Leadership Team

Board of Directors

{caption} Deborah Glass Miles Chair

Debbie Miles has been a CPA since 1992. She worked in public accounting but has predominantly worked in private industry in South Carolina. Having served on several non-profit boards, Debbie is now devoting all her energies to the Lymphatic Research Foundation.  Her passion for the organization is very personal, as her son, Will, was diagnosed with primary lymphedema at 6 years of age. In addition to her son, she also has a daughter, Abby and husband, Bill.

{caption} Philip Braginsky, Esq. Secretary

Philip Braginsky is Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Group at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP.  He provides clients with value creation services through intellectual property counseling, litigation and patent and trademark procurement in the life sciences, tech and financial industries. A friend and strategic business advisor to academic and business leaders, he has assisted in and been responsible for the creation and success of numerous technologies and business ventures.  Philip has founded several technology companies and is actively engaged in formulating intellectual asset strategies for many public and private companies. He has been appointed an expert on intellectual property for the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Working Group VI (Securities Interests).  Philip is frequently invited to speak on medical device, tech and nanotechnology-related topics and has written numerous articles in the areas of intellectual property and private equity. He is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the International Trademark Association.

{caption} Kenneth R. Cerini Treasurer

Kenneth Cerini, CPA, CFP, D.A.B.F.A., managing partner of the Long Island-based accounting firm, Cerini & Associates, LLP, joined the LRF Board as a Director in January 2009. Mr. Cerini has extensive experience in financial planning and accounting in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Mr. Cerini has won numerous awards, and has been quoted in publications such as Newsday, Long Island Business News, the Long Island Press, and the New York Times. In addition, he wrote a weekly article spotlighting various Long Island nonprofit organizations for Long Island Business News for nearly ten years. Mr. Cerini serves on the Board for LRF, and is also President of the Social Enterprise Alliance of Long Island.

{caption} Doron Illan Director

Doron Ilan, MD is an Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in disorders of the Hand and Upper Extremity. He is a managing partner of Premier Orthopaedics of Westchester and Rockland is affiliated with Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.    Dr. Ilan is a fellow/member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the New York State Medical Society. He is the Director of Hand Surgery at the Dobbs Ferry Pavilion of St Johns Riverside Hospital Center. He has been elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies and is a former contributing editor of the “Year Book of Hand Surgery." Dr Ilan is an avid endurance athlete and is the founder of TeamLE&RN, a group that raises funding for LE&RN while participating in endurance events (running, triathlon, swimming, biking, adventure races). Dr. Ilan has a family member with Lymphatic disease.

{caption} Sheila H. Ridner Director

Sheila H. Ridner, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, TN. She is an internationally recognized scientist and expert in the field of lymphedema and lymphatic research.

{caption} Joseph Dayan Director

Specializing in reconstructive microsurgery, Dr. Dayan is fellowship-trained in breast and head & neck cancer reconstruction, facial reanimation, and surgical treatment for lymphedema. Dr. Dayan is also an expert in all aspects of plastic surgery including sophisticated reconstructive surgery and the full range of cosmetic operations.  Dr. Dayan completed his residency in plastic surgery at Georgetown University Hospital where he trained under leaders in the field of both implant and microsurgical breast reconstruction. He completed his fellowship in microsurgery at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, recognized as the premier center for reconstructive microsurgery in the world.  Dr. Dayan’s research interests are focused on lymph node transfer in the treatment of lymphedema, microsurgical and oncoplastic breast reconstruction, and facial reanimation for facial paralysis.  He is collaborating with numerous physicians and scientists across disciplines on novel and important clinical research dedicated to substantially improving patient care and quality of life.

{caption} Dave McDowell Director

Dave McDowell is a 20-year consumer technology veteran who most recently led a portfolio of media, communication and subscription businesses as well as global customer support at AOL and Verizon Media Group. Previously, Dave spent a decade at Yahoo in product management and marketing roles in the US, UK and Switzerland.

Dave’s daughter, Colette, was born with pulmonary lymphangiectasia in 2016. He has been the Chairman of the LE&RN Leadership Council since 2017 and became a Board Member in 2018. Dave holds a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Business Administration from Miami University. He lives with his wife and three children in San Francisco, CA.


Scientific & Medical Advisory Council

Founding Chair
{caption} Stanley Rockson Founding Chair

Dr. Rockson is the Allan and Tina Neill Professor of Lymphatic Research and Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. After earning his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, Dr Rockson completed his internship and residency training in internal medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, and fellowship training in the cardiac unit of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Angiology, and American College of Physicians, as well as a member of the International Society of Lymphology, American Society of Internal Medicine, the Society of Vascular Medicine and Biology, and the Paul Dudley White Society, among others.

{caption} Melissa Aldrich, MBA, PhD

Melissa Aldrich, MBA, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine at UTHealth/McGovern Medical School in Houston, Texas.  She and colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center are conducting a longitudinal study of breast cancer-related lymphedema using near-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging.  Other research interests include lymphatic dysfunction in rheumatoid arthritis, neonatal chylothorax, and inflammation.  She received a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.B.A. from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the UTHealth/MD Anderson’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

{caption} Kari K. Alitalo Emeritus

Dr. Kari Alitalo is a tenured Research Professor of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Scientific Director of the Molecular/Cancer Biology Program and Centre of Excellence in the Biomedicum Helsinki research institute of the University of Helsinki. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Helsinki in Finland.

{caption} Michael Detmar

Professor Michael Detmar has been Full Professor of Pharmacogenomics in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich since September 2004. He studied medicine in Freiburg and Vienna and obtained a M.D. degree in 1984 from the University of Freiburg. From 1993 to 1997, he was appointed visiting professor of pathology and dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, USA. Since 1998, he holds an appointment as associate professor at Harvard Medical School, and he also served as an associate director of research at the Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital. His research program focuses on cancer biology, in particular the role of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis towards tumor metastasis, as well as on the molecular control of chronic inflammation. A major focus of the group is the genetic disposition for disease and for the response to specific therapies, with the aim to develop new individualized therapies for human diseases.

{caption} Donald McDonald Emeritus

Professor Donald M. McDonald is a Member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Senior Staff Member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, and Professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco, where he has been on the faculty since 1973. His research focuses on cellular mechanisms of angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, vascular remodeling, and plasma leakage, with the goal of using blood vessels and lymphatics as targets for treatments of cancer and chronic inflammatory disease and of understanding how inhibitors of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis can reduce tumor growth and metastasis and prolong life of patients with cancer.

{caption} James Moore

Prof. Moore received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, followed by postdoctoral training at the Swiss Institute of Technology at Lausanne.  He joined Imperial College in 2013 as the Bagrit and Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Medical Device Design in the Department of Bioengineering.  Prof. Moore’s research interests include Cardiovascular Biomechanics, Medical Devices, and the Lymphatic System. His research focuses on the role of biomechanics in the formation and treatment of diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. His research on lymphatic system biomechanics includes the pumping characteristics of the system, as well as the transport of nitric oxide, antigens, and chemokines in lymphatic tissues. Along with his funding from government, charity, and industry sources, Prof. Moore has received multiple patents for medical devices and testing equipment.  Prof. Moore has also co-founded two startup companies.

{caption} Peter Mortimer

Professor Peter Mortimer trained in Dermatology in Sheffield and Oxford. He was appointed “Physician to the Skin” department at St George’s and consultant skin physician to the Royal Marsden Hospital since 1986 and has been Professor of Dermatological Medicine to the University of London since 2000.  His interest in lymphatics began in Oxford where he undertook his thesis on “the measurement of skin lymph flow.”  His research laboratories have focused on microcirculation, lymphatics and lymphoedema.  He has over 200 publications cited on PubMed.  His clinical practice deals almost entirely with chronic oedema, lymphoedema and lymph-related disorders.  He is a founder of both the Lymphoedema Support Network and British Lymphology Society.

{caption} Timothy Padera

Dr. Padera is Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, a Principal Investigator in the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories, Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. Dr. Padera’s laboratory studies how lymphatic vessels grow, mature and function, with a particular emphasis on how these processes are affected by disease conditions, such as lymphedema. In addition, the Padera Lab studies how cancer uses the lymphatic system to drive disease progression. Dr. Padera earned dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He earned his PhD in Medical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program.

{caption} Nancy Ruddle Emeritus

Nancy H. Ruddle, Ph.D., is professor emerita and senior research associate in the Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases in the School of Public Health. Dr. Ruddle’s research, which began during her years as a graduate student in microbiology at Yale, focuses on lymphotoxin and other cytokines involved in autoimmune diseases and lymphoid organ development.

{caption} Mihaela Skobe

Mihaela Skobe, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Her laboratory's main research interest is in understanding the mechanisms of cancer metastasis via the lymphatic system and the function of lymphatic vessels in the regulation of immune response.

{caption} Melody Swartz

Melody Swartz is Professor of Bioengineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Swizerland (EPFL). She holds joint appointments in the Institutes for Cancer Research and Chemical Engineering. She and her research group aim to elucidate the functional biology of the lymphatic system and its roles in cancer and immunity by integrating the approaches of bioengineering, physiology, and cell biology. They are also developing therapeutic strategies to manipulate lymphatic function. Swartz received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1998 and her BS in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1991. Following postdoctoral research at Harvard, she started her own lab at Northwestern University in 1999 and moved to the EPFL in 2003.

{caption} Miikka Vikkula

Professor Vikkula obtained his M.D. at the University of Helsinki and his Ph.D. in molecular genetics, with a thesis on collagens and cartilage disorders. He was a Research Associate at the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. With his wife, Prof Laurence Boon, MD PhD, Plastic Surgeon, the couple discovered the gene for familial venous malformation in 1996. He obtained a "docentship Ph.D." in human molecular genetics at the Université catholique de Louvain in 2000, and was thereafter nominated Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in UCL. He has been a Full Member of the de Duve Institute and a member of the Directorat since 2004. He was nominated Professor of Human Genetics at the Université catholique de Louvain on 1/10/2008. Prof Vikkula is well known internationally as a major contributor to the understanding of molecular basis of lymphatic and vascular anomalies and lymphedema with many high impact publications.

{caption} David Zawieja, Emeritus Emeritus

Dr. Zawieja received his Ph.D. in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and conducted his post-doctorate work in Medical Physiology at Texas A&M University, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Medical Physiology. The focus of his research is the generation and regulation of lymph flow, investigating the mechanisms by which physical and humoral factors alter lymph pumping.



President and CEO
{caption} William Repicci President and CEO

William Repicci has over 25 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations and businesses. Leadership positions have included being director of humanitarian programs in Northern Kenya, managing director of the National Theatre of the Deaf, CEO of the Fairbanks Resource Agency serving persons with developmental disabilities in Alaska, executive director of the Pasos Peace Museum in NYC and CEO of a dramatic publishing company. In 2013, he was awarded the ANCOR Legacy Leadership Award for his career accomplishments in advocacy efforts. Under his own management company, he has produced or managed over 35 plays and musicals in NYC, London and on tour.  He has graduate degrees in Global Affairs (NYU); Behavioral Psychology (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Administration (Seattle University); Psychology (Catholic University of America); and a BA in Philosophy (Le Moyne College).

Phyllis Fried
Research and Program Director
{caption} Phyllis Fried Research and Program Director
Colleen McGuire
Chief Operating Officer
{caption} Colleen McGuire Chief Operating Officer
Marketing Communications Director
{caption} Laura Farrell Marketing Communications Director

Laura Farrell has over 20 years of experience in marketing and communications. She has held officer-level positions at major Wall Street investment banks, including Senior Creative Associate at Morgan Stanley and Vice President of Shareholder Communications at J. & W. Seligman & Co. Her consulting firm, Laura Farrell Communications, has been in business for 15 years and has handled shareholder report commentary, social media campaigns, and web content development. She has written over 40 mass-market children's books for The Cartoon Network, based on their programming. She is pursuing a Masters degree in Communications at Kean University and sits on the board of a New Jersey non-profit.

Steve Palmer
Media Director
{caption} Steve Palmer Media Director
Michael D. Minichiello
Design Director
{caption} Michael Minichiello D. Design Director
Jennifer Czeisel
Operations Director
{caption} Jennifer Czeisel Operations Director
Kristen Mantikas
Program Manager
{caption} Kristen Mantikas Program Manager
Paul Yonkers, MD
Centers of Excellence Coordinator
{caption} Paul Yonkers, MD Centers of Excellence Coordinator