Huntington Study Group Staff

Shari Kinel, JD
Executive Director

Shari has been the Executive Director to the Huntington Study Group since 2009. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and she earned a law degree from SUNY Buffalo. Shari manages the overall operations of HSG and oversees governance, grants, contracts, and key objectives and strategies of HSG. Since joining HSG, Shari has served on HD clinical trial steering committees, HD trial project teams and has dedicated a lot of her time working with HD care and community groups. Shari is an attorney who started her career at the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. She then joined Chase Manhattan’s Bank’s legal team and also spent time on the legal staff at Celltech Pharmaceuticals. Shari also had her own practice representing organizations in business matters involving regulatory compliance, contracts, and corporate policies and procedures.
Anne Van Dusen, CHC
Director, Operations

Anne joined the HSG team in June of 2017 as the Director of Education & Special Programs and was promoted to the position of Director of Operations in 2018. She works closely with sponsors, HSG Members, HSG sites and HSG staff to effectively develop and implement projects, budgets and processes to facilitate high quality clinical research trials and studies in Huntington disease. She holds a BS from the University of Binghamton School of Management and is certified in healthcare compliance by the Compliance Certification Board. Prior to joining HSG, Anne held leadership roles in compliance and finance, most recently at CCSI of Rochester, ACM Medical Laboratory, and Lifetime Care Home Care and Hospice.
Kristin Strazdins
Manager, Finance and Special Projects

Kristin is the Manager, Finance & Special Projects and has worked for HSG since February 2014. She handles all accounting functions and manages the HSG office and human resource needs. She handled accounting functions and site payments for First/ARC, which produced the second FDA-approved drug for Huntington disease. For SIGNAL, she handles the site payments and accounting, and arranges travel, travel reimbursement, and participant payment for participants in the trial. Prior to working for HSG, Kristin worked as a Staff Accountant in a public accounting firm for seven years.
Kevin Gregory, PMP
Director, Education, Communications, and Outreach

Kevin joined the Huntington Study Group in September 2018. He operates the HSG website and social media platforms of the HSG, and ensures a strong presence within the HD community through those channels. He is also responsible for maintaining the Huntington Study Group’s core learning platform, CME4HD, and serves as host of the HD Insights Podcast. Before joining HSG, he was Director of Operations for the Medicare Appeals Program at MAXIMUS, Inc. for thirteen years. Prior to that, Kevin spent five years managing e-learning development at Element K, plus three years in corporate video and news production. Kevin is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP), with degrees in communications from Monroe Community College and SUNY Fredonia.
Janine Mercandetti
Manager, Projects and Contracts

Janine joined the Huntington Study Group in March 2019. She is responsible for coordinating contract/amendment delivery, document control, system standardization and maintenance, and project management within HSG. Prior to joining HSG, Janine was a Sr. Proposal Manager with Spectrum Enterprise for 7 years where she managed and supported all operational activities throughout the lifecycle of multiple proposals. Janine holds a BFA from DePaul University.
Lauren Falanga
Manager, Clinical Collaborations

Lauren joined the HSG team in April 2019 as the Manager of Clinical Collaborations. Lauren’s role at the HSG includes creation of collaborative and sustained relationships with Industry, Academics and other Research Entities that will result in accelerated achievements in seeking treatments that will make a difference for those impacted by HD. She has over 15 years of experience in medical laboratory operations including medical technologist and supervisory roles. She worked in the Clinical Trials sector of laboratory operations for more than 5 years where she led all global harmonization initiatives and projects. She also provided scientific information and guidance for Clinical Trials global operations.
Patric Donaghue, MBA, EA

Patric is Controller at the HSG. He was previously the Financial Controller at the University of Rochester Center for Health + Technology for 21 years. He has over 35 years’ experience in health care finance and administration, including in the pharmaceutical industry, academia and human service, not-for-profit organizations. Pat has extensive experience in clinical trials administration. He received is MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and is an Enrolled Agent licensed to practice before the IRS.
Sharon Recore
Administrative Assistant

Sharon volunteers extensively in the HD community. With the HSG, Sharon supports our credentialing activities for clinical investigators and coordinators. You will also find her helping with registration and check in at the annual HSG meeting.
Jody Goldstein, BS
Director of Clinical Operations

Jody formally joined the staff of the HSG in March 2020. Her expertise in study start up (protocol and consent development), innovative patient recruitment and clinical trial site education has led to the successful initiation and implementation of over 15 HSG HD clinical trials. She has served as a member of the HSG Executive Committee, Project Aware Committee, HD Communication Committee and the HSG’s Executive Coordinator Council. As a site coordinator for the University of California, San Diego, Jody participated in the pivotal trial for the first FDA approved drug for HD. Later, as a Senior Project Manager at the University of Rochester’s Center for Health + Technology (CHeT)/Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC), she was the lead project manager of the pivotal trial for the second FDA approved drug for HD. Jody brings over 20 years’ experience dedicated to the clinical care of HD patients and families and HD research.
Lynn Denise
Metrics Development and Performance Improvement Coordinator

Lynn joined the HSG in 2020 as the Metrics Development and Performance Improvement Coordinator. She develops and monitors project and organizational performance metrics to ensure the highest quality of service at HSG, and for all of whom the HSG collaborates to improve the quality of life for people affected by Huntington disease. Lynn has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Microbiology. Before joining the HSG team, Lynn worked for 20 years in several facets of the medical laboratory industry, including microbiology laboratories, laboratory quality assurance, and clinical trials scientific affairs.
Michael Lentine, MBA
Director of Finance

Mr. Lentine has over a decade of experience in Finance and Research Administration. In his current role, he provides financial oversight for the Huntington Study Group (HSG). He develops budgets, negotiates contracts, oversees accounting operations, and plays a role in driving forward the HSG’s strategic plan. Mr. Lentine holds an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.
Lisa de Blieck, MPA CCRC
Senior Clinical Trials Project Manager

Lisa joined the HSG in 2021 bringing her vast experience in rare and neurodegenerative disease program and trial management. In particularly, Lisa has extensive project management experience in Huntington disease trials overseen by the HSG, as well as participation on HSG committees (ethics, scientific advisory/review and communications). She enjoys mentoring project managers and fostering a team environment, as well as collaborating with sponsors, leadership, sites, and partners. She has expertise in study startup and implementation of observational, registry, digital and therapeutic trails, protocol and case report form design, team leadership, and development of standardized operational procedures from her roles at the University of Rochester Center for Health+Technology/Clinical Trials Coordination Center and Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders.
Emma Grushkin
Multimedia Specialist

Emma joined the Huntington Study Group team in March of 2021 as a Multimedia Specialist. She is responsible for the production of educational videos and media projects that support HSG’s efforts in product development, marketing, and training. Emma earned her degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida in 2019, where she was a director and anchor for the WUFT-TV 5PM newscast. Prior to joining the team at HSG, she was the Business Development Analyst at Tryon Creek Software. Her experience working in the medical field began at the Center for Safety Simulation and Advanced Learning Technologies (CSSALT) as a Videographer/Graphic Designer in January of 2020.
Melissa Austin
Senior Clinical Project Manager

Melissa joined HSG in March 2021 with extensive experience working in the clinical setting on Clinical Trials in the capacity of nursing, research coordination and clinical project management. She has over two decades of experience working in many areas of in-patient and outpatient patient care and clinical research. Most recently she comes from Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA where she specialized in gaining extensive experience in Oncology clinical operations, regulatory requirements, and project management. She offers her knowledge and valuable experience in all areas and, stages of clinical start-up through closeout of multi-centered clinical trials. She enjoys working in a collaborative team environment with all team members, leadership, sponsors, clinical sites, and partners.
Jeffrey Mann
Director of Quality Assurance

Jeff joined the Huntington Study Group in March 2021 as the Director of Quality Assurance. He ensures that Clinical Trial programs & clinical research are conducted in accordance with FDA, ICH & GCP regulatory compliance. Jeff brings over 12 years of global Clinical Trials experience previously working in clinical medical diagnostic, and central laboratory facilities. He manages and has oversight of HSG’s comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS), including but not limited to vendor & risk management, internal & external audit programs, document management, study site credentialing, and process improvement initiatives. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from SUNY Fredonia.