Officers, Board Members, and Staff
Douglas Riegert-Johnson, MD
Douglas Riegert-Johnson is a consultant of gastroenterology and medical genomics at Mayo Clinic Florida. Since starting there in 2008, he has been caring for patients with hereditary cancer syndromes with a talented and caring team of genomic counselors, nurses and physicians. The group has now cared for more than 300 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and other hereditary cancer syndromes.
His family is originally from the Birmingham area of Alabama. He graduated in chemistry from Samford University and in medicine from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. After medical school, Dr. Riegert-Johnson trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There he was a medicine resident and chief medical resident and then gastroenterology fellow. In the middle of his training at Mayo, he went to Baltimore for two years to train in medical genetics at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was one of the last fellows during Dr. McKusick’s tenure.
As a medical genetics fellow Dr. McKusick assigned him the project of further investigating Stiff Skin syndrome, a syndrome Dr. McKusick had described in the 1960s. The original patients were found and reascertained, and new patients were identified. Using this data and the samples taken, the phenotype of Stiff Skin syndrome was clarified and the cause was found to be mutations in the FBN1 gene. Dr. McKusick also introduced Dr. Riegert-Johnson to Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Dr. McKusick was the second author with Dr. Jeghers on the New England Journal of Medicine paper describing the syndrome in 1949.
Dr. Riegert-Johnson continued on with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome at Mayo Clinic Rochester under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Boardman. Together they have completed several book chapters, manuscripts and created a web resource with NCBI on the topic of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
Since moving to Mayo Clinic Florida, Dr. Riegert-Johnson collaborated with Dr. Henry Lynch to identify a founder EPCAM mutation as the cause of Lynch syndrome in his “Family R.” Family R had been studied by Dr. Lynch since the 1970s but by 2010 the cause of Lynch syndrome in this family still had not been determined. Identification of an EPCAM mutation as the cause of Lynch syndrome allowed family members to finally determine if they did or did not have Lynch syndrome. Also, since moving to Mayo Clinic Florida Dr. Riegert-Johnson has collaborated with Meaghan Roberts, CGC in investigating Muir Torre syndrome. They published a scoring system for clinicians to determine which patients with sebaceous neoplasms should be tested for Muir Torre syndrome.
Dr. Douglas Riegert-Johnson has been married to Dr. Vanessa Riegert-Johnson since 2000. The Drs. Riegert-Johnson have been blessed with three wonderful children.
Wendy Kohlmann, MS, CGC
Wendy Kohlmann MS, CGC is a cancer genetic counselor at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute. Wendy received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to joining Huntsman Cancer Institute, she worked as a cancer genetic counselor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and at the University of Michigan. Wendy’s interest in hereditary colon cancer has stemmed from her many years of clinical experience with families with Lynch syndrome, FAP and other hereditary cancer syndromes. Wendy serves as the Director of the Genetic Counseling Shared Resource, an institutional core at Huntsman Cancer Institute. The Genetic Counseling Shared Research supports diverse types of research on hereditary cancer including gene discovery, genetic epidemiology, clinical management of hereditary cancer syndromes, and psychosocial/behavioral implications of genetic diagnosis. Her personal research has focused on improving family communication about the diagnosis of a hereditary condition, extending access to genetic services in underserved areas and the unique aspects of diagnosing hereditary cancer risk in children.
Carol Brooks, MS, CGC
Carol Brooks is a genetic counselor by training, who has spent her 15+ year career educating patients and physicians about the impact of genetics on their care. Carol began her career at Myriad Genetics working closely with women’s healthcare providers to better identify patients at risk for cancer based on an unknown genetic predisposition. During this time, she volunteered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) fundraising to support patient education programs, as well as research efforts. Carol moved from volunteer to staff as the Deputy Executive Director of the NYC chapter of the LLS where she continued her work to empower and support patients. Currently, Carol is the Regional Medical Director at Guardant Health supporting the education of healthcare providers as we use genetic information from solid tumors to better inform on treatment decisions.
Carol Burke, MD, FACG, FASGE, FACP
Dr. Carol A. Burke, MD, FACG, FASGE, FACP is the Director of the Center for Colon Polyp and Cancer Prevention and the section head of polyposis in the Sanford R. Weiss MD Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia at the Cleveland Clinic. She has been a staff member in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Cleveland Clinic since graduating from her fellowship there in 1993. She holds a joint appointment in the Taussig Cancer Center and the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. She is internationally known for her expertise in the inherited colon cancer syndromes and the prevention of colorectal neoplasia and invited lecturer at national and international meetings. Her area of clinical and research interests include the prevention of colorectal neoplasia both in sporadic individuals and those with the inherited colorectal cancer syndromes. She has funding for her research through the NCI, NIH, USDA and industry. She has been involved in the education of medical students, residents and fellows since 1991 and has developed and coordinated the digestive disease curriculum for trainees in the in and out patient setting in the Department. She is the author of “Colonoscopy for Dummies” and has authored or co-authored over 80 publications. She is a visiting professor, and invited speaker at national and international conferences on the prevention of colorectal neoplasia and the inherited colon cancer syndromes. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the American College of Gastroenterology, the Board of the Ohio Gastroenterology Society and is a past president of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer. She has been an associate editor for the American Journal of Gastroenterology and is a reviewer for many journals including Gut, Endoscopy, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the American Journal of Gastroenterology to name a few.
Daniel G. Luba, MD
Daniel Luba was accepted into medical school immediately after high school graduation and completed a combined six-year undergraduate and medical school program at Boston University Medical School, where he received the Henry J. Bakst Award in Community Medicine. He did his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Boston VA Medical Center in Boston, MA. Dr. Luba then moved to California and completed a Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Stanford University Medical Center. He is Board Certified in Gastroenterology. Dr. Luba is the managing partner of Gastroenterology Consultants Medical Group, Inc., Medical Director of the Monterey Bay Endoscopy Center, LLC, and President of the Monterey Bay GI Research Institute, Inc. For the years 2007 to 2013 Dr. Luba was selected by Best Doctors as one of the Best Doctors in America, an organization that selects its members through a peer-appointed process. Dr. Luba does all endoscopic procedures and has a special interest in Lynch and Familial Polyposis Syndromes.
Heather Hampel, MS, LGC
Heather Hampel, MS, CGC, is a cancer genetic counselor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Hampel received her bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics from Ohio State in 1993 and her master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1995. After graduation, she worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City before coming to the OSUCCC – James in 1997. a was appointed in 2001 as a clinical instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Human Genetics, where she is now a full professor. Hampel’s clinical duties include providing comprehensive cancer genetic consultations to individuals and families with a history of cancer, a task that includes extensive documentation of cancers in the family, risk assessment, screening recommendations and genetic testing. Hampel’s research interests include screening all colorectal and endometrial (uterine) cancer patients for Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition that predisposes families to multiple cancers. She recently completed a five-year term on the American Board of Genetic Counselors, for which she was president in 2009-10. Hampel also is a part of the Facing Our Risk for Cancer Empowered (FORCE) medical advisory board and an expert for Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization devoted to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women while providing support for high-risk individuals.
Deborah Neklason, PhD
Deborah Neklason, PhD is a Research Associate Professor of Genetic Epidemiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Utah and Program Director of Utah Genome Project. Her expertise is in molecular biology and genetics and translating this work to the clinical setting. She obtained her bachelors degree in microbiology from University of Washington, followed by positions at Immunex Corporation in pharmaceutical drug development and with Francis Collins at University of Michigan in human genetics. She obtained her PhD in Human Genetics from University of Utah. She has been at Huntsman Cancer Institute for 12 years working to better understand the genetic basis of colon cancer. Her projects involve indentifying new genes that are important in cancer development, improving laboratory testing to identify individuals at risk of developing colon cancer, and clinical trials to prevent cancer.
Bio coming soon!
Travis H. Bray, PhD
Founder & Executive Director
Travis H. Bray is a third generation F.A.P. survivor and understands firsthand the long-reaching physical and emotional effects living with this disease has on both the patient and their loved ones. By drawing upon both personal experiences with F.A.P. and those of his extended family, he is motivated to developing a support net for those born or affected by F.A.P. Travis graduate with top honors for his graduate work in Actinide Chemistry at Auburn University in 2008. He continued his research for two years as the Berkeley Actinide Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a third year of post-doctoral research at Argonne National Laboratory. Travis stepped away from his career as a chemistry researcher (June, 2012) to found the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation.
Founder & Development Director
Shawnie Bray brings 20 years of marketing, sales, leadership, and educational instruction to her role as Development Director of the Foundation. Following her marketing degree, Shawnie spent 10 years managing online resources for several organizations. After receiving a master's degree in education, she spent the next 10 years in educational leadership. In her current role at the Foundation, she is responsible for business development, creation of online and print materials, and managing volunteers. Shawnie is also a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer.
Lisa Mortimer is the Program Administrator and a behind-the-scenes force for the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation. Working part-time, she maintains our "indirect-to-patient services," including all updates to HCCTakesGuts.org, our growing list of community members, and the day-to-day operations of our webinar series for medical professionals. In short, Lisa's efforts keep the Foundation running smoothly and keep Shawnie and Travis sane!