide antibiotic use affects antibiotic resistance. Scott earned his PhD from MIT, where his graduate work focused on the design of clinical trials for FMT, human microbiome analysis, and environmental microbiology ecosystem modeling. He holds an MPhil and MASt from the University of Cambridge and a BA from Williams College.
Michael is the Director of Clinical Outreach at OpenBiome. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Human Resource Management. Michael has vast experience managing major hospital and pharmaceutical accounts, and is excited to help grow existing and future relationships with OpenBiome partners!
Jeannette van der Velde
Jeannette van der Velde is the Director of Clinical Research Operations at OpenBiome where she provides high-level oversight and direction of the clinical research team in both OpenBiome- and Investigator-sponsored trials. She previously worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Protocol Office as Senior Clinical Research Program Manager. In this role, she led the Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma clinical trial teams and concurrently launched a disease-agnostic Cellular Therapy clinical research group, overseeing a combined portfolio of nearly 100 clinical trials.
She co-founded the Sweet Life School, which provides elementary education to children in rural Cambodia and served as a consultant with the American Society for Clinical Pathologists when they were asked by the Namibian Institute of Pathology to improve laboratory HIV-detection and anti-retroviral treatment monitoring.
She holds a MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (focusing on International Health and Health Policy) and a MSc. in Health Promotion and Health Education from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Jon Watson is the Investigator-Initiated Trials Manager at OpenBiome. He is a seasoned clinical research operations professional with wide-ranging experience in program development/evaluation, IRB administration, and pre/post-award management of clinical research projects/trials.
Prior to his arrival at OpenBiome, Jon spent several years as Clinical Research Project Manager in the Academic Institute at Atrius Health and as Program Evaluator for the Center for Addiction Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jon holds a master’s degree in psychology from Brandeis University and received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Dave is the Human Capital Manager at OpenBiome. He has extensive HR experience working for companies in various industries, including distribution, specialty construction engineering, and non-profit. His particular interests lie in employee relations, engagement, and talent management.
Born and raised in the Greater Boston area, Dave attended Suffolk University where he studied Social Psychology.
Dea Hunsicker, PhD
Dea is the Research Partnerships Manager at OpenBiome, responsible for managing relationships with external collaborators as well as managing Finch and OpenBiome’s Joint Steering Committee.
As the Director of Research and Evaluation at Horizons for Homeless Children she instituted new procedures for consistent and reliable data collection practices and integrated data reporting at all levels of the organization. She also dabbles in market research and is fond of designing surveys.
She earned her Ph.D in developmental psychology at the University of Chicago, where she focused on language development and often found her research spanning into education and linguistics.
Duane Wesemann, MD PhD
Duane Wesemann is an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Principal Investigator of his laboratory studying immune diversity and host-microbe interactions. He serves as a consultant at OpenBiome where he advises on its scientific initiatives. He holds an MD with dual board certification in Internal Medicine and Allergy/Immunology and holds a PhD in Cell Biology. He directs graduate and medical courses at Harvard Medical School and continues to see patients with disorders of immune regulation.
Susan (Susie) Corl, MPH, CIP, CCRP, CHRC recently joined Open Biome as our Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist. For almost 2 decades, she has served as a research compliance, ethics and education professional in a variety of large academic hospitals; including, the University of California Los Angeles and San Francisco medical center campuses, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Susie also serves as a co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the Society of Clinical Research Associates and is an elected member to its national Board of Directors. She is a Lecturer for Boston College School of Nursing Continuing Education Program, and has co-authored research course content materials for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program. Susie grew up north of Boston, earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Richmond, Virginia, and her Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. She is certified as an Institutional Review Board Professional (CIP), a Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) and a Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC) professional.
Alex is the Regulatory Affairs Manager at OpenBiome, helping to push forward OpenBiome’s policy efforts and overseas partnerships. She graduated from Harvard Divinity School, where she received a master’s degree in Religion, Ethics, and Politics. Between her undergraduate studies at Princeton and arriving in Boston, Alex worked in education policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. She is excited to fuse academic, professional, and personal interests to help OpenBiome expand clinical access to this critical treatment.
Emily is the Director of External Affairs at OpenBiome, overseeing all outward facing communications, including to researchers, clinicians, patients, media, and the general public.
She previously worked at the White House under President Obama for seven years, where she most recently served as Associate Staff Secretary. In that role, she worked with the highest levels of government to manage and direct the flow of all written materials that crossed the President's desk. In prior White House roles, she worked at the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Health Reform.
She then returned to her roots in scientific research and health care, and coordinated clinical trials in the NICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital before beginning her work at OpenBiome. She is thrilled to continue her deep commitment to expanding access to health care. She holds an MA and a BA in Neuroscience from Wesleyan University.
Shrish Budree, MD MBChB DCH FCPeds
Shrish is a pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist from South Africa and is currently pursuing his PhD. His research is focused on the role of the intestinal microbiome in childhood disease. He completed his medical, pediatric and pediatric gastroenterology training at the University of Cape Town and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa. He worked as a research fellow for a year on a large Gates Foundation funded pediatric cohort study based in Cape Town, South Africa. He was then awarded the Discovery Foundation research fellowship with the aim to learn how to conduct computational analysis of the intestinal microbiome and spent a year in the Xavier microbiome laboratory at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Boston. His interest in fecal microbiome transplantation stems from both his clinical gastroenterology background and his current microbiome research and he is enthusiastic to pursue further research in this exciting field.
Pratik Panchal, MD MPH
Pratik is a physician and a public health professional with an expertise in epidemiology, statistical and geospatial modeling and has recently moved from South Africa where he held a research position at the University of Witwatersrand School of Public Health and worked alongside the National Department of Health for impact evaluation of the Community Health Worker program. He received his Master's in Public Health and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he currently holds a research scientist position leading the health systems modeling initiative. His research at the Global Newborn Health Lab at Harvard Medical School focused on developing a low-cost icterometer for community-based management of neonatal jaundice and was funded by the Saving Lives at Birth grant of the Gates Foundation. Over the years, Pratik has worked with OpenBiome on multiple projects including the geospatial analysis showing that over 97% of the US population lives within a 2-hour drive to one of our FMT providers. Pratik's core passion lies in the intersection of biostatistics and data science techniques and translational microbiome research.
C. Aaron Flynn
A skilled strategist, Aaron brings over a decade of nonprofit financial and operations management experience to OpenBiome. Having worked extensively in government and higher-education, Aaron has significant experience in federal regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection, negotiation, financial analysis, and project management.
Aaron has spent much of his professional career developing a robust global worldview. Having lived and worked abroad, he actively seeks opportunities to broaden his understanding of the world around him. Aaron is a natural coalition builder who focuses on creating equitable outcomes and long-term partnerships. Prior to joining OpenBiome, Aaron worked as a Senior Contract Negotiator for the University of Virginia Office of Sponsored Programs.
Aaron holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, a Master of Arts in Government from the University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Albion College. He and his wife, Lindsay, are experienced travelers who can be found hiking, camping, and exploring new ideas and cultures during their free time.
Caroline is a Global Health Program Specialist at OpenBiome. She is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she obtained a Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in Research in Microbiology and Global Health. Before joining OpenBiome, Caroline spent a year as a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where she conducted emerging infectious disease research using microbial genomics. Caroline is excited to contribute to OpenBiome’s mission of understanding more about the microbiome through translational research.
Mary is a Senior Clinical Research Associate at OpenBiome. She is a recent Boston University graduate where she earned her B.S in Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Research. After working as a nurse’s assistant for many years, she’s beyond excited to be a part of the laboratory team where she hopes to improve production procedures and coordinate research fulfillment.
Ashley is the Finance Administrative Associate. She grew up and resides on the North Shore and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Endicott College in Beverly, MA. Having a strong customer service and administrative background working with non-profit organizations, Ashley is excited to apply her skills and expertise while furthering the mission of OpenBiome.
Monica is a Senior Clinical Outreach Associate. She is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and minored in Global Health and Health Policy. Her thesis research concentrated on mapping the social networks of two different zebra species in central Kenya. Monica is excited to join the team to help foster relationships with OpenBiome’s clinical partners and to promote access to FMT!
Michael Bougas received a B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. Michael brings five years of combined experience in both sales and outreach roles through which he developed a passion for both interpersonal and business to business communication. He is thrilled to be a part of the OpenBiome outreach team and looks forward to developing relationships with current and future clinical partners while increasing safe access to FMT.
Rick is a Clinical Outreach Associate at OpenBiome. He grew up north of Boston and earned his B.A. in Government from Skidmore College in upstate New York. Rick is excited to use his background in political outreach to foster productive relationships with OpenBiome's clinical partners and ensure greater access to FMT.
Daelyn is the Contract Analyst at OpenBiome. She is a recent graduate of New York University where she received a degree in Classical Music Performance and a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Previously, Daelyn volunteered as a program coordinator with ArcMercer, a center for disabled and autistic community members. A passionate advocate for non-profits, she is excited to be collaborating with the Outreach team and contributing to the OpenBiome mission!
Audrey is a Senior Clinical Research Associate at OpenBiome. A recent graduate of Princeton University, Audrey majored in molecular biology and wrote her thesis on the potential antimicrobial potency of a novel lipopeptide from a marine bacteria species. Audrey is looking forward to working at the crossroads of clinical and research-based application of FMT, in such an exciting new field, before pursuing her medical degree."
Sally is a Senior Clinical Research Associate at OpenBiome. She recently earned her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied microbial host-pathogen interactions and was involved in researching the mechanisms of H. pylori virulence. She is excited to start her new career with OpenBiome and hopes to assist in furthering the understanding of the clinical usages of FMT.
Lisa Serwin has a 25+ year career leading start-ups and established organizations in the healthcare, consumer product and retail sectors. She is currently the Co-Founder of C-Sweetener, a nonprofit that matches senior women in the healthcare industry with mentors so they can thrive in C-suite leadership positions.
Lisa has served as CEO and in other leadership roles at a wide variety of technology and healthcare companies, where her responsibilities have ranged from strategic planning to closing on multiple rounds of financing. In 2005, Lisa ran the Commission on Medical Research, Education and Training for the State of Nevada. Lisa has also served on multiple for- and not-for-profit boards.
She is an author and recognized expert in healthcare technology and personal finance, and has been featured by Wired.com, Forbes.com, SheKnows, Huffington Post, CBS Radio, NPR, Popular Science and others. She is a member of Life Sciences Angels.
She has an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University and B.A. from U.C.L.A.
Jane Williams, MD MPH
Jane has recently joined the Health and Medical Management team as a Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts working with the Alternate Quality Contract Support team and supporting contracting, credentialing and corporate peer review committees. She practiced family medicine for 14 years in the Merrimack Valley. Most recently, Jane worked as a medical director at Parexel International providing scientific and strategic guidance to clients as well as supporting protocol development, regulatory submissions, evaluation of new technologies and safety monitoring. Jane earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, her doctor of medicine at Albany Medical College of Union University and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Susie is an External Affairs Associate at OpenBiome. She works to develop a message and brand for OpenBiome. Her work and volunteer experiences prior to OpenBiome have always revolved around the dedication to helping others-from teaching to mental health counseling. She is delighted to join OpenBiome in its exciting research on the microbiome. She is a graduate from Bentley University with a major in accounting.
Geri is an External Affairs Associate. She joined OpenBiome in 2016 as a Clinical Outreach Associate and transitioned to the External Affairs team in 2018. Prior to working at OpenBiome, Geri was a case manager for patients obtaining expert medical second opinions for complex health issues. The experience inspired her to pursue a career in public health and led her to discover OpenBiome. She's most thrilled to work towards enabling patient access to FMT and broadening research into the microbiome. She holds a BA in Anthropology and plans to obtain a Master’s in Public Health in the near future.
James Burgess is a Co-Founder and former Executive Director of OpenBiome, a non-profit stool bank and research institute focused on enabling access to fecal transplant therapies for C. difficile patients and catalyzing research in the human microbiome. James has overseen the growth and development of OpenBiome from the corner of a lab at MIT to a large-scale operation providing 1,000 treatments per month across the country and enabling dozens of clinical trials in the microbiome field. James is also a Co-Founder of Finch Therapeutics, a commercial spin-out from OpenBiome focused on the development of microbiome therapeutics and has deep expertise in developing non-profit/for-profit partnerships, licensing agreements, and hybrid business models.
Prior to launching OpenBiome, James worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and at Bain & Company.
James has a BA in Mathematics at Princeton University and completed one lonely semester of an MBA at MIT Sloan before dropping out to launch OpenBiome.
Jim Bildner, JD
Jim is the CEO of the DRK Foundation, and he brings more than 30 years of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and Hauser Center Institute for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. Jim serves on the boards of numerous foundations and organizations, has served as CEO of two public companies, and is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Rob is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Development. In this role he helps guide the strategic direction of the organization and build the partnerships necessary to accomplish our mission. He leads OpenBiome's fundraising efforts, which include a combination of research grants and philanthropic gifts. He was previously the Director of Research Operations at OpenBiome.
Prior to his time at OpenBiome, he worked at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Program Manager, where he oversaw a broad range of research projects, including field-based RCTs and a pool of funding for exploratory researcher-policymaker engagements.
He is a co-founder of the Philani Family Fund, which provides emergency housing and scholarships for impoverished women in the informal settlements around Cape Town, South Africa, and formerly served as the Regional Director for Children of South Africa (CHOSA, Inc), a US-based non-profit organization that helps community-based organizations better serve orphans and vulnerable children.
He holds a Master in Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a BA in history from Colby College.
Jim has served as Chairman of the OpenBiome Board of Directors since the organization's founding in 2012. Jim built a long career in business and software at several software startups, IBM, and Lotus Development, where he held several positions in sales and marketing before becoming the General Manager of the Desktop Software division when the company was acquired by IBM. Jim supported OpenBiome's incorporation and its efforts to build a governance model for this unique non-profit, with dual public health and research missions. Jim earned a BA in History from Yale University.
Neil is a Senior VP of Innovation for Schneider Electric. He establishes the technology direction for the world’s largest R&D budget devoted to power, cooling, and rack infrastructure for data centers. Neil holds 28 patents related to high-efficiency and high-density data center power and cooling infrastructure, and has published over 60 papers related to power and cooling systems, many published in more than 10 languages, most recently with a focus on the improvement of energy efficiency. He is an internationally recognized keynote speaker on the subject of high-efficiency data centers. Neil is currently working to advance the science of high-efficiency, high-density, scalable data center infrastructure solutions and is a principal architect of the APC InfraStruXure system. After founding APC in 1981, Neil served as Senior VP of Engineering and CTO for 26 years, assuming his current role after APC joined Schneider Electric in 2007. He received his bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering from MIT.
Justin Chen, PhD
As External Affairs Associate, Justin shares OpenBiome’s mission with multiple audiences including patients, doctors, clinical researchers, and the general public.
Justin recently completed his PhD in the MIT Department of Biology where he used frog embryos to model human face development. Before graduate school, he studied biology and creative writing at Oberlin College. There, his independent research projects involved tracking cell migration in opossum embryos and writing essays on long-distance running. At OpenBiome, Justin is excited to combine his passions for science and communication, and to be part of a team expanding access to FMT.
Eric Alm, PhD
Eric is an Associate Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute. He holds degrees in Mathematics/Computer Science, Biology, and Biochemistry, and his current research covers diverse topics ranging from biofuels to human disease. He is passionate about using scientific discoveries and new technologies to solve real-world problems, and thrilled that OpenBiome provides an opportunity to translate human microbiome research into therapies that improve patients' lives.
Will is a Senior Clinical Research Associate at OpenBiome. He is a recent graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in Neurobiology. He has been working in microbiome research since graduating, and is excited to continue his career in research at OpenBiome and explore into new uses for FMT.
Jessica Allegretti, MD MPH
Dr. Allegretti is a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with both clinical and research interests in Clostridium difficile infection and inflammatory bowel disease. She founded and coordinates the fecal transplant program for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections at BWH. She completed her internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowship in gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She also completed her Master’s in Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Charles Hewett, PhD
Charles Hewett, PhD is currently an independent consultant serving as the Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Engineering and Life Sciences (IDEALS) in Portland, Maine. Earlier this month, he retired as executive vice president at The Jackson Laboratory where he served as Chief Operating Officer for nearly 15 years. He oversaw the launch of numerous research products and services; modernization of mouse production facilities; completion of new research laboratories in Maine, the creation of Jax Genomic Medicine in Connecticut, and the relocation and expansion of the Laboratory's California operation. Chuck remains a member of the Laboratory's Board of Trustees and serves as a board member of several other non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Chuck previously served as CEO of Atlantic Energy Partners and Neptune Regional Transmission System, while concurrently vice president and secretary to the Board of the Cianbro Companies. Chuck served for three years as the COO of the Executive Branch of the state of Maine during Gov. Angus King's first term. He has held chief executive posts in the international pharmaceutical industry, in electric generation, and in natural resource management, and has created companies, managed start-up projects, and completed successful turnarounds in Asia, Europe, and the United States.