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MiraKind was founded as a nonprofit research organization in 2013 by Joanne Weidhaas, MD, PhD., following her discovery of the KRAS-variant, an inherited genetic mutation associated with an increased risk of cancer. The KRAS-variant was the first inherited mutation of its kind, as cancer risk can be modified for people with the KRAS-variant by lifestyle decisions. Every year scientists like Dr. Weidhaas discover hundreds of novel genetic markers that could benefit millions of patients. Unfortunately, very few of these discoveries make it beyond the research laboratory for validation. Dr. Weidhaas founded MiraKind to change this by breaking down the barriers between doctors, scientists, and patients to validate these novel findings, and to ask the questions that will lead to actionable strategies to reduce cancer risk and suffering. MiraKind's research is patient-centered from start to finish, with the ultimate goal of empowering patients so that, together with their doctors, they can make the best decisions for their health and lifestyle. Our research is guided by one question: How can we enhance health and longevity for all individuals?
In 2006, Joanne Weidhaas, MD, PhD, physician-scientist and former Head of Breast Radiation Oncology Service at Yale University, co-discovered the KRAS-variant, a genetic marker that has significant implications for women’s health. It predicts endometriosis and associated infertility, breast, ovarian and lung cancer, and unique response to treatments for these conditions.
Despite her discovery’s significance, Joanne foresaw the difficulty in translating its benefits from the lab bench to her and other doctors’ patients. Still, she committed to the arduous process of development and validation to ensure her research became commercially viable. Joanne found little support, resources or guidance available for navigating this complex process and no room in the financially motivated commercial lab business to develop tests that could advance patient-centered outcomes like disease prevention.
Now, after more than 10 years as a research scientist and radiation oncologist at Yale University, Joanne is passionate about ensuring genetic discoveries reach the doctors and patients they can help. That’s why she founded MiraKind, a research institute that allows individuals to directly participate in studies to validate important genetic markers and discover patient-centered applications of them.
Sara began her career in the fields of health policy research and healthcare management consulting, with a specific interest in women’s health. After earning her master’s degree in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Sara gained deep finance experience working for an urban infill developer, where she helped secure over $75 million in acquisition capital to purchase multifamily buildings. Sara then went on to serve as principal of a Bay Area design build firm focused on green building projects, working alongside the CEO and founder.
Hans is an investment professional with ten years experience in transaction, asset management and corporate finance advice. His past work focused on profitability enhancement, repositioning/turnaround and product development. He was last Senior Vice President and head of the Beijing practice for the global hotel investment services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
Hans holds a MS degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BSc in Business Economics and International Hospitality Management from EHL at the University of Applied Science of Western Switzerland. He speaks fluent German, French and Mandarin Chinese.
As the son of a doctor and with three cancer victims in his immediate family, Hans is strongly committed to making a contribution to the field of cancer diagnostics.
Tina is a patient advisor to MiraKind and an advocate for women with the KRAS-variant. As a breast cancer survivor, she is passionate about empowering women to protect their health.