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Our Executive Team

Scott Johnson, President, CEO and Founder

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Scott Johnson brings more than 20 years of experience in business, which includes serving as President and CEO of three startups. Scott led such companies as Thermatrix, a venture-capital-backed company that developed, patented and sold a highly-efficient thermal oxidation technology that destroyed hazardous air pollutants. He also served as President and CEO of Cinemation, an entertainment company headquartered in Hawaii.

Scott's first startup was SeparaSystems LP, a joint venture between DuPont and FMC that utilized advanced membrane technology for food processing. Before these entrepreneurial roles, Scott was an executive at FMC Corporation and in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis. Scott was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1976.

Scott is a patient advocate and thought-leader in improving a broken medical research system, educating patients about the barriers slowing the delivery of treatments and challenging the status quo. He speaks on this subject regularly at conferences and in the media and can be booked for interviews or speaking events by emailing Jennifer Chang, Director of Communications.

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn

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Denise St. Onge, Chief Financial Officer

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Denise St. Onge joined the Myelin Repair Foundation in 2006 as the Chief Financial Officer. Her background is leading finance functions in technology and technology start up companies. She was most recently Chief Financial Officer of BA Venture Partners; prior to BA Venture Partners she was Chief Financial Officer of Amplitude Software. Denise spent six years in Paris, first serving as the Business Planning Manager for Apple Computer Europe and Apple Computer France, then as the International Controller for Sterling Software. She began her career at Deloitte and Touche in Chicago and held finance positions at American Hospital Supply and Trans Union Corporation in Chicago. Denise has holds a B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and is a certified public accountant.

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Mike Gresser, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

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Mike Gresser received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1976 from Brandeis University, where his thesis research was done under the supervision of W.P. Jencks on the mechanism of ester aminolysis. He did postdoctoral studies at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA on the mitochondrial and chloroplast proton translocating ATP synthases, under the supervision of Paul D. Boyer.

In 1980 Dr. Gresser joined the Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, and progressed through the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Chemistry. While there Dr. Gresser received the Excellence in Teaching Award, and did research on the biochemistry of Vanadium V, and on the mitochondrial ATPase.

In 1988 Dr. Gresser joined the Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research in Kirkland, Quebec as Director of Biochemistry. Over the next twelve years he progressed through the ranks of Senior Director, then Executive Director of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His team worked on a variety of small molecule drug discovery programs, resulting in the introduction of numerous molecules into clinical trials. Two of these molecules, Singulair and Vioxx, became products.

In 2000, Dr. Gresser joined Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California, as Vice President Research for Inflammation, where he remained until April, 2006. For two years Dr. Gresser served as Head of Neuroscience Research as well as Inflammation Research. His team at Amgen worked on many molecular targets, introducing numerous small molecules, human antibodies, and other proteins into development.

Currently Dr. Gresser is a Visiting Scholar at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA, and works as a consultant with Clarity Therapeutics Consulting. He often consults jointly with Dr. David R. Fitzpatrick of Biotech Clarity Consulting.

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Jay Tung, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer

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Jay Tung, Ph.D. has more than 20 years of experience with the drug discovery process in both the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors (Eli Lilly, Athena Neurosciences and Elan Pharmaceuticals). Most recently Jay served as Senior Director/Department Head of the Chemistry Department at Elan where he worked on developing therapeutics for a variety of neurological diseases. He is an author/co-inventor of more than 50 scientific publications and patent applications.

Jay earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.S., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Yale University.

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Virginia Saifer, Chief Development Officer

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Virginia Saifer's background in development spans 15 years, having most recently held the role of Chief Development Officer (CDO) for the Gladstone Institute. Previously, Virginia was also the Vice President of Development for the Northern Sierra Partnership (NSP), where she directed and coordinated fundraising and marketing efforts for a coalition of five conservation organizations. Virginia also served as Executive Director for the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and Director of Development at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Before entering the nonprofit arena, Virginia was the owner of Nordic Computers, a Bay Area computer company serving approximately 10,000 corporate and end user customers.

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Jennifer Chang, MPH, MSW, Director of Communications

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Jennifer Chang, MPH, MSW joins the Myelin Repair Foundation with nearly 10 years of experience in healthcare and communications. Most recently, she worked in the public relations industry as a communications executive for medical and healthcare companies. With experience also in government relations and health policy, she has worked for various influential government, non-profit and healthcare organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. Jennifer has two Master's degrees from Columbia University in public health and social work. She also holds a B.S. degree in biology from University of California, San Diego.

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Our goal is to raise $200,000 online by June 2014 to help cover a portion of the MRF-008 trial cost. Donations at all levels are critical to this effort.

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