Our Team

Joseph A. Helpern, Ph.D., President & Co-Founder

Joseph A. Helpern, Ph.D., is a physicist internationally recognized for his research in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He is currently a tenured Professor and Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science and Professor of Neuroscience & Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

He holds a SmartState® Endowed Chair in Brain Imaging and the Lula P. and Asa & David J. Levidow Distinguished Chair in Neurodegenerative Disease Research. Prior to moving to Charleston in 2010, Dr. Helpern was a tenured Professor and Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Radiology, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging at New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. Helpern is the recipient of multiple honors and awards including the Excellence in Research Award from the New York State Office of Mental Health (2000), the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy of Radiological Research (2012) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Oakland University (2013). He is also a Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and North American Editor for the scientific journal NMR in Biomedicine.

Dr. Helpern has served on numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) committees, has co-authored over 130 journal articles and book chapters and has several patents in the field of MRI. Over his career, Dr. Helpern has been the recipient of approximately $30MM in grant funding for his research including federal, foundation and philanthropic awards.

Charles C. Dorego, Esq., Co-Founder & Board Member

Charles C. Dorego is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Glenwood Management Corp., one of the largest and most respected real estate development companies in New York City. He joined Glenwood Management in September 2001 following 18 years at the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

Charlie has over 30 years of diverse, hands-on experience in all aspects of the Real Estate industry. He is a member of the Executive Committee as well as the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), and is a trustee of the Local 32BJ pension and welfare benefit funds. Charlie is also a member of the Board of the Downtown Alliance, the business improvement district of lower Manhattan. In addition to his role at Glenwood, Charlie is a board member of The Litwin Foundation, helping the Litwin family issue and administer grants for the direct research of treatments for medical illnesses, including Alzheimer's Disease and Crohn's Disease, at various major research institutions in New York City and elsewhere. A 1984 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Charlie is the proud father of Charles Edward "Teddy" Dorego and Thomas George Dorego.

Mark C. Gelnaw, Board Member

Mark Gelnaw has over 35 years experience in the financial services industry. He has held senior positions at Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, and Salomon Brothers. Serving in many of Deutsche Bank's important bank initiatives, Mark's achievements are highlighted by the acquisition of the NatWest Derivative businesses as well as the acquisition of Bankers Trust.

Mark was a member of the firm's top 40 professionals charged with establishing the business mission and strategy. As chief operating officer of Deutsche Bank, in less than three years, the equity business grew from a loss of 40 million euros to a net profit of over 2.5 billion euros. Under Mark's leadership as Global Head of Equity Finance and Global Head of Proprietary Trading for the Equity division at Deutsche Bank, revenues grew by over 50%.

Also during Mark's tenure at Deutsche Bank, Mark created an angel fund in conjunction with Stanford University and then acted in the capacity of Portfolio Manager of the fund. To date the fund has returned 22 times its original investment - bolstered by an interest in PayPal. Mark raised capital, advised on deal structure and served on invested venture boards.

Since leaving international banking, Mark has developed a series of ventures spanning several industries; including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, real estate, energy conservation solutions, craft beer and social media entities to name a few.

Mark is a graduate of Georgetown University where he earned a BSBA in Accounting. He is a CPA with Series 7 and Series 63 licenses. Mark currently serves on many company boards and non-profit organizations. Mark enjoys golf, boating and coaching and caddying youth sports.

Kathleen T. Brady, Ph.D., Board Member

Kathleen T. Brady, MD, PhD, a board-certified psychiatrist, is a Distinguished University Professor, Vice President for Research, and Director of the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

She is Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the NIDA's Clinical Trials Network Southern Consortium Node and the Principal investigator and Center Director for 1 of 11 Specialized Centers for Research on Sex and Gender Factors Affecting Women's Health.

Dr. Brady's special interest in co-occurring psychiatric substance use disorders and the pharmacotherapy of substance use disorders has led to significant research in victimization and posttraumatic stress disorder, particularly the co-occurrence of anxiety and affective disorders in women with substance use disorders.

Dr. Brady has served as President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (1994-1996) and President of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (2003-2005). She has also served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and as a board member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Dr. Brady has authored over 350 publications, she is a popular presenter at scientific conferences, grand rounds, and symposia; and she has received numbers of meritorious honors for her dedication to the field.

Stephanie Gerard, Project Coordinator

Stephanie is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati where she earned a BS in Communication, a Marketing minor, and certificate in Public Relations. Prior to moving to Charleston and joining Donors Cure, she worked as a Marketing Coordinator at UC Health, an academic healthcare system in Cincinnati, OH.

Stephanie is an active member of her sorority's local alum group and enjoys spending her free time cooking,reading, and taking fitness classes.

Sarah Goodyear, Marketing Coordinator

Sarah is a recent graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, where she received her BA in Creative Advertising and minor in Graphic Design. Prior to relocating to Charleston, Sarah interned at DigitasLBi in Boston, MA, as well as the MSU Office for International Students and Scholars in East Lansing, MI. Through her various internship and job experiences, she has developed diverse skills in graphic design, digital marketing, and integrated campaign conception.

Originally from northern Michigan, Sarah relocated to Charleston in early 2018 to escape the cold. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, reading, and relaxing at the beach.

Mei K. Shih, Legal Counsel

Mei K. Shih, J.D., an attorney, is licensed to practice in California and South Carolina since 2010. She earned her BA in International Relations and East Asian Studies from the University of California, Davis, and her JD from the California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.

Prior to moving to Charleston and joining Donors Cure, she practiced as a juvenile dependency defense attorney in San Diego, CA for a non-profit public benefit law firm representing indigent clients. Currently, Mei is a solo practitioner with a focus in estate planning and corporate management. During her spare time, she is an administrative volunteer on the eligibility team for Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization, and is working on establishing her home bakery, Pluff Cakes.

Stefanie Ponte

Stefanie joins us from North Carolina where she worked as a news reporter. Prior to she was a political reporter in the Capital city of Montana. She decided to move away from news in 2016 and since worked as the marketing manager for a local business in Summerville. Stefanie joins us as the new content coordinator responsible for our content creation in different mediums and platforms. When she’s not telling our story, you’ll find her exploring Charleston’s coffee shops or at the beach enjoying the sun.