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DIA Leadership

DIA Leadership

 

Disease Interception Accelerator

Disease Interception Accelerator

The DIA leadership team, representing a diverse cross-section of deep scientific research and development talent at Janssen, is united by one vision: to lead a new paradigm in healthcare that intercepts and effectively eliminates disease, preserves health and drastically reduces the burden on healthcare systems.

As Head of the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Ben Wiegand, Ph.D., leads a team focused on addressing the root causes of select diseases, intervening earlier than today’s clinically accepted point of diagnosis to stop, reverse or inhibit progression to disease.

With more than 20 years at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Ben brings a range of experience in identifying and piloting new business and funding models, accelerating growth opportunities and scouting new and emerging scientific areas to deliver innovative solutions.

Prior to joining the DIA, Ben served as Vice President, Global Open Innovation and New Business Models Research & Development for the J&J Group of Consumer Companies. His responsibilities included the creation of disruptive innovations and the progression of emerging scientific areas, like the microbiome and big data, to progress advances in healthcare.

Ben has served as General Manager and Vice President, Science and Innovation, J&J Wellness & Prevention, Inc. He also held responsibility for the Employer Franchise, focused on providing health and performance solutions to large employers to help manage healthcare costs and improve employee productivity. During his tenure with Wellness & Prevention, Ben led science and innovation efforts to support the enterprise, including oversight of an innovation development program and measurement/reporting of industry-leading organizational outcomes.

Ben earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University.

Ben Wiegand, Ph.D.

Head, Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Strategy and Operations Support Leader for the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Dave Yazujian drives the development and execution of the DIA strategy, ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness and integrating input from Janssen Research & Development (R&D), the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Innovation Centers and the broader J&J enterprise.

Dave joined the DIA with more than 28 years of experience at J&J, serving most recently as Vice President, Strategy and Operations Support Leader, Oncology Therapeutic Area (TA).  He brings deep insights in managing end-to-end strategies and operating models that span organizations.  As a core member of the Oncology Senior Leadership Team, Dave served as a key partner to the TA Head and the Global Commercial Strategy Leader to ensure the alignment, accountability and focus needed for the effective execution of critical TA strategies to deliver growth.  He also represented the TA in cross-TA strategy, portfolio and operations management committees to ensure process consistency and alignment across R&D and partner organizations.

Dave has held leadership positions in Project Management in multiple TAs, including Oncology, Neuroscience and Infectious Disease.  With a clinical operations background as a Scientific Programmer and Clinical Research Associate, he also directed all aspects of development, maintenance and support for clinical trials management systems with the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute.

Dave earned a Bachelor of Science in Experimental Psychology from Susquehanna University and a Master of Science in Psychology from Bucknell University.

Dave Yazujian, M.S.

Strategy and Operations Support Leader,
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Presbyopia/Cataracts Venture Leader of the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Eric George leads the team’s efforts in exploring solutions aimed at stopping the progression of presbyopia and cataracts.

Prior to joining the DIA, Eric worked for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vision Care for more than ten years. His experience in material and polymer sciences led to key achievements in the manufacturing and development of the ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses. Eric also led competitive and intellectual property assessment of medical breakthroughs in ophthalmology while at Vision Care.

Before his time with J&J, Eric served as Research Scientist, Global Technology Leader and Chief Technology Officer in positions at Royal Dutch Shell, Warner Lambert, General Electric, and Zeus Inc., where he authored several patents and led the commercialization of an array of engineering thermoplastics. He is the author or coauthor of 30 issued patents and 14 publications in scientific journals.

Eric earned a Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Eric George, Ph.D.

Venture Leader, Presbyopia/Cataracts,
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Behavioral Science Lead for the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Kevin Wildenhaus leads the behavioral science innovation and research efforts for the DIA and its venture focus areas. He is also heading work in perinatal depression to intercept the disease prior to its impact on mother and infant.

Prior to joining the DIA, Kevin held a similar role in Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Consumer Research & Development (R&D), providing key insights to drive product adherence/compliance and health habit development across the portfolio of J&J Consumer Brands. He has a strong track record in leveraging technology to deliver scalable, effective health interventions, an important experience that will bring valuable insights to the disease interception strategy. For example, as Head of Behavioral Science for SocialWealth, a health technology company, Kevin led the development of the first consumer-focused mHealth application certification standards and review process for use by health plans and retailers.

Before joining J&J, Kevin served as Senior Director, Science and Innovation at HealthMedia, Inc. and Wellness & Prevention Inc., where he led a clinical team in developing and researching individually tailored, digital health coaching solutions to improve lifestyle behaviors and manage chronic conditions. In addition to his expertise in health behavior change, Kevin has also served as Team Psychologist for a professional football team since 2001.

Kevin joins the DIA with more than 25 years of experience in health psychology, behavioral science and the use of technology to drive engagement and clinically proven behavior change. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and thought leadership white papers, as well as several academic book chapters in psychology. In addition, Kevin has conducted more than 75 keynote addresses, presentations, workshops and seminars.

Kevin earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Wayne State University.

Kevin Wildenhaus, Ph.D.

Behavioral Science Lead & Perinatal Depression Venture Leader
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Venture Leader for the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Joe Hedrick leads efforts utilizing the rapidly emerging science of immune diagnostics and precision intervention to find solutions to intercept T1D.

Before joining the DIA, Joe served as Scientific Director, Cardiovascular and Metabolism Therapeutic Area (TA), where his responsibilities included initiating innovative new target programs. He also served as the Janssen Steering Committee Representative for the Accelerated Medicines Partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Prior to joining Janssen, Joe spent more than two years as Senior Director, Cure and Prevent Therapies at the JDRF, a leading non-profit T1D research organization. In this role, Joe oversaw both the immune and beta cell replacement efforts and maintained responsibility for developing and implementing JDRF’s T1D interception and biomarker strategies.

Joe joins the DIA with more than 20 years of experience in both industry and non-profit drug discovery research in immunology and diabetes. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles, several book chapters and is an inventor on more than 30 patents and patent applications.

Joe earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University.

Joe Hedrick, Ph.D.

Venture Leader, Type 1 Diabetes,
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Venture Leader of the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Gabriele Ronnett is responsible for driving GDM interception efforts within the DIA. She and her team work closely with the Type 2 Diabetes Disease Area Stronghold (DAS) within the Cardiovascular & Metabolism (CVM) Therapeutic Area (TA) at Janssen Research & Development (R&D) to ensure continuity in scientific and commercial learnings.

Gabriele joined Janssen R&D two years ago, serving as early Compound Development Team Leader for several programs within the CVM TA. Prior to her roles at Janssen, she served as the Founding Director for the Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research (CMOR) and the Center for Resources Integrative Biology (CRIB) at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Gabriele also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in the Republic of Korea, where she founded and headed the Department of Brain Sciences, the first of its kind in Korea.

A recipient of various industry honors, Gabriele received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) award, the Michael Shanoff Prize from The Johns Hopkins University, a Shannon Award from the NIH and a McKnight Scholars Award from The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience.

Gabriele received her Bachelor of Arts from The Johns Hopkins University and her M.D. and Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She performed her internal medicine training through the Osler Medical Service and her residency in the Department of Neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident.

Gabriele Ronnett, M.D., Ph.D.

Venture Leader, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Oral Cavity & Oropharyngeal Cancer/Cervical Cancer Venture Leader for the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Gert is responsible for leading efforts focused on these diseases within the DIA, creating solutions that will enable the detection of pre-cancer in the earliest stages and allowing intervention with interception solutions.

Gert joined Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in 2011 and serves as the early Compound Development Team Leader of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine program. As part of that program, Gert works to develop and launch a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of high-risk HPV infections that can lead to cervical cancer. With his experience in interception strategies from the HPV program, Gert brings a wealth of knowledge to the DIA and Oral Cavity & Oropharyngeal Cancer/Cervical Cancer venture.

Prior to joining J&J Gert worked as Associate Professor at the Department of Child Neurology, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, with a focus on inherited diseases that affect the white matter of the brain. He has contributed to several book chapters, is co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and was a member of the Scientific Research Committee of the VUmc and member of the scientific board for the Rubicon grants of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research.

Gert received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Utrecht and his Master of Science in Molecular Sciences from the Wageningen University.

Gert Scheper, Ph.D.

Venture Leader, Oral Cavity & Oropharyngeal Cancer/Cervical Cancer,
Disease Interception Accelerator

As the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Venture Leader for the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), Christopher leads efforts focused on pinpointing individuals who are at risk and in the earliest stages of COPD using radiology and biomarker tracking to stop small airway destruction.

Christopher started with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) family of companies in March 2014, when he joined Respivert Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J, as the Head of Biology. In July 2015, Christopher went on to serve as the Head of Respiratory Discovery within the Immunology Therapeutic Area (TA) at Janssen, where he executed discovery and biomarker strategies that ensured well-designed, candidate molecules entered and progressed through early clinical development in support of the portfolio.

Prior to joining J&J, Christopher worked in several respiratory discovery organizations over the course of 15 years at GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-La Roche and Novartis where he led the Respiratory Translational Biology Unit. Christopher also held an academic faculty position at the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London School of Medicine and is currenly an honorary professor of COPD Research at the University of Southern Denmark.

An author of over 40 peer-reviewed scientific publiations, Christopher is also listed as a co-inventor on two patents for novel anti-inflammatory molecules.

Christopher earned his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Christopher Stevenson Ph.D.

Venture Leader, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,
Disease Interception Accelerator