Corporate Officers and Staff
Audrey Gordon, ESQ.
President and Executive Director
Working closely with the Board of Directors, committees, staff and volunteers, Ms. Gordon is responsible for The Progeria Research Foundation’s financial and organizational growth, program development, and day to day management.
Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Tufts University and Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to co-founding The Progeria Research Foundation, she practiced law in both Massachusetts and Florida.
Locally, she is the recent past President of the Peabody Rotary Club and currently serves on the Peabody Board of Registrars. Ms. Gordon has been recognized for her achievements through North of Boston’s Business and Professional Women of the Year Award for non-profit organizations, being named Community Hero by the Jewish Family Services, and receiving the Mary Upton Ferrin Award for leadership. Under her management as PRF’s founding President and Executive Director, PRF has been awarded a coveted 4-star Charity Navigator rating for the past 9 years, and PRF received Research!America’s Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award for bringing progeria from obscurity to the forefront of successful translational research.
Ms. Gordon resides in Peabody, Massachusetts with her husband Rich Reed, daughters Nadia and Svetlana, and dogs Fred and Jack.
Leslie Gordon, MD, PhD
PRF Medical Director
Leslie Gordon is a co-founder of The Progeria Research Foundation and serves as the organization’s volunteer Medical Director. Dr. Gordon is the Principal Investigator for ongoing PRF programs for Progeria, including the PRF International Progeria Registry, Medical and Research Database, Cell and Tissue Bank, and the Genetic Diagnostics Program. She has chaired 11 National Institutes of Health-funded, international scientific meetings on Progeria. She is Professor of Pediatrics Research at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Research Scientist at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI. She is a Research Associate in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Senior Staff Scientist – Associate Professor at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Gordon has paved the way for finding treatments and the cure for those affected by Progeria. She was co-author on the 2003 gene discovery for Progeria in Nature, lead author of the 2012 Progeria treatment discovery study in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). She has co-chaired four Progeria clinical drug trials for children with Progeria at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Gordon received her undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and her Master’s and MD, PhD from Brown University.
Paula L. Kelly, CPA
Paula is the Manager of Accounting and Financial Reporting at The Perkins School for the Blind. Prior to this role she was the Senior Accountant at Egan Legacy Partners, a private equity firm, reviewing and managing the finance and accounting needs of companies owned in the portfolio. Previous positions include Assistant Professor of Accounting at Dean College, accountant with Citrin Cooperman (formerly Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson, P.C.) providing accounting and tax services to individuals and small businesses. She also worked as the Director of Corporate Accounting for Dunkin’ Donuts managing financial reporting and the budgeting process. She earned an M.B.A from Providence College and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Director of Operations
Gina works closely with the Executive Director and staff to ensure all financial, human resources, and other operational policies and procedures are followed. All so The Progeria Research Foundation runs as efficiently and effectively as possible. She has held different positions at The Progeria Research Foundation and is enthusiastic about her new role, which began in April 2019! Gina is a graduate of Salem State University.
Senior Patient Programs Coordinator
Kelsey works with newly identified families to introduce them to PRF programs. She is the main point of contact for families interested in The Progeria Research Foundation’s Cell & Tissue Bank, Diagnostic Testing Program, and Medical & Research Database Program. Kelsey keeps data for the Natural History Study and assists the Medical Director with data-keeping for additional, internal research projects. She also helps interested families and their physicians to enroll in Eiger’s Managed Access Program for lonafarnib. Kelsey’s favorite part of working at PRF has been interacting with patients and their families. Kelsey joined PRF in June of 2019 as the Clinical Trial Coordinator, and has since transitioned into her new role as Senior Patient Programs Coordinator. Previously Kelsey worked for Northeastern University, where she helped to coordinate travel, field, and laboratory work at various international scientific institutions. She holds a Master of Science in marine biology from Northeastern University and is also a 2012 graduate of St. Lawrence University with a BS in conservation biology and anthropology. Kelsey is also a SCUBA Instructor and enjoys traveling, hiking, and gardening in her free time.
Clinical Trial Coordinator
Justine works closely with families to coordinate all travel logistics involved in their trips to Boston from around the world, so they can participate in our clinical trials. She also works with the coordinators from participating Boston hospitals to schedule clinical trial visits. Justine joined the PRF team in March 2021, and is looking forward to meeting the families when they come to Boston. In addition, Justine assists the Patients Programs Coordinator with PRF’s other research-related programs. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New England College and is currently working towards her Masters. Justine previously worked at Boston Children’s Hospital as an Immunology Technician. In her free time, she volunteers as a coach for a local Pop Warner Youth cheerleading team and also volunteers at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Senior Development Officer
Michelle manages all PRF in-house events including our signature Night of Wonder Gala, Cure Cup Classic Golf Tournament and International Race for Research 5K road race. She manages a portfolio of enthusiastic donors and works closely with our PRF Chapters. Media contact, Life According to Sam curriculum lead and many other special projects make life exciting at PRF! Michelle is a graduate of Bridgewater State University and has an MBA from Simmons University.
As communications manager for the foundation, Eleanor is responsible for working cross-functionally to develop strategic communications that help advance the foundation’s efforts to maximize awareness and engagement among all of PRF’s key audiences. These strategies include public outreach campaigns, editorial support, content development, social media outreach, website maintenance, and media engagements.
Joining us in April 2019, Eleanor brings a background in marketing communications and brand development to the PRF team, along with 15 years’ experience in the healthcare space. Before joining PRF, she worked for six years in an agency setting, with Porter Novelli and Corinth Group Communications, where she supported clients in a variety of industries, including nonprofit, biotech, pharmaceutical, health tech, and med devices. Prior to that, she was marketing manager for Dynasil Products, where she supported the rebranding and relaunch of the company’s medical devices.
Eleanor earned her BS in business management from Skidmore College, with a minor in studio art.
Communications and Events Specialist
As communications and events specialist, Jennifer works closely with the Communications Manager to research, write and copy-edit a range of materials. Jennifer also oversees all PRF in-house events including the International Race for Research 5K road race, Cure Cup Classic Golf Tournament and Night of Wonder Gala as well as supports 3rd party running events including PRF’s Falmouth Road Race team and Boston Marathon team.
Before joining PRF, she worked for ten years at non-profit organizations including Neurofibromatosis Northeast and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children where she supported those organizations’ communications, fundraising events and development initiatives. Prior to working at non-profits, she worked for three years in public relations at Schwartz Communications where she supported healthcare and technology clients.
Jennifer has a BA in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado.
Executive Assistant to the ED/Office Manager
Kristine is PRF’s Office Manager and Executive Assistant supporting the daily functions of the President and Executive Director. Her work experience includes ten plus years working in the Treasury and Private Banking divisions of a major bank as well as several years of Real Estate sales experience. Kristine is excited for the opportunity to work in an environment that is making a difference for those who are most vulnerable. Kristine is a Salem State graduate with a BS in Business.
Executive Administrative Assistant to the Medical Director
Christina is the part-time Executive Administrative Assistant to the Medical Director and Co-Founder of Progeria Research Foundation, Dr. Leslie Gordon.
In this position, Christina provides support and manages an extremely active calendar for Dr. Gordon and serves as the primary contact with hospitals, researchers, clinicians, and families throughout the world for scheduling meetings, communications and conference calls.
Christina has earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University. She has a varied background as an Executive Administrative Assistant, Marketing Manager, and Product Manager. Her attention to detail and motivation to helping others has made it possible to be successful in her career.
Odette came to Progeria Research in March of 2015 and works closely with the Development Team as the part-time Donor Services Assistant. She is responsible for the day-to-day input of gifts into the database and running the corresponding letters of receipt, as well as monitoring the Match Gifts Program. Before coming to PRF, she worked for 15 years as the Administrative Assistant and Database Manager for the Development Office at Austin Preparatory School. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University. In her spare time she manages her family summer home in Maine, travels the world with her husband and helps take care of their 5 grandchildren.
Karen Gordon Betournay, CPDT-KA, AABP-CDT
Social Media and Web Site Coordinator
Karen is responsible for updating and maintaining PRF’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more!). Working closely with the PRF Staff, Karen also updates all aspects of PRF’s website. Karen has been the volunteer web site specialist since PRF was founded in 1999. She also has the honor of being Sam’s Aunt, and sister to Executive Director Audrey Gordon and Medical Director Leslie Gordon.
Karen is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and is certified in Grooming/Kennel Management from Essex Agricultural and Technical College. Karen is the owner of Animal Manners, Inc, providing training and behavior counseling for canines. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David, twin girls Paige and Skyler, dogs Jazz and Logan, and cat Freddie Mercury.
Research Nurse Manager
Mary works closely with the Medical Director and the PRF team to respond to communications from families and physicians regarding interest in becoming involved in PRF programs including clinical trials.
Mary began her career as a clinical research nurse in Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh and its satellite institutions. She became a sponsor oncology research nurse with responsibilities as a site manager for early- stage oncology clinical trials as a clinical data monitor and provided regulatory oversight and general support for the institutional teams carrying out the clinical trials. She has worked for sponsors including Merck, Pfizer, Novartis and Wyeth.
Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Boston University and graduated with high honors from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.
Marianna Castro Florez
Patient Community Platform Administrator
As PRF’s Patient Community Platform Administrator, Marianna is responsible for managing the new community engagement platform. In this position she administers the setup, execution, and daily maintenance alongside the PRF team. Marianna also manages and initiates users’ accounts and permissions, collaborates with the Medical Director’s team to identify potential new patients, and collects feedback from community members and the PRF team to shape platform product features. Marianna has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry from Rowan University and a Masters in Global Public Health from New York University.