Leadership & Board
Our Executive Leadership Team
Maria Dall’Era, MD
LuCIN ChairRead Bio ›
Saira Sheikh, MD
LuCIN Vice ChairRead Bio ›
Our Board of Directors
Joseph Craft, MD
ChairRead Bio ›
Jennie DeSchererRead Bio ›
Kenneth FarberRead Bio ›
Mark C. Genovese, MDRead Bio ›
Kenneth Kalunian, MDRead Bio ›
Brian Kotzin, MDRead Bio ›
TreasurerRead Bio ›
Kelly McVearry PhD,
Alexander von PerfallRead Bio ›
Albert RoyRead Bio ›
Daniel J Wallace MD,
Kimberly WilliamsRead Bio ›
William WolfeRead Bio ›
Stacie J. Bell, PhD
Executive Vice President,
Stacie J. Bell, PhD is Executive Vice President of Lupus Therapeutics, the clinical research affiliate of the Lupus Research Alliance.
An accomplished research scientist and organizational leader, Dr. Bell comes to Lupus Therapeutics with more than 25 years of experience in discovery research, clinical development, and patient engagement in the biopharmaceutical and nonprofit arenas.
Most recently she formed and served as CEO and President of the Global Nutrition Project, a nonprofit organization intended to empower humanity to transform the health of people and the planet by using innovative technologies, fostering collaboration with diverse partners, and leveraging big data.
Prior to that, Dr. Bell served as Chief Scientific and Medical Officer leading the Research & Medical Affairs department at the National Psoriasis Foundation. In this capacity she elevated research efforts, strengthened partnerships to support the community, worked with health policy makers, and initiated the first organizational clinical study. She also was part of the working group for the Accelerated Medicine Partnership program for the second phase, AMP-AIM, a federal program that the Lupus Research Alliance has been involved with since its inception. This effort involves stakeholders from industry, academics, and government agencies to accelerate the scientific understanding of disease mechanism, treatment innovation, and personalized medicine.
Dr. Bell began her career as a Graduate Research Associate in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN where she earned her PhD in Biochemistry. She graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Chemistry from University of North Dakota.
Maria Dall’Era, MD
Maria Dall’Era is the Jean S. Engleman Distinguished Professor and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at UCSF. She is the Director of the UCSF Lupus Clinic and the Rheumatology Clinical Research Center.
Maria is a practicing rheumatologist and clinical researcher who leads an integrated research program focused on three closely related goals: (i) improving our understanding of the molecular and epidemiologic basis for SLE, (ii) developing novel approaches to the treatment of SLE and lupus nephritis, and (iii) finding biomarkers that predict treatment response and long-term outcome in patients with lupus nephritis. She is currently the protocol chair of an NIH-funded clinical trial in lupus nephritis, the PI of a CDC-funded longitudinal lupus cohort of patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and a co-PI on various translational studies focused on lupus nephritis and cutaneous lupus. She received the Edmund L. Dubois Memorial Lectureship Award from the American College of Rheumatology and the Ephraim Engleman Award for Excellence in Arthritis Research.
In her role as Director of the UCSF Lupus Center, she cares for > 200 lupus patients and oversees the training of rheumatology fellows, medical residents, and students. The Lupus Clinic is a referral center for patients from all over Northern California. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the 21st Century Lupus Conference and the ACR-sponsored annual Winter Rheumatology Symposium.
Saira Sheikh, MD
LuCIN Vice Chair
Dr. Saira Sheikh is trained, and board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Allergy/Immunology. She is the Linda Coley Sewell Distinguished Professor of Medicine Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, the Director of the Clinical Trials Program at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, and the UNC Rheumatology Lupus Clinic. Her work focuses on answering scientific questions that directly impact the care of patients with complex immunologic diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Sjogren’s syndrome. Her projects apply an integrated approach of research, teaching, and clinical practice to advance team science through clinical trials, basic and translational research collaborations, and community-based studies. She is Principal Investigator on numerous clinical trials for new therapeutics, as well as Principal Investigator on translational projects focused on understanding the development of biomarkers in autoimmune disease. She is leading national initiatives to develop real-world, practical models to promote inclusion of minority patients in lupus clinical trials, particularly using technology-based applications. In April 2019, she was invited to speak at the National Academy of Sciences to share her work focused on health literacy in clinical trials.
She recently completed a 3-year term on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting Planning Committee and has served as Co-Chair of the ACR’s Annual Review Course. She is actively involved in the education of patients, medical students, residents, and sub-specialty fellows. Dr. Sheikh is a skilled physician, researcher, and educator. She has an outstanding reputation for her expertise amongst patients and colleagues across the institution and nationally and patients travel from around the country to see her in clinic.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (FAAAAI), the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (FACAAI) and of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
She also serves on the Medical-Scientific Advisory Council for the Lupus Foundation of America.
Joseph Craft, MD
Joseph Craft, MD is Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine and Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, and past chief of the Section of Rheumatology at Yale. He received his degrees in chemistry as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in medicine as an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Craft did postgraduate training in internal medicine and in Rheumatology and Immunology at Yale, and has been on the faculty at that institution since 1985. At Yale, he teaches undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.
He directs a research laboratory devoted to understanding the immune response to pathogens and vaccines, and dissecting and treating autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, with a primary focus upon the differentiation, metabolism, and function and regulation of T cells that promote B cell maturation in secondary lymphoid organs. His research has been continually supported by the National Institutes of Health since 1985, and he is a two-time R37 (MERIT) Awardee. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Kunkel Society. Dr. Craft also is a member of the Board of Lupus Therapeutics of the Lupus Research Alliance, devoted to initiating novel therapeutic trials in lupus, and past Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
He is former chair of the Immunological Sciences (now HAI) and current member of the Arthritis, Connective Tissue and Skin Diseases (ACTS) standing study sections at NIH, past chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alliance for Lupus Research, and a former Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences and Kirkland Scholar. He is co-founder of L2Diagnostics, a company in New Haven, CT, formed in partnership with Yale University and devoted to discovery of new diagnostics and therapeutic targets for immunological and infectious diseases, and is currently a member of its Board of Directors.
Jennie is an active Board member of the Lupus Research Alliance having helped lead its predecessor organizations – S.L.E. Lupus Foundation (S.L.E.) and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) – since their early years.
Albert T. Roy leads the Lupus Research Alliance as President and Chief Executive Officer. He has two decades of executive non-profit experience with extensive research, drug development and executive management experience in the academic and private sectors.
Leading the largest private lupus research funder at the forefront of many of today’s biggest breakthroughs, Mr. Roy is committed to realizing the mission of the Lupus Research Alliance: to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure, for this highly complex disease. With the vision of being able to match the right therapy for each patient, he remains laser focused on producing clinically meaningful results that “allow people with lupus to be the best versions of themselves.”
Al comes to LRA after six years serving as Executive Director of its clinical arm Lupus Therapeutics and will continue in this role until the position is filled. In this role, Mr. Roy expanded Lupus Therapeutics into a clinical research powerhouse, supporting 20 clinical research efforts with 16 partners from major biopharmaceutical companies committed to lupus drug development. A cornerstone of his success has been the formation and expansion of the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN), a network of 57 prestigious academic institutions throughout North America that care for 25,000 people living with lupus.
Addressing health inequities in lupus research and improving clinical research awareness and engagement, particularly among people of color who are underrepresented in clinical research, continues to be a major goal for Al with the introduction of several novel programs aimed at this all-too prevalent issue.
Previously, Al was Vice President of Operations and Research Programs at CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a multi-million-dollar public charity whose mission is to support targeted and innovative children’s cancer research. CureSearch served as the fiscal, administrative and philanthropic agent for the world’s largest pediatric cancer clinical trials research network, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). During his tenure there, Al managed a clinical research portfolio exceeding $50 million per year-and coordinated the formation of the COG through strategic partnerships with more than 200 academic research medical centers throughout North America to conduct Phase I, II and III industry-led and investigator-initiated pediatric cancer clinical trials.
Al is a graduate of Ithaca College and received his Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Kenneth M. Farber is a graduate of Clark University, with a Juris Doctor from the Fordham University School of Law. He has spent 40 years in the non-profit world, working with and for voluntary health agencies and private foundations.
Ken began his career at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in several different positions, including 10 years as Director of Sponsored Research and nine years as Executive Director.
After his work at JDRF, Ken served as Executive Vice President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, founded by Israel’s first Prime Minister and located in the biblical city of Beer-Sheva, Israel.
In 1999, when Robert Wood Johnson was starting a lupus-based research organization, Ken returned to the United States to help get the new organization, the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), off the ground, serving as President of the ALR. Ken consults for and sits on the boards of several health-related organizations, including the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation headquartered in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Under Ken’s leadership, the ALR re-dedicated itself to its credo of supporting research into the cause, cure, treatment, and prevention of lupus and its secondary complications, and in 2016 merged with the Lupus Research Institute and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. Today, the Lupus Research Alliance gives more money to lupus research than any non-governmental organization in the world.
The LRA’s former President and CEO, Ken is continuing to lend his expertise to the organization, serving as Consultant.
Mark C. Genovese, MD
Mark C. Genovese, MD, is the SVP for Inflammation Clinical Research at Gilead Sciences. He oversees all clinical research endeavors in the areas of Rheumatology, Pulmonary, GI, Liver, Kidney, and Male Health at Gilead Sciences. He is the James W. Raitt Professor of Medicine-Emeritus and is the former Clinical Chief of the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University Medical Center from 1998-2020. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed an internship, residency, and chief residency in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University. He remained at Stanford as a fellow in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology and subsequently joined the faculty in the same division serving as the Clinical chief. Dr. Genovese leaded a patient oriented clinical research program that was focused on translational medicine in autoimmune diseases. He designed and led numerous investigator-initiated studies and international multi-center trials investigating novel therapies and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of autoimmune disease and arthritis. In addition, he collaborated with other investigators on studies of biomarkers and surrogates associated with disease progression and response to therapy in various autoimmune diseases and arthritis. Dr. Genovese previously served as Director of the Center for Clinical Investigation at Stanford University. He is an author of over 200 peer review articles, editor on the 7th edition of Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology. He is the recipient of the 2008 American College of Rheumatology Henry Kunkel award, and is the Emeritus James W. Raitt Endowed Professor of Medicine at Stanford.
Kenneth Kalunian, MD
Kenneth Kalunian, M.D., is a rheumatologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He graduated from Occidental College magna cum laude and from St. Louis University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship at UCLA, where he was on faculty until transitioning to UC San Diego. His background is in basic research in lupus nephritis and is currently active as a translational and clinical scientist with special interests in outcomes and clinical trial design. Locally, he co-directs the UC San Diego Center for Innovative Therapy and has recently developed and is the director of the UC San Diego Lupus Center of Excellence, which is a bench- and clinical- science research hub as well as a multi-disciplinary center for care of complicated lupus patients. He is a former president of the Southern California Rheumatology Society. Nationally, he was the inaugural chair of LuCIN, a national academic network comprised of lupus clinical scientists at 57 academic centers. Additionally, he started the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA)-sponsored Collective Data Analysis Initiative (CDAI) and served as its first director. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of both the LRA and the LFA and has been on several grant review committees for NIAMS.
Brian Kotzin, MD
Brian Kotzin, MD has been committed to patient care, research, and teaching during his 25-year academic career. With his interest in developing novel therapeutics for rheumatic diseases, Dr. Kotzin joined Amgen Inc. in 2004 as Vice President of Global Clinical Development and Head of the Inflammation Therapeutic Area. He later served at Amgen as Vice President and Head of Medical Sciences, an integrated department comprised of Early Clinical Development, Molecular Sciences, Imaging Sciences, Clinical Immunology, and Computational Biology. Since 2015, Dr. Kotzin has been a consultant with a focus on developing new therapeutics for lupus and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He also currently serves as a Senior Vice President at Nektar Therapeutics.
Joseph Mauriello retired in 2006 as Deputy Chairman & COO of KPMG, after 40 years in various leadership positions. He serves on the boards of several institutions, including XL Capital Ltd., Fidelity Funds, Arcadia Resources, the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Sciences (former College of Insurance) at the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ.
Kelly McVearry, PhD, MA, Ed.M.
Kelly McVearry, PhD, MA, Ed.M. has two decades of experience leading the design, development, due diligence and commercialization of life science and information technologies. She has led two turnarounds, launched three commercial and nonprofit ventures, and been a senior advisor to Fortune 100 advanced technology companies, biotechnology and software start-ups, private equity firms, venture capitalists, and institutional fund managers. Earlier, Kelly was a principal investigator and co-investigator for multi-site clinical trials and hypothesis-driven prospective studies of women’s health, neurodevelopment, drug exposure, and neuro-teratology.
Alexander von Perfall
Alexander von Perfall joined Royalty Pharma in 2009 as Vice President, Investor Relations & Public Affairs. Earlier, Mr. von Perfall was the Co-Founder and Chief Network Officer of XTF, a start-up exchange-traded fund ratings agency. Mr. von Perfall started his career as a talent scout with BMG Entertainment where he oversaw the artistic development of a number of critically and commercially successful recording artists, followed by corporate venturing positions with Bertelsmann AG, where he initiated and oversaw early-stage investments in IP-based media and entertainment companies.
Daniel J Wallace MD, FACP, MACR
Daniel J Wallace MD, FACP, MACR is a board-certified internist and rheumatologist. A Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, he is the Associate Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he also serves on the Board of Governors.
Dr. Wallace has authored nearly 450 peer reviewed manuscripts, 30 book chapters, eight textbooks (on lupus, osteoarthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and fibromyalgia) and his practice includes caring for 2,000 lupus patients, the largest lupus cohort in the United States. With the four employees of the Wallace Rheumatic Studies Center, we have conducted numerous clinical trials, and have three current National institution of Health and a Department of Defense grants. Dr Wallace is co-chair of the Lupus Industry Council of the Lupus Research Alliance, past chair of the Lupus Foundation of America, and has served on the Board of Directors of the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Medical Advisory Board of the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. He has been Chief of Rheumatology at the City of Hope and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and chairman of the Research and Education Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.
Dr. Wallace is the recipient of the Lupus Foundation of America Humanitarian Award, Achievement Award of the Lupus Research Institute, Spirit Award of the Scleroderma Foundation, the Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award from the Arthritis Foundation, and the Healthcare Professional Leadership Award from the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.
While a fellow at UCLA, Dr. Wallace conducted pioneering arthritis research and developed a close relationship with his mentor, Edmund Dubois. Dr. Dubois had the largest lupus practice in the United States at the time and was the principal editor of the only lupus textbook. He assumed Dr. Dubois’ practice upon his passing in 1985. Dr. Wallace is the author of eight medical textbooks (including the last six editions of Dubois’ Lupus Erythematosus, All About Fibromyalgia, The Lupus Book, All About Osteoarthritis, The New Sjogren’s Syndrome Handbook, and Fibromyalgia & Other Central Pain Syndromes). In addition, his work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, the Lancet, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Immunology and Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Wallace has been recognized as among the 200 best doctors in the nation by Town and Country Magazine, and among the best doctors in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine, Best Doctors in America editions since 1994. Dr. Wallace spends 20% of his time teaching and in clinics where he provides free medical care. His efforts have raised over $20 million for various rheumatic disease organizations.
Kimberly currently serves as Director of Public Affairs and Alliance Development for Novo Nordisk, Inc., one of this nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies where her responsibilities include support for company priorities around alliance development and advocacy with Specialty patient and physician organizations. Kimberly recently served as Director of Federal Government Relations for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where her responsibilities included lobbying Congress and the Administration to win Federal Government support of issues important to the company. Kimberly’s responsibilities also included protecting intellectual-property rights, working to secure federal support for HIV/AIDS programs, diabetes awareness and prevention initiatives, supply chain integrity, women’s issues, lupus advocacy, and eliminating healthcare disparities in communities of color.
Prior to joining GSK, Kimberly had a successful ten-year career on Capitol Hill both as a Legislative Assistant and a professional committee staff member for various former members of the Congressional Black Caucus. In these roles, she focused on health care reform, education, pension issues, and postal reform.
Kimberly is a graduate of Howard University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
William Wolfe is the co-founder and Chairman of First Washington Realty, Inc., a privately held real estate investment advisory firm specializing in the ownership of neighborhood and community shopping centers in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s investment activities. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Mr. Wolfe served in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Mr. Wolfe is on the Board of the Lupus Research Alliance and Lupus Therapeutics. He is a Trustee of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and he is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the World Presidents’ Organization. He has served as a Board member of Washington Heart, the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, the National Bank of Commerce and the Corporate Board of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. In 1971, Mr. Wolfe co-founded The Key Program, Inc., a New England-based youth service agency that provides residential and non-residential programming to at-risk youth, and he served as Key’s Chairman for 25 years. Since inception, Key has provided services to over 200,000 young people and their families, and William J. Wolfe Scholarships have been awarded to over 500 students to attend 40 colleges and universities.