“Saving lives through education,
   advances in treatment, and
finding a cure for Barth syndrome”

Board of Directors

The Barth Syndrome Foundation's Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the mission and purpose of the organization. Its duties include participation in strategic planning and making policy decisions, then securing the financing of them and the monitoring of their execution. Members must be willing to attend the requisite meetings, follow through on commitments, and participate fully in the decision-making process. The board also presents the organization´s image to the community and solicits its support in achieving BSF´s goals. Members of the BSF Board of Directors serve three-year terms. For all correspondence, including information, please contact us.


Marcus E. Sernel

Mr. Sernel earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1992 and then went on to graduate first in his class from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1997. He continued to leverage his interest in science and his Law degree as a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis - one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the country. Mr. Sernel's specialty at Kirkland & Ellis is intellectual property where he concentrates on patent and other technology related litigation with a particular focus on chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology matters.

Mr. Sernel's natural interest in science and his familiarity with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries makes him a particularly valuable advisor and Board member as BSF pushes deeper and deeper into research and potential medical treatments for Barth syndrome.

Mr. Sernel and his wife, Tracy, live with their three children just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Their youngest son has Barth syndrome and his perspective as a parent of a younger child will add a valuable voice to the BSF Board as we plan for the future.


Stephen B. McCurdy, MBA
Board Member, Chairman Emeritus

Mr. McCurdy is a founding director of the Barth Syndrome Foundation and Chairman of the Board of BSF. Steve and his wife Kate, also a founding and current director of BSF, are the parents of a 28 year old son with Barth syndrome. He has a BS in Economics and Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mr. McCurdy is currently Senior Vice President of Pricing and Revenue Management in Global Merchant Services at American Express. He also serves on the Boards of Community Health Charities of New York and on the National Board of Community Health Charities of America. Mr. McCurdy resides in Larchmont, New York.


David Axelrod, MD
Board Member

Dr. David Axelrod is a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Lucile Packard Children´s Hospital at Stanford, in Palo Alto, California. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1998 and received his M.D. from Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2002. Dr. Axelrod completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at the University of California in San Francisco and completed fellowship training in Pediatric Cardiology (2009) and Pediatric Critical Care (2011) at Stanford.

Although he had heard of Barth syndrome earlier, Dr. Axelrod became more fully aware of the syndrome through a meeting with Shelley Bowen at a medical conference in 2008, and shortly thereafter helped diagnose and care for a Barth patient in California. His family´s involvement with BSF dates back to 2002 when his then future wife served as a volunteer at the first official BSF Conference at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Dr. Axelrod brings the insight of a practicing Pediatric Cardiologist, the personal and professional experience of one who has cared for a Barth patient and a prominent position in a major California teaching hospital to the Board. His interest in and dedication to our mission has been clear from our first meeting and he is eager to help us improve awareness within the medical community and find more families on the West Coast.


Matthew Blumenthal
Board Member

Mr. Blumenthal is a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. Prior to law school, Mr. Blumenthal served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, commanding a rifle platoon in Marjah, Afghanistan during the fall and winter of 2011. His connection to the Barth Syndrome Foundation is through his close friendship with William R. McCurdy. Mr. Blumenthal currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.



Nicole Derusha-Mackey

Mrs. Derusha-Mackey has been active with the Barth Syndrome Foundation since attending the BSF Conference in 2008. Nicole is the mother of two boys born with Barth Syndrome: Nathaniel, who passed away at just two weeks of age in 2002, and Devin, age 12, who underwent heart transplantation as an infant. Nicole has dedicated much of her time with BSF offering her unique perspective of raising a Barth boy after heart transplant surgery. Professionally, Mrs. Derusha-Mackey has worked on numerous political campaigns, ranging from local millage renewal to US Congressional campaign. She currently works as a legislative aide in the Michigan House of Representatives. She, her wife, Sarah, and Devin live just outside of Flint, Michigan.


B.J. Develle

Mr. Develle currently works for Humana at home supervising a team of telephonic Case managers who serve a population who typically have multiple chronic health conditions. He also works as an independent contractor, writing homestudies for pre-adoptive families. Previously, he provided case management and therapy services to children and specialized training to foster parents and professionals who would work with them. He has worked with children with histories of physical and sexual abuse, grief and loss, brain injuries, mood disorders, drug exposure, suicidal and homicidal attempts and psychiatric residential placements, both in the community and within a group home he previously managed. Mr. Develle has been a volunteer with BSF since 1998.

Mr. Develle graduated from Florida State University with a Masters in Social Work in 2008 after earning Bachelor degrees in Child Development and Religion in 2002.


Florence Mannes
Board Member

Mrs. Mannes has worked during 12 years as a lawyer for a European bank, after graduating from a French business school. In 2010, she established with her husband, the French affiliate of the Barth Syndrome Foundation, Barth France. She lives with her family just outside of Paris, and has three boys, the younger one, who is six years old, is affected with Barth Syndrome.


Susan A. McCormack, MBA
Secretary, Board Member

Ms. McCormack is currently a Portfolio Manager of all tax-exempt fixed-income funds at Putnam Investments in Boston, MA. She joined Putnam in 1994 from Merrill Lynch, where she was an investment banker in Merrill's Los Angeles office. Ms. McCormack graduated from Dartmouth College in 1986 with a degree in mathematics and received her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1990. She is a CFA charterholder. Ms. McCormack lives in Wellesley, MA, with her husband, Ken, and their two daughters.


Susan S. Osnos
Board Member

Mrs. Osnos's experience is well suited to BSF. She brings experience in helping to grow a highly successful not-for-profit – Human Rights Watch – a global organization that has become a strong, respected and highly influential advocate for human rights around the world. She joined Human Rights Watch in 1984 and helped to shape its public image for thirteen years as Communications Director, followed by three years through 2000 as its Associate Director. She serves on the Board of Words without Borders, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and continues to serve on the Advisory Committee, Women´s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. Mrs. Osnos is currently leveraging her extensive international experience in the fields of human rights, communications, and organizational planning for foundations as an independent consultant and will advise BSF in these areas as well.

Mrs. Osnos lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband Peter, Founder and Editor-at-Large of PublicAffairs, a publishing company specializing in non-fiction.



Cathy Ritter, RN
Board Member

Like many here, Mrs. Ritter´s entire life has been affected by Barth syndrome first in her early years with the loss of a cousin and a brother and later on in life with the death of her son Shawn. This led her to believe that something was going on in the family and to genetic counseling which led to the diagnosis of Barth syndrome. A few months after this diagnosis, Ryan, who is affected by Barth syndrome, joined his older sister Stephanie and unaffected brother Andrew in the Ritter household. It was after the 2002 conference in Baltimore that Cathy and some fellow Canadians decided to form the Barth Syndrome Foundation of Canada of which she is an acting board member. Mrs. Ritter is a registered nurse by profession who specialized for many years in sick and premature newborn infants but currently works as an Organ Donation Coordinator with the Provincial Government. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Chris for 34 years and in her spare time enjoys working in her garden in Utopia, Ontario or relaxing at the cottage with family.


John Wilkins, AS
Board Member

Being affected by Barth syndrome gives Mr. Wilkins a unique insight into the issues facing the Barth Syndrome Foundation. Mr. Wilkins recently earned an A.S. in Computer Information Technology from Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and works part time as a computer consultant. John lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.



Kevin G. Woodward, PMP
Board Member

Mr. Woodward is an Assistant Vice President and a Technical Solutions Manager at T. Rowe Price Associates, a leading global asset management firm. He oversees an IT group responsible for enterprise content management. Mr. Woodward holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential which is the globally-recognized and demanded standard in project management professional certifications. He also brings with him a strong background in graphic design and printing.

Mr. Woodward and his wife, Stacey, live with their two children (Connor and Ryan) just outside of Baltimore, MD. Stacey is also deeply committed to and involved with the BSF. Their older son, Connor, has Barth syndrome. Mr. Woodward’s perspective as a parent of a child with Barth syndrome will add a valuable voice to BSF's Board as we plan for the future.


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