Clinical Trial AssistantMs. Ackermann joined the TB Alliance Africa Office in May 2007 as an Assistant to Research and Development, before moving to the position of Clinical Trial Assistant in July 2011. She has experience in Information Technology and, after a 10-year career in the Payroll Software Industry, where she worked mainly in Training, and later in Marketing as a Graphic Design Assistant, decided to move from the corporate sector to the TB Alliance. Ms. Ackermann also spent 2 years in the United Kingdom helping develop an Integrated Health Care Facility in Kentish Town, London, which aims to combine a variety of Primary Health Care Services into a single facility. This facility was completed in 2009, and Ms. Ackermann believes that the experience gained in helping with this project laid the foundation for her decision to devote herself to global health and the non-profit space.
Senior Manager, External AffairsBenjamin Alsdurf joined the TB Alliance’s External Affairs team in 2010 and is responsible for policy, fundraising and partnership development. In this capacity he has led efforts on innovative financing for health R&D, international policy initiatives, and global health advocacy.
Prior to joining the organization Mr. Alsdurf worked on democracy and governance programs with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Sierra Leone and in Uganda as a Fellow from the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center. He previously held finance positions in two federal political campaigns.
Mr. Alsdurf holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
Christi Champ Baine
Senior Manager, Operations and ContractsChristi Baine joined the TB Alliance in 2009 and currently serves as Senior Manager, Operations and Contracts where she is responsible for contracts administration and the day-to-day internal operations of the organization.
Christi is an active choral member of The New York Choral Society as well as a member of its Board of Managers. She also volunteers for The International HUG Foundation, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to help orphans and other needy children in Uganda. Originally from the Midwest, Christi attended Indiana University where she has earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music.
Executive AssistantMelanie joined TB Alliance in October 2010 and currently serves as Executive Assistant in the R&D Department, supporting the Senior Vice President of R&D and the Preclinical Team. Melanie has an extensive support-based background in a variety of industries including real estate, banking, and sales. Prior to joining TB Alliance, she was an executive assistant for a global real estate investment firm. With over ten years of administrative experience, Melanie excels in office management, event planning, correspondence drafting and editing, time and task management, and travel and meeting management and support. Melanie holds a B.A. in Business and Technology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Senior Director, Clinical OperationsDr. Majda Benhayoun joined the TB Alliance in July 2010 as Senior Director, Clinical Operations. Dr. Benhayoun brings expertise in complex multinational clinical operations and project management throughout the drug development process.
Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Dr. Benhayoun worked in clinical project management for more than 15 years. She was Clinical Project Director at Parexel International for four years, where she managed complex clinical trials in all phases of development through post-registration in multiple regions. Earlier, Dr. Benhayoun spent more than 11 years at Aventis Pharma (now Sanofi Aventis) in various clinical project management roles with responsibility for all aspects of clinical trials, including protocol writing, clinical study reports, trial operations, and leadership of international monitoring staff. Most recently Dr. Benhayoun was Director of Program and Portfolio Management at Vertex Pharmaceuticals for more than four years, where she had a leadership role in development strategy, planning, execution and control of drug candidates in several therapeutic areas.
She also serves as adjunct professor of Project Management for a Graduate Program in Biopharmaceutical Leadership at Emmanuel College in Boston.
Dr. Benhayoun holds a master’s degree in biology from Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, France. A graduate of Universite Paris-Nord, Dr Benhayoun earned a Ph.D in Biology and Biomedical Engineering.
Roksana Bialczak joined TB Alliance in April 2016 and serves as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Administrative Officer, Human Resources, Communications and the Pediatric Initiative. She has spent a majority of her professional life working in a healthcare capacity with roles ranging from administrative to data analysis and policy implementation. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Fordham University in Psychology, minoring in Business Administration and her Master of Arts at New York University in International Education. Her graduate courses have prepared her for work on a global scale, especially in regards to development and education. She strives to become an organizer of local and global changemakers. Her last position was as a Curriculum Development intern at UCSF’s HEAL Initiative which launches global health fellowships. Now, she is excited about working at TB Alliance to further enhance health equity around the world.
Director, Financial CommitmentsMs. Brewster joined the TB Alliance team in July 2007 and currently serves as Director, Financial Commitments. She holds a B.B.A in Accounting from Baruch College in New York. She brings to the TB Alliance over 25 years of experience in Financial Operations and Grant Management of various non-profit organizations. Most recently, Ms. Brewster was the Senior Fiscal Officer of East Side House, Inc. where she oversaw the Fiscal Department. Prior to that, she served as Grants Manager at Project Renewal Inc. where she was responsible for the external reporting of $30 million in Federal, State and City Grants.
Coordinator, Operations and ContractsSevil Cokdegerli joined the TB Alliance in September 2014 and currently serves as Coordinator, Operations and Contracts. Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Sevil worked in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for Chrysler Group LLC supporting their Supply Chain Management department, specifically with regards to the Middle Eastern and African markets. Now, she is pleased to be a part of the mission of the TB Alliance, helping to fight tuberculosis globally. Sevil graduated with honors from Michigan State University, earning her first Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Business Management and her second BA degree in French.
Senior Manager, Clinical OperationsAlmari Conradie joined the TB Alliance in Pretoria as Manager, Clinical Operations, in February 2009. She started her Pharmacy career in the public sector, specializing in Oncology and continued working as an Oncology Pharmacist in the private sector for 6 years before joining the pharmaceutical industry in clinical research. She later obtained her Masters Degree in Pharmacy and has 13 years experience in planning, executing and management of various Phase II-IV local and multinational clinical trials at major pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca South Africa. Many of these trials focused on oncology and infectious disease.
Senior Program Specialist, External Affairs & Market AccessSince joining the TB Alliance in 2010 Sarah has worked for Market Access and External Affairs, initially supporting both departments with program related research, data compilation and analysis, and meeting planning. She more recently worked with Community Engagement and Market Access, providing program management, technical assessment, and leadership for several international trainings. Sarah is presently focused within Market Access & Resource Mobilization, responsible for project and donor relationship management, and technical evaluation.
Sarah holds an M.A. in International Human Rights and Global Health Affairs from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to joining TB Alliance Sarah was a Senior Research Associate with the Human Trafficking Clinic at the Korbel School. She has experience working with torture survivors, including implementing a women’s health training and aiding in reintegration. Sarah also designed and conducted a maternal and child health capacity-mapping project in two slums in South Delhi.
Christopher B. Cooper
Senior Director, ChemistryChristopher B. (Chris) Cooper joined the TB Alliance in January, 2009, as Director of Chemistry. Chris received his BS (magna cum laude) in Chemistry from Clemson University in 1980, and his MS in Organic Chemistry at Stanford University with Professor Carl Djerassi in 1982. Following a two-year industry sabbatical at CIBA-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, he returned to Stanford in 1984 to earn his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with Professor Paul A. Wender. From 1988 through 1998, Dr. Cooper was engaged in medicinal chemistry research at Pfizer, Inc., in both their Groton, Connecticut, and Sandwich, England, laboratories. His areas of investigation included veterinary and human drug discovery programs (infectious disease, inflammation, immunology, oncology, and neuroscience), as well as applications of automated synthesis technologies for both lead generation and lead optimization purposes.
Dr. Cooper joined Bristol-Myers Squibb, Inc., in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1998 to launch the Lead Synthesis Group overseeing the design, development, and synthesis of novel, drug-like medicinal chemistry arrays. More recently, Dr. Cooper’s research team at BMS has been directly responsible for the rapid pharmacological assessment of exploratory biological targets of interest, and the advancement of early- and full-phase discovery programs through hit-to-lead, lead optimization, and pre-development candidate selection medicinal chemistry approaches.
Senior Manager, Clinical OperationsErica Egizi joined the TB Alliance in June 2009 as a Clinical Operations Manager, helping with the oversight of activities for ongoing clinical trials. Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Ms. Egizi spent over seven years at Pfizer Inc., first as a Study Manager on a large, Phase IV, international cardiovascular trial and later as an Associate Director in Pfizer’s Public Health Group where she managed a suite of philanthropic academic grants. Before she was at Pfizer, Ms. Egizi had seven years of extensive trial management experience as a Study Manager at ICON Clinical Research and prior to that as a Clinical Monitor at IBAH (now Omnicare ). Ms. Egizi has a BS in Comprehensive Science from Villanova University and an MPH from Columbia University.
Senior Research FellowDr. Kaneko is a Senior Research Fellow at the TB Alliance, where he is responsible, with other members of the Discovery Group, for overseeing drug discovery research activities between the TB Alliance and collaborating pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. Native of Japan, he is also involved in TB collaborations with Japanese pharmaceutical companies through the Global Health Initiative Technology fund. Having over thirty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he is an expert medicinal chemist with a specific background in infectious diseases, oncology, and natural products. Prior to joining the TB Alliance in October 2007, Dr. Kaneko was a Research Fellow in the Antibacterial Drug Discovery Group at Pfizer Global Research and Development Division in Groton, CT. He also managed the Natural Product Discovery Team in Pfizer before joining the Antibacterial Group. Before moving to Pfizer, Dr. Kaneko worked in the Oncology Drug Discovery Group in Bristol-Myers Pharmaceutical Research and Development Division in Wallingford, CT.
In academia, Dr. Kaneko was trained as a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, Harvard University, specializing in synthetic organic chemistry, and was a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and has served as a member of the society’s Long-term Planning Committee in the Medicinal Chemistry Division and is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Discussion Group. Dr. Kaneko is an author of more than 120 publications and patents. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri and an M.S. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan.
Dana Kappel joined the External Affairs and Market Access teams in October 2015 as an Administrative Assistant. Dana has over five years’ experience in administrative management, most recently as Executive Assistant and Marketing Coordinator for a surgeon, where she was responsible for office administration, researching and editing journal articles, coordinating event logistics, and managing a website and social media. Previously, she worked in administration for Patina Restaurant Group and Seton Hall University. A native of Illinois, Ms. Kappel holds a Master of Arts in World History and a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies from Seton Hall University. She serves as a volunteer for Aid Afghanistan for Education, a non-profit focused on empowering the youth of Afghanistan and rehabilitating their education system.
Director, Financial Management & ControllerTrudy Kline joined TB Alliance team in August 2009 and currently serves as Director, Financial Management & Controller. Trudy has 25 years of diverse financial experience including accounting, budgeting, forecasting, audit management and compliance, and both internal and external reporting. Trudy joins us from Alpharma Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, where she was Accounting Manager for the past four years. Earlier in her career, she worked in the service and manufacturing sectors for both publically held and private organizations. Trudy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Brooklyn College and recently completed her M.B.A at the University of Phoenix.
Senior Manager, Clinical OperationsAs a Registered Nurse, Leandra started her career in the clinical research industry as a research nurse and coordinator at various Phase 1 units in London in 1996. Since then she was gained experience as a CRA, Project Manager, Business Unit Manager, Clinical Operations Manager, and Trainer in a variety of local, regional and global roles in both the CRO and pharmaceutical industries and across all phases of clinical trials.
Most recently, Leandra held the position of Clinical Operations Manager, Africa for Novartis Vaccines (now GSK) and later as the Regional Training Partner responsible for all associates within the Global Monitoring Organisation located in Africa, Asia and Australia.
On 1 April 2015, Leandra joined the TB Alliance team in Pretoria as Senior Manager, Clinical Operations.
Thomas Lynch joined the TB Alliance in 2016 as Communications Manager, where he is responsible for supporting the organization’s communications strategy. He previously worked at the World Bank Group, where he served as a Communications Specialist responsible for social media, web content, and project management for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. Prior to that role, Thomas was Deputy Communications Director at New York City Council. He started his career in communications by managing digital engagement at the EastWest Institute, an international think tank focused on strategic trust-building among political entities.
Thomas is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Foreign Affairs.
Senior Specialist, External Affairs
Anu-Raga Mahalingashetty joined the TB Alliance in May 2016. As a member of the External Affairs team, she is responsible for fundraising, advocacy and partnership development. Ms. Mahalingashetty’s career has focused on international health, ranging from program evaluation and research to community development, program implementation and resource mobilization. She has worked at BRAC, where she led large scale community health and youth programs across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing strategic support, partnership development and innovation for maternal child health and reproductive health initiatives. Previously, Ms. Mahalingashetty worked in India managing qualitative impact studies of Avahan, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported HIV/AIDS program across multiple high burden states.
Ms. Mahalingashetty holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University, where she specialized in Global Health.
Director, Market Access.Shelly Malhotra joined the TB Alliance in March 2013. She currently serves as Director, Market Access. Prior to this role, she served as Senior Manager for Resource Mobilization, responsible for the TB Alliance’s fundraising and partnership efforts. Before joining the TB Alliance, Ms. Malhotra served as Director of Strategic Projects at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, heading the organization’s strategic alliances and resource mobilization efforts, working closely with partners including GFATM, Institute for Tropical Medicine Antwerp, FHI 360, WHO, and the NTP of Cambodia. Ms Malhotra started her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Thailand, where she designed an innovative peer outreach model for HIV prevention in collaboration with UNICEF that went on to receive national honors. She has 20 years of experience in the global health and academic sectors, including work with the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery; Columbia University Law School; and the AmeriCares Foundation, where she oversaw a portfolio of grant and in-kind pharmaceutical partnerships spanning 7 countries in Asia. Ms. Malhotra holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also received her MA degree.
Director, BiologyDr. Mdluli is a Director of Biology at the TB Alliance, responsible for evaluating discovery projects for inclusion in the TB Alliance portfolio and overseeing current drug discovery projects. A native of South Africa, Dr. Mdluli brings over a decade of drug discovery expertise in academia and industry, and is a highly regarded expert in the microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A three-year Visiting Fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) resulted in a number of seminal publications by Dr. Mdluli that described the mechanism of action and a potential target for isoniazid and activation mechanism for ethionamide, first and second line TB drugs.
Dr. Mdluli's industry experience includes two years at Cumbre Inc., a Texas based biotech, and six years at Chiron Corporation as a Senior Scientist where he helped establish and manage major antimicrobial discovery programs for the identification and validation of drug targets and drug candidates. Dr. Mdluli holds a B.S. from the University of Swaziland, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Victoria in Canada. He is the author of numerous scientific publications and is a member of a Small Business Research Initiative (SBIR) Study Section on antibiotic drug discovery at the National Institutes of Health.
Senior Medical OfficerDr. Murray serves as Senior Medical Officer for the TB Alliance and contributes to the clinical development projects in the TB Alliance pipeline. Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Dr. Murray spent 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry working across all phases of drug development. His experience includes early phase (phases 1-3) clinical development at Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) and late-phase development at Pfizer (phases 3-4). Most recently, Dr. Murray has held a number of senior positions in the biotech industry, including VP of Clinical Research at EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Chief Medical Officer at Affectis Pharmaceuticals, VP of Clinical Development at Omeros Pharmaceuticals and Chief Medical Officer at Memory Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Murray holds a BS degree in biology from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and earned his MD and PhD from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He completed his internship at the University of California, San Francisco and his residency in Psychiatry at UCSF and the Langley Porter Institute of Psychiatry. His post-doctoral research centered on the molecular and cellular biology of g-protein coupled receptor trafficking. Dr. Murray is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed articles in the fields of molecular neuroscience and psychiatry.
Director, Clinical OperationsFran Pappas joined the TB Alliance in November, 2008, as Clinical Operations Director, bringing over 25 years of experience in the clinical research industry. As Clinical Operations Director, she is responsible for planning and oversight of clinical trials. Prior to joining the TB Alliance Ms. Pappas spent 28 years at Merck & Co. Inc where she was involved in the planning, execution and management of large international clinical trials in multiple therapeutic areas including lipids, endocrinology and infectious diseases. She was also involved in the preparation of global regulatory documentation including Clinical Study reports, major Common Technical Document (CTD) Summaries (Safety and Efficacy) and responses to Regulatory Agencies. Ms. Pappas has a B.A. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Manager, Data SafetyChris Radali is Data Safety Manager at the TB Alliance. Dr. Radali earned a graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology from the University of the Witwatersrand, and was recognized for being the top Ph.D. student in biological sciences
Dr. Radali has worked in the field of clinical research for GlaxoSmithKline and subsequently for Schering-Plough. His highest academic qualification is PhD in Cell Biology and he also also hold a Higher Education Diploma and an Advanced Project Management Diploma form UNISA School of Business Leadership. Prior, Dr. Radali taught mathematics, physical science, and biology.
Dr. Radali also holds diplomas in Higher Education and Advanced Project Management, and earned his undergraduate degree in Zoology. He enjoys playing and following soccer.
Clinical Research AssociateBridget Rawls joined the TB Alliance in March 2009 as a Clinical Trials Coordinator, coordinating various aspects of clinical trials between the Alliance and several organizations. She has 5 years of experience as a coordinator for many US and international trials in diabetes, obesity, neuroscience and oncology with companies such as sanofi-aventis, Pfizer and Eisai Global Clinical Development. She holds both a BA and an MA in Biology from the City University of New York.
Cherise P. Scott
Director, Pediatric ProgramsCherise Scott heads the pediatric initiatives at TB Alliance. She also serves as the Scientific Liaison/Secretariat to the Stop TB Partnership Working Group on New Drugs. Dr. Scott brings expertise in capacity development for clinical research and regulatory compliance for TB product development and joined the organization in 2010.
Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Dr. Scott has worked as the Assistant Director, Clinical QA and Training, for the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation helping prepare clinical research sites to conduct clinical trials according to applicable international regulations and guidelines. She also worked with the Sabin Vaccine Institute as the Director of QA for the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative working in both preclinical and clinical areas of vaccine development. Dr. Scott has extensive experience in the GXPs and has focused on implementation of quality management systems in organizations in various African countries, Brazil, Australia, India, and China.
Dr. Scott received her PhD in International Health with a focus on tuberculosis and vaccine development from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and BS in Biology from Florida A & M University.
Stephanie S. Seidel
Senior Manager, Community EngagementStephanie Seidel joined the TB Alliance in July 2005 and is a member of the External Affairs team. She acts as Program Manager of Community Engagement and focuses on the development and implementation of community engagement strategies around several of TB Alliance’s clinical research programs. She is responsible for managing a small grants program; providing guidance and technical assistance to research sites in the development of their own community outreach programs as well as developing materials to educate communities about TB drug research and development and measuring the impact of community engagement on the outcomes of clinical research. Prior to joining the TB Alliance Ms. Seidel studied at the Yale School of Medicine Physician Associate program, where she developed her interest in the treatment of infectious diseases. She has a long history of patient education and advocacy, and previously worked for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut as a patient advocate and clinic assistant, providing counseling for patients on issues related to women’s health, communicable disease prevention and treatment, and family planning. Ms. Seidel holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Literature from Earlham College, and completed Post Baccalaureate pre-medical studies at SUNY Purchase.
Director, Human Resources
Marianna Shlak joined TB Alliance in July 2015 as Director, Human Resources. Prior to joining TB Alliance, Marianna served as Director of Talent Acquisition and Retention at Services for the Underserved (SUS) a large not-for-profit organization that provides social and health services for HIV/AIDS patients, veterans, and others in need. Marianna’s 15 years’ work experience spans the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors and she has a broad range of human resources experience including recruitment, employee relations, coaching, training and staff development.
Marianna earned an MA in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at NYU, and holds certifications as both a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and as a Senior Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM-SCP). On a personal note, she is a native of Ukraine who, after living in Europe for several years, moved to the NYC area with her family.
Gerald J. Siuta
Business DevelopmentDr. Siuta is the President of Siuta Consulting, Inc., a pharmaceutical licensing consulting firm established in 1995 to provide worldwide in- and out-licensing services to pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, universities and research institutes. Prior to starting his consulting business, Dr. Siuta spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry with the Medical Research Division of American Cyanamid Company, first as a synthetic organic chemist and then in New Product Licensing.
With more than 22 years of experience in pharmaceutical licensing, he has established an extensive network of licensing contacts at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the United States, Europe and Japan as well as at Technology Transfer Offices in universities and research institutes in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia. Dr. Siuta received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Hunter College of The City University of New York and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Fordham University.
Rajneesh (Raj) Taneja
Senior Director, Pharmaceutical Product DevelopmentRajneesh (Raj) Taneja joined TB Alliance in April 2013 as Senior Director, Pharmaceutical Product Development. His responsibilities include designing and developing drug products for supporting preclinical and clinical programs, pediatric product development, and formulating combination drug products for enhancing dose compliance. Prior to joining TB Alliance, Raj was working at Takeda pharmaceuticals as Director of Product Development. There, he supported the development of numerous compounds from early development through obtaining regulatory approval. Raj is also a licensed pharmacist and he has 9 years of clinical pharmacy experience at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore MD.
Raj received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from Delhi University, India and he earned his Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutics & Industrial Pharmacy from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, MD. He is also an office holder at American Association of Pharmaceutical scientists (AAPS)
Administrative AssistantZaid Tanvir joined TB Alliance in September of 2013 as the administrative assistant for External Affairs and Market Access. He now is the administrative assistant for Discovery, Pediatrics, and Business Development Departments. Zaid comes to TB Alliance after completing an MS in Biology, where his research focus was establishing the zebrafish (danio rerio) as an animal model for diabetic retinopathy. He has previous experience in administrative support working at the healthcare accreditation non-profit URAC.
Director, BiologyIn her position as Director, Biology Dr. Upton is responsible for evaluating, building and overseeing discovery and preclinical development projects and preclinical initiatives. Dr. Upton joined the TB Alliance in September 2007, serving initially as Scientific Liaison to the Stop TB Partnership Working Group on New Drugs and joining Research and Development in 2008. Prior to joining TB Alliance, Dr. Upton developed expertise on the microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, through academic research. Dr. Upton worked for five years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Rockefeller University, where her research focused on evaluating the importance of metabolic pathways to Mycobacterium tuberculosis during infection and identifying potential targets for drugs to treat persistent TB. A native of England, Dr. Upton received her Ph.D. from Oxford University for work towards understanding how Mycobacterium tuberculosis becomes resistant to the cornerstone drug, isoniazid. Dr. Upton holds a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from Oxford University.
Program Coordinator, PediatricsIrina Usherenko joined the TB Alliance in October 2013 as Program Coordinator in support of pediatric initiatives. Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Irina worked as a Service Coordinator at Public Health Solutions, where she coordinated therapeutic services for early childhood development. Irina’s research experience ranges from clinical outcomes of chronic diseases to HIV/AIDS harm reduction prevention. She conducted a study in South Africa on condom use among sex workers, which was later used for advocacy and safe-sex education. Irina has also volunteered with FROST’D, a needle exchange program, where she provided short term harm reduction counseling for persons at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS.
Irina holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a focus on Community and International Health from New York University. She has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology and Neuroscience from Grinnell College. She is fluent in Russian.
Christo van Niekerk
Senior Director, Clinical DevelopmentDr. van Niekerk, a Pharmaceutical Physician and Pediatric Specialist, is a Senior Director, Clinical Development at the TB Alliance, helping to oversee clinical trials in endemic countries. Dr. van Niekerk spent three years as Clinical Research Manager at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in South Africa, where he managed the clinical trial program in the largest Clinical Research Department in all of Africa.
From 2000 to 2002 he worked as Medical Director at Aventis Pharma, where he was responsible for all medical matters including provision of medical expertise within Aventis, and management of Drug Regulatory Affairs including new product registration. During his time at Aventis he conducted 49 phase III studies involving 527 investigators and 2617 enrolled patients, and brought 7 new products to approval for registration. As Medical Director at Hoechst Marion Roussel Limited, he was instrumental in bringing effective tuberculosis therapies to the South African market for, including a powder formulation for children with tuberculosis. During his time at HMR he oversaw clinical product development with clinical study operations, drug regulatory affairs and medical services. He ran 17 studies involving 92 investigators and 1860 enrolled patients, and saw over 10 new products approved for registration.
A native of South Africa, Dr. van Niekerk received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Cape Town, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is a Member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom.
Executive AssistantTasha joined the TB Alliance in January 2015 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and President, the Chief Financial Officer and the Finance Team.
She brings over 15 years of executive support experience in the nonprofit sector whose missions are to create a better world.
Tasha’s most recent experience comes from GrowNYC, a New York City based environmental nonprofit where she was the Executive Assistant and Office Coordinator. Prior to this, she was the Executive Assistant to the President of Surdna Foundation, a New York Foundation whose mission is to foster sustainable communities in the United States.
With her background as an administrative professional and a BBA in Health Services Administration, Tasha finds great satisfaction blending her experience and interest by being a part of the team at TB Alliance and its mission to fight tuberculosis.
Manager, FinanceSkyelar Yaffie joined TB Alliance in November 2009. He is currently Manager, Finance, leading the Month-end Processes, Accounts Payable, and Budget Processes. Skyelar has 7 years of accounting experience while previously working for Moody’s Investor Services and Alpharma Pharmaceuticals. Skyelar has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Rowan University and is currently working on obtaining his MBA at Syracuse University.
Tian J. Yang
Director, Pre-Clinical Drug EvaluationDr. Yang joined the TB Alliance in August 2011 as Director of Preclinical Drug Evaluation. Prior to joining TB Alliance, he worked at Roche for four years as a group head of enzymology, then head of biotransformation. There, his responsibilities include discovery ADME/Tox optimization, preclinical drug metabolism for IND, and clinical human ADME, MIST and DDI studies. Before working at Roche, Dr. Yang spent eight years at Dupont Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb. There, he focused on enzyme-based drug-drug interactions, drug metabolism and excretion pathways, and biotransformation-caused liver injuries. Dr. Yang was also a consultant of Oncology Clinical Pharmacology at Novartis.
Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from Peking Union Medical College at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Following two years of postdoctoral research at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences at Bethesda, MD, he joined the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, working on carcinogen activation mechanism and enzyme phenotyping with prepared monoclonal antibodies to a panel of cytochromes P450.