Our Founding

When Wendy Chaite’s daughter was born with lymphatic disease and lymphedema, neither the medical profession nor researchers could provide the answers she sought on her daughter’s behalf. This motivated a mission to inspire the research and medical community’s dedication to fighting lymphatic disease.

Dr. Stanley G. Rockson (Stanford University School of Medicine) had already shown himself to be a global leader in the research and treatment of lymphatic diseases. He would join forces with Wendy in their combined goal of bringing previously unprecedented attention to the importance of the lymphatic system in human health. 

As an attorney, Wendy served as a federal judicial law clerk, Wall Street corporate litigator, and adjunct professor at Pace University School of Law. However, in 1998, she would turn her attention to founding the Lymphatic Research Foundation (LRF), which was renamed Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) in 2013.  Since its beginnings, Wendy, and Dr. Rockson worked tirelessly to put lymphatic research on the map. Their efforts, in conjunction with the team of scientists, organization supporters, and parent/patient groups, led to remarkable successes including the establishment of the biennial Gordon Research Conference Series devoted to Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function and Disease; the inauguration and indexing of Lymphatic Research and Biology—the first and still pre-eminent peer-reviewed journal in the field; the establishment of the first-ever Endowed Chair of Lymphatic Research and Medicine, which is at Stanford University; the creation of two-year postdoctoral fellowship awards to attract young scientists and clinicians from distinguished research centers around the world; and the creation of a national lymphatic disease patient registry and biorepository to stimulate research, support clinical trials and drug development. In summary, their efforts led to the inauguration of a movement that resulted in millions of dollars in private, public and in-kind support for lymphatic biology and disease research.  

Wendy Chaite’s and Dr. Stanley Rockson’s devotion and tenacity have changed the field of lymphatic research and will impact generations to come. Wendy left the board of directors in 2012, confident in its ability to take full ownership of the organization’s mission. Dr. Rockson continues his role as Founding Chair of the LE&RN’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Committee.   In 2013 the board of directors expanded the organization’s mission to become the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN).

Special Thanks to the community of supporters who bring unique contributions to this cause and who played critical roles in the establishment and success of LE&RN and its mission to fight lymphatic diseases through education, research & advocacy.