Four New Members Join the Board of Directors
Springfield, MA., July 16, 2020
The Choroideremia Research Foundation (CRF) is pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to its board of directors. These members fill vacancies and replace outgoing members and will bring new perspectives and diverse thinking to the foundation. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the new members will join a board of directors dedicated to strengthening the CRF’s impact in the future.
“On behalf of the CRF, we are grateful and fortunate to have these new members join the board,” said Neal Bench, board president. “Each of them brings important experiences from their accomplished professional lives that will enrich the thinking and decisions to be made in the future.”
The CRF welcomes the following members to its board of directors:
Tracey Pretorius is a Senior Director at Microsoft Corporation where she leads global efforts to help Microsoft customers benefit from an unparalleled partner network that delivers world-class cloud and AI solutions. She is active in several industry organizations, including KPMG’s i-4 Forum for CISO professionals. Tracey is also a founding member of Microsoft Women in Security (MWiS) and Chairperson of the Leadership Council for MWiS. She is also on the board of specialist venture capitalist firm Strategic Cyber Ventures (SCV) in an advisory position. In her over 20 years of international experience, Tracey has led and implemented a number of global programs and campaigns and has spent considerable time working across Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Proudly South African, Tracey earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Psychology and Communications from the University of South Africa. A word nerd, indoor cycler, art enthusiast, and cyber culture aficionado, Tracey is always interested in expanding her rich and diverse global network.
John-Ross (JR) Rizzo, M.D., M.S.C.I. is a physician-scientist at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation, where he serves as Director of Technology and Innovation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with cross-appointments in the Department of Neurology and the Departments of Biomedical & Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (NYU-Tandon School of Engineering). He is also the Associate Director of Healthcare for the renowned NYU Wireless Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU-Tandon. He leads the Visuomotor Integration Laboratory (VMIL) and the REACTIV Laboratory (Rehabilitation Engineering Alliance and Center Transforming Low Vision), where his team focuses on advanced wearables for the sensory deprived and benefits from his own personal experiences with vision loss. He is also the Founder and Chief Medical Advisor of Tactile Navigation Tools, LLC, where he and his team work to disrupt the assistive technology space for those with visual impairments of all kinds. He has a wonderful wife and two amazing boys who are his greatest joys and loves.
Jon Salois is vice president of sales for Atlas Distributing, a beer and beverage distributor servicing central Massachusetts. He’s a graduate of Boston College Carrol School of Management. A lifelong member of the CRF, Jon is passionate about raising awareness of Choroideremia, supporting his local community and running. Jon lives with his wife Rachel and their daughter Claire in Worcester, MA.
Kayla Schiller is an experienced tax accountant with global companies, currently serving as Senior Tax Manager at GE. After growing up on a small family farm in central Kansas, she attended Kansas State University. Kayla enjoys participating and training for different athletic events to keep busy, including a fundraiser for Team CHM.
Choroideremia (CHM) is a rare inherited form of blindness affecting approximately 1 in 50,000 people. Due to its x-linked inheritance pattern males are most severely affected with females usually experiencing much milder visual impairment. Symptoms begin in early childhood with night blindness and restriction of visual field being the earliest noticeable effects, eventually progressing to complete blindness. An estimated 6,000 people in the United States and 10,000 in the European Union are impacted by Choroideremia. There are currently no approved treatments for Choroideremia.
About the Choroideremia Research Foundation Inc.
The Choroideremia Research Foundation was founded in 2000 as an international fundraising and patient advocacy organization to stimulate research on CHM. Since its inception, the CRF has provided over $2.5 million in research awards and is the largest financial supporter of CHM research worldwide. Research funded by the CRF has led to the development of a CHM animal model, the pre-clinical production of gene therapy vectors currently in clinical trials, and the CRF Biobank which stores tissue and stem cell samples donated by CHM patients. For more information, visit www.curechm.org.