How the Research Landscape is Changing [HRA Members Meeting, Chicago, Fall 2023]

Tuesday October 17, 2:00pm-3:45pm CT

This session will discuss how biomedical research funding trends and priorities have evolved and continue to adapt. This session will discuss how the rising costs of research impacts what funders are doing, how funders have changed who they are funding in terms of career stage, and how funders have changed what types of science they are funding. To give a broad perspective, this session will include the perspective of philanthropic organizations and venture capitalism.

Kevin Sia, PhD
Program Officer for Medical Research | Doris Duke Foundation

Cara Altimus, PhD
Senior Director | Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy
Cara Altimus, PhD is a senior director at the Milken Institute, where she leads MI Philanthropy’s science and health innovation portfolio. A PhD neuroscientist, Altimus advises individual philanthropists and foundations on the state of research for various areas including neurodegenerative disease and mental health, identifying opportunities where their capital can make the biggest impact. With more than a decade of experience in neuroscience research, including neurological devices, psychiatric illness, learning, and memory, as well as sleep and circadian rhythms, Altimus has led Center projects ranging from the development of a philanthropic drug development program for neurodegenerative disease to a large patient- perspectives study for depression and bipolar research. Prior to joining the Institute, Altimus worked at the Food and Drug Administration leading the Neural Interfaces Laboratory, which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of electrical stimulation methods in the brain. In addition to her research experience, she serves as the chair for the Trainee Advisory Committee for the Society for Neuroscience, is an advisor to the Ontario Brain Institute, and spent a year as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow developing a neuroscience research portfolio at the Department of Justice. Altimus holds a bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in biology from Johns Hopkins University. She works at the Institute’s Washington office.

Lou DeGennaro, PhD
Managing Partner | Cantlous Advisory Partners
Past President & CEO | The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., is managing partner at Cantlous Advisory Partners (CAP), a pioneering consulting firm working at the intersection of venture philanthropy, non-profit fundraising, and biotechnology innovation. CAP’s mission is to drive collaborative efforts that result in transformative advancements in healthcare. Prior to his current role, Dr. DeGennaro was president and chief executive officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), a global leader in the fight against cancer with an annual budget of $500 million.

As the key architect of LLS’s cures and access agenda, Dr. DeGennaro conceived and pioneered LLS’s Therapy Acceleration Program® – a venture philanthropy approach to accelerating new treatments to patients through drug discovery and development partnerships with the biotechnology industry. LLS’s foray into venture philanthropy helped redefine the activist role of non-profits to meet urgent unmet medical needs. Under Dr. DeGennaro’s leadership LLS also launched its groundbreaking precision medicine Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial and Dare to Dream, a research, advocacy, and patient support effort that features a global, master clinical trial in pediatric leukemia.

In his operating role at LLS, Dr. DeGennaro oversaw the growth of annual revenue from $225 million in 2014 to $500 million in 2023 through innovative fundraising programs that cut across peer-to-peer, corporate partnership, major gift, and service revenue channels.

After receiving his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. DeGennaro conducted post-doctoral research at the Yale University School of Medicine. His previous academic appointments include research group leader, Max Planck Institute, Munich, Germany and associate professor of neurology and cell biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School. His previous private sector appointments included Senior Director, Molecular Genetics, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Executive Vice President, Synex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. DeGennaro is the author of 100 scientific publications.

Jamie Kasuboski, PhD
Vice President | OMX Ventures
Jamie is a Vice President with OMX Ventures. Prior to OMX Jamie developed deep experience in early-stage Biotech investing and company creation while working on the investment team at RA Capital.  In that role he served on the board of Enara Bio, Avilar Therapeutics, and Endor Therapeutics. Before joining RA, he was a Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and served as a Board Director of both Tilos Therapeutics (acquired by Merck & Co.) and Rewind Therapeutics. Jamie has PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Notre Dame and a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Hillsdale College.