Scientific Advisory Board

Alessia Fornoni M.D., Ph.D.

Alessia Fornoni M.D., Ph.D.

Chief, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

Director, Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Center

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Fornoni received her medical degree from the School of Medicine at the University of Pavia, Italy. She subsequently obtained a Ph.D. Degree in Medical Pharmacology at the same University.

She is currently tenured Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and she is the Director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Drug Discovery Center at the University of Miami. She is Co-Director of Novel Methods for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Associate Director of the MD PhD program at the same Institution. Dr. Fornoni has gained experience in drug development as Global Head of Discovery in Cardiovascular and Metabolism at Hoffman-La Roche in Basel. She is currently the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of L&F Health LLC, a small start-up company focused on finding a cure for patients affected by chronic kidney diseases.

As a physician-scientist who has maintained a resolutely focused research program that has provided novel and seminal contributions to the understanding of the pathogenesis of kidney disease, Dr. Fornoni has conducted research supported by grants from National Institutes of Health, industry and private foundations. She has received prestigious awards, serves on the editorial board of Diabetes and other journals, has been invited to present at national and international meetings in five different continents, and has served as visiting professor at more than 25 academic institutions. Dr. Fornoni serves as grant reviewer for NIH, DOD, ADA, AHA, UK-diabetes and the Italian Ministry of Health. Her contributions have been published in high impact journals: Journal of Clinical Investigation, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Diabetes, Kidney International and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology among others.

Steven R. Gerst, MD, MBA, MPH, CHE

Steven R. Gerst, MD, MBA, MPH, CHE

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, MZI Healthcare

Vice President of Medical Affairs, MedCurrent Corporation

Health Informatics Board Member

Professor, Bryan University

Dr. Steven Gerst is a graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (M.D.), Columbia College (B.A.), Columbia School of Public Health – Health Administration (M.P.H.) and the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University (M.B.A.). He is a Diplomat in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has been working on completing a Doctorate in Business Administration and a Masters in Taxation. He holds FINRA Series 7, 66 and 82 licenses for Private Placements.

Dr. Steven Gerst is also Dean Emeritus of the Masters of Science Program in Applied Health Informatics at Bryan University (Los Angeles, Sacramento, Toronto and Phoenix) where he serves on the Board of Advisors and teaches on the faculty ( Dr. Gerst also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Steven Gerst is formerly Senior Consultant and Regional Medical Director for what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. He was President of Columbia/HCA’s PPO division nationally under Florida’s current Governor, Rick Scott and Vice President of the corporation (NYSE:HCA). Prior to that, he was Assistant Vice President of Crawford & Company (Atlanta; NYSE:CRDA and CRDB), the world’s largest independent claims management company, with more than 700 offices in 70 countries. At Crawford & Company, he built the first nationwide PPO for AIG, Boeing and other Crawford clients. He began his career with what is now Premier, Inc. (IPO recently filed) serving 2,900 member and owner hospitals where he built HMOs, PPOs and ran the Utilization Management consulting division.

He is a licensed Healthcare Investment Banker with StillPoint Capital (Tampa, FL) and provides Healthcare Management Consulting services to a variety of clients throughout the nation, internationally focused on managed medical programs including Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Management Service Organizations, Accountable Care Organizations, Provider Sponsored Networks, Health Systems, Payors, software companies and medical device companies.

Most recently, Dr. Gerst worked with the Broward Health System, Memorial Health System and Jackson Memorial Health System on the Florida Statewide ITN Medicaid project valued at approximately $800 million per year in hospital revenues covering approximately 500,000 Medicaid patients in Dade and Broward Counties. Prior to this , he was involved in the merger and acquisition of 6 HMO’s including HIP of Greater New York’s Florida Division ($500 million) and HealthNet’s Foundation Health Plan ($600 million) to create VISTA Health Plan, the largest HMO in South Florida , which was then sold to Coventry Health Plan and recently acquired by Aetna for $5.9 Billion.

Pablo A. Guzman, MD, FACC

Pablo A. Guzman, MD, FACC

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Variant Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Guzman received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1971 from St Peter's College in Jersey City, his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in 1975 and his interventional cardiology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1980 where then he joined the staff for the next 3 years. His duties included patient care, teaching, and both clinical and basic science research. Dr. Guzman became the Assistant Director of the cardiac catheterization lab, and Co-director of the permanent pacemaker lab at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and also Co-director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Baltimore City Hospital. He has over 30 articles in peer reviewed journals and many abstracts, some of them presented in national meetings including the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. While at Hopkins, Dr. Guzman became a Fellow of the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology, a member of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology, and a Fellow of The American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Guzman came to South Florida in 1983, and established a private practice in Cardiology. In 1987 he designed and became the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Boca Raton Community Hospital (now Boca Regional Hospital) and a Fellow of the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions. He then became the Associate Director of the Cardiac catheterization Laboratory at North Ridge Medical Center.

Dr. Guzman is a past president of the Caducean Society of Greater Fort Lauderdale, a past Chief of the Department of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases at North Ridge Medical Center, and a member of The North Ridge Medical Center Board. Dr. Guzman was a managing partner of Cardiology Associates of Fort Lauderdale, and is currently a member of The Broward County Medical Association. Dr. Guzman has been in the private practice of Medicine/ Cardiology in South Florida for 32 years.

Marlene Haffner, MD, MPH

Marlene Haffner, MD, MPH

Principal and founder at Orphan Solutions and Haffner Associates, LLC

Former Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development of the FDA

Retired Rear Admiral in the US Public Health Service

Dr. Haffner was the Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development at the Food and Drug Administration for 20+ years. In addition to assisting in the development of more than 300 products in the US, she is credited with assisting in the development of programs in Japan, the European Union, Australia, and beyond.

She founded Haffner Associates in 2009 in order to continue to apply her extensive experience in development of orphan products by working with small to large biotech/pharmaceutical companies, patient advocacy groups, and government agencies. Dr. Haffner also serves as an expert advisor and board member to companies throughout the world.

Trained as an internist and hematologist, Dr. Haffner graduated from the George Washington University School of Medicine and did further training at the Columbia University School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City. She received her Masters of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Following her tenure at FDA and prior to forming Haffner Associates, Dr. Haffner served as Executive Director, Global Regulatory Intelligence and Policy for two years at Amgen, the largest biotech company in the world.

Dr. Haffner has worked in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for more than 30 years. She has seen many changes in the regulatory environment during that period of time and is both sensitive and knowledgeable about politics and the political landscape. She knows “FDA think” and maintains close ties with her friends and colleagues in the agency.

Jonathan J. Hogan, MD

Jonathan J. Hogan, MD

Clinical Director, Penn Glomerular Disease Center

Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Hogan is Clinical Director of the Penn Glomerular Disease Center, and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He received his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, followed by a residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Nephrology Fellowship at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship in glomerular diseases at the Columbia University Glomerular Center.

His clinical expertise includes glomerular diseases, kidney disease in cancer patients, vasculitis, lupus nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and proteinuria. Dr. Hogan has published more than 15 papers in peer reviewed medical journals.

Dr. Hogan is a member of the American Society of Nephrology, the Cure Glomerulopathy Network, and NephCure Kidney International.

Ronald J. Hogg, MB., ChB, D.C.H.

Ronald J. Hogg, MB., ChB, D.C.H.

Retired Pediatric Nephrologist

Director, Southwest Pediatric Nephrology Study Group

Former Chief, Division of Pediatric Nephrology Baylor Scott & White Health, Temple, Texas

Former Professor of Pediatrics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple Texas

Dr. Hogg received his medical education at Liverpool University Medical School in Liverpool, England. He obtained his medical degree in 1970 and then completed 2 years as a resident in medicine, surgery and pediatrics in England before moving to Canada in 1972. He completed his Pediatric Residency and a Clinical Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, in 1974. He then moved to Texas where he completed a Research Nephrology Fellowship in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (UTSWMS) in Dallas, Texas in 1976. He then joined the faculty at UTSWMS in the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and subsequently was named head of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at UTSWMS and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas in 1977. He was engaged in basic renal physiology research as well as developing the pediatric dialysis and transplant program over the next 3 years but in 1979 turned his attention to the development of multicenter clinical trials and formed the Southwest Pediatric Nephrology Study Group. This became his primary area of research activity and has remained so over the next 37 years.

Dr Hogg left UTSWMS in 1986 after being recruited to head up the Pediatric Department at Baylor University Medical Center. He subsequently held positions as Chief of Pediatric Nephrology at Medical City Dallas Hospital, St Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, AZ, and Scott & White Health Care in Temple Texas. He was also Professor of Pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple, Texas with this last position. Dr Hogg retired from clinical practice in 2013 but has continued with his research activities. He is a member of the American Society of Nephrology. Dr Hogg was the Pediatric Nephrologist on the original K/DOQI Board and an author on the initial publications describing the K/DOQ recommendations for patients with CKD. He was also a founding member of the K/D Improving Global Outcomes (K/DIGO) Board. Other past positions include membership on the Alport Syndrome Foundation Medical Advisory Board, Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas Board of Directors, President of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas Medical Advisory Board, and a member of the NIDDK Experienced Reviewer Reserve. 

Dr. Hogg has made substantial contributions to the medical/scientific literature, with well over 100 publications, including original communications, book chapters, and invited reviews. He has received many NIH grants, primarily funding the clinical trials that he has led. These trials have evaluated various treatment options for children and adults with a variety of renal diseases with the most recent studies being focused on Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis and IgA Nephropathy. His other areas of interest include acute nephritic syndrome, Alport syndrome, chronic kidney disease, hematuria, hypertension, nephrotic syndrome, nocturnal enuresis, and proteinuria. Dr Hogg is also a frequent reviewer for many Nephrology journals.