The Board of Directors facilitates and supervises the development and use of research funds. A number of outstanding individuals serve on this board. They bring a wealth of business, scientific and academic expertise as well as personal knowledge of CLL.
Michael Keating, M.B., B.S.
Dr. Keating serves as president and CEO of CLLGRF. He is an internationally renowned CLL clinical scientist and a Professor of Medicine in Hematology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He has been a member of the faculty of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center since 1977 and works as a physician in the Leukemia Department. His major pursuits are developing new potentially curative therapies for CLL and developing rational combinations of new agents in the treatment of leukemia in general.
G. Kent Burnett
Phyllis Gordon Cohen
Ms. Cohen has served on various boards including the University of Chicago Visiting Committee for the Visual Arts and the Film Commission of Greater Kansas City. She was born in York, PA, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, B.A. with Honors, Summa Cum Laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she received the Nathan Burkan Award. She practiced law in Los Angeles with Kadison, Pfaelzer, Woodard, Quinn & Rossi, a prior iteration of the Los Angeles office of Arnold & Porter. Her practice focused on commercial litigation with an emphasis on antitrust defense and copyright infringement action. She currently resides in Kansas City with her husband, who is a native of Kansas City.
Mr. Katopodis was the President and CEO of Fiesta Mart, Inc., a grocery chain with 50 locations in Austin, Dallas and Houston. In addition, Mr. Katopodis is a board member of the Food Marketing Institute and has served on the Boards of Houston’s East End Red Cross and as Chairman of the Skyline District of the Boy Scouts.
David Kesterson, Ph.D.
Dr. Kesterson is Emeritus Professor of English and former Provost and Special Assistant to the President for the Humanities at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton. He served at UNT for 36 years as assistant, associate, and full professor. He also held many administrative posts at UNT: Chairman, Department of English; Associate Dean and Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Vice Provost; and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In his professorial role, he is a specialist in Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and American Humor, and has published seven books and numerous articles related to these and other authors and subjects. He is a member of the Fulbright Association (having been a Fulbright Professor in Germany in 1985), Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society, and Golden Key Honor Society.
Mr. Nichols served as a former chairman of the CLL Global board of directors. He has served as the President of The Nichols Companies since 1972. Nichols is a dealership network of construction machinery, representing multiple manufacturers in seven stores throughout Texas. Their most popular product is the Bobcat.
Mr. Nichols graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1966 and received his MBA from Southern Methodist University in 1969. He has served on the boards of the Boys Clubs of Dallas and Preston Trail Golf Club. Mr. Nichols is an active director of Hilltop Holdings as well as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he has served on the Membership Committee, on the Development Committee of the Board of Visitors, as co-chair of the South Campus initiative, and currently as a member of the Campaign Executive Committee. Mr. Nichols was the co-founder and past chairman of the M.D. Anderson Dallas Living Legends Luncheon and co-founder and host of the M.D. Anderson Aspen Summer Symposium.
Martin Raber, M.D.
Dr. Raber has been a Professor of Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for over 25 years. Born in New York, educated in Europe, Canada and the United States, his career has included work as a clinician, teacher, investigator and executive. Throughout his career, Dr. Raber has maintained a clinical practice in oncology focusing on the problem of patients with unknown primary tumors, an area of expertise for which he is well known, and on which he has written and lectured extensively. As a cancer patient himself, Dr. Raber has experienced the treatments as well as the complications of the illness. He continues to work at the cancer center at a reduced level, and focuses on patient care and education.
Diane Lee, M.S., M.P.H.
Mr. Marschner has spent his career in the commercial radio business. He managed one of America’s most famous classical stations, WFMT in Chicago, for more than 20 years and was the Midwest Partner in the leading station-brokerage partnership, Media Services Group. He has served on the board of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association (TNA) in several capacities, and has written several publications on behalf of TNA. Recently, Mr. Marschner launched The Facial Pain Research Foundation which promotes research into innovative interventions to improve outcomes and quality of life for TN patients.
Dr. William Plunkett
Dr. Plunkett has been a professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at MD Anderson Cancer Center for over 30 years. Originally from Massachusetts, Dr. Plunkett earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts and worked as a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania prior to coming to MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Plunkett’s research has focused on the development of novel therapeutics to treat hematological cancers, including CLL. He is a leader in the field of pharmacology and has lectured extensively throughout the world. He currently serves as the Director of the Therapeutics and Pharmacology Program.
Mr. Winfield is a native of California and graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a degree in Business-Economics. Upon graduation, Mr. Winfield founded QuantumLink Corp., a switching system that automated physical telecommunication connections between wireless carriers. QuantumLink Corp. was sold to HyperEdge Corp. where Mr. Winfield served as President as well as Director on the board of HyperEdge. Upon leaving HyperEdge, Mr. Winfield founded the wine importing and distribution company LiquidLink, one of the largest Bordeaux importers in the country. Mr. Winfield currently serves on the boards of Clear Ridge Mutual Water Company and the Clear Ridge Road Association.
William Wierda, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Wierda currently serves as the President and CEO of CLL Global Research Foundation. He is Professor and Medical Director for the Department of Leukemia and Executive Medical Director for Leukemia, Lymphoma and Stem Cell Transplant at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Wierda received his doctorate of philosophy in microbiology and immunology and his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School. He subsequently completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Wierda’s research focuses on identifying immunology and immunotherapy strategies for hematologic malignancies, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). He has served as principle investigator or co-investigator for numerous clinical trials, lectured nationally and internationally, and published extensively on clinical and translational aspects of CLL and drug development.
Dr. Wierda serves as Chair and Value Pathways Task Force Member for the NCCN CLL/SLL/Hairy Cell Leukemia Panel. He also is an editorial board member for JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and a scientific review committee member for the NCCN Oncology Research Program