Founder, Chairman
Robert Klein

Robert Klein authored and Chaired the campaign for California’s Proposition 71, the $6 billion “California Stem Cell Research and Cures” Citizens’ Initiative.

For the first seven years of its existence, Mr. Klein served as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state funding entity established by Proposition 71 to manage the peer review, standards, and grant process for the $3 billion in stem cell research funding authorized by the proposed Initiative. He was elected Chairman Emeritus of CIRM in 2011.

Executive Director
Mary Bass

Mary Bass is the Executive Director of Americans for Cures, the stem cell research advocacy non-profit created by California’s Proposition 71, the 2004 ballot initiative that authorized $3 billion in funding for stem cell research and therapy development. Ms. Bass leads a multidisciplinary team of leaders in scientific communications, digital strategy, grassroots and patient advocacy outreach, media strategy, health care economics, and public policy activities. 
 
Ms. Bass directs Americans for Cures’ statewide Report Back to the Public scientific communications program, the purpose of which is to alert the public to the breakthroughs in stem cell research and therapy development since the passage of Proposition 71. This Report Back to the Public addresses the critical problems caused by dramatic cutbacks in scientific journalism by translating complex stem cell science and breakthroughs into clear, easily digestible formats. Through this program, Americans for Cures communicates high-quality, scientifically accurate, trustworthy coverage of advances in stem cell research.
 
Ms. Bass serves on the Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee of the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Public Policy, with a concentration in Health Policy and Biomedical Ethics, from Stanford University.

Vice President of Public Policy
Don Reed

Don Reed has been an advocate for the advancement of stem cell and medical research for decades, beginning with his citizen sponsorship of California’s Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, named after his son Roman, who was paralyzed in a football accident. “Roman’s Law” raised $17 million in California State funding, attracting an additional $85 million from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. Don was a grassroots organizer for America’s first pro- stem cell research legislation, Senate Bill 253 (Ortiz) and others.

Mr. Reed was an integral member of the Proposition 71 campaign, serving on its Board of Directors. He is a Founding Board Member of the Americans for Cures Foundation.

Reed’s latest book, STEM CELL BATTLES: Proposition 71 and Beyond, was published by World Scientific Publishing, a leading international academic publisher of 46 volumes of Nobel Prize lectures in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics. A prolific writer, Reed has published more than 200 articles in the Huffington Post.

Director of Operations
Yimy Villa

With his strong background, knowledge, and passion for advocacy and assisting marginalized communities, Yimy Villa brings a unique perspective to Americans for Cures. Mr. Villa’s career trajectory was in part forged as a result of 2004’s Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, and the state funding program it created, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Mr. Villa assists in event planning and coordination. He is responsible for organizing logistical factors, as well a variety of administrative areas. Utilizing his unique background, he provides suggestions and feedback into projects related to Americans for Cures’ Report Back on Prop 71 Progress, a statewide scientific communications program to engage and inform the public of stem cell research breakthroughs.

Mr. Villa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Additionally, he is in the process of completing a Master of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, with an emphasis in Stem Cell Research, from San Francisco State University; one of CIRM’s many Bridges to Stem Cell Research programs located all across California.

Director of Scientific Programs
Mitra Hooshmand

Dr. Mitra Hooshmand is the Director of Scientific Programs for Americans for Cures. She reviews all educational content disseminated to the public to ensure scientific accuracy. She also serves as the liaison between the scientific community and the public. Development, coordination, and organization of all scientific programming is under her direction.

Dr. Hooshmand received her PhD from the University of California, Irvine in a multidisciplinary field spanning Stem Cell Biology, Immunology, and Neurobiology. Her research elucidated how the environment after spinal cord injuries can affect the therapeutic potential of stem cells. Her work has resulted in over 15 peer-reviewed publications and the initiation of two clinical trials. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Lloyd Guth and Carl Cotman Junior Investigator Awards. She has also been an educator for over five years, teaching upper division stem cell biology courses at the University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University, Fullerton.

Dr. Hooshmand is also the founder of Mixx Yoga, a studio in Newport Beach, California that teaches her unique style combining yoga+cardio+plyometrics.

Digital Project Director, Patient Advocate Ambassador Program
Brett Lake

With his background in community organizing and designing education initiatives in underserved areas, Brett Lake developed a passion for advocacy and mission-driven work.

Mr. Lake creates and develops digital content for Americans for Cures Patient Advocate Ambassador Program. Through photography and videography, Mr. Lake tells the stories of patients and families, while documenting Americans for Cures’ advocacy and science-related activities.

A graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Lake holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a minor in Film Studies.

Policy Fellow
Lowry Bass

Lowry Bass is a Policy Fellow at Americans for Cures, and works alongside the patient ambassador program, which provides the tools and resources necessary to individuals looking to promote stem cell research within their respective communities. She has worked to merge her passion for writing and narrative journalism with her interest in policy and advocacy, and was drawn to Americans for Cures’ dedication to translating and sharing the importance of stem cell research and its role in individuals' lives to a broader audience.

She has published stories and photojournalism assignments which have explored the social implications of environmental issues, including assignments for Big Sky Journal, Shambhala Sun, as well as in McSweeneys Press Publication In My Home There Is No More Sorrow. She also serves on the editorial board of The Whitefish Review, and studied Environmental Nonfiction at Middlebury College.