Progeria Research Foundation Spokespeople
Meghan is an accomplished cellist and violinist, high school cross country and track team athlete and published poet. She is a freshman at Emerson College in Massachusetts. Meghan serves as spokesperson for The Progeria Research Foundation, from the perspective of a young adult with Progeria. In this role, Meghan focuses on engaging youth around such events as Hats ON for Progeria, sharing her ideas on how to impact people through social media, and participating in PRF media outreach.
Audrey Gordon, Esq.
President and Executive Director
Working closely with the Board of Directors, committees, staff and volunteers, Ms. Gordon is responsible for ensuring The Progeria Research Foundation’s financial growth, program development and day to day management.
Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Tufts University and Northeastern University School of Law, and is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts since 1988 and Florida since 1990. She has extensive civil litigation experience in both states. Locally, she is a past Trustee of Temple Beth Shalom in Peabody, Massachusetts, a member of the Peabody Chamber of Commerce, and has served on the Peabody Board of Registrars since 2006. Nationally, Ms. Gordon serves on the Board of Advisors of Global Genes|RARE Project and the Rare Disease Report. She is the 2004 winner of the North of Boston Business and Professional Women of the Year award for non-profit organizations, and the 2005 recipient of the Mary Upton Ferrin Award for leadership in her community. She was honored as a Community Hero by Jewish Family Services in April 2009. Under her leadership as PRF’s founding President and Executive Director, PRF was awarded a 4-star Charity Navigator rating, and received Research!America’s 2014 Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award for bringing progeria from obscurity to the forefront of successful translational research.
Leslie Gordon, MD, PhD
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 organized 8 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 in Providence, RI; Research Associate in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital and Research Scientist at Women & Infants Hospital, all in Boston, MA. She was co-author on the 2003 gene discovery for Progeria, lead author of the 2012 Progeria treatment discovery study, and is co-chair of four Progeria clinical drug trials at Boston Children’s Hospital.
She has received the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award, the American Heart Association Scientist Development Award, The Gerontological Society of America Award for contributions to Progeria, a National Institutes of Health Bench to Bedside Grant, and the Mother of the Year award from Working Mother Magazine.
Dr. Gordon earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. She went on to receive a master’s degree and medical and doctorate degrees from Brown University and the Brown University School of Medicine respectively, where she achieved top honors in the medical program.
Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP
Chair, Board of Directors
After serving for 14 years at the March of Dimes National Office, where he was the Senior Vice President of Chapter Programs and Deputy Medical Office, in October 2015 Dr. Berns became President and CEO of the NICHQ (National Institute for Children’s Health Quality), an independent, nonprofit organization working to improve children’s health.
Scott is a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric emergency physician. He is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Clinical Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice at the Brown School of Public Health in Providence, RI. He earned a masters of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in health, policy and management, and completed a one-year White House Fellowship where he served as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
Scott has received the Willis Wingert Award for excellence in research in pediatric emergency medicine from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a national award from the National Perinatal Association, a public health service award from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the 2015 Impact Award from the White House Fellows Foundation & Association.
In Memory of John Tacket, PRF’s first Youth Ambassador
16-year-old John Tacket, PRF’s first Youth Ambassador, passed away Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004. John was an incredible person who never let his condition slow him down. In between his school activities, work and passion for the drums, he welcomed talking to others, especially kids, about Progeria because he felt it was important that people be educated about it. John was a key member of the panel that announced the Progeria gene finding in April 2003 in Washington, DC. He answered reporters’ questions and commented that it was an exciting time for him and his friends. We are proud to have known John and PRF is forever grateful for his contributions in raising awareness about Progeria and the work of PRF. He was an inspiration to us all. John will be missed greatly.
Steve, Sandy, Megan, Michaela and Josh Nighbor
PRF’s Ambassador Family 2005 – January 2010
Thank you to the family of Megan Nighbor, who served as PRF’s first ambassador family. The Nighbors were true trailblazers in raising awareness and fundraising, and continue to support PRF in these important activities.