Board of Directors

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Alita Hassan, MPH
Executive Director

Alita Hassan is the Executive Director of Critical Markers of Disease (CMOD), a leading global organization dedicated to working with clinical and basic scientists, governmental agencies, pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic companies, academic institutions, healthcare providers and patient groups to create efficiencies toward improved healthcare. With more than 25 years of experience working in international clinical research spanning pharmaceutical, biotech, academic and clinical research organizations (CRO), Ms. Hassan is an innovative clinical research leader and strategist who aims to improve patient care/outcome.

 Prior to joining CMOD, Ms. Hassan served as a Senior Director for a prominent global CRO, headquartered in the United States, leading strategic clinical, operational and regulatory proposals for several global clinical development programs across all therapeutic specialties. During her tenure, Ms. Hassan created high-level partnerships with global clinical research leaders across academia, the private sector and regulatory agencies and, under her leadership, the global strategic proposal development team, quadrupled in size and had a presence in majority of the main global markets.

 Previously, Ms. Hassan worked in the private sector leading global clinical trials in the area of thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oncology, ophthalmology, infectious disease, neuroscience and imaging. Within each of these therapy areas she focused on many rare disease/orphan indications as well as gene therapies affording her the opportunities to thoroughly understand the challenges around executing such clinical trials and the use of biomarkers as clinical endpoints. Ms. Hassan has global experience working with clients to strategize, develop and operationalize their policy for expanded access/compassionate use on their investigational drugs for several rare/orphan diseases and/or life-threatening illnesses. 

 In 2008, Ms. Hassan had the opportunity to support the biomarker efforts out of the FDA Critical Path Initiative, sitting on the Predictive Safety Testing Consortium (PSTC) with 18 pharmaceutical companies. She authored and presented the first clinical trial protocols for this consortium assessing novel nephrotoxicity biomarkers to the FDA. The work completed on this consortium lead to the publication and FDA’s acceptance of new biomarkers for pharmaceutical companies to consider when evaluating nephrotoxicity in their drug development programs.

 Ms. Hassan’s philanthropic contributions include voluntary board presence for: 1) The National Charity League, LLC – 2017-2018 Past president, 2016-2017 President, 2014-2016 Vice President Membership; 2) Board Director for the Foundation for Vision Research – 2017- present; and 3) Vice-President for Catamount Condominium Association - 2012-present.

 Ms. Hassan holds both a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Therese Heinonen, DVM
Chairman

A graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Heinonen has an active interest in the evaluation of potential cardiovascular biomarkers and their appropriate application in clinical trials.  She received training in molecular biology at Merck Research Laboratories, and was a member of the Pfizer Global Research and Development cardiovascular senior management team where she made significant contributions to the clinical development of Lipitor. Dr. Heinonen has accumulated over 27 total years of research experience, with 25 years dedicated to clinical research in the areas of cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, and oncology. Addition areas of interest include utilizing traditional and innovative medical strategies to improve upon clinical trial design and methodology.  Dr. Heinonen has authored over 50 publications and managed over 30 clinical trials, many of which have focused on cardiovascular biomarkers and imaging technologies.  Dr. Heinonen has worked as a consultant to government institutions, academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology organizations and diagnostic companies.   In 2003, Dr. Heinonen began organizing the annual Cardiovascular Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints Symposium and in 2006 co-founded the International Partnership for Critical Markers of Disease. Dr. Heinonen is also founded or significantly contributed to the initiation of several start-up companies.

 
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Peter Libby, MD
Peter Libby, MD, is the Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.He serves as the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Libby directs the D.W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at Harvard. His current major research focus is the role of inflammation in vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Dr. Libby has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research accomplishments, including the 2006 Distinguished Scientist Award of the American College of Cardiology. His areas of clinical expertise include general preventative cardiology. An author and lecturer on cardiovascular medicine and atherosclerosis, Dr. Libby has published extensively in medical journals including Circulation, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New England Journal of Medicine and Nature. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the coming edition of Braunwald’s Heart Disease. Dr. Libby has also contributed to the chapters on pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of atherosclerosis to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He has held numerous visiting professorships and has been selected to deliver over 50 named or keynote lectures throughout the world. Dr. Libby’s professional memberships include the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and honorary membership in the British Atherosclerosis Society. He currently serves as the President of the Association of University Cardiologists. He has served in many roles as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, including chairman of several research committees and member of the executive committees of the Councils on Arteriosclerosis, Circulation, and Basic Science. He has frequently served as a consultant to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), including a 5-year term on the Board of Scientific Councilors. He was the recipient of a MERIT Award from the NHLBI. Dr. Libby earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego, and completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). He also holds an honorary MA degree from Harvard University.

Jean-Claude Tardif, MD 
Jean-Claude Tardif is professor of medicine at the Montreal Heart Institute, where he also serves as a cardiologist and Director of the Research Center. Dr. Tardif graduated from the University of Montreal with his medical degree in 1987 and completed his fellowship in cardiology in 1992. Returning to Montreal, he took up a position as cardiologist at the Heart Institute that same year. Dr. Tardif is the Director of the Cardiovascular Health Network of Fonds de Recherche en Sante’ du Que’bec and also holds the Canadian Institutes of Health research and Pfizer chair in atherosclerosis. Dr. Tardif has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed publications including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In addition, he has written 25 book chapters and has edited several books. He is the principal investigator of several large international clinical trials in the field of atherosclerosis.