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Executive Staff

Albert T. Roy leads the Lupus Research Alliance as President and Chief Executive Officer. He has two decades of executive non-profit experience with extensive research, drug development and executive management experience in the academic and private sectors.

Leading the largest private lupus research funder at the forefront of many of today’s biggest breakthroughs, Mr. Roy is committed to realizing the mission of the Lupus Research Alliance: to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure, for this highly complex disease. With the vision of being able to match the right therapy for each patient, he remains laser focused on producing clinically meaningful results that “allow people with lupus to be the best versions of themselves.”

Mr. Roy comes to LRA after six years serving as Executive Director of its clinical arm Lupus Therapeutics and will continue in this role until the position is filled. In this role, Mr. Roy expanded Lupus Therapeutics into a clinical research powerhouse, supporting 20 clinical research efforts with 16 partners from major biopharmaceutical companies committed to lupus drug development. A cornerstone of his success has been the formation and expansion of the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN), a network of 57 prestigious academic institutions throughout North America that care for 25,000 people living with lupus.

Addressing health inequities in lupus research and improving clinical research awareness and engagement, particularly among people of color who are underrepresented in clinical research, continues to be a major goal for Mr. Roy with the introduction of several novel programs aimed at this all-too prevalent issue.

Previously, Al was Vice President of Operations and Research Programs at CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a multi-million-dollar public charity whose mission is to support targeted and innovative children’s cancer research. CureSearch served as the fiscal, administrative and philanthropic agent for the world’s largest pediatric cancer clinical trials research network, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). During his tenure there, Mr. Roy managed a clinical research portfolio exceeding $50 million per year-and coordinated the formation of the COG through strategic partnerships with more than 200 academic research medical centers throughout North America to conduct Phase I, II and III industry-led and investigator-initiated pediatric cancer clinical trials.

Mr. Roy is a graduate of Ithaca College and received his Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Kenneth M. Farber is a graduate of Clark University, with a Juris Doctor from the Fordham University School of Law.  He has spent 40 years in the non-profit world, working with and for voluntary health agencies and private foundations.

Ken began his career at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in several different positions,  including 10 years as Director of Sponsored Research and nine years as Executive Director.

After his work at JDRF, Ken served as Executive Vice President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, founded by Israel’s first Prime Minister and located in the biblical city of Beer-Sheva, Israel.

In 1999, when Robert Wood Johnson was starting a lupus-based research organization, Ken returned to the United States to help get the new organization, the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), off the ground, serving as President of the ALR.  Ken consults for and sits on the boards of several health-related organizations, including the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation headquartered in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  Under Ken’s leadership, the ALR re-dedicated itself to its credo of supporting research into the cause, cure, treatment, and prevention of lupus and its secondary complications, and in 2016 merged with the Lupus Research Institute and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation.  Today, the Lupus Research Alliance gives more money to lupus research than any non-governmental organization in the world.

The LRA’s former President and CEO, Ken is serving as President Emeritus as of September 6 through December 31, 2022. In the new year, Ken will continue as a consultant to the organization.

Debra Rose joined the Lupus Research Alliance in 2002 when it was the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR). She currently is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and has overseen Finance & Operations for her entire tenure. Debra oversaw the legal and operational merger process involved in bringing together the Alliance for Lupus Research, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute to become the Lupus Research Alliance.

Prior to joining the Lupus Research Alliance, Debra was the Finance Officer for the Western Washington University Foundation in Bellingham, WA where she was responsible for the Foundation and Alumni office accounting. She moved to NYC in 2002 where she immediately joined the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Debra graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Washington University with a BA in Accounting earning the Outstanding Graduate Award in accounting. Soon after graduation, Debra earned her CPA license in WA state and went on to also become a Certified Management Accountant.

Andrea J. O’Neill is Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Lupus Research Alliance responsible for managing a multi-faceted fundraising program, generating more than $25 million annually to support lupus research programs. In addition, Andrea oversees the communications and marketing initiatives to assure an integrative and collaborative philanthropy and communications group.

As a member of our executive leadership staff team, Andrea brings substantial knowledge and experience gained from a highly productive 14-year history working with the lupus community to help shape and implement the strategic vision for the Lupus Research Alliance. Prior to this position, Andrea served as the Director of Development and Operations for the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute. In addition to leading the fundraising initiatives, she oversaw the pre-merger process involved in uniting these two organizations with the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Before joining the lupus community, she was Vice President for Development and Institutional Advancement at The HealthCare Chaplaincy for five years. Andrea holds a BS degree from Syracuse University and a certificate in fundraising from Columbia University.

Teodora Staeva, PhD is Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at the Lupus Research Alliance. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the organization’s research portfolio and operations, including the development of a research strategy and leading its implementation, as well overseeing all research initiatives, partnerships and collaborations.

Until September 2017, Teodora was Assistant Dean for Research at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) where she was responsible for managing the strategic planning efforts related to research, building and overseeing institutional programs facilitating faculty research, development and recruitment, and leading and managing intra-campus as well as inter-campus collaborations with Cornell University and WCM’s Tri-Institutional partners, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University.

Prior to joining WCM, Teodora worked at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (currently known as JDRF) where she was Director of Immune Therapies for nine years. She obtained her PhD in Immunology from Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, and her BS, with honors, in Biology and Neuroscience from Macalester College.

Penny Mitchell is Vice President, Marketing and Communications at the Lupus Research Alliance and a member of the Executive Committee. She is responsible for overseeing strategic communications and integrated marketing to elevate awareness of lupus and drive much needed support for the organization’s education, advocacy, and ambitious research programs which spans the spectrum from foundational, translational through clinical research.

For more than three decades, Penny has held healthcare practice leadership positions at international communications firms including Fleishman-Hillard, dna/Weber Shandwick, H&K Strategies and Porter/Novelli. Passionate about patient education, research and advocacy, Penny began her communications career at the Will Rogers Institute, a non-profit pulmonary research organization. 

Throughout her career, Penny has represented major non-profit, academic research, pharmaceutical, medtech and consumer health companies. Her experience is broad and includes integrated brand planning, advocacy relations, corporate reputation management, issues/crisis management, marketing and media strategy, data communications and public/private partnerships. Her experience in autoimmune diseases is particularly strong having launched pharmaceutical brands in lupus as well as psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid disease.

Penny holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and Master of Science in Education from Fordham University.

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