The Team

To execute on its strategy, the Foundation has created a flexible organization that responds rapidly to shifts in the market and technology. The Foundation’s staff is comprised of individuals who are passionate about improving the lives of millions of patients around the world, and bring many years of experience in the scientific and medical fields.

  • Phone: 434.220.4657

    Staff Accountant

    Janet joined the Foundation September, 2017. As a member of the finance team, she provides accounting, payroll, and benefits administration support to the Foundation. Janet has a depth of experience in full-cycle accounting and office management for small business as well as corporate support roles.

  • Phone: 703.283.9343


    Justine Atkinson joined the Foundation in June 2013. As a member of the Communications team, she is responsible for various writing, media, and external communications projects. She also serves as the Executive Director of Fibroid Relief, the Foundation’s uterine fibroid patient education organization. Previously, Justine worked for 15 years at the Washington, DC, public relations agency Ketchum, where she was a Vice President and Group Manager for their Healthcare practice, managing multi-million dollar accounts for various pharmaceutical and women’s health clients. She graduated with distinction from James Madison University with a double major in English and Human Communication.

  • Phone: 434.326.9825

    Communications Manager

    Rachel Berry works to enhance the Foundation's numerous awareness efforts as Communications Manager. Previously, Rachel worked as Development Associate for the Foundation in 2010 and left to join the alumni relations team at St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville. She returned in 2012 to join the communications team. Rachel graduated from the University of Virginia in December 2009 with a BA in English.

  • Phone: 434.326.3832

    Information Development Specialist

    Laura Breeden previously worked at the Foundation in 2007, as Administrative Associate. She returned in May 2017 as Information Development Specialist, working to support fundraising and stewardship initiatives. Laura graduated from Mary Baldwin University with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration.

  • Phone: 434.227.1430

    Director of Global Relations

    R. Michael Broad, PhD, joined the Foundation in April of 2018 with over 20 years’ experience in the life sciences and 14 years’ experience in healthcare-related businesses, including medical research, research reagents, diagnostics, medical devices and healthcare data & software. As Director of Global Relations, he supports Foundation efforts across the entire spectrum of stakeholders by serving as a liaison between Foundation leadership and the international focused ultrasound research community. Michael graduated with a PhD in Pharmacology from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada and an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

  • Phone: 434.326.9822

    IT Associate

    John Burns works to ensure that critical systems are running smoothly and to provide technical support and education to Foundation staff. He possesses Network+ and Security+ Certifications from CompTIA.

  • Phone: 434.227.1276

    Information Technology Manager

    Tony D’Alessio, PMP, joined the Foundation in 2018 as the Information Technology Manager. He is responsible for planning, organizing, and overseeing all IT functions within the Foundation and provides leadership and management of the Foundation’s Information Technology department by delivering technical solutions and improving the effective use of technology. He has over 20 years of IT experience in Federal and State government, private sector as well as non-profits. He has served in numerous roles over his career to include programmer, systems administrator, technical lead, project management and executive leadership. He completed his undergraduate degree in Accounting Information Systems from Virginia Tech and his Masters in Enterprise Architecture from Penn State.

  • Phone: 434.326.9834

    Director of Extramural Research

    Matt Eames, PhD, joined the Foundation in December 2009. As the Director of Extramural Research, Dr. Eames manages the Foundation’s External Awards Program – an investigator-initiated and peer-reviewed research funding track – and provides support to the Foundation’s technical, preclinical, and clinical trial Internal Awards Programs. His research experience in ultrasound physics and transducer design and evaluation allows him to form collaborative relationships with members of the ultrasound industry and research communities who share a common interest in advancing the Foundation's research programs. Dr. Eames earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Vanderbilt University and his PhD from the University of Virginia, both in Biomedical Engineering.

  • Phone: 434.284.9280

    Chief Scientific Officer

    Jessica Foley, PhD joined the Foundation in 2012 after a more than 11-year career in the field of focused ultrasound that spanned academic, industrial and government worlds.  As Chief Scientific Officer, Foley guides the strategy, development, and implementation of the scientific and research programs and activities within the Foundation, and aligns these with communications and development efforts. She also leads alliance-building efforts with external stakeholders including (but not limited to) governmental policymakers, regulatory agencies, and disease-specific foundations whose interests are complementary to those of the Foundation. She is a representative and advocate for the Foundation and the focused ultrasound community among a wide variety of stakeholders. Her experience prior to the Foundation included several years with InSightec as the Neuro Projects Manager and Clinical Marketing Manager; Senior Scientist at Medtronic; and serving as a 2011-2012 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. She holds a BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a PhD in Bioengineering (emphasis in focused ultrasound) from the University of Washington. Dr. Foley has numerous publications, patents, and presentations at academic conferences in the field of focused ultrasound.  

  • Phone: 434.305.1144

    Development Associate

    Avanti Godbole initially joined the Foundation for a fourth-year capstone project from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and began full time in July 2018. As a member on the Development team, Avanti assists in fundraising and awareness initiatives, as well as some grant work and internal database building. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a BA in Public Policy.

  • Phone: 434.326.9824

    Business Systems Analyst

    Deb Heishman joined the Foundation in April 2018 as the Business Systems Analyst and Salesforce administrator. With seven years of Salesforce implementation/consulting experience in the corporate and nonprofit worlds and more than 15 years in data analysis, Deb works to ensure the Foundation’s CRM and data tools are supporting staff operations at the highest functionality. She holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte.

  • Phone: 434.326.9838

    Director of Finance

    Sara Horton, as the Director of Finance, brings over 15 years of financial management and leadership to the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2009, Sara was the Director of Finance of a non-profit organization in Northern Virginia. Sara is responsible for the Foundation’s fiscal management and organizational compliance. With Sara’s diversified experience, she also provides oversight and guidance for the Foundations contractual obligations. She holds a BA in Business Management from the University of South Carolina.

  • Phone: 434.326.9837

    Director of Clinical Trials Coordination

    Robin Jones joined the Foundation in August 2009 as Director of Clinical Trials Coordination. Robin’s 11 years of clinical research experience includes project startup for global studies, corporate training and instructional design, site monitoring, investigative site support, and essential document review. Prior to joining the Foundation, Robin worked as a Manager of Clinical Operations for PRA International, a Contract Research Organization.

  • Phone: 434.326.9835

    Foundation Chairman

    Dr. Kassell is the founder and chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and former Co-Chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and book chapters, and his research has been supported by over $30 million in NIH and industry grants and contracts. A member of numerous medical societies in the United States and abroad, he has served on many standing and ad hoc committees of the National Institutes of Health and in an editorial capacity for a variety of academic journals. In April 2016, he was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Dr. Kassell is a founder of numerous private ventures including Interax, Inc.; the Virginia Neurological Institute; Multimedia Medical Systems, Inc.; the Neuroclinical Trials Center; the NeuroVenture Fund; and He has served on a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards, including Eclypsis Corporation; INC Research; the Prostate Cancer Foundation; InSightec, Ltd.; the Expedition Trust Company; Tuesday Evening Concert Series and Virginia National Bank, and is currently a director of the La Gesse Foundation and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. He is a shareholder in Insightec, Ltd., where he also served on the board until 2012. Dr. Kassell received his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Chief Medical Officer

    As the Chief Medical Officer, Suzanne LeBlang, MD, represents the Foundation at conferences and major events, keeps abreast of the progress of clinical studies, ensures medical accuracy of Foundation communications, and directs patient inquiries. She has over 10 years of clinical experience performing focused ultrasound treatments on uterine fibroids and bone metastases and serves as Neuroradiologist and Medical Director of MR Guided Focused Ultrasound at the University MRI & Diagnostic Imaging Centers in Boca Raton, FL. She has published papers and delivered numerous scientific talks in the field of focused ultrasound. Suzanne received her B.A. in Biology and M.D. degree from the University of Miami 6 year Honor’s Program in Medical Education. She serves on the faculty at the University of Miami Medical School where she is the Radiology Clinical Coordinator for the 3rd year M.D./M.P.H. students, and she teaches at the Florida Atlantic University Schmidt College of Medicine. She has been visiting faculty at several institutions including Harvard University and Ohio State University.

  • Phone: 434.326.0924

    Development Officer

    Jessica joined the Foundation as a Development Officer in January 2017, working to steward relationships with existing donors, and introduce new supporters to the Foundation’s mission. She gained valuable healthcare development and communications experience through roles with ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and University of Virginia Health System. Jessica is a member of the Junior League of Charlottesville. She graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish.

  • Phone: 434.326.9831

    Chief Medical Officer

    Tim Meakem, MD, joined the Foundation in 2016 as Chief Medical Officer. He helps cultivate relationships with key physicians and health system leaders as well as oversees the growing number of research projects the Foundation is supporting at leading academic research institutions around the world. Prior to joining the Foundation, Tim was also the CEO of a contract research organization and then the CMO of a medical device company. His background includes leadership positions in anesthesia that included private practice and teaching at the University of Virginia. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Bowdoin College followed by graduation from the UVA School of Medicine.

  • Phone: 434.326.9823

    Director of Technology

    David Moore joined the Foundation in 2006 and currently serves on the Foundation’s Brain Program team, conducting and facilitating research with external sites on focused ultrasound projects dedicated to solving brain disorders. He received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia and has worked in both industry and academia on medical software and biomedical research.

  • Phone: 434.326.9829

    PMO Analyst

    Sara Myhre works to keep tasks and deliverables on special projects flowing smoothly at the Foundation. Her efforts include assisting with the adoption and set up of new projects for both Communications and Development, as well as providing support for the Director and Business and Operations Managers. She was the Managing Editor of John Grisham’s short book, The Tumor, which began distribution in the fall of 2015. Sara earned her BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia in 1992 and master's degrees in both architecture and landscape architecture from UVA in 1996. She was a Landscape Architect for 18 years before joining the Foundation in the summer of 2015.

  • Phone: 434.284.9282

    Executive Assistant

    Latibe Seidou joined the Foundation in 2017 after 10 years working for AASA, the School Superintendents Association, an education non-profit organization in Northern Virginia. She works closely with the Chairman, providing administrative assistance while also supporting the development department and the Business Operations Manager. Latibe received an associates degree as a bilingual executive assistant and is fluent in French.

  • Phone: 434.284.9285

    External Relations

    Wes Myhre joined the Foundation in April 2017. Wes works on the communications team, focusing primarily on digital engagment and media relations. He also contributes to grant-writing and co-funding efforts. Previously, Wes was in development and communications at Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center, where he now volunteers as an advisory council member. Prior to that, he was Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at UVA’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. Wes earned a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara, and an MA from the University of Virginia.

  • Phone: 434.277.1037

    Chief of Staff

    Paige Rice joined the Foundation in September 2018 and serves as Dr. Kassell’s Chief of Staff, working closely with the Chairman and the development team in support of all aspects of the Foundation’s mission. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Chief of Staff and Clerk of Council at the City of Charlottesville. She previously served on the board for the Junior League of Charlottesville for several years. Paige is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she received her BA in English and American Politics.

  • Phone: 434.326.9830

    Director of External Affairs

    Having been involved with the Foundation in a volunteer capacity since 2013, Nora stepped into her current role as Director of External Affairs in January 2015. She brings with her extensive development experience at the Montpelier Foundation, her alma mater St. Anne’s-Belfield School, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Nora currently serves on the boards of the Piedmont Environment Council and the Charlottesville Albemarle Transportation Coalition and is an active member of the Albemarle Garden Club and the Contemporary Club of Albemarle. She is a 1999 graduate of the University of Richmond where she majored in English Literature with a minor in Art History.

  • Phone: 434.326.9826

    Business Manager

    Mary Rose Serafini joined the Foundation in April 2008 as Business Manager. She brings a variety of work experiences in nonprofits, for-profits, and a Federally Funded Research and Development Center. She manages the business operations of the Foundation, encompassing finance and budgeting, human resources, project management processes, and facilities. As Business Manager, she ensures the establishment and continuous improvement of systems, processes, and policies that support a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization where flexibility and fluidity are critical.

  • Phone: 434.326.9836

    Technical Director – Brain Program

    John Snell, PhD is the Technical Director of the FUS Foundation's Brain Program, joining the Foundation in October 2009. He received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1994 and brings a depth of academic and commercial experience in the areas of medical image analysis, neurosurgical planning, surgical navigation, radiation therapy and radiosurgery planning.  Dr. Snell has served on the faculty of the University of Virginia Neurological Surgery Department and has made contributions to commercial medical device development with several companies including Multimedia Medical Systems, Medical Numerics and Varian Medical Systems. John is responsible for the definition and coordination of Brain Program technical research projects as well as providing engineering support to participating research sites.

  • Phone: 434.326.9821

    Scientific Programs Manager, Veterinary Program Director

    Kelsie Timbie, PhD joined the Foundation in 2015. As the Scientific Programs Manager, she is responsible for developing and guiding research projects that address critical unmet needs and will further the Foundation’s mission of widespread clinical adoption of this technology. As the Director of the Veterinary Program, she is responsible for guiding and developing the scope of the program. She is also involved in managing the research portfolios of the Cancer Immunotherapy and Brain Programs here at the Foundation, as her extensive research experience in brain and cancer applications for focused ultrasound provides her with particular insight in these areas. Kelsie earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University and her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

  • Phone: 434.305.1145

    Director of Strategic Initiatives

    Emily C Whipple, PhD, MBA, joined the Foundation as Director of Strategic Initiatives in 2018. She has over thirteen years of operations, project management, and customer relationship experience in an entrepreneurial environment from early stage venture funding through acquisition. Prior to joining the Foundation, Emily served as the Vice President of Business Development and Operations for AMPEL BioSolutions. At the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, she works to help develop and implement projects and programs that support the mission of the Foundation to promote the advancement and adoption of focused ultrasound. She holds a BS degree in Molecular Biology from Cornell University as well as an MS and PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics from the University of Virginia. She also holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

  • Phone: 434.277.1274

    Director of Operations

    Emily White, MD joined the Foundation in 2016 as Director of Operations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. White was a private consultant working in operations and business development support in the healthcare and medical start-up space. Her clients have included everything from a 4,000+ employee, publically traded, health care company to a brand new start-up with two employees. Her background includes training in general surgery, leadership positions in several highly technical start-up companies with federal clients, non-profit executive management and over 25 years of grant writing experience. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology & Anthropology at Smith College, holds certification for Community Conflict Resolution from Loyola Law School, and is a University of Virginia School of Medicine graduate.

  • Phone: 434.326.9838

    Chief Financial Officer

    Kurt Woerpel, M.S., C.P.A., joined the Foundation in 2013 as its Chief Financial Officer. He has extensive business experience serving both start-up and established companies as CFO including twenty-one years at Carden Jennings Publishing, ten years at ScholarOne (sold to Thomson Reuters) and five years at Potomac Supply Corporation. He has been a licensed CPA in Virginia since 1992 and received both his M.S. in Accounting and B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.