About.
Santa Barbara Nutrients is a "Benefit Corporation" headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. We focus on science-backed, safe products using patent-pending technology developed at the University of California Santa Barbara. We are a team of kidney researchers and patients who are bringing to market formulations of safe, natural compounds, specifically designed to support kidney health.

Our Team

Thomas Weimbs PhD
President

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Thomas Weimbs is a professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he directs a research laboratory focused on polycystic kidney disease (PKD). He received his doctoral degree from the University of Cologne, Germany, and then conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California in San Francisco. In 1999, he started his first independent research laboratory at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic as an assistant professor. There, he started to research PKD after he was approached by a local family affected by PKD who financially supported PKD research in his newly-founded laboratory. Their family foundation still supports PKD research in Dr. Weimbs' lab today. In 2005, Dr. Weimbs moved his laboratory back to California to join the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at UCSB. His laboratory studies molecular mechanisms underlying PKD with an emphasis towards developing new therapies. Research from Dr. Weimbs’ lab has led to a better understanding of PKD and led to novel methods to deliver therapeutics specifically to polycystic kidneys. Some of the most recent research has led to the discovery that commonly available, and safe, natural compounds can prevent cyst growth in animal models on PKD. Research in Dr. Weimbs’ laboratory has been funded by grants from federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, by private foundations, including the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation and the Jarrett Family Fund, as well as several biotech companies. For more information on research in the Weimbs lab, see https://labs.mcdb.ucsb.edu/weimbs/thomas/
In his free time (what free time?), Thomas enjoys playing the saxophone in his jazz band (no, you wouldn't have heard of them...).

 

 

Jacob Torres PhD
Research and Development

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Jacob Torres has been researching PKD since 2010 when he joined the lab of Thomas Weimbs at the University California Santa Barbara. His research into the mechanisms underlying cyst formation were part of the creation of Santa Barbara Nutrients. This research has led to the publication of two high impact papers on the use of dietary interventions for the treatment of PKD in rodent models of the disease (1, 2). These findings may lead to a therapy for PKD in humans afflicted with the disease.


Jacob earned his PhD degree in Molecular,Cellularcolor and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of California Riverside.

 

 

Dwight Odland
Business Development, Patient Advocate

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Recently retired after a 30 year career in the Space Industry. Dwight brings extensive experience to Santa Barbara Nutrients in Business Development, Management, Marketing, Finance, Operations and Information Technology.

He led new business capture strategy, taught classes on winning government proposals, and managed a staff of proposal managers across the country. He served two terms (6 years) on the Board of the PKD Foundation, a time of growth in research, staff professionalism, and advocacy success. He also served as a Board Member of the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley in Canoga Park from 2003-2013, a period in which the Club grew by a factor of 10.

 
Dwight has PKD. He became involved with the PKD Foundation in 2005 as Chapter Coordinator for Los Angeles. He later helped establish new chapters in Orange County and the Inland Empire, and served as Coordinator for the Los Angeles Walk for PKD. Among many patient advocacy activities over the years, Dwight co-led the patient cohort, and was a final paper co-author, for the 2014 KDIGO International Conference on PKD.


Dwight earned his B.S. in Business Administration & Finance, Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge.


David Baron PhD
Science, Regulatory

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 Dr. Baron, who has polycystic kidney disease, was the Chief Scientific Officer of the PKD Foundation 2015-19. Dr. David Baron received his B.A. (Biology) and Ph.D. (Anatomy) from The University of Chicago.

Following his postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Baron founded the Core Structure-Function Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology with NIH funding and joined the faculty with a joint appointment in the Departments of Pharmacology, and Anatomy and Cell Biology. He later joined Searle Pharmaceuticals as a Research Scientist, later becoming a Monsanto, then Pharmacia Senior Science Fellow.

Dr. Baron became the first Director of Toxicology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, U.S., rising to Vice President, Nonclinical Safety Evaluation, for the U.S. and Europe. He has been a reviewer for the NCI, given numerous invited seminars, and has served on several national scientific boards (International Consortium for Innovation and Quality in Pharmaceutical Development -IQ; International Serious Adverse Event Consortium -iSAEC).

During the course of his career he has focused on the structural correlates of epithelial electrolyte and water transport, and the nonclinical safety and pharmacology of pioglitazone, a type 2 diabetes drug, now in a pilot clinical trial for the treatment of PKD supported by the PKD Foundation and the FDA. Most recently, he has worked to establish a patient centered PKD Registry and to define potential surrogate endpoints in clinical trials of new therapeutics for the treatment of PKD.


 

Martin Voet JD
Patenting and Licensing

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Martin Voet retired from a legal career in intellectual property matters following 20 years as Senior Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Allergan, a Fortune 500 Pharma Company, with worldwide responsibility for patenting and licensing pharmaceutical and biological products, patent enforcement and strategic IP planning. Since then he has been Adjunct Professor at USD Law School and consultant for research-based pharmaceutical companies.


He was awarded a BS in Chemistry from UC Berkeley, an MBA from Pepperdine University School of Business and a JD with Honors from The George Washington University School of Law.


He is the author of The Generic Challenge: Understanding Patents, FDA and Pharmaceutical Life-Cycle Management (6th edition, 2020) and Re-Purposing and Enforcement during Patent Term Extensions for Pharma Products, Landslide Magazine, July/August 2016.


 

Craig Adkins
Operations and General Management

Read moreCraig brings a broad base of experience in marketing, operations, information technology, project management, administration, entrepreneurship, communications, budgeting, and strategic planning. His extensive familiarity with

the worlds of academia, non-profit, and business provide Craig with a unique perspective across a combination of areas.

Craig graduated from UCLA and retired from the University of Redlands as the Director of Web Strategy and New Media. Like his father, Craig has PKD.

An avid traveler, Craig has visited over 80 countries, including some of the most remote places on the planet.


 

Meg Munits
Nutrition and Clinical Trials

Read moreNine years ago, Meg’s son was born with ADPKD (autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease), and she made it her mission to understand how nutrition can impact PKD, with the hopes of slowing the progression of PKD for her son.

Frustrated by the limited research available for PKD nutrition, she left her 15-year career as a Project Manager in the fashion industry, determined to change the course of history for her family. Today, Meg is pursuing her MS in Nutrition at Hunter College in New York City, expecting to graduate in Spring 2021. Her study of food science and lifestyle behaviors extends beyond the classroom and carries over into her home. For her capstone thesis, she is working with Santa Barbara Nutrients and dietitians at RenAlign (www.renalign.org) to help develop a PKD dietary intervention program called Ren-Nu.

Since 2017, Meg has been a coordinator of the New York City chapter of the PKD Foundation, providing local support and fundraising for the PKD community. She partners with The Rogosin Institute to host monthly PKD Meetups as a space to come together, share journeys, and learn from speakers that touch on all aspects of PKD. In this role, she has worked towards creating a community in New York for all whose lives are impacted by PKD, including those with PKD, their family and friends, caregivers, clinicians, and of course researchers.


 

 

 

 

Our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board

Stephen Reeders MD

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Steve trained as an internist at Oxford, focusing on nephrology. He began to study polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and in 1985 identified the genetic locus of the ADPKD gene called PKD1. From 1988 Steve was on the faculty at Yale where he grew the first PKD genetics group and was fortunate enough to make a very small contribution to starting the PKD careers of several eminent PKD researchers including Steve Somlo, Peter Harris, Greg Germino, Feng Qian, Luis Onucic and Jing Zhou (who is his wife).

 

Steve co-founded two successful biotech companies and was responsible for early-stage healthcare investments at Saunders, Karp & Megrue in New York City (where he made the initial investment in UpToDate in Medicine and was acting CEO). In 1997 he founded MVM, a healthcare venture capital firm that has launched five funds investing about $1 billion in start-up and development-stage healthcare companies.

 

Steve is a member of the boards of eZono AG, Providence Medical Technology, Inc., and Vital Connect, Inc. He was previously a director of Ambio, Inc., Beacon Endoscopic Ltd, BioVex Group, Inc., Cara Therapeutics, Inc., Cheetah Medical Inc., Clavis Pharma ASA, Domantis Ltd, Gendaq Ltd, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., New Chemical Entities, Inc., Nova Science Ltd, Pulmagen Therapeutics Ltd., Sangamo Biosciences, Inc., UpToDate, Inc., Xention Ltd, Vascular Pathways, Inc. and Zipline Medical Inc.

 

Vincente Torres MD PhD

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Professor at the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota and Director of the Mayo Clinic Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Center

 

Michal Mrug MD

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Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the PKD Foundation

 

Roman-Ulrich Müller MD

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Professor for Translational Nephrology and Deputy Director of the Dept. II of Internal Medicine (Nephrology), University Hospital Cologne, Germany