Louise M. Perkins, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Perkins joined the Melanoma Research Alliance as Chief Science Officer in 2013 where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the MRA’s scientific strategy to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. Her interests center on translational research including genomics, drug discovery and advancement of novel therapeutic approaches. Prior to joining the MRA, she was Chief Scientific Officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for five years, following a 16-year research career at two major pharmaceutical companies.
While at the MMRF, Dr. Perkins led the continued expansion of its venture philanthropy investments including its Biotech Investment Award and Clinical Fund programs. She was responsible for the expansion of the MMRF’s Genomics Initiative, which sequenced the first myeloma tumor genome in 2009 and has comprehensively analyzed 250 myeloma patient samples with an array of genomic technologies including next-gen sequencing. More recently, Dr. Perkins led the development of the genomics and data sharing strategy underpinning the 1,000 patient longitudinal study, CoMMpasssm, which aims to develop new targets and biomarkers through deep clinical and molecular data capture and analysis.
Prior to joining the MMRF, Dr. Perkins was Director of Cancer Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where she contributed to advancing novel targeted therapies toward clinical study, including Nexavar® and other innovative signal transduction inhibitors. While at Bayer, she also served as the Director of Research Licensing and was responsible for oncology licensing activities in support of cancer research programs. Prior to joining Bayer, she led a cancer research group at the Schering-Plough Research Institute where she participated in several early-stage research programs, including novel target-finding research using human genomics data.
Dr. Perkins graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD and MS in Biological Chemistry and conducted postdoctoral studies at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology. She earned her BS in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lauren C. Leiman
Senior Marketing and Development Director
Lauren C. Leiman is Senior Director, Marketing and Development, for the Melanoma Research Alliance. Previously, she was the Director of Marketing and Development for MRA from 2010-2014. Leiman joined MRA in 2010 from Millennium Promise Alliance, an organization committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, where she led the major gifts fundraising effort and spent significant time in sub-Saharan Africa.
Her previous experience includes developing strong partnerships and collaborations working in business development and investor relations at Steel Partners, Ltd., an activist hedge fund, and business operations at Tribeca Entertainment, a New York-based film production company.
Leiman received her undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School. She also holds an MBA in international business from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University.
Director of Marketing and Development
Logan E. Kastner is Director of Marketing and Development for the Melanoma Research Alliance. Kastner joined MRA in 2015 from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), where she worked as senior director of member value creation and meeting services.
While at GMA, Kastner was responsible for leading GMA’s membership retention efforts across 250+ members by developing and managing strategic platforms to enhance the GMA membership experience and value proposition. In addition, she had primary responsibility for the content development, planning and execution of GMA’s annual flagship events; GMA Executive Conference, GMA CEO Leadership Forum and GMA Emerging Leaders Program. She also managed a team of meeting logistics professionals on the successful execution of GMA sponsored meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops.
Her previous experience includes a strong background in project management within the world of advertising and marketing, where she serves in key account and project management roles with major brands. Kastner graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from Northeastern University.
Development Manager, Foundations and Campaigns
Jennifer Engel is the Development Manager, Foundations and Campaigns for MRA. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a BA in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Spanish. During her fourth year, she worked as an intern at UVA’s Center for Politics. In the two years following graduation, she taught English in Madrid, Spain and Shenzhen, China.