Tara Zier, DDS
FOUNDER & CEO
Dr. Tara Zier co-founded Smiles dental practice in Fairfax, Virginia and later joined an Alexandria practice. When Stiff Person Syndrome tried to hijack her life, she decided to establish the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation to raise money for development of treatments and a cure. Tara has established relationships with people at the Stiff Person Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and patients around the world.
James Weiss, MD
Dr. Jim Weiss recently retired from practicing nephrology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of his sons was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome as a young teenager. Both of his children have another rare disorder, Gaucher disease. Jim is a cofounder of a western Pennsylvania organization focused on care for underserved communities.
Lara Vujovic, PhD
Lara earned her PhD in psychology from Tufts University and currently works as a user researcher. She’s motivated to find better treatment and ultimately a cure for Stiff Person Syndrome.
Helena earned her PhD in biomedical engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she was recognized as a Medtronic Scholar. She holds five provisional patents from her research on developing systems for high-throughput diagnostics and has published more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and journal publications. Helena holds a master of science degree in molecular bioengineering from ETH Zurich, and she received her bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Carla Robson comes to the board with 17 years in the leadership consulting and executive search industry. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management at Virginia Tech, where she formed a lifelong friendship with Tara.
Dan Robson is an insurance industry executive, currently serving as Chief Sales Officer for ManhattanLife. Dan’s broad experience leading sales and operations cultivates expertise in personal protection and working with insurance carriers, third party administrators and employee benefits brokerages. He earned a BA in Economics and Business Management at North Carolina State University.