Our Advisory Board Members

Stephen C. Groft, Pharm.D.

Dr.-Stephen-GroftSenior Advisor to the Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATs) National Institutes of Health

His current major emphasis at NCATS/NIH is on patient and community engagement in rare diseases research and medical devices as orphan products. Steve served as Director of the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) at the NIH prior to his retirement in 2014 after 44 years in government service. His major focus for the previous 32 years was on stimulating research with rare diseases and developing information about rare diseases and conditions for researchers, biopharmaceutical industry, healthcare providers, and the public.


Nicole Boice, Advisor (Founder of Global Genes)

Nicole Boice founded Global Genes and serves on its board of directors.

Kamesh Somanchi

In my 18+ years in the Healthcare, Life Science & Public Service Industry, I drove success by providing consulting, technology & outsourcing services to industry customers. Pursued my passion for addressing the change and solving the most difficult and complex business issues.

As an accomplished global business senior executive, building, managing & growing large P&L remain a big part of my work with a stupendous track record, whether it is providing C level guidance to advance their growth agenda and/or helping them with necessary transformation to accelerate the pace.

Over the years, I’ve aggressively scaled offerings, continuously introduced new service innovations, architected/ launched global services (COE/SSC) that tapped into nascent markets and grew them to become standard/mature offerings that are common in the industry today (Health Plan’ Expansion into new geographies and new product lines), Provider’ Expansion as PayVider and Population Health Service Organization, Value Based Care Models for Payers and Providers, Direct to Employer, Digital Business Models, Joint Digital Studios).

Though I’m best known for sizing up situations and pulling together best resources, customers and solutions that resulted in block buster contracts, large M&A & JV opportunities, private equity investments, my interests have always been around reinventing healthcare across its ecosystem.

Dr. Radhika Dhamija, Mayo Clinic

Dr.-DhamijaDr. Dhamija received her MBBS from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. She completed her residency training in Child Neurology and fellowship in Medical Genetics at Mayo Clinic, Rochester and is dual boarded in Neurology and Genetics. She is a Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) and American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMGG). She then spent 2 years at the University of Virginia where she was an Assistant Professor in Neurology and served as the associate program director for their child neurology training program. Dr. Dhamija was appointed as Senior Associate Consultant in the enterprise Department of Clinical genomics at Mayo Clinic (Arizona) in January, 2017. She is the first medical geneticist at Mayo Arizona and launched a new department. Dr. Dhamija is an academician, a clinical researcher, and a geneticist with a special interest in neurogenetics and neurometabolic diseases. She has given several presentations at regional, national, and international meetings and has over 45 peer-reviewed original papers and articles to her credit.

sponsored breast cancer studies. I conducted investigator initiated neo adjuvant chemotherapy trial using Abraxane and xeloda in locally advanced breast cancer which was funded by Roche and ABI pharmaceuticals. Currently, I am working on breast cancer in males and female veterans, a retrospective VINCI data analysis of >7800 breast cancer including 1750 males. This is the largest male breast cancer data available in USA. In addition, I have a collaborative project with Dr. Park, John’s Hopkins University, to determine the loss of Y chromosome in male breast cancer which may harbor a potential novel tumor suppressor gene. As a PI of another project “Anexxin-II dependent neo angiogenesis in male breast cancer”, we are looking if the over expression of Anx-II correlates with human breast cancer progression and is predictive of poor clinical outcomes. In addition, I have successfully administered the projects (e.g. staffing, research protections, budget), collaborated with other researchers, and produced several peer-reviewed publications from each project.

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Nazneen Aziz, PhD

Nazneen-AzizSenior Vice President of Research and Chief Research Officer.

Dr. Aziz is a key advisor to ORDI on global standards, guidelines and policy issues surrounding new born screening, non-invasive prenatal testing, and diagnosis of rare pediatric diseases. In her role as SVP and Chief research officer at Pheonix Children’s Hospital, she is responsible for the development of the strategic and operational direction of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine and Barrow Neurological Institute in collaboration with their directors. Dr. Aziz has overall executive management responsibilities for developing, coordinating, and stimulating research and creative activity at the Phoenix Children’s Research Institute.
In her most recent position, Dr. Aziz was the Director of Molecular Medicine at the College of American Pathologists (CAP). In this role, she was responsible for initiating and guiding genomic strategies and projects at CAP, along with developing relations with key partners. During her tenure at CAP, she directed the development of the first set of laboratory accreditation standards for clinical tests using next generation sequencing and non-invasive prenatal screening. Dr. Aziz is a member of workgroups at the CDC, NIST, AMP and ACMG involved in developing best practice guidelines and standards for genomic analysis using NGS testing. Dr. Aziz is also a member of the board of overseers of Marine Biological Laboratories/University of Chicago.

In her prior positions, Dr. Aziz served as Vice President of Research and Development at Interleukin Genetics; Vice President of External Research at Point Therapeutics; and Director of Translational Research at Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. In her industry career, she focused on personalized medicine, biomarkers, genetic tests, and development of drugs in cancer and diabetes. Prior to joining the biotechnology industry, Dr. Aziz was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital in Boston where she discovered and characterized the function of a new gene involved in recessive polycystic kidney disease.

Dr. Aziz received her PhD in molecular genetics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where her doctoral research resulted in the discovery of a novel mechanism of regulation of translation of mRNAs. She received her MS in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her BA from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She has published extensively in the medical and scientific literature and has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences.

Dr. Kasturi Haldar

kasturiRev. Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C. Professor of Biological Sciences
James C. Parsons and Carrie Ann Quinn Director of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D., Biochemistry)
Site of Fellowship: Rockefeller University



Dr. Ramani Ramachandran

Ramchandran_Ramani_PhDRamani Ramchandran, Ph.D. Professor Children’s Research Institute Medical College of Wisconsin

Major Research Interets are:

1. Developmental Vascular Biology:Vasculogenesis and Angiogenesis Mechanisms in Zebrafish and Mice
2. Vessel and Axon Guidance
3. Zebrafish Chemical Biology
4. Translational Models of Disease
5. Tumor Metastasis

Upcoming Events
From 21-October-2019
to 22-October-2019

Rare Diseases and Orphan Products Breakthrough Summit October 21-22, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Rd. NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20008
From 29-February-2020
to 21-June-2020

RaceFor7USA 2020

1) Washington DC
2) SF Bay area, CA
3) Greenville, SC
4) Boston (Acton), MA
5) Frisco, TX

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