Chordoma Foundation


Our talented staff works with dedication and urgency to advance the Foundation’s mission and make a difference in the lives of chordoma patients.

Josh Sommer

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Josh was diagnosed with a skull-base chordoma in 2006. Unwilling to accept the limited treatment options available to chordoma patients, he joined the lab of Dr. Michael Kelley at Duke University, where he spent the next two years studying chordoma. There he experienced the very practical challenges faced by virtually all would-be chordoma researchers – insufficient funding; scarcity of tissue, cell lines and animal models needed for experiments; and isolation from others studying the disease. To solve these problems and proactively advance the search for a cure, Josh co-founded the Chordoma Foundation in 2007. Under his leadership, the Foundation has united and expanded the chordoma research community and vastly accelerated the pace of chordoma research. As Executive Director, Josh works with the Foundation’s research partners, advisors, and supporters to design, execute, and fund research initiatives focused on developing new treatments for chordoma.

Ask Josh about: Partnerships, media inquiries

email:  |  ext: 102  |  twitter: @sommerjo

Daniel Baroff

Development Manager

Daniel joined the Foundation in 2016 with four years of experience coordinating academic and scholarship programs at Duke University. There he developed a reputation for being the go-to person for developing efficient processes and managing large amounts of data – key requirements for a well-functioning development shop. Daniel is a native of Durham and a graduate of the University of Rochester. As the Foundation’s Development Manager, he is in charge of processing and acknowledging donations, providing great service to our donors, managing the Foundation’s database, and supporting community fundraisers. Daniel is inspired every day by the Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of those affected by chordoma and lead the search for a cure.

Ask Daniel about: Community fundraising, champion pages, donation receipts, online gifts, perseverance pledges,

email: | ext: 118

Patty Cogswell

Repository Manager (Contract)

Patty joined the Chordoma Foundation in the spring of 2012. Her career in cancer research spans 25 years, during which time she authored more than 30 research publications. Most recently, she served as a research scientist and lab manager at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Lineberger Cancer Center. There she became involved in chordoma research through a collaboration between her lab at UNC, and Duke and the Chordoma Foundation. In addition to the first-hand perspective as a scientist studying chordoma, Patty brings to the Foundation broad expertise in cell signaling pathways involved in cancer and extensive lab management experience. In her role at the Foundation, Patty manages the Foundation’s biobank, cell line, and animal model repositories. Patty is inspired by the innovative way in which the Foundation is addressing the need for research on this rare disease, and is excited to be a part of a dynamic team. She is committed to the Foundation’s ultimate goal of a cure and hopes to finish her scientific career making a difference.

Ask Patty about: Cell lines, animal models, Biobank

email:  |  ext: 107

Larry Gottschalk

Operations Coordinator

Larry joined the team in March 2015. He draws upon 20+ years of experience in operations and administration to assist the Foundation in multiple functional areas, including operations, accounting, customer service, and IT. Larry is committed to helping the Chordoma Foundation team operate as productively as possible, in service to the patients and community impacted by chordoma. Larry’s other passions are photography, cycling, and gourmet cooking.

Ask Larry about: Business process details

email:  |  ext: 115

Chase Hinnant

Patient Services Coordinator

Chase joined the Patient Services team in December 2017 after completing an internship with the Foundation. She is a graduate of East Carolina University and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health Studies. As one of the Foundation’s Patient Navigators, she helps patients and caregivers overcome barriers to getting the best care possible. Chase is passionate about reducing health disparities and empowering patients to become their own best advocate.

Ask Chase about: Patient Navigation, peer support, Doctor Directory

email:  |  ext: 123

Joan Levy

Director of Research

Joan joined the Chordoma Foundation in June 2017 with 30 years of experience in oncology research in academic, pharmaceutical and disease foundation settings. The 10 years prior to joining the Foundation, Joan led a variety of research programs at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) ranging from spearheading different grant programs to working closely with their affiliate consortium on large genomics projects and coordinating early clinical trials between consortium sites and industry partners. Prior to joining the MMRF, Joan was responsible for coordinating an oncology pipeline of early drug discovery projects at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Joan brings to the Foundation extensive knowledge spanning from therapeutic target identification and preclinical drug screening approaches to driving the results into meaningful clinical studies. At the Chordoma Foundation, Joan is responsible for oversight of research activities and in particular focus on programs involving identification of new therapeutic targets, further development of the Drug Screening Program, and advancement of new drugs and combination approaches into the clinic. Joan has a passion to interact directly with patients and caregivers and works closely with her colleagues at the Foundation to identify new treatments as well as improve medical care and experiences for chordoma patients. Joan has a BS in Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Vermont.

Ask Joan about: Therapeutic targets, Drug Screening Program, Clinical Trials Program, grants, molecular and genomic analyses

email: | ext: 122

Shannon Lozinsky

Director of Patient Services

Shannon joined the Chordoma Foundation at the end of 2014. Shannon has been in the fields of social work and education for more than 15 years and has a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked for a number of public and private social service organizations and spent time in private practice providing mental health services to children, adults, and families. Shannon is passionate about helping patients get the best possible care, educating the medical community about chordoma, and providing ways for the patient community to come together to support one another.

Ask Shannon about: Patient Navigation, Chordoma Community Conferences, peer support, Doctor Directory, educational materials

email:  |  ext: 114

Breanna McCormley

Director of Development

Breanna joined the Foundation in August 2016 with seven years of experience in development in healthcare and social service organizations. Most recently Brea was at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, where she served in a variety of capacities ranging from the annual fund to major gifts. As the Foundation’s Director of Development, she leads the Foundation’s efforts to provide sufficient funding for its ambitious plans. She is passionate about working with the Foundation’s supporters to make a tangible impact on the lives of those affected by chordoma. Brea has a BA in Communication Studies from the University of North Texas and an MBA from North Carolina State University.

Ask Brea about: Major gift and sponsorship opportunities, making estate gifts, corporate giving

email:  |  ext: 120

Gillian Parrish

Communications Consultant

Gillian has served as a communications consultant for the Chordoma Foundation since 2016. She brings more than 15 years of experience in health care communications, narrative development, brand messaging and third-party outreach to this role. As a consultant, Gillian helps to drive content development, message creation, and communications strategy for the Foundation and its various programs. She brings a passion for writing and storytelling to all aspects of her work and is very proud to be part of a to be part of this incredible team and community. Gillian is also the President of Parrish Public Relations. She previously served as Communications Director at medical research think tank FasterCures and as a Vice President on the healthcare team at Edelman.

Ask Gillian about: e-newsletter, social media


Jennifer Roeder

Marketing and Communications Manager

Jennifer joined the Chordoma Foundation in November 2015. She has more than 10 years of marketing and communications experience with both non- and for-profit organizations. As the Foundation’s marketing and communications manager, she oversees various communications functions including the website, email marketing, and social media. She has a BS in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University and an MA in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. She is inspired by the Foundation’s work to drive progress in research and provide patients with support.

Ask Jen about: Website, e-newsletter, social media

email:  |  ext: 116  | twitter: @jenroeder

Tammy Silverthorne

Director of Operations

Tammy joined the Chordoma Foundation in the spring of 2011, impressed with the energy, enthusiasm, and dedication of the staff, board, researchers, medical professionals, and patient community and their proven ability to produce results. A graduate of Duke University, she is happy to be back in Durham. As the Foundation’s Director of Operations, she manages business functions key to the Foundation’s success, including finance, regulatory compliance, vendor management, operations, and human resources. In addition to a passion for making a difference, Tammy brings to the Foundation over 17 years experience in corporate management, including oversight of finance, marketing, human resources, customer service, conferences, and executive-level planning. She is inspired daily by the opportunity to be part of a small group that thinks big.

Ask Tammy about: Business processes, finances, employment opportunities

email:  |  ext: 106

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