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. 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, writer and has 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 enjoys cooking, hosting brunch and volunteering in her community. 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

Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Cassie joined the MRF in 2014 as the Special Events Manager bringing with her a background which included extensive event planning experience, as well as executive personnel recruitment and project management. Cassie's own spirit for volunteerism led her on a path to accept her most recent role as the MRF's Senior Volunteer Coordinator. In this role, Cassie maintains the daily outreach, recruitment and coordination of MRF Volunteers.
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 four years. As a two-time cancer survivor, Cassie is extensively involved with young adult cancer groups and spends time volunteering to make an impact in the fight against cancer.
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, PhD

Program Manager, MRFBC
Grant Program Manager, MRF
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. Dr. Burns also began managing the MRF's research grant program in 2015. 
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 make a difference in patients’ lives and is honored to be actively involved with the MRF.

Brenda Caraway

Program Coordinator, Pediatric and Mucosal Melanoma
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 daughter had melanoma. She had just turned three years old and no one had the answers Brenda needed. During this time, Brenda found MPIP. For several years that was her life line. 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 North of Beaumont, TX where days for kids are spent outside and no one talked 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 then relocated in 2013 to a small town right outside of Houston, TX where she worked for Community Healthcare Systems. 
Brenda feels 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.

Susan Dorsey

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.

Sara Howard

Miles for Melanoma Event Coordinator
Sara joined the MRF in 2014 as an Event Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma Program. Prior to joining the MRF, she worked on a number of large-scale fundraising events including the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the Out of the Darkness Overnight, AIDS Walk Washington, multiple BikeMS rides and the Mautner Project Gala & Dance. A runner herself, she is excited to combine her enthusiasm for running and her expertise in event planning to help further the MRF’s philanthropic mission. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking and camping throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England, where she is from originally.
Sara graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in International Relations and Economics. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her cat, Elphaba.  

Kristel Jacobson

National Engagement Coordinator, Miles for Melanoma
Kristel joined the MRF in 2015 as National Engagement Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma program. In her role, she works to build strong relationships with Miles for Melanoma participants and fundraisers through communication and outreach.
Kristel has focused in non-profit engagement strategy, peer-to-peer fundraising and event management for the better part of 10 years. Prior to joining the MRF, she managed programs for health, veterans and international development organizations, including the first-ever endurance event fundraising program at the Epilepsy Therapy Project. Kristel has even been known to lace-up her sneaks and hit the pavement with participants.
Kristel is passionate about participant experience and customer service and is excited to take on many miles with the MRF’s Miles for Melanoma team to support the MRF's mission of research, education and advocacy.

Lauren Johnston, MSW

CURE OM Program Manager
Lauren joined the MRF team in 2015 as the CURE OM Program Manager. In Lauren’s role as program manager, she works to ensure the MRF’s CURE OM initiative is meeting the needs of the ocular melanoma community in support, education, advocacy and research. Lauren comes to the MRF with over 14 years of non-profit experience in the field of program development, implementation, and evaluation. Before joining the MRF, Lauren spent six years working for Goodwill Industries of Denver building community collaborations and programs to assist youth. Prior to Goodwill, Lauren worked with a variety of vulnerable populations in Colorado and Texas. She currently serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. Lauren developed a personal connection to ocular melanoma when, in 2014, her friend was diagnosed with primary disease. Her friend is currently doing well and receiving regular follow-up. 
Lauren has a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Denver. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children. She enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and camping in the mountains as well as playing t-ball with her 3 year old son.

Jena Kitchen

Miles for Melanoma Event Coordinator
As the Event Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma Program, Jena Kitchen manages all logistics planning for the Miles for Melanoma 5k Run/Walk 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 grassroots 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. 

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.  

Kyleigh LiPira, MBA

Director of Individual Giving
Kyleigh LiPira is the MRF’s Director of Individual Giving. She works with donors and their families to make charitable donations to significantly impact melanoma research, education and advocacy.  
Kyleigh has extensive fundraising experience, coming to the MRF from Johns Hopkins Medicine where for four and half years she raised funds for melanoma and other cancers at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Later, she became the Director of Development for the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology. During her tenure with the Department of Dermatology she raised significant funds for melanoma clinical trials, engaged former trainees and grateful patients in philanthropy, and supported the educational program for current residents and fellows. 
Kyleigh graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada with a degree in Mass Communication and English. She obtained her MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband Jeff.  

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 is responsible for all development, implementation and assessment of the education program. This includes patient/caregiver education, clinician education, primary and secondary prevention efforts, print materials, awareness campaigns, website content, over-the-phone patient navigation and all patient resources and communication. 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 is also 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, implementation and assessment 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, have a 3 year old daughter and live in St. Louis, MO. 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.

Adam Smartt

Online Community Coordinator
Adam joined the MRF in 2015 as the Online Community Coordinator. In this role he curates the online presence of the MRF across various social channels and community forums to encourage conversations that benefit the entire melanoma community. Prior to joining the MRF, Adam served in communications and program coordination roles in the outdoor recreation and educational youth leadership industries. 
Adam is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. though his sports allegiance will forever be as a Tennessee Volunteer. A voracious reader, he owns many leather-bound books on American history and other academically rigorous disciplines, though he cherishes his Kindle for discreetly reading less impressive paperback mysteries and graphic novels. Adam lives in servitude to TigerShark the cat and fruitlessly attempts to train his canine sidekick, Bucky.

Lauren Smith Dyer

Director of Communications 
Lauren Smith Dyer is the MRF’s Director of Communications. In her role, she works 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.
Lauren has over a decade of experience in the communications world, six of which have been dedicated to the health arena. In previous positions, Lauren supported government, nonprofit and biopharmaceutical clients navigate complex communications challenges through both traditional and digital communications strategies.
Like many of her MRF colleagues, Lauren has a personal connection to melanoma. Her cousin was diagnosed with Stage I when she was 26 years old. Thankfully, she has shown "no evidence of disease” for 5 years.
Lauren graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Communications and Media Studies and is currently pursuing her MBA at Loyola University Maryland. She is the immediate Past President of Washington Women in Public Relations and lives in D.C. with her husband.

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. 

Janice Wielinski

Database Assistant
Janice joined the MRF in March 2015 as a Database Assistant. As the Database Assistant Janice processes donations and acknowledgements. She recently relocated to the Washington, D.C.-area with her husband from Florida. Prior to working at the MRF, Janice spent 8 years working for a Child Welfare Non-Profit in Florida as a Database Coordinator.  
In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling and cooking.