Michael Pribaz is Jack’s father and serves as President of The Jack Pribaz Foundation’s Board of Directors. He teaches United States History at Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, IL. Mike also serves as the boys’ varsity golf coach at Wheaton North and has been at the high school since 2003. Mike is a 1995 graduate of the University of Iowa and has completed graduate work at Concordia University and Aurora University where he earned a Master’s Degree in School Administration. Mike’s main work for the foundation revolves around attending the annual American Epilepsy Society meetings around the country, meeting and educating new KCNQ2 parents, working with doctors worldwide to increase our understanding of this condition, and fundraising for research.
Elizabeth Pribaz is the mother of Jack and serves as Jack’s greatest advocate and primary caregiver. Liz attended Northern Illinois University where she earned a business degree in 1999. Following college, she found success as a sales rep for The Real Estate Book followed by a career in Pharmaceutical sales for King Pharmaceuticals in the Chicagoland area. Liz went on to represent Scientific Intake, a medical device company, before deciding to start a family and put her professional career on hold. Since the birth of Jack she has dedicated her time and energy to his therapy sessions and medical needs as well as to Jack’s younger brother, Matthew.
Brian Baird serves as Vice President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Brian is President of MagnetStreet an online, full-service stationery store where he has served for 15 years. Brian received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wheaton College, an MA in Mission from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.
Gina Vozenilek is Jack’s aunt and the Jack’s Army “science storyteller.” In June 2013 she earned her MFA in creative nonfiction from Northwestern, where she also developed and taught a writing curriculum for postdoctoral researchers at the Feinberg Institute for Healthcare Studies. She has a BA from the University of Notre Dame in pre-professional studies and English and a Masters of English literature from the University of Iowa.
Medical Advisory Board
Dr. John Millichap
John Millichap, MD, is a pediatric epileptologist in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital and an instructor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. His education includes a bachelor of arts from Northwestern University and a medical doctorate from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. Dr. Millichap trained in pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University prior to child neurology and clinical neurophysiology/pediatric epilepsy fellowships at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Current clinical practice utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and comorbidities. Dr. Millichap has over 20 peer-reviewed medical publications and serves as the Deputy Editor of the Resident and Fellow Section of the journal Neurology. As a member of the academic faculty of Northwestern University, he is involved in the education of trainees and grant-funded clinical research concerning epileptic encephalopathies.
Dr. Edward Cooper
Ed Cooper, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular & Human Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He earned his professional degrees from Yale University and completed his post-doctoral program and neurology residency at the University of California San Francisco. He heads up The Cooper Laboratory for molecular neuropharmacology at Baylor. His RIKEE project, a multicenter patient registry to study KCNQ2 variants and characteristics, is headquartered there.
Dr. Sarah Weckhuysen
Sarah Weckhuysen, MD, PhD, researches genetics and the physiology of inherited epilepsies at L’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière in Paris, France. Born and raised in Belgium, Dr. Weckhuysen is a neurologist and epileptologist. After obtaining her Neurology degree, she worked as an epileptologist in the tertiary epilepsy center Kempenhaeghe in the Netherlands. Working with treatment-resistant epilepsy patients fuelled her fascination for the underlying causes of (severe) epilepsies. She intensified her research activities at the Neurogenetics group of the University of Antwerp in Belgium and obtained a PhD on the topic of genetics of epileptic encephalopathies. Her research interests are focused on the delineation of epileptic syndromes, and the genetics of (early onset) epilepsies and febrile seizures. Dr. Weckhuysen is also an active member and coordinator for the European consortium EuroEPINOMICS-RES, which focuses on the genetics of rare epilepsy syndromes.
Dr. Maurizio Taglialatela
Born in Naples, Italy, Dr. Maurizio Taglialatela, MD, PhD, is a full professor of pharmacology at the University of Molise in Italy, where he was Dean of the Faculty of Health Science from 2005-2012. He earned both his Medical Degree and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology from the University of Naples. At the University of Molise he serves as the scientific director of the Center for Pharmacovigilance of the Regione Molise, the chairman of the Center for Higher Education of Public and Private Management of the University of Molise, and the coordinator of the PhD Program in Translational and Clinical Medicine. Dr. Taglialatela has contributed to numerous international research committees for pharmaceutical drug development. In the last fifteen years, he has dedicated most of his efforts to investigate the molecular pathogenetic mechanisms responsible for neuronal channelopathies, concentrating on developing experimental tools and drugs to investigate the structure-function analysis of disease-causing human mutations found in human KCNQ channel genes, in order to indentify in-vitro biomarkers useful for disease diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
Dr. Maria Roberta Cilio
Dr. Maria Roberta Cilio is Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at UCSF. She earned her MD degree at the University of Rome La Sapienza in Italy, and she completed a residency in Pediatrics and Child Neurology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. She completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology at the Bambino Gesú Children’s Hospital of Rome, and a PhD at Harvard in Gregory Holmes’ Lab where she carried out basic research studies on the consequences of seizures in the developing brain. Before joining UCSF in 2011, she served as attending epileptologist and Director of Neonatal Neurology and Neurophysiology at the Bambino Gesú Children’s Hospital in Rome for 10 years. She was awarded with the prestigious UCSF Presidential Chair in 2011 and joined UCSF faculty in 2012, where she serves attending pediatric epileptologist, Director of Research in Pediatric Epilepsy and Director of Neonatal Epilepsy Program. Her research focused on neonatal seizure and rare pediatric epilepsies and resulted in significant advances in the understanding and treatment of genetically-determined early-onset epilepsies, as well as in the development of new treatments for children with severe epilepsy. Her recent work highlighted the impact of sodium channel-blockers on seizures in KCNQ2-related epilepsies, as well as the effects of cannabidiol in children with treatment-resistant epilepsies.
Laura Javech received her degree in Fashion Merchandising and with a minor in Marketing from Florida International University. She worked in retailing for 10 years and was a buyer for Marshall Fields in the designer sportswear division for 6 years. After the birth of her second child, Laura decided to put her career on hold to be a stay-at- home Mom. When the time was right she started her own interior design and real estate staging business, called Spruce It Up, and has been in business for over 10 years. Laura is involved in fundraising and special events for the Foundation.