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Welcome Kyleigh LiPira and Ashani Weeraratna, PhD to the Board of Directors

In January, the Board of Directors appointed two new members, Kyleigh LiPira and Ashani Weeraratna, PhD, who have been longtime advocates for the melanoma community.  

Kyleigh and Ashani Updated

Ashani Weeraratna, PhD is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology, E.V. McCollum Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as the Associate Director of Laboratory Research at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is a Past President of the Society for Melanoma Research and was recently appointed by President Biden as a member of the National Cancer Advisory BoardShe is an expert in melanoma metastasis, WNT signaling, and aging, and her research focuses heavily on the effects of the tumor microenvironment on metastasis and therapy resistance. Dr. Weeraratna has also been a champion of increasing diversity, and this is evident in her writings which call for gender and racial equity. She has written a book for the lay public called “Is Cancer Inevitable?” meant to highlight the progress made in the field, and the importance of diversity in cancer research. Before joining the Board, Dr. Weeraratna was a member of the MRF’s Science Advisory Committee (SAC) and became SAC Co-Chair in January. 

Kyleigh LiPira, MBA joined the MRF in July 2015 and assumed the role of CEO in January 2018. Prior to her tenure at the MRF Kyleigh led fundraising programs at Johns Hopkins Medicine for close to 10 years. First working in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center to drive research dollars to support initiatives in head and neck cancer, brain cancer and melanoma. Later, she was recruited to start and lead the Department of Dermatology development program. Increasing its residency program by 75%, developing endowment fellowship and lectureship programs and working with industry partners to support faculty positions. Kyleigh has her MBA from Johns Hopkins University and her BA from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. 

Read their full bios here 

The Board of Directors, working in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Staff, defines the vision, mission and values for the organization and establishes plans and policies. 

Each member of the Board of Directors has a vested interest in melanoma, either as a physician or researcher involved in the treatment or research of the disease, or as a patient, family member or friend of a melanoma patient. 

About the Melanoma Research Foundation  

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research to develop effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous melanoma and the melanoma rare subtypes. The MRF is a dedicated advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.   

Media Contact 

James Merrick  

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer   

[email protected]