Curing Kids Cancer Through Collaboration




Beth Anne Baber, PhD MBA - Chief Executive Officer, Director & Co-Founder
Beth Anne has more than 20 years of academic experience in molecular biology, neurobiology, cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, and signal transduction. Her research focused on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in DNA damage repair following treatment with radiation and chemo-therapeutic agents. Her work in DNA damage signaling has led to publications in major scientific journals, including Nature and Science. The National Institute of Health, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Beckman Laser Institute funded Beth Anne’s research initiatives.
While at the Salk Institute, her son, Nicholas Conor, was diagnosed in 2005 with high-risk neuroblastoma. Beth Anne and her husband, Michael N. Boddy (a Faculty member at The Scripps Research Institute), challenged the current treatment protocol for high-risk MYC-N non-amplified neuroblastoma patients by tailoring their son's therapy based on molecular markers versus relying on clinical pathology. As a result, Nicholas Conor has been cancer free for 5 years with no detectable long-term side effects. In 2007 following her son’s treatment, Beth Anne co-founded TNCI. While completing her MBA studies at the UCSD Rady School of Management, she developed an innovative business model, TACTiCTM (The Acceleration of Cancer Treatments in Children), to move discoveries that would benefit children with cancer out of academia and into commercialization. TACTiCTM has been featured in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Personalized Medicine publications, the Burrill Report, California Health Institute’s Biomedical Industry 2010 Report, and FasterCures’ Partnering for Cures 2010 conference. Beth Anne is an inaugural member of the TNCI Board of Directors, served as VP of Operations from 2007 to 2009 and currently, the Institute’s CEO. Under her leadership, TNCI has formed collaborations with AltheaDx, CollabRx, GeneKey, Life Technologies, Gydle, Molecular Response, National Cancer Institute and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
Beth Anne received a DLA Piper-Athena Full Scholarship to attend the UCSD Rady School of Management where she earned her MBA (Business Development and Marketing) in 2009. Additionally, Beth holds a PhD (Macromolecular Cellular Structure and Chemistry) from The Scripps Research Institute - La Jolla Kellogg School of Science and Technology, a Masters in Microbiology and Immunology from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Bachelors of Science (Biology) from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Martin Latterich, PhD - Chief Scientific Officer, Director & Co-Founder
Martin brings over 17 years of academic, commercial and technology development experience to The Nicholas Conor Institute. He is also a Professor at the Proteogenomics Research Institute for Systems medicine in San Diego, where his laboratory uses proteomics and genomics to discover novel biomarkers of cancer and degenerative disease though a systems biology approach that includes proteomics and genomics. His area of interest is in the personalization of therapies that take into consideration a patient’s unique physiology and genetic make-up when selecting a treatment. The ultimate hope of this approach is to reduce the toxicity of treatment while optimizing its efficacy.
The paradigm of personalized medicine promises to be applicable to the field of pediatric oncology. Martin’s role at TNCI is on discovering new technologies to enable the better treatment of children with cancer, matching their unique genetic make-up and tumor physiology to available treatment options. It is this approach that is central to the Mission of the Institute – discovering and applying new scientific approaches designed to effectively treat cancer while minimizing the toxicity of the treatments.
Martin previously served on the faculties of the University of Montreal, McGill University and the Salk Institute. He also held senior management position at several biotechnology companies, including the genome companies Illumina and Diversa. He has made significant contributions to the field of cell biology, clinical biomarker discovery, proteomics and genomics. Among his recent discoveries are biomarkers for cancer, respiratory disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Martin hopes that after rigorous clinical studies, some of these biomarkers can be utilized as future molecular diagnostic assays to enable personalized medicine. Martin’s grant-funded work has been recognized by the 2003 Tier I Canada Research Chair, the 1998 Pew Scholar Award and the 1997 Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award. He has edited one book on RNAi, is author on over 32 publications in leading scientific journals and is listed on numerous patent applications. He is Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Proteome Science. He was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular and cell biology in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Schekman at the HHMI and University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Latterich earned his Ph.D. in cell biology and a B.Sc. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Durham University, U.K.
Jennifer Willert, MD - Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Willert is a senior attending Physician in Hematology/Oncology at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego/UC San Diego. She is active in both Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic and Clinical Oncology Divisions. Her group performs sibling and unrelated bone marrow and cord blood transplants. Dr. Willert received her bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and her medical degree from UC San Francisco. Dr. Willert then completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Oakland.  From there she completed a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital/Stanford University Medical Center. During her fellowship at Stanford, Dr. Willert worked with Dr. Roel Nusse (Developmental/Stem Cell Biology) and Dr. Patrick Brown (Microarray Analysis). Dr. Willert left her bench/basic science career in order to dedicate herself to the clinical care and management of pediatric hematology/oncology bone marrow transplant patients.
Dr. Willert is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and boarded in her subspecialty.  She is also an active member of numerous regional and national organizations that pertain to hematology and oncology, cancer research and women in medicine including the American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (ASPHO), American Society of Bone Marrow transplantation (ASBMT), Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), and the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Dr. Willert holds an academic appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor at UC San Diego and chairs both the solid tumor and neuro-oncology tumor boards at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Willert remains particularly interested in developmental/stem cell biology and the role of the inappropriate maintenance of a stem cell phenotype (highly proliferative, poorly differentiated) in pediatric tumorigenesis/leukemogenesis. Dr. Willert has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and has spoken nationally on these subjects. She also pursues her other special interests in pediatric solid tumors and leukemia.

Thomas E. Jurgensen - General Counsel
Tom is the Managing Shareholder & CEO of Optima Law Group and has more than 22 years experience in biotechnology, biomedical and technology law and business.  He founded Optima Law Group to provide intellectual property, corporate, securities, transactional, litigation, tax and regulatory legal counsel to companies and not-for-profit institutions seeking collaborative, personalized service. 
Tom is Counsel to or a Board Member for several for profit and not-for-profit organizations, including The Nicholas Conor Institute and The California Center for Sustainable Energy.  Prior to Optima, Tom served as Vice President and General Counsel at the Salk Institute, General Counsel of Molecular Biosystems, Associate General Counsel for Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Intellectual Property Counsel for 3M Corporation and was an Associate with the firm of Merchant & Gould in Minneapolis.  With a unique ability to place scientific issues into a business context, Tom is often called on to provide guidance related to business development, transactional and corporate partnering matters in addition to legal strategy and implementation. 
Tom obtained his J.D. from the University of Oregon, his M.S. from Iowa State University and B.S. in Biology and Chemistry, from the University of Wisconsin.

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