Our company's expertise reflects the professional experience of its employees as well as a personal understanding of the disease. A number of team members, including founder Kelly Close, have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Table of Contents

Kelly L. Close, President

Kelly Close founded Close Concerns in 2002, a healthcare information company focused exclusively on diabetes and obesity. At Close Concerns, Kelly and her team write approximately five million words each year on diabetes, obesity, and digital health. Kelly's passion for the field comes from her extensive professional work as well as from her personal experience, having had diabetes for nearly 30 years. Kelly is the author of over 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as “Targeting A Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Do We Have to Wait?” a widely-praised book published by the ADA in 2013. Kelly is on the editorial board of Clinical Diabetes, a journal focused on diabetes for primary care physicians published quarterly by the ADA. Close Concerns won the ADA’s “Excellence in Health Communications” Award in 2012 and Kelly and her team write a quarterly column in Journal of Diabetes, a peer-reviewed journal based in Shanghai.

Kelly is founder and Editor-in-Chief of diaTribe, founded in 2006 as an educational resource for people with diabetes. She also chairs The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2012 to improve the lives of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and to advocate for action. Before starting Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation, Kelly’s work focused on life sciences more broadly. Over nearly a dozen years, she worked on Wall Street (investment banking at Goldman Sachs, medical technology equity research at Merrill Lynch and Piper Jaffray) and at McKinsey & Company, where her work centered on pharmaceutical, managed care, and nonprofit organizations.

Kelly has a BA in Economics and English from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was a founding board member of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, led by Dr. Robert Lustig, and a previous executive board member of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. She and husband John are co-hosts of the popular discussion series CPS Lectures. They live in San Francisco with their 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 is CEO of dQ&A, the diabetes market research company which he founded with Kelly and in 2009. dQ&A focuses on helping companies understand the diabetes patient and healthcare provider landscapes through syndicated and custom research programs. Richard was previously Vice President of Consumer Insights at Nielsen, where he managed all consumer market research programs for the mobile telecoms industry in the USA, Europe and Asia. He has extensive experience from a 20-year career in consumer and industry research, software, and publishing; and holds an MBA from INSEAD.


Adam Brown started as a summer intern at Close Concerns in 2010, returned as a full-time associate in 2011, and has been promoted to different leadership roles in 2012, 2014, and 2015. He is currently the head of diabetes technology and digital health, bringing nearly 15 years of personal experience with type 1 diabetes to all of his work. Adam has been highly involved in the expansion of technology coverage at Close Concerns, which includes glucose meters, CGMs, insulin pumps, automated insulin delivery, diabetes software, mobile apps, and wearables. Adam also serves as a senior editor and regular contributor at diaTribe.org, where he writes an acclaimed column (Adam’s Corner) focused on actionable tips for living well with diabetes. Through his work at Close Concerns and diaTribe, Adam has brought a patient perspective to numerous venues, including FDA advisory meetings, major scientific and industry conferences, and patient events. 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. Adam is passionate about cycling, strength training, nutrition, and psychology, and spends his free time outdoors in San Francisco.

SARAH ODEH, VP of Operations and Chief Content Officer, Pharmacotherapy

Sarah Odeh joined Close Concerns in 2015 as the VP of Operations and Chief Content Officer, Pharmacotherapy. Prior to joining Close Concerns, Sarah spent many years working in medical communications and the pharmaceutical industry, where she learned to interpret and explain complex medical data to a range of scientific and non-scientific audiences. She has worked closely on the strategic development and execution of over 160 manuscript, posters, and abstracts, for several medications and disease states.

Senior Associates


Helen Gao joined Close Concerns in 2015 after graduating with general honors from the University of Chicago. She majored in Biological Sciences with an Endocrinology Specialization and minored in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine. In college, she spent three years with Health Leads, providing case management services to connect patients of community health clinic to resources to address their social determinants of health. She also spent her last year of college learning the ins and outs of Affordable Care Act implementation as a policy fellow for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. During her summers, she worked as a residential assistant for UChicago-run high school academic programs and pursued a social justice-focused internship with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, exploring new places, and listening to audiobooks.


Abigail Dove

Abigail Dove joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College with highest honors in Neuroscience. She was awarded the Leo M. Leva Memorial Prize for a graduating student showing unusual promise in the field of biology and spent her undergraduate career heavily involved in basic neurobiology research, ultimately producing a thesis examining the capacity of social experiences to alter sleep and circadian behavior in the fruit fly. Abigail is inspired by Close Concerns’ core mission of providing synthesized insight on scientific issues as complex and consequential as diabetes and obesity; she learned to appreciate challenge and importance of communicating science effectively over several semesters of work as a biology and chemistry TA at Swarthmore. Her free time is spent reading, biking, and attempting to visit all 50 states.

Brian Levine

Brian Levine joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating magna cum laude from Williams College with highest honors in Biology and a concentration in Neuroscience. He worked in various neurobiology labs during the summers of his undergraduate career and during his semester in Spain, studied the molecular mechanisms that regulate peripheral nerve development and repair. Brian completed his senior thesis at Williams using optogenetics to investigate the effect of hypothalamic hunger circuit activation on sleep/wake architecture. Outside of the scientific realm, Brian is an avid drummer and music aficionado, enjoys traveling, and cheering on the UConn basketball teams.

Payal Marathe

Payal Marathe joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating magna cum laude from Yale University, where she studied Neuroscience and Psychology. As an undergraduate, she dedicated much of her time to writing and journalism, and wanted to apply these skills to improve science communication, especially in the healthcare space. She was editor-in-chief of the Yale Scientific Magazine, a science journalism publication. Payal also enjoyed creative writing and screenwriting, working on student mental health initiatives, and performing with her dance team while in college. In her free time, she reads fiction, chats with her three sisters, plays cards, and watches sports. She was excited to move from the East Coast to San Francisco — not only to join Close Concerns, but also to be closer to her favorite professional sports teams.



Spencer Brooks and his team of mission-driven technology experts have provided Close Concerns and The diaTribe Foundation with online technology consulting through his company, Brooks Digital, since 2011. After studying Computer Science at Boise State University, Spencer worked with the State of Idaho as a web development specialist and interim webmaster before venturing out to start his own digital agency for mission-driven organizations, which he has been operating successfully for the past six years. Among many other projects, his team created and continues to maintain the Close Concerns, diaTribe, dQ&A, and CPS Lectures sites, as well as the Close Concerns Knowledgebase, in addition to a suite of custom publishing tools for Close Concerns. In his free time he moonlights as a professional drummer, recording on albums in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, as well as filling in on tour for the occasional band.


Michael Dougan is Gastroenterology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and a postdoctoral associate in Hidde Ploegh's lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School in 2011. Michael has had a longstanding interest in the interaction between the immune system and cancer. 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 publications and also serving as an advisor to countless Close Concerns and diaTribe Foundation full time associates.


Sam Haque has worked for Close Concerns since 2013, first as a winter associate and then as a summer associate. He is currently a masters student in Engineering Sciences at Louisiana State University, with a concentration in Biological Engineering. As a Research Associate at LSU, his work aims to synthesize sets of experimental data to develop mathematical models for biodiffusion. After completing the masters program, he plans to attend law school and eventually work as a patent lawyer in the field of healthcare technology. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he has held a deep interest in healthcare innovation and its implications for insurance programs, hospitals, and most importantly, patient outcomes. Beyond his academic pursuits, he is actively involved in student government, and currently serves on LSU's Judicial Branch as an Associate Justice, as well on the Graduate Student Association as a Board Member. He continues to contribute to Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation part time, on matters relating to public policy, technology, and therapies.


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.


Stephanie Kahn, a Close Concerns summer associate in 2013, is a recent graduate of Haverford College where she was pre-med and an Anthropology major. In the summer of 2012, 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 was the president of the Pre-Health Society, an avid runner for the track team, and was active in working with kids at Creative Clubhouse, a local studio dedicated to helping children cultivate their creativity through art and music. Stephanie continues to contribute to Close Concerns part time, on matters relating to diabetes technology and public policy.


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. He has conducted research at the National Eye Institute, Harvard University, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Aravind Eye Care System in India. He finished his ophthalmology residency at the renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida in 2013 and recently rejoined as faculty, having completed a prestigious fellowship at UCSD in between. He is an advisor on eye disease to Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation; he is particularly interested in the role of diabetes and obesity in minority populations, diabetic eye diseases, and global health.


Ilana Orloff joined Close Concerns for an associate internship in the spring of 2015 after working for five years as an Equity Research Analyst with Fidelity Investments. Ilana graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College in 2010 concentrating in Economics and Mathematics. At Wellesley she completed a senior thesis on the impact of insurance on diabetics’ health outcomes and spending. She was also a four-year starter on the Wellesley varsity softball team. Ilana was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13 and recently started wearing a CGM. She has served as the co-president for the Young Leadership Committee for JDRF New England and as a non-voting member of the JDRF New England Board. Ilana will be attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the fall of 2015 to pursue her MBA. In her free time Ilana enjoys playing sports, exploring new cities, spending time with friends, and cheering on the Red Sox.


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.


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 finished his residency in radiation oncology at UCSF in 2014. He is now an assistant professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston. There, he specializes clinically in treating tumors of the GI tract, and runs a basic science laboratory on the links between metabolism defects (such as diabetes) and cancer. One of Cullen’s primary areas of focus is pancreatic cancer. Cullen has worked as an advisor for Close Concerns over the past decade with a focus on helping the firm on basic science.


Mallika Tamboli joined Close Concerns as a full associate intern in Spring 2015 after having graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in anthropology. During her undergraduate career, she devoted much of her time engaging in both orthopedic biomechanics and gerontology research, completing a senior honors thesis on public representations of normative aging for Indians in the diaspora. In the fall 2015, Mallika will be starting Stanford University School of Medicine. Aside from her academic and medical interests, Mallika enjoys running, hiking, and exploring new places.


Katrina Verbrugge joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2012. She graduated from Harvard College in 2013 with a degree in Neurobiology and a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. At Harvard she was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Science Review and conducted an independent research project on the historical role of midwives in American healthcare. She is currently working at Putnam Associates, a healthcare strategy consulting firm.


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. In his senior year, he wrote a statistics theses on the compositional analysis of proteins, and an economics thesis on managerial incentives in oligopoly competition. He currently works as a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.


Jenny Tan joined Close Concerns in February after graduating early from University of Chicago with a major in Biological Sciences and general honors. Apart from her time in the library during college, Jenny volunteered in public health clinics with Health Leads, connecting low-income patients to community resources like food pantries, housing, and employment; conducted immunology research on the stem-binding activity of human influenza antibodies; and spent the latter half of 2013 assessing the impact of an integrated care model for diabetes and outcomes in the low-income, minority community of South Side Chicago. Aside from her academic and social justice interests, she organized campus faith events. At Close Concerns, Jenny focuses on diabetes technology and devices, internal Information Technology efforts, and the launch of the new Close Concerns KnowledgeBase website. She currently attends the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


Tanayott Thaweethai joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2012. He graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a concentration in Applied Mathematics and Biology in 2013. He was one of two senior orators selected to deliver the commencement address at his graduation. His honors thesis focused on understanding evolutionary opportunities for horizontal transmission of antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria. While at Brown, he coordinated the New Scientist Program, a mentoring program dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields. Following graduation, he joined Acumen, LLC as a data and policy analyst, using Medicare data to contribute to disaster preparedness initiatives with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and postmarketing surveillance efforts with the FDA. He is currently a PhD student in biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Close Concerns Associate Program Alumni


Melissa An joined Close Concerns as an associate after graduating from Dartmouth College in 2014, with a major in Neuroscience and minor in the Anthropology of Global Health. She was promoted to Senior Associate in 2015 and focuses much of her time on obesity and public health. She also serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and is involved in leading conference planning, recruiting, and budgeting. Throughout her undergraduate years, Melissa explored her interests for global health by leading Dartmouth’s chapters of GlobeMed and China Care. In addition, she served as Executive Director of the Dartmouth Global Leadership Program and as a residential advisor. Melissa also conducted psychiatry research on treatment that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Previously, Melissa was a Dartmouth Fellow at Close Concerns in 2013 and and interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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 Weill Cornell Medical College in 2007. At Cornell he was awarded both Honors in Service for his leadership at the medical student free clinic and Honors in Research for his work in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. He also won several research awards for this work. He has contributed to Diabetes Close Up and diaTribe and has attended various conferences globally for Close Concerns. He is currently a dermatology resident at the University of Southern California.


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. After developing an interest in regulatory policy at Close Concerns, he additionally completed a summer research internship at the US Food and Drug Administration in the Division of Psychiatry Products. Eric earned his MD degree from UCSF School of Medicine in 2015. He is currently completing a preliminary internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after which he will begin residency in Radiation Oncology at UCLA.


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. She is now a first year medical student at UCSF.


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; in her free time she enjoys playing volleyball and reading. She is now a first year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania.


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 from 2005 to 2006. Katelyn completed her medical school degree at UCSF and went on to complete her Internal Medicine residency and Chief Residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She now works as a hospitalist physician at CPMC.


Varun Iyengar joined Close Concerns in 2014 after graduating magna cum laude from Amherst College with an honors degree in Neuroscience. As a senior, he wrote a thesis characterizing spontaneous hair-cell activity and spike encoding in the zebrafish lateral-line system. In previous summers, Varun focused largely on building his research repertoire, volunteering in the motion laboratory at Shriner’s Hospital for Children and studying the effect of low oxygen tension on stem-cell chondrogenesis for articular cartilage repair at Oregon Health and Sciences University. During his undergraduate career, Varun was also active in the surrounding community, as a Community Engagement Leader for a middle school tutoring program and as a nurse’s aide in the telemetry ward of a local hospital. He wrote for the Amherst Student and was a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Pursuing this passion for sports, Varun also spent one summer working as a copy editor at ESPN. His free time is often spent reading, on running trails, or cheering for his hometown Portland Trailblazers.


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. During her medical school training at UC San Francisco she studied the use of nano-aligned tubular conduits for the use of nerve repair in a rat model in Dr. Hubert Kim's lab. She is currently in her final year of residency in the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Residency Program and is a Chief Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. She will complete her fellowship training in arthroplasty at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She enjoys playing with her son Nathan, rock climbing, and hiking in her spare time.


Erin Kane joined Close Concerns in 2005 after graduating from Harvard College with a degree in History and Science, magna cum laude with highest honors in field, and a Certificate in Health Policy. At Harvard, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also received the Detur Book Prize, awarded to the top 10 percent of the freshman class, and the John Harvard Scholarship for academic achievement. Erin graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2010. She worked at McKinsey & Company in Washington, DC, where she served a range of hospital, health system, and payor clients in public and private sectors. Erin has done research at the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Centers for Disease Control, the Pasteur Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. She has published on a range of topics, including obesity education in medical school and cell signaling in glucose metabolism. She is currently finishing her medical training in Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins, where she is serving as Chief Resident.


Ben Kozak became an Associate at Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating from Pomona College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biology. At Close Concerns, Ben specialized in type 1 and type 2 diabetes drug development. He served as Co-Managing Editor for the 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. Ben will earn his MD degree from UCSF School of Medicine in 2016 and will begin residency in Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Kira Maker joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating with distinction from Stanford University in 2011 with a degree in Human Biology. As an Associate at Close Concerns, Kira specialized in diabetes devices and mobile health. Kira has been teaching high school Biology in Oakland since earning her Master's in Education from Stanford University in 2015. 


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. Her focus at Close Concerns was on medical technology advisory and operational and strategic objectives. She was the editor of Close Concerns quarterly newsletter Diabetes Close Up. 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.


Brendan Milliner joined Close Concerns in 2008 after graduating from Amherst College with a degree in neuroscience. After a year with the team, he headed to the east coast for med school, and is currently finishing his last year of Emergency Medicine residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He has a strong interest in global health and the use of portable ultrasound in areas without access to other advanced imaging. When not at work he can be found rock climbing, biking, and perfecting his dumpling recipe.


Martha Nelson served as a medical writer and researcher at Close Concerns from 2003 to 2005 and continues to engage with 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 diseases such as HCV contribute to diabetes progression 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 is now a Staff Scientist at the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. Martha's father, paternal grandfather, great-grandmother, and grand-uncle all have had type 2 diabetes, and Martha retains a keen interest in diabetes therapeutics, prevention, and basic research.



Margaret Nguyen joined diaTribe 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 worked with her community by tutoring high school students in the Upward Bound program and by 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 neuroscience through games and experiments. She currently attends New York Medical College.


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 Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, played for a Washington D.C. club team in past years, and enjoys running in her free time. She is now in the midst of medical school at Penn.


Emily Regier joined Close Concerns in 2014 after graduating magna cum laude from Brown University with a BS in biology. During her undergraduate career, she volunteered as an EMT at Brown for three years and devoted much of her time to developmental biology and toxicology research, completing a senior honors thesis about the effects of digoxin on embryonic development in zebrafish. Aside from her academic and medical interests, Emily participated in the Brown Madrigal Singers and the Brown University Chorus, served as president of the Brown chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, a coed literary society, and volunteered for several political campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys running and reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Lisa Rotenstein is currently an MD/MBA candidate at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Business School, and graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 2011. Most recently, Lisa served as Editor in Chief of Diabetes Close Up, Close Concerns’s quarterly roundup of diabetes news. While a Senior Associate at Close Concerns, she focused 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?” Lisa additionally spearheaded Close Concerns’s Information Technology efforts from 2011-2012 and was the lead author on Clinical Diabetes articles on the ideal diabetes therapy and biosimilar insulins. Lisa has continued to pursue her interest in improving chronic disease care while at HMS. As an Innovation Fellow at the Jen Center for Primary Care, she led a multidisciplinary effort to develop an electronic care plan tool for complex primary care patients. Her clinical research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital demonstrated that the blood pressure drug spironolactone improves hippocampal memory in obese subjects. Lisa also leads innovation efforts for the Center for Primary Care’s Student Leadership Committee, served as Co-President of Harvard’s American Women’s Medical Association Chapter, and directed Clinic Operations for the Crimson Care Collaborative student-faculty clinic at MGH Chelsea.


Joseph Shivers joined Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Chemical and Physical Biology. As a full-time associate at Close Concerns he specialized in diabetes devices, emerging technologies, and mobile health. Joseph is the former Editor in Chief of Diabetes Close Up, a quarterly round-up of news in diabetes and obesity products and research, and has drawn dozens of cartoons for the patient newsletter diaTribe. He is currently in medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.


Jessica (Swienckowski) Fried 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. Jess will graduate from the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in 2015, moving on to Lankenau Medicine Center for an internship in Internal Medicine prior to starting her research-track residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.


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 currently pursuing an MD/PhD at the University of Chicago. She recently finished her PhD coursework in immunology and will be returning to medical school for her last two years.


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 was very active in market research through dQ&A, Close Concerns' sister company. After Close Concerns, Sanjay held multiple roles at Genentech, including Market Planning and R&D Portfolio Management. He is currently pursuing an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management.


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’s primary focus at Close Concerns was on basic and clinical science; he led Close Concern’s writing on oral and injectable therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes during his two years with the organization. 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. He is currently pursuing his MD at UCSF.


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. He also served as Managing Editor for patient newsletter diaTribe (diaTribe.org). Vincent worked as a Research Analyst for dQ&A, Close Concerns’ sister market research company.


Mark Yarchoan joined Close Concerns in 2007 as a full time associate, where he was an editor of Diabetes Close Up and a frequent contributor to Close Look and diaTribe. Mark has published several peer-reviewed publications on brain insulin resistance and has helped to clarify its link to Alzheimer's disease dementia. Mark received a BA from Amherst College and an MD degree at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. While in medical school, he was awarded an Endocrine Society Medical Student Achievement Award. He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the Maurice F. Attie Junior Resident Teaching Award. Mark retains an interest in metabolism and plans to study cancer metabolism as a fellow in hematology/oncology at Johns Hopkins University.

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 Kelly Close.

Hae-Lin Cho

Hae-Lin Cho joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the spring of 2017 during her senior year of Dartmouth College, where she is a pre-medical student, majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Rufus Choates Academic Scholar. Due to her strong interest in oncology, Hae-Lin has been doing undergraduate research on the role of regulatory T cells in melanoma tumorigenesis in the Turk Lab at Geisel Medical School, which she started as a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, and has taken part in the Dartmouth Cancer Scholar program. At school, she is a part of GlobeMed at Dartmouth, the editor in chief of the Dartmouth Journal of Undergraduate Sciences, and volunteers with Cancer and Patient Services. In her free time, Hae-Lin enjoys painting, reading, writing, and going on hikes.

Jennifer Zhao

Jennifer Zhao is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2016. She is a Biological Chemistry major, a Chinese Language and Literature minor, and is very interested in the complex world of healthcare, especially from the drugs perspective. She is pre-pharmacy and dreams to practice clinical pharmacy in the future. She has extensive research experience, having spent her sophomore year as a Sophomore Science Scholar working in a biochemistry lab with the fungus Candida albicans and her freshman year as a Women in Science Project intern studying the materials science of chocolate with frozen sugar scaffolds. Outside the lab, Jennifer is involved in the Nathan Smith Society, Dartmouth's pre-health student group, and carries out events with pharmacists and doctors. She is also heavily engaged within her living learning residential community and aims to build stronger relationships with students and faculty members outside the classroom. Jennifer is passionate about social issues on campus, and during summer 2016 trained to be an OPAL IMPACT fellow and has funding to carry out a social change project for the academic year — she has been thinking about promoting resources for the Asian American community on campus. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time outdoors, running, biking, rock climbing, and writing poetry.

Sadie Bronk

Sadie Bronk is an incoming sophomore at Dartmouth and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow in summer 2016. She is pre-med and is considering majoring in Neuroscience or Biology. Sadie has worked with a number of non-profit organizations including Mercado Global, a non-profit organization that works with indigenous women in Guatemala to sell their products for fair trade prices in the US and other countries while helping these women become financially independent and send their children to school. She received a grant from the HAND Foundation to travel to Guatemala to interview artisans and family members to better understand the impact Mercado Global has had on them. Additionally, Sadie developed a Mother-Daughter trip to Guatemala where she taught young girls how to fundraise in order to raise $12,000 to support a new cooperative of artisans to join Mercado Global. She has also focused on mentoring teens through the Jewish Teen Foundation on how to effectively fundraise and allocate funds to organizations that fit a mission statement. At Dartmouth, Sadie is a member of the Club Tennis Team and enjoyed participating in the shadowing program with the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. In her free time Sadie enjoys skiing, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with friends.


Amy (Shu Ting) Liang was invited to join CPS lecture as a Dartmouth Fellow in Winter 2016 during her junior at Dartmouth College, where she majors in biomedical engineering. She is a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, a Rufus Choate Academic Scholar, Professor and Mrs. John E. Richards Memorial Fund Scholar, and Cancer Scholar. Passionate about innovation and medicine, she works on intraoperatively detecting prostate cancer margins as a research assistant at the Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She builds and characterizes EIT probes compatible with the da Vinci robot, and presented her findings at conferences, including Harvard Medical School’s New England Science Symposium. She is a dedicated EMT with Dartmouth EMS, residential advisor, co-coordinator of NSS executive board, and undergraduate leader for Sununu, dancer with the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, and co-president of the Chinese Dance Troupe. Passionate about healthcare access, she is involved in the RICE trip to Vietnam. In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, travelling, and cooking. Amy is so honored and excited to be a part of this team and enjoys working as the Community Manager for CPS lectures.


Jonathan Busam, a junior at Dartmouth College majoring in Biology and Economics, joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2015. Excited to help design and discover novel, personalized healthcare delivery strategies that enable populations to thrive, Jonathan worked on performance improvement initiatives at Morristown Medical Center (MMC) and conducted research on the effectiveness of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) at Dartmouth prior to his time at Close Concerns. Jonathan has an additional passion for social entrepreneurship. He helped establish the Healthcare Policy, Innovation, and Delivery LLC, a healthcare themed residential community focused on enhancing creativity and design thinking skills on campus, and ChathamSTEM, a non-profit organization focused on reducing inequality in STEM fields in his hometown. At Dartmouth, Jonathan also writes for various publications and helps captain the club tennis team. In his free time Jonathan enjoys hiking, skiing, and exploring new places to eat.


Madellena Thornton joined Close Concerns in December of 2015 during her junior year at Dartmouth College. She is majoring in neuroscience and is incredibly passionate about the intersection between medicine and social justice as well as global and public health. At Dartmouth, Madellena works in the Department of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine where she interviews caretakers of patients with mental and memory disorders. She also participates in “Telling My Story” at Valley Vista Rehabilitation Center - an interdisciplinary arts program in collaboration with recovering addicts and/or inmates to study and reflect on the root causes of social isolation and invisibility. Madellena competes for the Dartmouth Figure Skating team and is an active member of Dartmouth on Purpose - a student group that promotes mindfulness and intentionality through reflection for all members of the Dartmouth community. In her free time, Madellena loves to skate with her 85-year old grandfather, travel, mountain bike, kayak, ski and go on spontaneous adventures.


Melissa An joined Close Concerns as an associate after graduating from Dartmouth College in 2014, with a major in Neuroscience and minor in the Anthropology of Global Health. She was promoted to Senior Associate in 2015 and focuses much of her time on obesity and public health. She also serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and is involved in leading conference planning, recruiting, and budgeting. Throughout her undergraduate years, Melissa explored her interests for global health by leading Dartmouth’s chapters of GlobeMed and China Care. In addition, she served as Executive Director of the Dartmouth Global Leadership Program and as a residential advisor. Melissa also conducted psychiatry research on treatment that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Previously, Melissa was a Dartmouth Fellow at Close Concerns in 2013 and interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Esther Wu joins Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in Summer 2015. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College and is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biology. She is a Presidential Scholar working on developmental prosopagnosia in a Neuroscience lab under Bradley Duchaine. Esther is Co-chair of ASPIRE, a group of students that volunteers with children on the Autism spectrum, and is a member of the Dartmouth Figure Skating team. In her free time, she enjoys journaling and walking her dog.


Sally Kim joined Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in Spring 2015. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College and is double majoring in Biology and Psychology. She is a research assistant working on reprogramming tumor-associated macrophages at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Sally works on campus at the Jones Media Center as a technical assistant and graphics designer. Additionally, Sally has been the Editor in Chief of the Aegis, Dartmouth College’s yearbook, since her junior year. She also serves as the president of Active Minds, a mental health awareness group on campus. In her free time, Sally enjoys taking photos and eating all kinds of desserts.


Leda Espinoza is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow for the winter of 2015. She is pursuing a Biology major and an Ethics minor. She conducted research as a Sophomore Science Scholarship Program Intern at the Geisel School of Medicine, analyzing epidemiological data to examine potential genetic components of gastric disease in a Colombian population. Leda is also a mentor and chair for Dartmouth SIBS, a mentoring program that matches Dartmouth students with underprivileged children from the area surrounding the college. Leda is an executive member of the Dartmouth Bioethics Group, a club that organizes discussions and events regarding controversial medical and bioethical issues, and she served on a support crew for Dartmouth’s DOC First Year Trips Orientation Program. She is Wilderness EMT certified and loves spending time outside climbing, hiking, running, and skiing.


Christiana Johnson joined Close Concerns in December 2014 during her sophomore year at Dartmouth College. She is studying neuroscience and sociology and is very passionate about public and global health. Christiana recently pursued these interests as a DarDar Pediatric Program intern in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition, Christiana competes for the Dartmouth Figure Skating Team and is an executive member of Dartmouth on Purpose—a student group that promotes mindfulness and wellbeing across campus. In her free time, Christiana also loves to hike, ski, and travel.


Mitchell Huang joined Close Concerns as the Fall 2014 Dartmouth Fellow. He is a Biology and Spanish double major and member of Dartmouth College’s Class of 2016. As a Presidential Research Scholar at the Geisel School of Medicine, he is involved in a project investigating nanoparticle delivery of ACAT1 siRNA to the brain for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Outside of his research, he spends his time on the management teams of Big Brother Big Sister and the Upper Valley Special Olympics and as a sports writer for the school paper, The Dartmouth. In his free time, he enjoys running, tennis, hiking, canoeing, watching his beloved Seattle Seahawks, and playing the classical guitar.


Rebecca Xu joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow for summer 2014. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College pursuing a double major in Biological Chemistry and Psychology. In the past, she has performed research in cross-cultural usage of social media at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, as well as research in implicit racial bias and its social consequences in Dartmouth’s education department. Most recently, she helped synthesize novel phosphorus-carbon compounds to be used in asymmetric catalysis in Dartmouth’s chemistry department. On campus, she is the leading layout and design editor for the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. She is also an undergraduate advisor (Dartmouth’s version of an RA) to upperclass students. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys painting her nails, trying new foods, reading, and drawing.


Alex Ganninger joined Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in spring 2014. He is a rising junior at Dartmouth College and is majoring in English with a German minor. Since his freshman year, Alex has served as a reporter for the campus newspaper The Dartmouth and has been involved with Club Swimming. After spending the 2013 summer studying German language and culture in Berlin, he elected to return for a second program abroad in the fall, concentrating on literature and history. This year, he has conducted research on computational intertextuality as a Junior Research Scholar and will serve as a first-year Undergraduate Advisor. Additionally, Alex is the Vice President of Penpals United a 501c(3) nonprofit, which conducts monthly, online support groups for individuals with type 1 diabetes in India and Africa. In his free time, Alex enjoys reading, swimming, and skiing and is currently learning to sail.


Andrew Foley is a senior at Dartmouth College and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow for the winter of 2014. He is pursuing a major in Biology and a minor in English Literature. He spent the fall of 2013 studying English Literature in Glasgow, Scotland. Andrew has worked with the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Sciences since his freshman fall, has served as a managing editor for the journal since the spring of 2012, and will serve as the Editor in Chief of the journal over his senior year. He has a passion for running and is in the process of training for his first marathon, and has served as a volunteer cross-country coach at the Indian River Middle School near Dartmouth. Andrew has also served as the president of Ecovores, a sustainable foods group at Dartmouth, and as the summer president of his fraternity. Over the summer of 2012, Andrew worked as a marketing and communications intern at HUB International Insurance. In the summer of 2014, he worked as a research intern at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on several projects relating to phantom limb pain and prosthetic limb development and testing.


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 Whiteside’s Research Group at Harvard University and the McDermott Group at Northwestern University’s 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.


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.


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. She is currently a medical student at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and trying new foods.

Summer Associates

Shivani Chandrashekaran

Shivani Chandrashekaran joined Close Concerns as a Summer Intern for 2016. She is a rising junior at Duke University pursuing a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Computer Science. At Duke, she worked as a research assistant in a neuroeconomics lab this past year and is also on the executive board of Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science, which helps engage young girls in the community in STEM fields through fun activities. She is currently the co-president of Project Sunshine at Duke, a nonprofit that provides arts and crafts and other recreational activities to pediatric patients and their families in the hospital. She is also a member of Lasya, a dance team at Duke. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and watching basketball.

Lucy Chu

Lucy Chu joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She is a rising junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a major in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics. Looking to broaden her perspective of the healthcare system and to pursue a career in medicine, she is involved as a board member in the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club and volunteers at the hospital and in patient-care facilities over the weekend. In previous summers, she has worked as a data operations intern within the oncology space at MedImmune, investigated nucleosome morphology at a biophysics lab within the NIH, and spent time as a summer research assistant at George Washington University. In her spare time, Lucy frequents art museums, watches films, and strolls through various neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

John Erdman

John Erdman joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. He is a rising senior pursuing a Biology and Spanish double major at Amherst College. At Amherst, John is the President and former Captain of the Amherst College Rugby Football Club and serves as a mentor to a local middle school student through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In previous summers, John has shadowed physicians and surgeons at Clínica Las Condes in Santiago, Chile, assisted with cataract screening programs in rural Honduras, and worked at an HIV Clinic in Washington, DC. After graduation, John plans on attending the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, having been accepted through their FlexMed early acceptance program. In his spare time, John likes to read, play golf, and ski.

Emily Fitts

Emily Fitts, a Close Concerns 2016 Summer Associate, is a rising senior at Amherst College where she is majoring in Psychology and completing the Five-College Certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. At Amherst, she pursues her passion for public health by serving on the Executive Board of GlobeMed, a global health group that seeks to promote health, raise awareness, and foster partnership, both on campus and within the global community. Emily also works as the Head Tour Guide, expressing her love of Amherst to prospective families and managing 100+ tour guides to ensure a positive visitor experience. To engage with the local community, Emily works as a Reading Mentor for Reader to Reader, which provides her an opportunity to share her love of reading with students from low-income schools. Prior to working at Close Concerns, she worked for the Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, where she explored the business side of public health as the Business Development and External Relations intern. Emily is an avid rower at Amherst and feels most fulfilled when she is out on the water at sunrise with her teammates.

Sarah Wilkins

Sarah Wilkins joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She is a rising junior at Yale University, where she is majoring in Global Affairs with a focus on public health and the economics of global health. She is also completing pre-medicine courses. A San Francisco native, she is very excited to be spending her summer here while gaining experience in health policy and improving patient access. At Yale, Sarah conducts research in the lab of Dr. Ronald Breaker with a focus on the functions of specific noncoding RNAs, she volunteers at a community free clinic, she competes as a member of MUNTY, the Yale model United Nations team, and she leads freshman orientation trips. Last summer, Sarah worked at the McCall Outdoor Science School, a branch campus of the University of Idaho, conducting secondary research to create lesson plans for middle school students to improve science literacy as part of a USDA grant. In her free time, Sarah loves running, watching SF Giants baseball, and cooking.

Yrenly Yuan

Yrenly Yuan joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She is a rising sophomore at Amherst College, where she plans to double-major in Biology and Anthropology. At Amherst, she participates in varsity track and field team, TEDxAmherst, The Amherst Student newspaper, and is a tour guide. She is interested in public health and is excited to further her knowledge about the field through working with Close Concerns and diaTribe. In her free time, she enjoys sticking her nose in books, eating her way around new places, and finding dogs to pet.

Junior Summer Associates

Katherine Gao

Katherine Gao joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate in 2016. She is an incoming freshman at the University of Chicago where she hopes to pursue a pre-med track with a major that combines the sciences and humanities. Over the past few summers, she has volunteered at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Cambridge Hospital in Boston, working closely with patients and their families both in and out of the clinic. At Close Concerns, Katherine hopes to learn more about how science, public policy, and social justice intersect in the real world and how she may best impact her community during and after college. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing ballet, reading, and exploring new places.

Brianna Lelieur

Brianna Lelieur joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for 2016. She is an incoming freshmen to the City College of San Francisco where after two years, she plans to transfer to Colorado State University and double major in Equestrian Sciences and Nutrition or Economics. She enjoys helping people, being outdoors, working with horses, focusing on social issues concerning her local low income communities, tango, and great food.

Sabrina Lin

Sabrina Lin, a rising senior at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, CA, joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM associate in 2016. Outside of academics, Sabrina is an active participant in student government as the Associated Student Body Vice President and leads the school orchestra. She is very excited about her work with the Hillsdale Effect, an international outreach club at her school that fundraises microloans for women in Guatemala. Through the Junior STEM associate program, she hopes to study science and medicine with an interdisciplinary perspective. During her free time, Sabrina loves experimenting with graphic design, traveling, and learning new languages.

Kara Mullarkey

Kara Mullarkey is a rising senior at Menlo-Atherton High School and joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for 2016. She is an active member in student government at her high school and will be the head senior class officer in the coming year. In her local community, she volunteers regularly through the mid-peninsula chapter of the National Charity League, an organization for mothers and daughters dedicated to community service and leadership development. She is interested in studying business and science in college, and hopes to learn more about the cross section of these industries at Close Concerns this summer. During her free time she enjoys playing volleyball and golf for her school, traveling with family or friends, and will never pass up the opportunity to see live music.

Rachel Soong

Rachel Soong joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for 2016. She is a rising senior at Phillips Academy Andover, a boarding high school in Massachusetts. She enjoys studying chemistry, and in her spare time dances ballet and leads a community engagement program to help encourage young girls to become involved in science. During her time at Close Concerns, she hopes to learn more about the ongoing research and treatments available for diabetes.

Gwendolyn Strasberg

Gwendolyn Strasberg joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associates in 2016. She is a rising sophomore at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles where she aims to build understanding and compassion between communities. She is the president of the HeforShe club, a global extension of the United Nations which involves men in the fight for gender equality. She is also on the board of a Best Buddies chapter, an international organization that combats the isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, at her school. She is very interested in the crossover between science and business and hopes to pursue a career in STEM that combines them.

Jackie Young

Jackie Young participated in the 2015 Junior STEM Associate Program for two weeks last summer, and is joining us as a program coordinator for the 2016 Junior Associate STEM Program. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. As a rising junior at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, Jackie is extremely interested in social justice issues including the limited opportunities given to women in STEM fields. This past year, Jackie complete 40 hours of community service for her school through tutoring underprivileged middle school aged kids in the bay area.

Close Concerns Previous Contributors/Summer Associates


Alisa Bekins joined Close Concerns in 2005 as director in 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. Although she has departed full time work at Close Concerns, Alisa is today an occasional contributor to diaTribe and Diabetes Close Up.


Poonam Daryani joined Close Concerns as a 2013 summer associate after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Scripps College with a BA in Biology. Poonam is committed to helping underserved communities realize their right to health and has been actively involved in improving the health outcomes of South Asians through research, advocacy, and educational outreach. After Close Concerns, she served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia and is now working at a Dallas-based nonprofit on public health initiatives in India. In summer 2016, Poonam will be joining the MPH program at Johns Hopkins as a Global Health Scholar.


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 is currently a medical student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and holds a MS from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center, where her masters' thesis was on the critical role of the Her4 receptor tyrosine kinase in osteosarcoma metastasis.


Sabrina Lee was a summer 2014 associate at Close Concerns. She is currently a rising senior at Amherst College, majoring in Neuroscience. Having spent the summer of 2012 on the research side, working at Mount Sinai as a research intern in Pediatric Cardiology, Sabrina is interesting in exploring related aspects of the medical field including patient education and health policy. At Amherst, she volunteers at an adult education center, helping people prepare for their GED, and heads a Colleges Against Cancer chapter, which focuses on cancer education and fundraising. Additionally, she loves swimming and is co-captain of the Amherst Women's Swim Team.


Jen Lesser joined Close Concerns in early 2009. Jen is currently at Clovis Oncology where she heads up value marketing for the launch of rociletinib, a breakthrough therapy for lung cancer. Previously Jen worked at InterMune where she launched various market access and nurse education programs in support of Esbriet. Prior to that, Jen was at Onyx Pharmaceuticals where she worked in global market access on the launch of Kyprolis. Jen also previously worked in marketing at Genentech. On a personal side, Jen is very active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and is the National Chair of the Young Leadership Committee. Jen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master in Philosophy in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge and a BA in Biology from Amherst College.


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. Tim’s 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 University’s 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.


Derek Pham is a summer 2013 associate at Close Concerns and a rising third year at the University of Chicago, double-majoring in Political Science and Public Policy and pursuing a career in the business side of healthcare. Last autumn he was part of two pro-bono consulting projects, one for Andreessen Horowitz and the other for the non-profit organization Bethel New Life. His interest in the healthcare industry evolved after founding his own non-profit organization that fundraised for the Division of Nephrology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. At the University of Chicago, Derek is a board member of the pharmacology organization, the co-founder of the Vietnamese Student Association, and a member of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. Outside of the classroom, he is an avid basketball and football spectator as well as a passionate amateur gastronomist.


Tony Sheng, a Close Concerns summer associate for 2009, graduated from Amherst College in 2011 with a BA in Neuroscience and English. In addition to frequent volunteer work, Tony played varsity squash and tennis, leading the tennis team to a national championship his senior year. After starting his career at McKinsey & Company, Tony joined an online video startup called ZEFR, where he built and lead the marketing team. Tony is currently the cofounder of TownHall.


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.


Michelle Xie was a 2014 Summer Associate at Close Concerns. She grew up in San Diego, CA and is a senior at Harvard University with a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. Last summer, Michelle volunteered in rural Peru. At Harvard, she is heavily involved with Developers for Development, an organization focused on the intersection of technology and international development, as well as the Harvard Association for U.S.-China Relations, an organization that seeks to promote cross-cultural exchange between Harvard students and Chinese students. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys synchronized skating with Team Excel.

Past Junior Associates


Lillian Ackley participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. She is excited to learn more about ways to prevent and live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lillian is a rising sophomore at Mission High School in San Francisco, and in her free time, she enjoys music and running track.


Cara Dartnell participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. Having been diagnosed with type one diabetes at age six, she is looking forward to learning more about the research and treatment of the disease, as well as other heath issues. She is a rising sophomore at school in England and is excited about the amazing opportunity to work with Close Concerns and explore San Francisco.


Lizzie Lacy joined Close Concerns for its Junior Summer Associate program in 2015. She graduated high school at Menlo School in the spring of 2015 before joining the Close Concerns team in San Francisco. As a collegiate long distance runner she puts a large emphasis on health and nutrition, and has gained a new understanding of the importance of healthcare and medicine during her time at Close Concerns. She will use the skills she has learned at Close Concerns throughout her college experience as she continues her studies in the sciences at Amherst College this fall, where she plans on studying Environmental Science and Economics.


Katherine Weltzien participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. Katherine is excited to work at Close Concerns because she is interested in science research and writing, and is thrilled to have a chance to pursue those interests in a real world business environment. Katherine is a rising sophomore at the Urban School of San Francisco.


Jackie Young participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. As a rising sophomore at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, Jackie is extremely interested in social justice issues including the limited opportunities given to women in STEM fields. This past year, Jackie played volleyball and soccer for her school. Next year, she is also looking forward to completing 40 hours of community service.

The diaTribe Foundation Team

The diaTribe Foundation is an independent non-profit organization financially supported by Close Concerns.

Amelia Dmowska

Amelia Dmowska joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating with honors from the University of Chicago, where she completed a degree in English Language and Literature and a minor in Biological Sciences. During her undergraduate years living on the South Side of Chicago, she was heavily involved in working to increase vulnerable populations’ access to health education. She studied at-risk parents’ access to information about healthy childhood development and also worked as a research assistant with Thirty Million Words, an initiative focused on early language learning programs for children living below the poverty line. Through Peer Health Exchange, she taught weekly health classes on mental health, drugs and alcohol, and sexual health in public high schools. Amelia is also passionate about arts education. She was President of ArtShould, a student group that teaches art classes at underfunded elementary schools, and she was the co-founder of StoryArts Summer Camp, an arts and storytelling camp for South Side youth. In her free time, Amelia enjoys art, reading, and writing short stories. She is excited to live in a city where there are so many beautiful murals in addition to the many beautiful views!

Lynn Kennedy

Lynn Kennedy joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating from Yale University. She received a BS for completion of a double major in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Political Science, with a concentration in Health Policy & Politics, receiving distinction in the latter. Her academic interests are bridged by her passion for understanding how health and wellness are pursued (and improved!) in the society in which we live. During her senior year, Lynn performed type 1 diabetes research on leptin’s antidiabetic effect in rats. She also completed a political science thesis evaluating the UN’s prevention and reaction responsibilities in the wake of the 2010 Haitian Cholera outbreak and in the face of future public health threats occurring alongside UN peace operations. An internship at the Novartis Office for Governmental Affairs in Brussels further contributed to her interest in interdisciplinary solutions to contemporary health challenges. Outside the classroom, Lynn worked as a Recruitment Coordinator at the Yale Undergraduate Admissions Office, served as a Freshman Counselor in one of Yale’s residential colleges during her senior year, and competed with the Yale Women’s Varsity Ice Hockey team prior to sustaining a career-ending head injury. Lynn is excited to join the diaTribe team and explore SF!


With over a decade of nonprofit experience, Reed began his career with a focus on environmental issues. Working with San Francisco's Friends of the Urban Forest he managed a comprehensive volunteer program and development efforts including corporate and individual fundraising. Holding both a Master Degree in Nonprofit Administration and Bachelor Degree In English from The University of San Francisco, Reed has dedicated himself to understanding and communicating the value of service to local communities and our community at large. He has managed both small and large team programs and events in addition to developing capitol and ongoing annual fundraising campaigns for a broad spectrum of nonprofits. Recently, Reed brought his experience to The Walt Disney Family Museum, designing and implementing a comprehensive multi tier volunteer program. Now at The diaTribe Foundation, Reed is excited to share his program and development experience to support sustainable growth and increase the positive impact we have on the lives of those living with diabetes.

Ben Pallant

Ben Pallant joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa (junior nomination) from Bowdoin College, where he studied Sociology and Chemistry. He has done research on both bio-organic synthesis and public health, the latter project taking place in Siem Reap, Cambodia and focusing on clinical manifestations of dengue fever. During his semester abroad in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina, he focused on community-level factors impacting global health. Ben also has a strong love of the outdoors, having spent the last two summers as a hiking guide for kids in the mountains of California and Colorado. When he’s not hiking and camping, Ben loves running, biking, and listening to jazz.


Ava Runge joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2015 after graduating with honors from Brown University with a BS in neurobiology. Her initial interest in diabetes came from her own diagnosis of T1D in 2010, which inspired her to get involved in the global diabetes community. Since then, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic twice to teach diabetes education, learned from diabetes clinicians in Argentina, and conducted research on gestational diabetes at Women and Infant’s Hospital in Providence, RI. During her time at Brown, she worked for Brown Emergency Medical Services as a certified EMT, shift Supervisor, and CPR Program Coordinator. She also actively engaged in the Providence community through volunteering at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, a medical center that serves patients without health insurance, and Food Recovery Network, a national organization that seeks to address food waste and food insecurity by coordinating the delivery of excess food to homeless shelters. Her academic studies culminated in a year of independent research and a senior thesis characterizing brain myelination in children with autism. In her free time, Ava enjoys hiking, traveling, playing fiddle, and exploring the beautiful Bay Area with family and friends!

]The diaTribe Foundation Associates Program Alumni


Christie Auyeung is a 2015 summer associate at Close Concerns. She graduated from the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. In college, Christie led student organizations MEDLIFE and China Care, tutored at the Comer Children’s Hospital, and volunteered at summer camps for children and adults with special medical needs. She also worked on research in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Christie spent her senior year studying abroad in Beijing, and became interested in Hepatitis B and other health disparities after working at the Stanford Asian Liver Center at Peking University. After graduating UChicago, Christie organized an international medical student conference in Beijing on issues in complementary and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys modern and tap dance, breaking a sweat at the gym, and trying new foods.


Nicole Kofman joined diaTribe in 2015 after graduating from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology. At Stanford, she complemented her studies in health promotion and policy with extracurricular activities that exposed her to some of the health-related challenges our population faces. In addition to working as a research assistant for an obesity intervention study at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, she worked as a research assistant at the Stanford Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program, and worked as a Peer Health Educator in a freshman dormitory. She was also dedicated to Camp Kesem Stanford, a camp for children whose parents have cancer, and served as the organization’s co-chair of operations during her senior year. These experiences, along with her coursework, have fueled her interest in exploring how to increase the quality of healthcare delivered while decreasing costs. In her free time, Nicole enjoys running, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.


Nancy Liu joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2013 after graduating from Swarthmore College with a BA in Biology and receiving the Leo M. Leva Memorial Prize for showing unusual promise in the field of biology. She is managing editor of diaTribe and secretary of the Board of Directors of the diaTribe Foundation. During her summers at Swarthmore, she worked as a research intern at the Brill lab at Sick Kids Hospital studying the role of the PIP2 pathway in spermatogenesis, and at the Hockenbery lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she examined the metabolic flexibility of triple-negative breast cancer cell lines. Nancy is particularly interested in issues in public health, and she spent a semester at Swarthmore conducting an independent research project in India on health care access in rural communities. Outside of the classroom, she spent four years as the coordinator of the nonprofit Trash2Treasure, a community yard sale that aims to reduce waste while connecting the local community with college students, staff, and faculty.


Alex Wolf joined diaTribe in 2014 after graduating cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in neuroscience. As an undergraduate student, Alex devoted much of his extra-curricular life to research and other health-related activities, including his Presidential Research Scholarship studying pancreatic cancer at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, his full-time research internship studying the neuromodulation of breathing at Case Western Reserve University, and his involvement in the Dartmouth Cancer Scholars Program. Additionally, Alex was very involved in sexual assault prevention at Dartmouth, directing Dartmouth's Mentors Against Violence and working as a coordinator at the Dartmouth Center for Gender and Student Engagement. Lastly, a hike enthusiast, Alex loved the Dartmouth Outing Club and served on the directorate of Dartmouth’s Freshman DOC Trips Orientation Program.

diaTribe Previous Contributors/Summer Associates


Tiffany Kha is a 2015 Summer Associate at Close Concerns. She's a rising junior and Physics major at Amherst College, and has been involved in research in Astronomy and Chemistry. She won the Bassett Physics Prize in 2014 and is also involved as a core member of the Association for Women in Science at Amherst. She spent last summer teaching English in Turkey and working at an optical engineering firm, but also has a strong interest in public health, and has been highly involved with the American Red Cross since high school. Additionally, she enjoys dabbling in photography and traveling in her free time.


Maxwell Votey joined Close Concerns in Winter 2015 having graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with high honors from Wesleyan University in 2014 with a BA in History and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REES). As an undergraduate, Maxwell received a Davenport grant from Wesleyan to visit Krasnodar in Southern Russia to do archival and interview based research on the Kuban Cossack revival. The resulting thesis "The Kuban Cossack Revival in Post-Soviet Russia" received high honors from REES, honors from history and the Scott Prize in Russia and East European Studies. Maxwell will be working at Close Concerns before going to the United Kingdom in September to attend the London School of Economics for a Msc. in International Relations. Prior to working at Close Concerns, he spent five months in Los Angeles as an intern at the International Medical Corps, an international disaster response and medical response NGO. Maxwell is particularly interested in the intersection of health and politics and the relationship between obesity and economic success in the developing world. In his free time, Maxwell engages in several hobbies including reading, hiking/backpacking, photography, watching film, travel, drawing, and writing.


Eleah Wilkerson is a 2015 Close Concerns Summer Associate. She is part of the class of 2016 at Amherst College, where she is an Environmental Studies major and founding member of the Amherst Women in Science initiative on campus, a group focused on creating a supportive community for female students pursuing degrees in traditionally male-dominated fields. Before Close Concerns, she worked with a small environmental trust in Auckland, New Zealand, where she focused on developing an environmental education program for local primary school students. When not studying at Amherst, she also works for Reader to Reader, a nonprofit which provides books to schools with underfunded libraries and tutors students from primary to high school to improve their reading skill, and sings in the Amherst College Choral Society.


Doyin Ariyibi, a diaTribe Foundation 2014 summer associate, is a rising sophomore at Amherst College where she is pre-med and a double major in Biology and Astronomy. For the past two summers, she has interned at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in neurology and neurosurgery. Two years ago, she and some colleagues at Amherst created a small local organization called IFE that provided academic support for younger students in their neighborhoods. At Amherst, Doyin is on the executive board for the Education Club and is a very active member in Project Salud, an organization that raises money to buy medical supplies for hospitals in Peru. Aside from that, she is also the President of Amherst’s African/Caribbean Student Union, a member of rugby and equestrian teams, and participates in various dance teams on campus.


Brendan Hsu is a 2014 diaTribe Foundation summer associate and rising senior at Amherst College, where he has a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science. Interested in business and also layout and design, he interned at Nike as part of a focus group tasked with creating products and marketing strategies targeting his demographic. Brendan has done publication work for years and is the former editor-in-chief of his college paper, The Amherst Student, where he was in charge of layout and editing copy and worked with a team of 30+ writers and editors. He also enjoys performing choreographed dance, watching films, and playing board games.


Geoffrey Martello joined diaTribe during the summer of 2014. He is currently a sophomore at Harvard College studying cognitive neurobiology and economics. His academic interests fall primarily at the intersections of industry and healthcare. In previous summers, Geoffrey worked in a research and development lab at Nova Biomedical, a leader in diabetes biosensor technology, and as a research intern at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Department of Neurosurgery. His research at Children’s focused on identifying predictors of outcomes for pediatrics with thalamic tumors, and he is published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. Outside of academics, Geoffrey stays busy serving with Advocating Success for Kids, a group of Harvard students who work with the Boston Children’s Hospital and advocate for low-income minority families of children with learning disabilities. He also competes with the Harvard Club Swim Team. In his spare time, he enjoys writing short narratives. His most recent, a reflection of his time on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, was published by the Harvard Journal for Public Interest.