Our company's expertise reflects the professional experience of its employees as well as a personal understanding of the disease. Several principals and associates, including founder Kelly Close, have type 1 diabetes.
KELLY L. CLOSE, PRESIDENT
Kelly L. Close is president of Close Concerns, Inc., a healthcare information firm exclusively focused on diabetes and obesity. Close Concerns publishes Closer Look, a news service covering goings-on in diabetes and obesity, as well as Diabetes Close Up, a quarterly industry newsletter. Kelly is also editor-in-chief of diaTribe, a monthly online newsletter focused on new research and products for people with diabetes (diaTribe.org) and is very active in Close Concerns' sister company, dQ&A. Kelly and her colleagues attend over 40 conferences globally focused on diabetes and obesity, cover key medical literature in the field, and write quarterly about 60-plus private and public companies in the area. Kelly's passion for the field comes from her extensive professional work as well as her personal experience as a patient with type 1 diabetes for nearly 25 years. Her analytic expertise comes from nearly 10 years researching medical technology and pharma as an equity research analyst. Prior to starting Close Concerns, Kelly worked in the financial sector, writing about medical technology companies, and at McKinsey & Company, where a majority of her work focused in the healthcare practice. Kelly is widely viewed as an expert on diabetes and obesity markets and as a frequent speaker on the public health implications of diabetes and obesity, she is a tireless supporter of patients. A longtime diabetes advocate, Kelly is on the board of directors of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute and was previously on the Executive Board of the SF Bay Area JDRF. Kelly is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children.
joined Close Concerns in 2006. Originally trained as a scientist, he spent six years in research. After receiving an MBA from INSEAD, The Business School for the World, he worked for five years as a management consultant at Bain & Company in San Francisco and Toronto, managing client engagements. Following Bain, he entered more entrepreneurial ventures, and has several successful high-tech start-ups now under his belt. He now runs Close Concerns with Kelly, where his understanding of science and diabetes, along with his broad business and consumer marketing expertise, are assets to the business.
Richard Wood leads dQ&A Market Research, Close Concerns' sister company that focuses on helping companies understand the diabetes patient landscape. dQ&A has a panel of 8,000 patients who have been answering comprehensive quarterly surveys since early 2009 about their therapies and their experience managing and living with diabetes. Richard was previously VP of Consumer Insights at Nielsen Mobile, where he managed the syndicated market research program for the mobile telecommunications industry in the USA, Europe and Asia. He has extensive experience from a 20-year career in consumer research, industry research, technology and publishing, and an MBA from INSEAD, The Business School for the World.Senior Associates
Adam Brown started as a summer intern at Close Concerns in 2010, returned as a full-time associate in 2011, and is currently the Chief of Staff. He graduated summa cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 pursuing concentrations in marketing and health care management & policy. Adam was a Joseph Wharton and Benjamin Franklin Scholar and completed his senior thesis on the motivational and financial factors associated with optimal diabetes control. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 and has worn an insulin pump for the last eleven years and a CGM for the past three years. Much of Adam's writing for Close Concerns focuses on diabetes technology, especially CGM, insulin pumps, and the artificial pancreas. Adam is on the board of directors of Insulindependence and the SF branch of JDRF. He is passionate about cycling, strength training, nutrition, and wellness and spends his free time outdoors and staying active.
Hannah Deming joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College with a major in Biology and a minor in Public Policy. She wrote a thesis examining differences in the quality of care and outcomes uninsured patients incur when treated in a nonprofit or for-profit hospital. In the summers before her junior and senior years, Hannah performed computational neuroscience research with Dr. Paul Prucnal at Princeton University resulting in a publication. During the second summer she also performed clinical research in Cooper University Hospital's Emergency Department. Outside of the academic setting, Hannah played four years of varsity soccer and was a co-captain her senior year. She also organized and led science experiments for low-income children.
Jessica Dong joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Studies. During her undergraduate years she devoted much of her time to biomedical research, completing a senior honors thesis investigating the structure and function of G0S2, a gene implicated in tumor suppression and the regulation of fat breakdown. In previous summers Jessica volunteered as a Community Health Educator in the western highlands of Guatemala and worked as an Environmental Education Intern at the Audubon Naturalist Society. Outside of the classroom she has also participated in a range of women's interest groups; she served as the Vice President of Member Education for Kappa Delta Sorority and was a participant in the Vagina Monologues. In her free time she enjoys playing volleyball and reading.Associates
Hannah Martin joined Close Concerns in the spring of 2013 after graduating from Swarthmore College with a major in Psychobiology and a minor in Cognitive Science. Throughout her undergraduate career, Hannah performed research on a variety of topics including the evaluation of the prenatal risk of Down syndrome, the pathways of blood pressure regulation, and the cellular abnormalities in developmental bone mutations. Although her major interests lie in biological sciences, she enjoyed completing her senior thesis and expanding her knowledge psycholinguistics by understanding the brain processes behind sentence construction. Hannah also tutored elementary school children in nearby neighborhoods and at a school for children and adults with mental disabilities. In her free time, Hannah enjoys reading, running, and anything outside.
Manu Venkat joined Close Concerns as a full time associate after he graduated from Brown University in May 2013, Phi Beta Kappa, with a joint concentration in Neuroscience and Urban Studies. Manu holds a longstanding interest in the life sciences, and enjoys drawing connections between biology and other subject areas. His interest in diabetes and obesity grew through a summer research project with Dr. Suzanne de la Monte of the Brown University Liver Research Center, in which he investigated possible connections between insulin resistance and neurodegenerative diseases. During his free time, Manu is an active member of Brown Model United Nations and a volunteer science teacher for Providence-area high school students. He is also a certified private pilot and general aviation enthusiast.Summer Associates 2013
Poonam Daryani is joining Close Concerns as a 2013 summer associate after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Scripps College with a BA in Biology. After a transformative semester abroad in India, Poonam became passionate about public health and dedicated much of her undergraduate experience to evolving her interest in the field. Poonam served as a research assistant to the Claremont Graduate University Study of Tobacco Use among Young Adult South Asians and completed her senior thesis on the analysis of polytobacco trends within that population. Beyond academics, Poonam spearheaded South Asian student organizations on campus and was actively involved in various social justice and advocacy groups. In 2014, Poonam will be pursuing her love for languages, travel, food, and cultures by moving to Malaysia to teach English as a Fulbright scholar.
Ewuradjoa Gadzanku is joining Close Concerns as a 2013 Summer Associate after graduating from Amherst College with distinction and a BA in Chemistry, magna cum laude. Ewuradjoa's interest in the healthcare industry evolved after a shadowing opportunity with Deloitte Consulting's Human Capital healthcare group. Prior to this, she spent most summers working in research laboratories dedicated to environmental issues and renewable energy. She recently completed a honors thesis on Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer reactions, which lends itself to the development of alternative, sustainable methods for energy harvesting and storage. While at Amherst, she served as a Chemistry tutor for high school and Amherst College students and acting as an informal advocate for multiculturalism achieved through study abroad programs. In the fall of 2014, she will be pursuing a one year Masters in Finance program at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Sam Haque is a winter 2013 associate at Close Concerns. He is currently a sophomore at Swarthmore College, majoring in Biology and minoring in Public Policy. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he has held a deep interest in the application of policy and its implications for insurance programs, hospitals, and most importantly, patient outcomes. During the summer of 2012, he had an opportunity to see and take part the day-to-day activities of a federal program as a summer intern for the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program. Beyond his academic interests, he is an avid runner for his schools cross-country and track teams, and served as an active member co-president of Deshi, Swarthmores South Asian cultural group.
Stephanie Kahn, a Close Concerns summer associate in 2013, is a rising senior at Haverford College where she is pre-med and studies Anthropology. Last summer she worked for the Section on Growth and Obesity at the NICHD on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, where she studied the effect of melanocortin-3 receptor mutations on weight gain, and also contributed to a clinical study of patients with Bardet-Biedl syndrome who exhibit hyperphagic symptoms. At Haverford, she is the president-elect of the Pre-Health Society, an avid runner for the track team, and enjoys working with kids at Creative Clubhouse, a local studio dedicated to helping children cultivate their creativity through art and music.
Phaedra Randolph is a Close Concerns summer associate in 2013 and a rising senior at Cornell University, majoring in Operations Research Engineering and pursuing a career medicine. Last summer she interned at Goldman Sachs and two summers prior, she interned at Medivance, a biomedical engineering firm that creates therapeutic temperature management devices. She first became passionate about health when diagnosed with epilepsy at age sixteen. She was able to first pursue her passions by becoming the President of Cornell's FACES (Facts, Advocacy, and Control of Epileptic Seizures) which involves epilepsy advocacy, research, and education. At school she also does research on weight maintenance, obesity, and gluten sensitivity with Dr. Levitsky in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and has served as an undergraduate TA and tutor. Aside from work and school, she is a Lime Connect Fellow Alumna, has worked as a camp counselor for youth with epilepsy and enjoys exercising and cooking.
Jenny Tsai is a rising senior and fourth year at Brown University's Program in Liberal Medical Education. Pursuing a double concentration in Health and Human Biology and Ethnic Studies, her academic interests are largely in the intersection between race, science, and healthcare. Her previous research at MD Anderson Cancer Center focuses on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and B-Cell Malignancies. At school, Jenny has served as a community builder and student adviser as a Women's Peer Counselor, a Meiklejohn peer adviser, and an undergraduate TA. She is an avid lover of all things dance-related, a co-captain of the club tennis team, and a recruitment intern for Brown University's Admissions Office.Contributors
Alisa Bekins joined Close Concerns in 2005 as director of operations and marketing after working in the travel, entertainment, and PR industries for 15 years. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in Aviation. She has studied diabetes and diabetes-related complications for years, stemming from experiences with multiple family members and friends with diabetes. She has a keen interest in and knowledge of type 1 diabetes, medical devices to treat diabetes, and diabetes education. Alisa is a frequent contributer to diaTribe and Diabetes Close Up and runs all marketing and operations for Close Concerns.
DR. MICHAEL DOUGAN
Michael Dougan recently received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School and is currently an internal medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. Michael has had a longstanding interest in chronic diseases, particularly as they related to the body's interaction with the environment. He conducted his dissertation research in Dr. Glenn Dranoff's lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he studied novel approaches to enhancing anti-tumor immunity. In addition to his research, Michael has been a teaching fellow for several graduate and undergraduate courses; his teaching was recognized in 2008 by Harvard's Levenson award. Michael received his AB from Amherst College in 2002, where he majored in Chemistry and English, graduating summa cum laude (both majors) and Phi Beta Kappa. Michael has worked with Close Concerns part-time since 2006, primarily on Closer Look and Diabetes Close Up publications.
JAMES S. HIRSCH
James S. Hirsch, a former reporter for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, is a best-selling author whose most recent book is "WILLIE MAYS: The Life, the Legend", the first biography of Mays written with his cooperation. Hirsch has also written "CHEATING DESTINY: Living With Diabetes", "HURRICANE: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter", "RIOT AND REMEMBRANCE: America's Worst Race Riot and Its Legacy," and "TWO SOULS INDIVISIBLE: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam." Hirsch has an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a graduate degree from the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sheryl, and their children, Amanda and Garrett. Jim has worked as an editor and contributor to Close Concerns since 2004 and as senior editor and columnist of diaTribe since 2006.
Nupur Lala began work for Close Concerns as a summer intern in 2004; she returned to the company in the summers of 2005 and 2006. She graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2007 with a BS in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Sciences. During her undergraduate years, she conducted research in the University of Michigan Psycholinguistics Laboratory and in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Brosius at the University of Michigan Medical School, studying the effect of troglitazones in kidney function. After graduation, Nupur worked in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT, where she researched the neural correlates of subsequent memory for scenes, motor skills learning, and improving fluid intelligence. She hopes to meld her interests in cognitive psychology and writing with a career in medicine.
DR. BRADFORD LEE
Bradford Lee has covered basic and clinical research for Close Concerns since 2004. He graduated from Stanford Medical School in 2009 and from Harvard College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in biochemistry in 2004. He was awarded a master's of science in health policy, planning, and financing as well as the Brian Abel-Smith Prize from the London School of Economics in 2005. Brad is interested in the role of diabetes and obesity in minority populations, diabetic eye diseases, and global health. He has conducted research at the National Eye Institute, Harvard University, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Aravind Eye Care System in India. He is currently an ophthalmology resident at the renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida.
Jennifer Lee is executive assistant to the President, Kelly L. Close. After graduating from California State University, Sacramento, she packed her bags and headed across the world to teach English in Bangkok, Thailand. After spending a year abroad, she moved to San Francisco to continue her career as an assistant, or as she likes to call it, "a magician." At Close Concerns, she primarily works with Kelly, and also works to support the complex team of associates by juggling many different tasks and duties and daily surprises. Jennifer loves being part of the team at Close Concerns and especially loves the mission of the company. She spends her free time exploring the city on her bike, eating out at new restaurants, and planning weekend road trips to whatever destinations are accessible in her hybrid car.
Tim Maher began contributing to Close Concerns in the spring of 2013. Tim graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2011 with a degree in chemical and physical biology. While at Harvard he spent three years performing chemical biology research on lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes and peptide signaling in obesity in the laboratory of Professor Alan Saghatelian. Tims senior honors thesis won the Thomas T. Hoopes, Class of 1919, Prize for outstanding scholarly work. Outside of class Tim was an active member of the Harvard University Band as a tenor saxophone player. Tim is currently in his second year of medical school at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago where he was the co-president of the Cardiovascular Health Society and performs clinical research in cardiology. He is interested in preventative medicine and the early detection of chronic disease.
Rajiv Narayan graduated in 2012 with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Davis, where he was a Regents Scholar. In college, he designed his own major as an interdisciplinary course of economics, philosophy, and anthropology. Rajiv was the Senior Health Policy Fellow for the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network and a 2010 Young People For Fellow, where he was trained in organizing for social justice. He has written for Policy Mic,The California Aggie, Next New Deal, and the Huffington Post. Rajiv worked on an urban farm in Milwaukee, interned at the California State Assembly, and taught classes on the Social Theory of Eating Disorders at UC Davis. He has researched obesity legislation in Argentina, food stamps in California, the racial dynamics of obesity policy in Southern States, and fat acceptance activism in California. Rajiv is an avid social media user, and was invited by the White House to live-tweet the 2013 State of the Union Address (@rajiv_narayan). In his free time, Rajiv enjoys coaching high school speech and debate at his alma mater, James Logan High School. Rajiv has been a contributor at Close Concerns since early 2013, where his focus is primarily on obesity and public health.
Tony Sheng, a Close Concerns summer associate for 2009, graduated from Amherst College in 2011 with a BA in Neuroscience and English. Over the past four years, Tony conducted several health-related research projects on topics ranging from stroke triage protocol to oral insulin delivery. In 2008 as a Cincinnati Children's Hospital summer undergraduate research fellow, he enrolled the first cohort of patients into the Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project with Dr. Tracy Glauser. At Amherst, in addition to frequent volunteering, Tony worked as a Bonner Community Engagement Leader at the Center for Community Engagement. He also played singles and doubles on the varsity tennis team. Tony currently works for McKinsey and Company.
Mark Sorrentino joined Close Concerns in 2009. Mark graduated from Middlebury College in 2011 with a BA in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a minor in Economics. He completed a senior thesis on the therapeutic relevance of noncoding RNAs in Streptococcus mutans. After graduation, he worked as an analyst at Chestnut Partners, a Boston-based healthcare investment bank. Currently Mark is working as a Business Development Associate at Kendall Research Systems, a Cambridge, MA startup developing a wireless optogenetics platform.
KERRI MORRONE SPARLING
When it comes right down to it, there's little more important to Kerri than her family, her friends, and the Red Sox. Well-known in the diabetes community for her personal diabetes blog www.SixUntilMe.com and her position as Editor and Community Leader at dLife, Kerri has been living with type 1 diabetes since the second grade. She hides out in Connecticut with her husband and their parade of annoying cats.
Cullen Taniguchi finished his MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School in 2008. He completed his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology in 2005 working with the former President of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Dr. C. Ronald Kahn. Cullen's research examines the molecular mechanisms of type 2 diabetes, particularly insulin resistance in the liver, and how it may be a significant factor in how people develop the disease. Cullen attended Occidental College where he obtained an A.B. in Chemistry and a minor in Music. Cullen then spent two years in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar studying for a master of philosophy in Economic and Social History. Cullen completed his MD in 2007, and is now in the midst of a residency in internal medicine/endocrinology at UCSF. He has worked part-time for Close Concerns over the past few years with a focus on helping the firm on basic science.
ELLEN H. ULLMAN
Ellen H. Ullman has been a passionate and tireless proponent for diabetes advocacy since 1989 when her now 22 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She is a well-respected Internet liaison who compiles and disseminates the latest news about diabetes research, products and medical devices. Through her participation in conferences, social media, support groups, chat rooms, and forums, Ellen offers an empathetic, encouraging, and empowering presence to families impacted by diabetes. She also serves as Vice-President of the Children with Diabetes Foundation, volunteers for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, and works as a research associate for Close Concerns. With a diverse background encompassing a master's degree in social work, internships spent working with those in need, paralegal experience in patent law, and an unbridled curiosity about product function and design, Ellen is well positioned to make a difference by speaking for those whose voices need to be heard by government officials.
Lisa Vance joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2011. She attends Barnard College and is a senior there, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History with a German Language minor. During her senior year at Staples High School, Lisa was the first Web Editor-in-Chief of Inklings, an award winning high school newspaper. The website she developed that year has won the prestigious Silver Crown Award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association for the past two years. Lisa continues to work with Close Concerns part time, primarily focused on expanding the reach of diaTribe.
DAVID HAO ZHANG
David Zhang joined Close Concerns in 2011 as a part-time summer associate and returned as a full-time summer associate in 2012. During his first two years at Amherst College, he conducted basic biochemical research involving the structure and mechanism of P4-ATPases; in his junior year, he studied abroad at Oxford University. He has been working on various Excel spreadsheet programs ever since he was in high school, a skill he has further developed as a math and economics major. He is proficient in Mandarin and English, and he is somewhat fluent in French.Dartmouth Fellows
Close Concerns and Dartmouth College collaborated in 2012 to establish the Dartmouth Fellows program. Each quarter, one Dartmouth student is selected to come to San Francisco (all expenses paid) to work with the company on an entrepreneurial project for eight to twelve weeks. If you are interested in applying to this project, please contact Jessica Dong or Kelly Close.
Katherine Sanders joined Close Concerns in 2013 after graduating from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biological Sciences, modified with Global Health. During her undergraduate years she devoted much of her time to HIV Immunology research and global health student groups. In previous summers Katherine volunteered at the DarDar Pediatric Program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and worked with the Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Delivery Science in Lima, Peru. Following graduation and prior to coming to Close Concerns, Katherine worked as both a paralegal in intellectual property law and an analyst in healthcare strategy consulting. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and trying new foods.
Tiffany Wang, a Close Concerns Dartmouth Fellow for Winter 2013, is currently a sophomore at Dartmouth College. She is pursuing an Anthropology major with concentrations in medical anthropology and global health and minors in Chinese and Chemistry. Her current research project involves synthesizing peptides in a pharmacology lab at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. She is also Programming Co-Chair for Dartmouth Programming Board, a group that organizes campus-wide events and a residential First Year Undergraduate Advisor. She is also a mentor and a member of the executive board for Link Up, a women's mentorship group on campus. In her free time, she enjoys exploring, experimenting, and searching for experiences.
Melissa An is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in 2013. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in the Anthropology of Global Health. Melissa has served as Campaigns Coordinator and co-president of Dartmouths chapter of GlobeMed, a network that partners US universities with various grassroots organizations around the world to address global health disparities. She has also served as co-president of Dartmouth China Care Club, a foundation that aims to provide medical care and other services to orphaned children in China. In addition, Melissa conducts psychiatry research involving treatment that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. This upcoming summer, Melissa will also be working on community health education efforts in Uganda as an international intern.
Hongyu Chen is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the fall of 2013. He is majoring in Computer Science. Hongyu has been involved with computational linguistics, cheminformatics, and bioinformatics research at Dartmouth College, the University of California Riverside, and the National Institutes of Health and led Close Concerns work on estimating. As a freelance computer scientist at the National Institute of Aging, he conceptualized and developed a suite of bioinformatics tools (Pancreas++, Plurigon, VennPlex, Textrous!) that have since been published in peer-reviewed journals and receive usage worldwide. During this time, he published a review paper that integrated the fields of linguistics, computer science, and biology through Latent Semantic Indexing. In addition to research, he served as the president of the Dartmouth Chess Club and the Hanover Chess Club, the chair of the Haven Adult Shelter, and a mentor for Big Brother Big Sister. Following his fellowship at Close Concerns, Hongyu is interning at IXL Learning and Epic Systems in winter and summer of 2014 and continues to contribute to various organizations as a freelance software developer. In his spare time, Hongyu likes playing the piano, running, and going on outdoor adventures.
Adam Kraus is the Dartmouth Fellow for Close Concerns for the Summer 2013. He is a major in Anthropology modified with Global Health and a Biology minor. He has spent two academic quarters abroad, studying Anthropology and development in Auckland, New Zealand and also completing an internship assisting the implementation of a community health worker program in the Sacred Valley of the Inca in Peru. Additionally, he is a co-founder and currently on the Board of Directors of Cover the Globe, a non-profit organization committed to providing monetary support and sustainable solutions that HIV-positive patients in poverty settings can use to access their own antiretroviral therapies. Additionally, he is a co-President of GlobeMed at Dartmouth, a network of university chapters across the U.S. that pairs universities with community-based organizations to build a movement of global health equity worldwide. He loves reading, running, and exploring the local community in his free time.
Marissa Lynn joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the spring of 2013 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biology and a minor in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. As an undergraduate she spent three terms abroad, studying Spanish in Barcelona, Spain and Arabic in Fez, Morocco as well as teaching English in Kathmandu, Nepal. During her junior year, she was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of her biomedical research, which focused on developing novel therapeutics for pancreatic cancer. She has completed summer internships with the Whitesides Research Group at Harvard University and the McDermott Group at Northwesterns Feinberg School of Medicine. At Northwestern, she worked on three studies that looked at the benefits of exercise for PAD (peripheral arterial disease) patients. Marissa is an avid runner. She completed her first marathon in Chicago in October 2012 and qualified to run the Boston Marathon. Next year she will be in South Korea on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Fellowship.Close Concerns Alumni
DR. DAN BELKIN
Dan Belkin joined the Close Concerns team in 2006 after graduating from Amherst College magna cum laude with a degree in Philosophy and worked full time with Close Concerns before starting medical school at Cornell in 2007. His undergraduate thesis work involved "genealogy," a method more often used in the sciences but which has interesting philosophical applications. Dan has extensive research experience, having previously received a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship to research various CNS-related hypotheses. Dan's various interests reflect a humanistic approach to life and medicine, and he approaches his work at Close Concerns in the same way. He is a frequent contributor to Diabetes Close Up and diaTribe, attends various conferences globally for Close Concerns, and creates all of the cartoons for diaTribe, Close Concerns' monthly newsletter for people with diabetes (www.diaTribe.us). Dan recently graduated medical school and is entering the dermatology residence program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Eric Chang became a member of Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating from Pomona College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Neuroscience. At Pomona, he received the Rena Gurley Archibald Prize, presented to the highest ranked student in the class of over 450 students. He spent the early years of his university life in the laboratory and clinic, investigating the therapeutic potential of homing endonucleases with Dr. Lenny Seligman at Pomona and volunteering at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Following a semester abroad in Beijing and Inner Mongolia, he developed a passion for holistic approaches to healthcare. This interest translated into his senior thesis research in which he examined the neuroprotective effects of Panax ginseng and its constituent active compounds. He is now in his second year of medical school at UCSF and working part-time with Close Concerns.
Katelyn Gamson has been a contributor to Close Concerns since 2005-2006, when she worked for the company as an associate. Katelyn graduated from Amherst College in 2005 with a degree in Chemistry; she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Katelyn's experience with diabetes is prodigious; in 2003, working under the famed Dr. Lois Jovanovic, she conducted clinical research at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to develop an algorithm that would suggest insulin dosages for patients with type 1 diabetes. While at Sansum, Katelyn co-authored an article on the safety and efficacy of insulin analogs in pregnancy; this article was published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, with Katelyn as the primary author. While at Amherst, Katelyn was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for her research on diabetes. Katelyn is devoted to community service, and in addition to her work with Close Concerns, she also worked as an AmeriCorps member of the National AIDS Fund, in Washington, DC during 2006. Katelyn is now in her final year of medical school at UCSF.
DR. JENNY JIN
Jenny Jin joined Close Concerns in 2006 after graduating Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Chemistry. During college she devoted much time to basic science research beginning in summer 2004 when she studied the organ-specificity of eukaryotic heat shock protein TCP-1 at the Nanotechnology & Astrobiology Research Group at NASA Ames Research Center. Subsequently, she joined Harvard Professor Greg Verdine's lab and worked on the crystallization of prokaryotic sporulation protein SpoIIIE. She received the Herchel Smith Undergraduate Research Fellowship to fund her research in summer 2005. In addition to her experimental work, Jenny has instructed in science as a Teaching Fellow for organic chemistry at Harvard. In college, she also served as captain and president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Kendo Club and organized the 8th Annual Shoryuhai Kendo Tournament in April 2004, the largest intercollegiate kendo tournament in North America. She is currently in her fourth year of medical school at UCSF.
Ben Kozak became a member of Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating from Pomona College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biology. During his undergraduate years, Ben devoted much of his time outside the classroom to research, focusing on topics ranging from cellular vesicle transport to the biology of paclitaxel chemotherapy. When not in the lab, Ben was heavily involved in community service work. He served as president for Pomona's Chapter of Mortar Board, a national honors society dedicated to service and leadership, volunteered at several hospitals, and acted as a mentor for Uncommon Good. At Close Concerns, Ben specializes in type 1 and type 2 diabetes drug development. He serves as Co-Managing Editor for the companys diabetes patient newsletter diaTribe, and through this role, Ben co-authored a patient-centered book on type 1 diabetes cure research entitled "Targeting a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Will We Have to Wait?" With other members of the Close Concerns team, Ben also contributes articles quarterly to the Journal of Diabetes on topics related to diabetes and obesity drug development and public health, with a particular emphasis on Asia.
Jen Lesser joined Close Concerns in early 2009. Jen graduated from Amherst College in 2007 with a BA in biology and from Harvard Business School in 2013. During her junior year, she spent a semester studying biochemistry at the University of Oxford. After graduation she spent two years working in equity research at Lehman Brothers and then Barclays Capital. There, she was the sole research associate on the #1 ranked Institutional Investor Publishing and Advertising Services team. In 2011, she completed an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Cambridge in England, a joint program between the School of Biotechnology and the School of Business to bridge the gap between healthcare and business. On a personal side, Jen is very active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and is a member of the Young Leadership Committee (junior board).
Kira Maker joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating with distinction from Stanford University in 2011 with a degree in Human Biology. She spent her undergraduate summers engaged in various facets of health. She has served as a research intern at Stanford's Prevention Research Center, a Health and Medicine intern at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and a soccer coach at the Boys and Girls Club. Following her graduation, she completed a post-baccalaureate premedical program at Johns Hopkins University. During the same year, she participated in research in the Department of Neurology with Dr. Amanda Brown on the topic of HIV-associated neurodegenerative disorders. Kira was a member of Stanfords varsity soccer team and currently enjoys playing soccer and ultimate Frisbee in her free time.
Brendan Milliner joined Close Concerns in 2008 after graduating from Amherst College with a degree in neuroscience. He brings to the team both a strong background in science and a dedication to public health and medicine. During his first few years of college, he spent time in scientific research, working on projects with Dr. Aynsley Smith at the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Michael Rogawski in the epilepsy division of the National Institutes of Health. The spring and summer of his junior year were spent in Africa, where he was involved in community health projects with the Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation of Cape Town and the Cameroonian branch of United Action for Children. His senior thesis investigated the effects of drugs that enhance neural activity on changes in the sensory systems of the brain. Brendan is currently in his third year of medical school at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Martha Nelson served as a medical writer and researcher at Close Concerns from 2003 to 2005 and continues to cover basic and clinical research for the company. After graduating with a Biology degree, magna cum laude, from Amherst College in 2004, she served as a full-time writer for Diabetes Close Up and worked on special reports and projects related to new scientific studies, drugs, and technology. Martha was a Howard Hughes summer research fellow at the Indian Health Service in Albuquerque, N.M., where she investigated how infectious disease contributed to diabetes among Native Americans. She continued to study infectious disease dynamics during her doctoral study, completing her PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 with a thesis titled 'The genomic evolution of influenza A virus.' Martha will continue to study the evolution of infectious disease as a post-doctoral researcher at the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. Martha retains an acute interest in diabetes, particularly the role of infectious disease in its etiology, and continues to cover diabetes conferences on occasion for Close Concerns.
Margaret Nguyen joined Close Concerns in 2013 after graduating from and working as a research assistant at Pomona College. She completed an experimental senior thesis investigating the role of the HSPG Syndecan in nervous system development and earned a degree in Neuroscience. While she was an undergraduate student, she learned about her community through tutoring high school students with the Upward Bound program and volunteering in hospitals with the Clinical Care Extender (CCE) program. After graduating, she continued to study HSPGs and their interactors in the regulation of synapse development. Outside of the laboratory, she volunteered with the CCE program—in the hospital and on their leadership team—and in elementary school classrooms where she introduced students to subjects including sensory systems and life cycles through games and experiments.
Nina Ran joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. She wrote her senior thesis on the etiopathogeneses of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and their interface. In previous summers, she conducted research on intracellular trafficking at Dr. Frederick Hughson's lab at Princeton and developed a new mouse model of Schizophrenia at Dr. Joseph Neale's neurobiology lab at Georgetown University. Outside of the academic setting, she volunteered in the oncology wing at Princeton Medical Center and shadowed doctors in the operating rooms. Nina was captain of Princeton's Womens Ultimate Frisbee Team, played for a Washington D.C. club team last summer, and enjoys running in her free time.
Lisa Rotenstein graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2011 from Harvard College with a degree in Chemical and Physical Biology and a minor in Economics. Funded by the American Heart Association, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Harvard College Program in Science and Engineering, she completed a senior thesis on the design of hydrogels engineered for adhesion to endothelial cells. Her work on topic has been published in Biomaterials and Acta Biomateriala. Passionate about how healthcare relates to social issues and business, Lisa co-led the inaugural 2011 Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum's Global Medical Brigades trip to Honduras, engaged in issues of health and poverty as a Campus Coordinator for Health Leads Boston, and led diverse efforts in Harvard's Institute of Politics and Model United Nations Programs. She additionally served as the Co-Editor in Chief of The Harvard Undergraduate Research Journal and as a Case Team Leader for several cases with the Harvard College Consulting Group. At Close Concerns, she focuses on novel therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Fueled by this interest, she initiated and was the lead author for the patient-centered book Targeting a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Will We Have to Wait? She additionally spearheads Close Concerns's information technology efforts and in 2012, she was the lead author on an article in Clinical Diabetes regarding the ideal diabetes therapy. Following her roles as Summer Associate and Senior Associate at Close Concerns, Lisa graduated from the Close Concerns Associate program in 2012 and is now a student at Harvard Medical School.
Joseph Shivers joined Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Chemical and Physical Biology. As a PRISE Fellow during the summer before his senior year, Joseph studied magnetic and optical trapping in Dr. Mara Prentiss's biophysics lab at Harvard. In the previous summer, he researched the neurodegenerative effects of murine leukemia virus at the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine with Dr. William Lynch and Dr. Shobhana Sivaramakrishnan. He tutored at the Harvard College Writing Center, wrote and cartooned for The Harvard Crimson, and, along with three other undergraduates in Dr. David Edwards' engineering sciences class, developed an idea for a third-world water transportation device. At Close Concerns he is the resident expert on diabetes devices, emerging technologies, and mobile health. Joseph is the Editor in Chief of Diabetes Close Up, a quarterly round-up of news in diabetes and obesity products and research, and he contributes regularly to the patient newsletter diaTribe. At the 2011 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, he presented a poster based on a survey of patient preferences on continuous glucose monitors, and in 2012 he co-authored an article in Clinical Diabetes about drug development in type 2 diabetes.
Jessica Swienckowski joined Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating in 2008 from Vassar College Phi Beta Kappa with general honors and departmental honors in Neuroscience and a correlate in Molecular Biology. During her undergraduate career, Jessica devoted her summers to a wide breadth of research, including experiences at Dr. Michael F. Green's lab at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, Dr. Marco Iacoboni's lab at the Brain Mapping Center at UCLA, and Dr. Cynthia Kenyon's laboratory at the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging at UCSF. Her senior project at Vassar concerned the developmental expression patterns of the microtubule-associated protein gene ptl-1 and its role in neuronal function in Caenorhabditus elegans. Her findings contributed to a research publication in Development, Genes, and Evolution. Following her graduation from Vassar, Jessica spent a year assisting in the oversight of the Writing Center at Swarthmore College. She is currently a third year medical student at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
Tanayott Thaweethai joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2012 and is a recent graduate of Brown University where he studied Applied Mathematics and Biology. During his junior year, he quantified life history characteristics of bacteriophage phiX174 in order to challenge basic assumptions of classical population genetics. For this research, he was awarded first place for Best Oral Presentation at the 2012 Northeast Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium. He also coordinates the New Scientist Program, a mentoring initiative dedicated to supporting underrepresented minorities in the sciences. He is also a Health Careers Peer Advisor and an undergraduate TA in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After volunteering in a free clinic in Costa Rica, he became Vice President of Brown's chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, organizing major fundraising efforts to purchase medical supplies for clinics across South and Central America. This fall, he will move back to the Bay Area and work at an economics consultancy.
Melissa Tjota joined Close Concerns in 2008 as a full-time associate after graduating from Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biochemical Sciences and a secondary field in Spanish. During college she spent much of her time conducting research at Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Cambridge, MA, the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Experimental Immunology in Bonn, Germany, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. Her undergraduate thesis work was carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Shannon Turley in which her project examined peripheral tissue antigen and cytokine expression in murine lymph node stromal cells and human mesenchymal stem cells. Melissa is now pursuing an MD/PhD at the University of Chicago.
Sanjay Trehan joined Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating from Brown University with a BS in Computational Biology. He has conducted computational biology research at Children's Hospital's (Boston) Informatics Program and Brown's Center for Computational Molecular Biology. He also interned with Brown's Molecular and Cell Biology department, studying the genetic mechanisms that lead to aging in the fruit fly. At Close Concerns, he led the company's research and writings on obesity and pharma and during his time at Close Concerns, was very active in market research through dQ&A, Close Concerns' sister company. Sanjay now works as an Associate Market Planning Manager at Genentech.
Katrina Verbrugge, a Close Concerns summer associate for 2012, is a rising senior at Harvard College pursuing a degree in Neurobiology. Last summer she worked in the R&D department of McNeil Nutritionals, a Johnson & Johnson company, developing a natural sweetener. She has also worked in patient communications at GCI Health, helping create a fitness program for people with multiple sclerosis. At Harvard, she is the Co-Editor in Chief of the Harvard Science Review and co-director of A Stitch in Time, a public service program that makes warm clothing to donate to local shelters.
Nick Wilkie has worked with Close Concerns since 2009. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in Chemistry and Psychology and then earned his master's degree in neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. For his master's research, he investigated the molecular biology of the neuroendocrine system and the effects of synthetic steroids on brain tumors. Following graduate study, he worked in a clinical DNA microarray laboratory analyzing small genetic aberrations in congenital developmental disorders. His primary interest in diabetes is the role of the nervous system and diabetes-related pathologies. He has a strong focus at Close Concerns on diabetes market research. Currently, Nick is pursuing an MD degree at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.
Vincent Wu joined Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating with Distinction from Stanford University with a BS in Biological Sciences. During his undergraduate career, he conducted research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and at the Heller Laboratory at Stanford University. Vincent also served as a Teaching Assistant for a course on human nutrition, and volunteered at an after-school program during which he taught students lessons on health, physiology, and nutrition. At Close Concerns, Vincent specialized in obesity and type 2 diabetes therapeutics, and served as Managing Editor for diaTribe (diaTribe.org), Close Concerns' patient newsletter. Vincent currently works as a Research Analyst for dQ&A, Close Concerns’ sister market research company.
DR. MARK YARCHOAN
Mark Yarchoan is a frequent contributor of Closer Look and an editor of Diabetes Close Up. He has previously worked as a full-time Close Concerns associate. Mark has covered over 30 diabetes and obesity conferences with Close Concerns and he has a deep interest in diabetes research and drug development. He spoke on a panel at the 2008 Avalere Health Forum on Diabetes and was a co-author with other members of the Close Concerns team of a poster presented at the 2008 ADA conference (864-P). Mark Mark received a BA from Amherst College and recently completed his MD degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the 2010 Endocrine Society Medical Student Achievement Award.