Thomas Weimbs PhD
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 dietary interventions and natural metabolites strongly slow PKD progression in animal models. This led to the launch of Santa Barbara Nutrients with the goal to make these approaches available for the nutritional management of PKD and to support kidney health. 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
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.Jacob earned his PhD degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of California Riverside.
Business Development, Patient Advocate
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
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
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.
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 MS Nutrition
Nutrition and Clinical Trials
In 2011, Meg’s son was born with ADPKD (autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease), and with the hopes of slowing the progression of PKD for her family, she made it her mission to understand how nutrition can impact PKD. Frustrated by the limited research available for PKD nutrition, she left her 15-year career as a Project Manager in the fashion industry, and in 2021, Meg earned her Master’s in Nutrition at Hunter College in New York City. She is completing a year internship to become certified as a Registered Dietitian.
In addition, Meg has been a coordinator of the New York City chapter of the PKD Foundation since 2017, 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 researchers.
Read moreJacob's interest in nutrition-based therapies began at age 18 when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. After graduating from college, he began working in the nutritional supplement industry while completing prerequisite classes to attend naturopathic school. He decided to continue in the supplement industry and has since held numerous positions including Chief Operations Officer and Chief Innovation Officer and has managed teams responsible for product development, manufacturing, procurement, customer service, fulfillment and regulatory aspects. Jacob has also served on an executive team tasked with design, construction, and operations of a cGMP manufacturing facility and the expansion of fulfillment operations.
Jacob is also a full-time student at the University of Bridgeport on schedule to complete his MS in Human Nutrition in December 2021 and plans to pursue certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist. He also completed the CLIMB Herbalism course and earned a certificate in current Good Manufacturing Practices. Over the past several years, he has been a member of the American Botanical Council and American Herbal Products Association.
Alexa Anderson RDN, CSP
Director of Marketing
Alexa is a Board-Certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition experienced in the research and marketing of nutritional products. Prior to joining Santa Barbara Nutrients, she was a lead dietitian at Michigan Medicine for over five years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from Purdue University and is completing her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Alexa has a passion for and extensive knowledge of nutrition research. She completed a research fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and was a co-author for a study published in the Journal of Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology. She has led several other research projects as a co-investigator and has worked closely with physicians to implement appropriate nutritional guidelines for patients based on research outcomes. As a dietitian, she sat on the Policy and Procedures Committee, Enteral Nutrition Committee, and Action Planning Committee at Michigan Medicine where she developed nutritional guidelines and recommendations for various patient populations.Alexa’s interest in food and nutrition began at a young age when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Ever since, Alexa has made it her mission to help others discover ways to manage various disease states through food and nutrition. Her interest in marketing is a direct reflection of the lack of transparency she has experienced as a consumer. She aspires to use marketing to increase public understanding of nutrition and to inspire those dealing with medical conditions to actively seek out nutrition solutions.
David Stagnitto has spent his 25 year career leading teams in software development, infrastructure, information technology, security, and operations. From 1996-2001 Dave attended night school at the Rochester Institute of Technology and earned a B.S. in the first accredited Information Technology program nationwide in 2001 with concentrations in business communications and software engineering.In 2007, Dave accepted an opportunity to lead the IT and software engineering teams of a multi-national education technology company. In 2013 he was promoted to VP, Information Technology and has grown over time to his current role as the Chief Operating Officer.
Prior to the education industry, Dave served in various technical roles for a prominent security company which included the strategic design, development, and integration of technology platforms and physical security for some of the most prestigious museums in the world.
Dave has served in various technical consulting and engineering capacities throughout his career for businesses ranging from entrepreneurial startups to publicly traded organizations.
In his copious free time, you will find him spending his time with his beautiful wife and four children. In the summer, you’ll find them camping or out on the lake. In the winter… well they live in Rochester, NY.