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Founders and Management

James J. Kovach, MD, JD – Founder/Director/CEO

Jim Kovach received his medical degree while simultaneously playing in the National Football League.  Following a seven year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, he attended law school at Stanford University and practiced corporate law in Palo Alto California, and Cleveland, Ohio, where he represented clients in the technology and healthcare fields. Currently Dr. Kovach also serves as Chief Operating Officer of CrowdOptic, a privately-held, venture-backed company based in San Francisco.

Dr. Kovach has also held executive positions with Athersys, Inc., a leading public biotechnology company and the Buck Institute for Age Research,  an independent research institute dedicated exclusively to research on aging and age-associated disease.

Huntington Willard, Ph.D – Founder/Director

Hunt Willard is Director, Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. Dr. Willard is a respected leader in human genetics and genomics.  A graduate of Harvard College, he received his Ph.D. from Yale University in human genetics and carried out postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.  Since 2003, Dr. Willard has served as the Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University. In his thirty-year career, Dr. Willard has held numerous leadership and advisory positions and is the author or co-author of over 350 scientific publications.  Prior to coming to Duke, he held faculty positions at the University of Toronto, Stanford University, and Case Western Reserve University.

 Hoby Brenner - Director

Hoby Brenner played for the New Orleans Saints between 1981 and 1993, receiving All-Pro Honors in 1987.  Brenner played college ball at the University of Southern California and was All-Pac-10 in 1980. He has a longtime interest in NFL player health, serving on the Executive Committee of the NFLPA from 1987-1993, and he currently serves on the NFL Pension Board of Trustees.