Luke Shepard, Board Chair, is the Algos Engineering Lead at Tempus Labs. Previously, he was Chief Technology Officer of eSpark Learning, an educational software company based in Chicago, Illinois, that provides differentiated instruction in K-8 classrooms using iPads. He also built software for Facebook and Amazon.
His wife, Nicole Abreu Shepard, is an elementary teacher. They both graduated from the University of Chicago in 2004.
Sandi Lam, MD, MBA
Dr. Sandi Lam is the Division Head of Neurosurgery at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as well as professor of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She was recently awarded $4 million in funding from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to understand the comparative effectiveness of palliative surgery versus additional anti-seizure medications for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Cecile Dame, PhD
Dr. Dame is a senior nuclear engineer at MPR Associates in Virginia. She is a parent of a child who required hemispherotomy to stop seizures, including infantile spasms, caused by cortical dysplasia. She chairs our fundraising committee and oversee our development strategies.
Nicole Murray is the Corporate Philanthropy Officer at the Epilepsy Foundation and is also the parent of a child who required hemispherotomy to stop seizures, including infantile spasms, caused by cortical dysplasia. Nicole was formerly the Director of Development at The Brain Recovery Project until early 2020. Prior to joining The Brain Recovery Project, Nicole was the National Director of Corporate Partnerships at Citizen Schools. Nicole has a deep knowledge of our programs and impact and chairs our Program Committee.
Kevin O’Connor is chief administrative officer and senior vice president for Franklin Templeton Investments. He has primary responsibility for corporate communications, overseeing global public relations, employee communications, community relations, and corporate events. He also has responsibility for corporate planning, working with the CEO and President, to establish corporate priorities and build internal understanding of the corporate strategy throughout the organization. He earned an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in English from the University of California at Davis.
He and his wife Patricia have two children. Their oldest child, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s encephalitis at the age of 12 and underwent a successful hemispherectomy. The Brain Recovery Project was instrumental in helping with this successful journey. Kevin serves as treasurer of The Brain Recovery Project.
Matt Flesch is Vice President, Communications and Patient Advocacy of Horizon Pharma, where he leads communications strategy and tactics for 11 medicines addressing the needs of people living with rare disorders and rheumatic diseases. Prior to joining Horizon Pharm, Matt was a Director at Lundbeck, where he led the public relations team driving strategic communications initiatives for seven central nervous system brands. At Lundbeck, Matt led the “Your Partner in Epilepsy” campaign, and collaborated with the Epilepsy Foundation on Studio E: The Epilepsy Art Therapy Program. Matt Led the growth of the program from a pilot in Chicago to more than 50 U.S. cities.
Matt is a founding member of the Chicago chapter of NephCure Kidney International, a nonprofit organization focused on a rare kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. Matt graduated from Northpark University in 1997 where he was sports editor for school newspaper and earned three varsity letters as member of baseball team. He is an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls. Matt serves as secretary of The Brain Recovery Project.
Dr. Gary Mathern, MD Board member emeritus (non-voting)
Dr. Gary Mathern is Co-Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program and Neurobiology Epilepsy Research Laboratory at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA Medical Center. He holds the Dr. Alfonsina Q. Davies Endowed Chair in Honor of Paul Crandall, M.D., for Epilepsy Research and is the principal investigator of the Rare Epilepsies and Brain Disease Bank which is part of the RE (Rasmussen’s encephalitis) Children’s Research Consortium Tissue Transfer Program. Apart from being a meticulous epilepsy surgeon, he has a deep interest in research. He has over 200 research papers to his credit.
His key interests include cortical dysplasias, the neurobiology of epilepsy, and hemispherectomies. Dr. Mathern is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He is one of few surgeons certified by the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, interned at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and was a resident in surgery and then neurosurgery at the UCLA School of Medicine.
He is a member of several organizations including the International League Against Epilepsy, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Epilepsy Society, The Brain Research Institute, and the Society for Neuroscience, and is on the medical board of the Hemispherectomy Foundation. His presentation at TedX Conejo gives a compelling example of why parents choose this drastic surgery for their children.
In 2017, Dr. Mathern received a lifetime achievement award from the American Epilepsy Society for his lifetime contributions to the field of epilepsy.