WRF Staff

Meher Antia, Ph.D.

Director, Grant Programs

Meher Antia, Ph.D.

Director, Grant Programs

Dr. Meher Antia is responsible for WRF’s grant-making programs, which support innovation at nonprofit research institutions across Washington state. She leads the evaluation of all grant proposals received by WRF, along with the assessment and development of existing and new programs. In addition, she serves in an advisory role for WRF Capital’s startup investments.

Prior to joining WRF, Dr. Antia was the Assistant Director for the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, responsible for strategically engaging with partners to help implement the Initiative’s vision. Previously, she worked for the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences, where she developed programs to accelerate early-stage biomedical research to the clinic. Dr. Antia spent several years at the Wellcome Trust in London, where she initially managed strategic research projects in structural biology and advanced microscopy. She subsequently moved to Wellcome’s Innovations department, where she gained experience in evaluating novel biomedical technologies for their potential to fulfil unmet medical needs, and was responsible for oversight of a portfolio of funded projects in medical devices and drug development. She also led two major medical engineering funding initiatives at Wellcome.

Dr. Antia holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics, and a Ph.D. in bioengineering. She has worked as a freelance science writer for The Economist, Science magazine and others.

Clarisse Benson

Grants Coordinator

Clarisse Benson

Grants Coordinator

Clarisse Benson supports the director of grant programs and the internal grants team in areas of grants management, including documentation, review, decision-making, notification and tracking of outcomes.

Prior to joining WRF, Ms. Benson served as finance and operations coordinator at ArtsFund. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance as well as a certificate in advanced music studies from Carnegie Mellon University. Outside of WRF, Ms. Benson also manages the West Seattle Community Orchestras, a nonprofit organization that provides musical opportunities for people of all ages.

William Canestaro, Ph.D.

Managing Director

William Canestaro, Ph.D.

Managing Director

Dr. Will Canestaro is a venture capitalist, health economist and meta-epidemiologist with a demonstrated history of working in the biotechnology industry. He manages the Foundation’s biotech and engineering VC investment portfolio. Through WRF, Dr. Canestaro has made 25 investments in 19 Washington-based companies.

Dr. Canestaro also teaches courses at the UW School of Business and School of Pharmacy on Health Innovation and Meta-Analytic methods, respectively.

Dr. Canestaro earned his doctorate from the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program. He received an M.Sc. in medical anthropology from Oxford University and an A.B. in medical sociology from Dartmouth College.

Jasmine Coleman

Administrative Assistant

Jasmine Coleman

Administrative Assistant

Sue Coliton

Interim President & CEO

Sue Coliton

Interim President & CEO

Susan Coliton is a senior consultant with Seattle-based Luma Consulting, where she offers strategic counsel to philanthropists, foundations, and non-profits to help them deepen their impact in the communities they serve.

A focus of her practice is providing Interim CEO services to nonprofits experiencing leadership transitions. Ms. Coliton is currently serving as the Interim President and CEO of Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital, in addition to her service on the WRF Board. Previous assignments include Interim President and CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and Interim President and CEO of ArtsFund.

Ms. Coliton spent 15 years as the head of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s philanthropic programs, where she oversaw regional, national, and international grant-making programs through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Through her work, she aligned donor vision with results; designed new initiatives in science, education, and the arts; and built non-profit capacity through research, workshops, and convenings.

Prior to joining the Allen Foundation, Ms. Coliton held management positions at several national philanthropic organizations. She directed the west coast office of the New York-based Nonprofit Finance Fund, designed corporate giving programs for Gap, Inc., and worked as a grantmaking specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ms. Coliton was a gubernatorial appointment on the Washington State Arts Commission where she served as chair, and is past-chair of the Philanthropy Northwest Board. She served on the board and the executive committee of Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization in Washington D.C. She is currently a board member of Outpost Productions, a New Mexico-based jazz presenter and Washington Research Foundation.

Ms. Coliton received a B.A. from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN) and an M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). She completed Stanford’s Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders and the Executive Seminar at the Aspen Institute. She resides and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Seattle, WA.

Kim Emmons

Manager, Research & Information Services

Kim Emmons

Manager, Research & Information Services

Kim Emmons is Manager of Research and Information Services at Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital. Kim joined the foundation in 1990 and has extensive experience evaluating the commercial potential of research innovations. She established WRF’s Research Services, which includes an online search service for WRF staff members, WRF portfolio companies, and WRF Venture Center tenants as well as nonprofit technology transfer organizations in Washington state.

Kim has expertise in researching patents and trademarks, scientific literature, competitive intelligence, and trade and industry sources to support investment, grant-making and licensing decisions.

Ms. Emmons has a bachelor of science from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a master’s of library and information science from the University of Washington.

Morgan Hellar

Chief Financial Officer

Morgan Hellar

Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Morgan Hellar helps WRF to achieve its financial goals through budgeting, forecasting and overseeing its grant-making and investment activities.

Ms. Hellar joined WRF in 2004 to work on the Foundation’s patent portfolio, which included the Ben Hall technologies and others that have improved the health of more than a billion people worldwide and enabled WRF to earn over $445 million in licensing revenue for the University of Washington (UW). She later progressed through finance roles within WRF.

Ms. Hellar holds a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Washington.

Loretta Little

Managing Director

Loretta Little

Managing Director

Ms. Little focuses on investment opportunities in the life sciences such as medical devices, health care IT, biotechnology tools and scientific instrumentation. Her portfolio includes consumer technology, software and advanced materials companies. She has worked closely with several of WRF Capital’s investments including C-SATS (acquired by J&J/Ethicon), FlexMinder (acquired by JellyVision), Clarisonic (acquired by L’Oreal), Mirador Biomedical (acquired by Centurion Medical Products), Amnis (acquired by EMD Millipore), Mobisante (acquired by Renew Group), and EKOS (acquired by BTG plc). She oversees WRF Capital’s investments Lightspeed Microscopy, MDmetrix, AbSci, Accium Biosciences, Transformative Med, Cardiac Insight and Modumetal.

Previously, Ms. Little served as senior technology licensing manager at Washington Research Foundation. Before joining WRF, she worked as a marketing manager for a biotechnology company and as a market consultant.

Ms. Little received an MBA from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in zoology from Pomona College. She currently serves as a board member with the Alliance of Angels.

Dale Wadman

Communications Manager

Dale Wadman

Communications Manager

Dale Wadman is responsible for Washington Research Foundation’s communications and marketing efforts. He is the principal writer and editor for the Foundation’s press releases and reports, in addition to managing its website and social media accounts.

Prior to joining WRF in 2005, Mr. Wadman was an accounting assistant and taught English to speakers of other languages in the U.K. He holds a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in education from The Open University, and has completed the University of Washington’s Certificate in Public Relations and Strategic Communications.

WRF Board of Directors

Jacqueline Brainard

Jacqueline Brainard

VP, Operations and Compliance Officer, First Choice Health

Jacqueline Brainard

Jacqueline Brainard

VP, Operations and Compliance Officer, First Choice Health

Ms. Brainard has over 30 years’ financial, legal, audit & compliance, and administrative experience as a leader in the reinsurance, managed care (HMO, PPO, & TPA) and insurance industries. Her responsibilities have included financial and compliance administrative oversight of reinsurance, premium, claims, management information systems, underwriting, medical management and provider relations. She possesses significant change leadership experience.

In 2010, Ms. Brainard joined First Choice Health, a Seattle-based Preferred Provider Organization and Third Party Administrator (TPA) for employer medical and dental coverage in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. She held the position of Vice President, Re-Engineering at CNO Financial Group prior to joining First Choice and was the first female Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer at BCS Financial Corporation.

Ms. Brainard serves on the Board of Trustees for Childhaven. In addition, she was founding board member of the Third Party Administration Association of America (TPAAA), an affiliate of the American Association of Payers, Administrators and Networks.

Ms. Brainard obtained a bachelor’s degree cum laude in accounting from Moorhead State University, an MBA with an insurance concentration from the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul and a J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. She completed the University of Washington’s Executive Development Program.

Adriane Brown

Adriane Brown

Senior Advisor, Intellectual Ventures

Adriane Brown

Adriane Brown

Senior Advisor, Intellectual Ventures

Adriane Brown brings over 30 years of leadership experience gained across a variety of industries, serving a number of global customer. Ms. Brown served as president and chief operating officer for Intellectual Ventures (IV) from January 2010 through July 2017. During her tenure at IV, the team delivered more than $3B in revenue, spun out 14 companies and joint ventures closed more than 50 retail customers, and established Global Good and Research, which is changing the game in global health and development.

Before joining IV, Ms. Brown served as president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems. Under her management, this business unit experienced profitable growth through disciplined global expansion and innovative new products. Over the course of 10 years at Honeywell, she held leadership positions serving the aerospace and automotive markets.

Prior to Honeywell, Ms. Brown spent 19 years at Corning, where she began her career as a shift supervisor and gained hands-on experience in operations. She later moved into sales, customer service and product management roles, and became vice president and general manager of Corning’s Environmental Products Division.

In 2017, Ms. Brown was honored by University of Washington Women’s Center as a Woman of Courage. The National Diversity Council presented her with the 2016 Washington Leadership Excellence Award. In 2015, she received the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award. In 2014, she was named a Woman of Achievement by Legal Momentum. In 2013, she received a Grace Hopper Award for outstanding achievement and was recognized as a Woman of Influence by the Puget Sound Business Journal. In 2012, STEMconnector™ recognized Ms. Brown as one of 100 Women Leaders in STEM. In 2011, Ms. Brown was named as one of the Grio’s 100 History Makers in the Making. In 2009, she was named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.

Ms. Brown holds a doctorate of humane letters and a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Old Dominion University. She also holds a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was a Sloan Fellow.

In additon to WRF, Ms. Brown serves on the board of directors for eBay Inc, Allergan Plc and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She is also on the board of directors of the Pacific Science Center and Jobs for America’s Graduates, the nation’s leading dropout prevention program.

Kevin Cable

Kevin Cable

Managing Director, Cascadia Capital

Kevin Cable

Kevin Cable

Managing Director, Cascadia Capital

Kevin Cable is co-founder and Managing Director of Cascadia Capital. He founded the firm’s efforts in Healthcare IT & Services drawing from a deep history in software, analytics, big data and consumer applications. He is also responsible for cultivating strategic relationships for the firm.

Mr. Cable focuses on a broad spectrum of transactions that include equity private placements, M&A mandates, recapitalizations and buyouts. Having built a career split equally between operating companies and investment banking, he brings a grounded and balanced perspective to help companies achieve their transaction goals. He maintains that “making payroll” is an experience everyone should achieve at least once in his or her life.

Prior to co-founding Cascadia, Mr. Cable served 14 years on the executive teams of several technology companies, including Numera Software, which he co-founded and led as CEO. He has served as a director of the Washington Software Alliance, the Washington State Technology Alliance, the Alliance of Angels, Innovate Washington Foundation and several private technology companies.

Mr. Cable holds a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington. He lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife of 25 years and their two children.

Thomas Cable

Thomas Cable, Co-Founder

Private Investor

Thomas Cable

Thomas Cable, Co-Founder

Private Investor

Thomas Cable co-founded Washington Research Foundation in 1981 and served as chairman of the board of directors from 1981-2011. Through activities supporting the University of Washington, Mr. Cable has developed an intimate involvement with the research community in the Northwest. He has more than 25 years of venture experience. Twenty of those years have been spent as a resident of Seattle and deeply involved in the development of the Northwest venture industry.

Kent Carlson

Kent Carlson

Senior of Counsel, K&L Gates

Kent Carlson

Kent Carlson

Senior of Counsel, K&L Gates

Mr. Carlson’s practice is focused on corporate law. After more than three decades of focus on merger, acquisitions, joint venture, and financing work. Mr. Carlson’s current practice focuses on matters of corporate governance and complex strategic relationships. He serves as special counsel to boards and independent board committees, as counsel for private foundations, and as counsel for private profit and non-profit entities in public-private projects.

Mr. Carlson is active in the legal community in Washington and nationally. He is a member of the Committee on Corporate Laws of the American Bar Association’s Business Law section. He has served as the chairman of the Business Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association and long–term member of the Section Executive Committee. He is a founder, past chair, and long–term member of the Washington State Bar Association Corporate Act Revision Committee. He is also a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Mr. Carlson is also active in the broader community. He is a member of the board of directors of the Washington Research Foundation and was chairman from 2011-20, is a member of the University of Washington Foundation Board, past president of the University of Washington Law School Foundation, past chairman and member of the board of trustees of Cornish College of the Arts, past chairman and current trustee of the Pilchuck Glass School and was a two-term member and vice chair of the Washington State Arts Commission.

Before joining K&L Gates, Mr. Carlson was an assistant professor of law at George Washington University Law School. He has regularly presented at continuing legal education programs for the Washington State Bar Association, the University of Washington Law School, the Seminar Group, Seattle University Law School and Donnelly “Financial SEC Hot Topics”.

Sue Coliton

Interim President & CEO, Washington Research Foundation

Sue Coliton

Interim President & CEO, Washington Research Foundation

Susan Coliton is a senior consultant with Seattle-based Luma Consulting, where she offers strategic counsel to philanthropists, foundations, and non-profits to help them deepen their impact in the communities they serve.

A focus of her practice is providing Interim CEO services to nonprofits experiencing leadership transitions. Ms. Coliton is currently serving as the Interim President and CEO of Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital, in addition to her service on the WRF Board. Previous assignments include Interim President and CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and Interim President and CEO of ArtsFund.

Ms. Coliton spent 15 years as the head of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s philanthropic programs, where she oversaw regional, national, and international grant-making programs through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Through her work, she aligned donor vision with results; designed new initiatives in science, education, and the arts; and built non-profit capacity through research, workshops, and convenings.

Prior to joining the Allen Foundation, Ms. Coliton held management positions at several national philanthropic organizations. She directed the west coast office of the New York-based Nonprofit Finance Fund, designed corporate giving programs for Gap, Inc., and worked as a grantmaking specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ms. Coliton was a gubernatorial appointment on the Washington State Arts Commission where she served as chair, and is past-chair of the Philanthropy Northwest Board. She served on the board and the executive committee of Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization in Washington D.C. She is currently a board member of Outpost Productions, a New Mexico-based jazz presenter and Washington Research Foundation.

Ms. Coliton received a B.A. from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN) and an M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). She completed Stanford’s Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders and the Executive Seminar at the Aspen Institute. She resides and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Seattle, WA.

David Galas

David Galas, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator, Pacific Northwest Research Institute

David Galas

David Galas, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator, Pacific Northwest Research Institute

Dr. David Galas is a Senior Investigator at Pacific Northwest Research Institute, formerly holding the positions of Professor and Senior Vice President at the Institute for Systems Biology. Prior to that, he was Chief Science Officer for Life Sciences of the Battelle Memorial Institute. He was previously Chancellor, Chief Scientific Officer and Norris Professor of Applied Life Science at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI), in Claremont, Calif., a research and educational institution in the applied life sciences, which he co-founded. Earlier, Dr. Galas served as President and Chief Scientific Officer of Seattle-based Chiroscience R&D, Inc., a genomics and drug discovery company formed through the acquisition of Darwin Molecular Corporation, which Dr. Galas co-founded in 1993 and served as CEO and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Galas has also served as Director for Health and Environmental Research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, where he headed the DOE’s Human Genome Project from 1990 to 1993, while on leave from the University of Southern California, where he was Professor of Molecular Biology and chairman.

Dr. Galas’ PhD training was in physics, from the University of California. He has also held research positions at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His broad research interests include areas of molecular biology and human genetics, the development and application of new technologies in the life sciences, and the understanding of complex biological networks. He is the recipient of several awards including the Smithsonian Institution–Computer World Pioneer award in 1999. He has served on many federal, university and corporate boards, including several biotechnology companies he has co-founded, and on various advisory and National Research Council committees, including the Board on Life Science and the National Cancer Policy Board. He chairs the Board of Directors of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. He is a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brooks Simpson

Brooks Simpson, Chair

President, Pacific Rim Medical Systems

Brooks Simpson

Brooks Simpson, Chair

President, Pacific Rim Medical Systems

Mr. Simpson has over 40 years of experience in medical sales and marketing. He retired from Physio-Control after 20 years of service including senior management positions as Vice President of World Wide Marketing, International, and North American Sales.

During his tenure at Physio-Control he was involved with the divestiture from Eli Lilly, sale to Bain Capital, IPO and acquisition by Medtronic. In 1999, Mr. Simpson founded Pacific Rim Medical Systems, a distributor of cardiovascular devices. He is a limited partner in Bain Capital and was on the Board of Physio-Control from 2011-2016. Mr. Simpson is also chairman of the R. Hunter Simpson Foundation. He is a director on the University of Washington Foundation Board, in addition to being an external advisory board member for the UW Department of Global Health, Department of Bioengineering and co-chair of the School of Nursing. Other board roles include the Physio Foundation, Resuscitation Academy, and he is president of the Medic One Foundation.

James Uhlir

James Uhlir

Partner, COJK (retired)

James Uhlir

James Uhlir

Partner, COJK (retired)

After graduation from the University of Illinois Law School, Mr. Uhlir practiced in Chicago for a few years before moving to Seattle, where he was a partner in the intellectual property law firm of Christensen O’Connor Johnson and Kindness PLLC specializing in patent and trademark prosecution, litigation and licensing until his retirement. He is a past president of the Washington State Patent Law Association, Allied Arts of Seattle and the Broadmoor Golf Club, and is currently a Trustee of the Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Opera.

Mr. Uhlir was a co-founder of Immunex Corporation and in his practice advises inventors and business startups. His passions include golf, skiing, and his and his wife Camille’s San Juan Island farm.