MRF Staff

Timothy (Tim) Turnham, Ph.D.

Executive Director
 
Tim Turnham became the Executive Director of the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) in January 2009. Tim shares the MRF’s commitment to supporting medical research to find more effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma and brings more than 30 years of experience in management, fundraising, communication, teaching and research.
 
Prior to joining the MRF, Tim served as Chief Executive Officer of the Colon Cancer Alliance as well as Director of Development for United Cerebral Palsy Associations. He has also served as the Director of Development for the Whitman-Walker Clinic and as Director of Development at the Children’s Research Institute.
 
Tim holds a B.A. in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee, a M. Div. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
 
Tim lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Phyllis. They have three adult children.
 

Ivis Alfaro

Executive Assistant & Board Liaison
 
Ivis Alfaro joined the Melanoma Research Foundation in May 2014 as the Executive Assistant & Board Liaison. She works with the MRF Board of Directors, provides general office support and supports the day to day activities of the Executive Director, Tim Turnham. Prior to joining the MRF, Ivis worked at the National Public Education Support Fund as the Office Coordinator, supporting the day to day activities of the President and Executive Director and managing the office. 
 
Ivis graduated from Frostburg State University in Maryland with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and a Minor in Business Administration. She enjoys working out and making functional pottery in her spare time.
 

Mary Antonucci

Director of Advocacy & Volunteer Services
 
As the Director of Advocacy & Volunteer Services, Mary Antonucci develops, implements, and oversees the day-to-day details of the advocacy and volunteer programs for the MRF, including education and patient support volunteer opportunities, as well as the grassroots advocacy initiatives. 
 
Passionate about volunteerism and activism, Mary managed the volunteer program for a large, regional healthcare center before joining the MRF in 2009. She has previous work experience as a community organizer, campaign manager, and is a CDC certified trainer. After going to college for a very “useful” creative writing degree, she finally did something practical and, in 2003, received a certificate in nonprofit management from Arizona State University.
 
Mary’s lifelong friend, Adam, lost his battle with melanoma just weeks before she began at the MRF. Along with her insight and experience, she now brings a personal sense of compassion and a desire to affect change to her work in the melanoma community.
 
She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Michael and too many cats. In her free time she volunteers as a hotline counselor for a crisis rape center, and teaches creative writing to at-risk youth. She has been known to buy wine based solely on the design of the label, and despite her nurturing personality, she is a notorious killer of houseplants.
 

Cassie Beisel

Wings of Hope for Melanoma Gala Assistant
 
Cassie Beisel joined the MRF in 2014 as the Wings of Hope for Melanoma Gala Assistant. In her position, Cassie focuses on the oversight and implementation of key aspects of the Wings of Hope for Melanoma galas on a national level. Her background includes extensive event planning experience, as well as executive personnel recruitment and real estate project management.
 
Like many, Cassie is part of a growing population who has a personal connection to melanoma. In 2011 she was diagnosed with melanoma Stage IIIB and has been "no evidence of disease" (N.E.D) for three years. As a two-time cancer survivor, Cassie is extensively involved within the young adult cancer scene.
 
In her spare time, you can find her cycling the streets of the Metro D.C. area, scaling a rock wall or capturing life’s moments through her camera. 
  

Robyn Burns, Ph.D.

Program Manager, MRFBC
 
Dr. Robyn Burns, who was recruited to be Program Manager of the MRFBC in 2011, brings strong skills and teamwork to the MRF’s consortium management. Since 2006, she has been Program Manager for a sister consortium, the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), in which 8 of the 17 academic member institutions are members of the MRFBC. She has also managed the NCI’s Melanoma Intergroup, a national network of NCI-funded melanoma physician investigators, a role in which she worked with Alison Martin and Randy Lomax. 
 
After receiving a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Robyn transitioned into clinical trial management where she felt she could have the most patient impact. Robyn’s personal interest in melanoma began almost 20 years ago when her then 22 year old sister, a former high school lifeguard, was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma. Robyn believes that clinical trial consortia can truly making a difference in patients’ lives and is honored to be actively involved with the MRF.
 

Brenda Busby

Program Coordinator
 
Brenda joined the MRF team in 2014 to help launch increased efforts in pediatric and mucosal melanoma after serving for several years as a MRF volunteer and advocate. Brenda brings with her a very close personal connection to melanoma - in early 2007, Brenda received the shocking news that her beautiful, silly daughter had melanoma. She had just turned three and no one had the answers Brenda needed to hear. How could she get melanoma? Did she do something wrong? Who else has experienced this? And, most importantly, how was she misdiagnosed so many times? In her darkest hour, Brenda found MPIP. For several years that was her life line. Brenda made the decision to never let this be just Kadynce’s fight. This began a war against all pediatric melanoma and her mission to give back to an organization that she was quite certain, she could not have made it without. 
 

Brenda grew up in a small town just North of Beaumont, TX where days for kids are spent outside and no one talks about skin protection. She pursued an education from Texas Tech University in Business Communication. Brenda moved to Louisiana in 2004 and most of her career has been spent in the health care industry. She relocated in 2013 to a small town right outside of Houston, TX where she worked as the 501.A Coordinator for Community Healthcare Systems. Since moving back to TX, Brenda reconnected to a man, Dennis, that she knew through MPIP. His wife had become a close friend of hers throughout their journeys. Sadly she lost her battle to melanoma in 2011. Dennis and Brenda connected right from the start. He knew of her Kadynce's battle and he wanted to fight right beside them.

In December 2013, they got married and joined their families and their fight. They spend their free time sharing their stories, participating in walks, meeting with new families and doing just about anything else anyone could ask them to do for melanoma awareness.

The Melanoma Research Foundation feels like home for them both. Brenda feels blessed and honored to be able to work for an organization for which she is so passionate.

 

Katharine Daniels

Program Coordinator
 
Katharine Daniels joined the MRF team in 2010, bringing with her a personal interest in the cause following the loss of her uncle to melanoma. Katharine is a true "Jane of all trades” of the office. She stepped into the Program Coordinator role after serving as Development Assistant for three years and now supports the MRF's events, education and advocacy programs. 
 
Prior to joining the MRF, Katharine graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in Political Science and Inclusive Elementary and Special Education. She has also spent time working in Syracuse city schools and interning for the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Washington, D.C.
 
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog and watching far too much BBC America.
 

Jena Dickman

Miles for Melanoma Event Coordinator
 
As the Event Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma Program, Jena Dickman manages all logistics planning for the Miles for Melanoma 5k Run/Walk events as well as all grassroot events. 
 
Jena’s passion for melanoma began in 2006 after she lost her best friend, Mandy, to melanoma at the age of 30. In 2010, Jena started a grass roots fundraising and educational event in memory of her friend in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She began working for the MRF in January 2012.
 
Jena graduated from The Ohio State University where she studied Criminology and Sociology. Her previous work experience includes mediation and social work in the field of child welfare. Jena resides in Nashville, TN.
 

Susan Dorsey

Controller
 
Susan Dorsey serves as the MRF's Controller. With over 25 years of experience in nonprofit finance, she brings a strong accounting and finance background accompanied with an extensive knowledge of federal and private grants administration, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), human resources, database management and office administration. Susan holds a BBA in Accounting from Ursinus College. Her previous experience was as a Vice President, Business and Finance at COE and prior to that as Director of Finance at Old Dominion University Research Foundation.
 
She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Grants Professional Association (GPA), the American Society of Association Executives, (ASAE), the American Grant Writers Association (AGWA), Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
 

Carolyn N. Edrington

Director of Events
 
As the Director of Events, Carolyn Edrington oversees the MRF's Miles for Melanoma program, signature events and volunteer-led grassroots fundraisers benefitting the organization. A four-time marathoner, her passion and experience relates well to the melanoma community members who run, walk, kayak, ski. etc. for a good cause.
 
Carolyn has almost 20 years of nonprofit fundraising and event planning experience and applies this strong background to her work to achieve the MRF's mission. Prior to joining the MRF, she worked in nonprofits focused on HIV/AIDS and women’s issues.
 
She lives in Nashville, TN where she tries to grow things in her garden before her cats Fred, George, Digit and Maggie can dig them up.
 

Heather L. Johnson

Database Administrator
 
In May of 2014, Heather Johnson joined the MRF team as Database Administrator. In this role she assists the organization by maintaining accurate donor and financial data. Before moving into the cancer research and patient advocacy sector with the MRF, she had a long career in nonprofit arts administration.
 
While she's always been an activist, a 2006 bout with Stage III papillary thyroid cancer intensified her desire to make a difference in the world. In addition to her career move, she also volunteers to educate new patients about thyroid cancer detection and treatment.
 
Heather has lived in the Washington, D.C. area since 1980, and is a rock-and-roller at heart. She currently lives in North Bethesda where she is raising two rambunctious teenagers and three fractious felines. On those rare occasions when the kids leave her with some spare time, she enjoys cooking, canning, reading, and attending concerts.
 

Tayler Johnson

Grants and Contracts Accountant
 
Tayler Johnson serves as the Grants and Contracts Accountant for the MRF and MRFBC. With a public accounting background auditing nonprofit organizations, he brings specialized knowledge regarding financial reporting, internal control processes, and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Tayler earned his BBA and MSA in Accounting from James Madison University and is a Certified Public Accountant. 
 
Like many of his colleagues, Tayler has a personal connection to melanoma. His father-in-law was diagnosed with melanoma Stage IV during the summer of 2012 and passed away in the spring of 2013. Tayler is humbled to honor the memory of his father-in-law by joining the MRF and MRFBC’s efforts to find a cure.  
 
Tayler and his wife, Holly, enjoy spending quality time with their families and their Shih Tzu, Maddy. In his spare time, Tayler loves to play the French horn and is an active member of the Reston Community Orchestra.  
 

Emily Lauer-Bader

Director of Corporate Relations
 
Emily Lauer-Bader joined the MRF in May 2014 as Director of Corporate Relations. In this role, she leads the MRF’s efforts to develop strategic partnerships with corporations to raise awareness of melanoma and funds to support the MRF’s programs. Prior to joining the MRF, Emily managed corporate partnerships at the World Wildlife Fund, Share Our Strength, and Reading Is Fundamental. Throughout these roles, she’s worked with partners on corporate philanthropic grants, cause marketing promotions and event sponsorships.
 
Emily graduated from Smith College with a degree in Education & Child Study and a minor in Women’s Studies. She lives in Washington, D.C. and enjoys throwing dinner parties and baking.  
 

Alison Martin, MD

Chief Medical Officer, MRFBC
 
Dr. Alison Martin joined the MRF in 2009 to coordinate a new initiative, the MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC). Alison has 25 years of experience in clinical trial research in oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She started working with the MRF while at the NCI, where she oversaw NCI’s clinical trial portfolio in melanoma and co-chaired an MRF-NCI-SMR scientific workshop with Meenhard Herlyn of the Wistar Institute and MRF’s Board of Directors.
 
Alison believes foundations can bring both urgency and innovation to accelerate drug development for patients. She continues to work across sectors with the NCI, FDA and industry while coordinating trials with the 13 centers of excellence in the MRF Breakthrough Consortium.  In addition to her professional experience, Alison feels passionate about melanoma research from a personal perspective as well. Her cousin, Kenny Martin, died of melanoma at age 39.
   

Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES

Director of Education
 
Shelby Moneer joined the MRF team in August of 2010 to oversee the education program. As the Director of Education, Shelby spearheads the development, implementation and assessment of all service-related programs and activities for the MRF. She directs all aspects of the MRF's nationwide education program, which includes a primary focus in patient education and support, as well as programs that focus on the prevention and awareness of melanoma. These programs range from in-person events, virtual events and include a wide variety of print materials, all of which are free to the public. Shelby also plays a role in writing the MRF’s website content, interacting with the online community and is the manager of the MRF's research grant program.
 
Shelby holds a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a master's degree in Health Education. Her previous experience was in the non-profit development and implementation of tobacco-related education, prevention, and treatment strategies in the Florida Panhandle. She was a collegiate volleyball and softball player and continues playing beach volleyball whenever she can. 
 
Shelby and her husband, Steve, live in Spokane, WA. They have a young daughter, two cats and a golden retriever. They enjoy playing and watching sports, spending time outdoors and being surrounded with friends and family. 
 

Sara Selig, MD

Director of CURE OM
 
Dr. Sara Selig joined the MRF team in the fall of 2011. She is Co-Founder and Director of the MRF’s initiative focused specifically on ocular melanoma—CURE OM (Community United for Research and Education in Ocular Melanoma). Sara initially became involved with the ocular melanoma (OM) community when her husband, Gregg, was diagnosed with the disease in 2006, at the age of 34, when Sara was a fourth year medical student. At the time of Gregg’s diagnosis, Gregg and Sara became fierce advocates for Gregg’s care and the entire OM community as well. Sara continues to be a passionate advocate for the ocular melanoma field—working to accelerate research, promote collaboration, and support patients and caregivers through her leadership of the CURE OM initiative.
 
Sara received her MD from the University of Colorado and completed the Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She is currently Associate Physician in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School.
  

Lauren Smith Dyer

Director of Communications 
 
Lauren Smith Dyer is the MRF’s Director of Communications. In her role, she works regularly with national and trade media to articulate the imperative of lowering melanoma risk factors and to position the MRF as the number one resource for people impacted by this cancer. Lauren works to ensure that the MRF’s messages about the prevention, detection and treatment of melanoma are shared consistently and regularly both on a national and grassroots level.
 
Prior to joining the MRF, Lauren worked as an Account Director with JPA Health Communications, a PR agency dedicated to raising the visibility of life-changing health issues and research through strategic communications. Earlier in her career, Lauren supported a Fortune 50 biopharmaceutical company as it incorporated health reform provisions into its operations. Critical to this effort was the regular drumbeat of dialogue with patients and key stakeholders on both the grassroots and national levels about the expected impact of the new legislation. Prior to that role, she worked to build consumer and policymaker awareness of long term care systems during the national healthcare reform debate. 
 
Like many of her MRF colleagues, Lauren has a personal connection to melanoma. Her cousin was diagnosed with Stage I when she was only 26 years old. Thankfully, she has been considered “cancer-free” for 5 years.
 
Lauren graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Communications and Media Studies. She is the President of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) and lives in D.C. with her husband Will and her cat Danger.
 

Molly Stoffa, RN

Program Coordinator, CURE OM
 
Molly Stoffa started as the MRF’s CURE OM Program Coordinator in October 2012. Her responsibilities include developing meeting agendas, interacting with the patient community, social media interactions, and administrative support, amongst many other things. Molly became interested in the fight against OM after her mother-in-law, Shirley Stoffa, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in May 2008. Her interest increased after Shirley was diagnosed with metastatic OM in January 2011. Molly became Shirley’s healthcare advocate, running into many roadblocks along the way, mostly including physicians undereducated in OM and lack of aggressive treatment plans. After Shirley passed away in March 2011, Molly’s family decided to organize a fundraiser for OM to not only raise funds for research, but to raise awareness of this rare disease. This fundraiser was put together in 6 weeks and grossed a large sum of money from a very small community. 
 
Molly attended Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee Community College where she obtained her ADN and AAS. She has been an Emergency Room nurse for the past 12 years. She has achieved many certifications while working as an Emergency Room Nurse, including TNCC, TNS, ENPC, ECRN, and many others. Her ER career has found her in many roles, serving as a charge nurse, preceptor for new hires and continuing education instructor. She continues to serve on the peer review panel and the ER marketing committee, as well as numerous other community wellness and charitable organizations. 
 
Molly continues to be vested in the fight against OM so others will not have to go through what her mother-in-law and her family have gone through.
 

Barney Thomas

Database Assistant 
 
Barney Thomas joined the MRF in June 2014 as the Database Assistant. As the Database Assistant, Barney processes donations and acknowledgements. Prior to working at the MRF, Barney spent 13 years working in the social justice arena as a Fiscal Specialist.
 
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. 
 

Jennifer Workman

Development Assistant
 
Jenn joined the MRF as its Development Assistant in mid-2014. While in college getting a B.A. in Communication Studies at West Virginia University, Jenn interned at Caritas House which dealt with the low income HIV populations and the homeless population in the Morgantown, W.V. area. It was this internship that piqued her interest in the nonprofit sector. Jenn has a personal connection with melanoma; her father died of ocular melanoma when she was young. This connection later became her drive to get into a nonprofit career, specifically one dealing with melanoma. Jenn currently lives in Maryland but plans to move to D.C. in the near future.