Chordoma Foundation


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Board of Directors

Joel Beckman - Vice Chairperson

Joel Beckman is a Managing Partner of Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, a private equity fund. Prior to founding Greenbriar, Mr. Beckman spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was a Managing Director and Partner. He is also a Director of Hexcel Corporation and Western Peterbilt, Inc., a Senior Trustee and member of the Investment Committee of the University of Rochester, a Director of Stepping Stone Day School for handicapped children, UJA-Federation of New York, and Metropolitan Council on Poverty, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law. Mr. Beckman was diagnosed with chordoma in 2009.

Heather Lee 

Heather Lee, PhD, SPHR

A certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Heather Lee is a principal in the nonprofit and public sector consulting firm, Developmental Associates, LLC. She spent 13 years as Associate Professor of Human Resources and Psychology at Peace College in Raleigh, NC and, prior to that, served for eight years as VP for Human Resources at Easter Seals of NC, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. In 2008, Heather lost her 13 year old son, Justin Straus, to chordoma after a seven-year battle with the disease. She is dedicated to the mission of the Chordoma Foundation so that other families will not have to endure the loss of a loved one to this relentless disease.

Andrew Schoelkopf - Chairperson

Andy Schoelkopf is a partner at Menconi & Schoelkopf Fine Art, a leading private art dealer located in New York City that specializes in American paintings, drawings and sculpture of the eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-centuries. Andy was raised in a family of art dealers, being the son of Robert and Jane Schoelkopf, who ran the prestigious Robert Schoelkopf Gallery in New York until the elder’s untimely death in 1990. Having worked at the gallery until its close in 1991, Andy then went on to Christie’s, where he rose to be head of the American Paintings Department. Andy is a past board member of the Private Art Dealers Association, of which his gallery is a member. Andy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Denison University and a Masters of Business Administration from Fordham University Graduate School of Business.

Chandra Sen, MD

Chandra Sen, MD

Dr. Chandra Sen is professor of neurosurgery at NYU Langone Medical Center and is a pioneer in the field of skull base surgery. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a founding member of the North American Skull Base Society, and a current member and former president of the New York Society of Neurosurgery. Since treating his first chordoma patient in 1987, Dr. Sen has made chordoma a primary focus of his practice, and throughout his career has become one of the most experienced chordoma surgeons in the world. He has published several papers and book chapters on skull base and cervical spine chordomas, and frequently lectures on chordoma at international conferences. Dr. Sen cares deeply for his chordoma patients and describes improving the treatment of chordoma as one of his life goals.


Josh Sommer

Josh Sommer is Executive Director of the Chordoma Foundation, which he co-founded to speed the pace of chordoma research after he was diagnosed with a skull-base chordoma in 2006. Following his diagnosis, Josh spent two years studying chordoma in the lab of Dr. Michael Kelley at Duke University. In 2008, Josh left the lab to lead the Chordoma Foundation after receiving an Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. To complement his work with the Foundation, from 2008 to 2011 he served as a Fellow in Strategic Philanthropy and Health in Duke’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access, where he studied models for sharing of scientific data and biological materials. He currently serves a member of the National Cancer Institute Director’s Consumer Liaison Group, the Moffitt Cancer Center Total Cancer Care External Advisory Board, and the Board of Advisors of the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation. For his efforts to advance chordoma research, Josh was honored by ABC News as a Person of the Year in 2008.

Paula Song

Paula Song, PhD - Treasurer

Paula H. Song, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC-CH, she was an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University. Dr. Song’s research interests and publications focus on financial aspects in healthcare management and policy and their effects on the delivery and utilization of healthcare services. Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan. She also holds a Master of Health Services Administration as well as a Masters of Arts in Applied Economics, both from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.


John Therien, JD – Secretary

John Therien is a partner at Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina where he focuses his practice on technology transactions. He works with both privately and publicly held companies on technology licensing and collaborations, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical, biotech and other life sciences-related transactions. Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Mr. Therien practiced at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, Massachusetts.