Board of Directors

About Our Board of Directors:
Elizabeth Kutter: Betty received her BS in Mathematics in 1962 from the University of Washington and her PhD in Biophysics at the University of Rochester, NY in 1968, working on the transition from host to phage metabolism after T4 infection of E. coli and the role there of T4’s substitution of HMdC for C in its DNA. She continued phage work with Rolf Benzinger at the University. of Virginia and then joined the faculty of Evergreen in 1972, bringing along an NIH grant. This let her establish the Evergreen Phage Lab, maintained through the years with NSF support in parallel with teaching in the full-time integrated programs typical of Evergreen. From 1975-79, she was a member of the NIH National Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, helping develop regulatory guidelines for this powerful new science. Her 1978-79 sabbatical with Dr. Bruce Alberts at UC San Francisco led to a 15-year international collaboration to sequence bacteriophage T4, the largest genome yet tackled. During a 4-month associated 1990 sojourn in the USSR, she became familiar with the therapeutic use of phage there and began her collaboration with scientists at the Eliava Institute. This led to new directions in research at Evergreen, to broad expansion of the biennial Evergreen International Phage Meetings, and to creation of a small Phagebiotics Foundation, which functioned to help publicize and support phage therapy-related research and information internationally, in part under the auspices of the Evergreen State College Foundation. A variety of international advisors aided very substantially in these efforts.

Gordon Wheat MD: Gordon is a Board-certified physician (ABFM) with more than 30 years of experience in clinical practice and teaching at a University of Washington affiliated residency training program. He graduated from Stanford University, received his MD from University of California, San Diego and did post graduate residency training at the University of Utah. Dr. Wheat also worked for 12 years in the Department of Preventive Care for Group Health Cooperative, a large integrated health care company, reviewing evidence and setting policy for the organization regarding disease prevention. He has published in a peer reviewed journal regarding his work on fitness testing in primary prevention. Overseas medical work in Nepal, Nicaragua, Barbuda and Borneo led to increased interest in antibiotic resistant infections and risks associated with overuse of antimicrobial drugs. He took an interest in the phage research of his two sons during summers in Dr. Kutter’s lab and joined the board of the Evergreen Phagebiotics Board in 2004.

Greg Bennett, DVM: Gregg is a private practice veterinarian who became interested in phage therapy through an intern in his practice who was also a student in Dr. Kutter’s lab, investigating phage active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This led to his role as clinical investigator in a CRDF-sponsored project between the Evergreen phage lab and the Eliava Institute in Georgia studying the efficacy of phage preparations against Pseudomonas infections in canine ears. Gregg received his B.A. from the Evergreen State College in 1980 and his D.V.M. from Washington State University in 1984. He is the owner of Tumwater Veterinary Hospital and is also a founding member and consulting veterinarian to Evergreen’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

George Sarajishvili, Accountant. Gia earned his BA in English in 1984 from Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. He worked as a translator and tour leader for the Intourist national travel company in the former Soviet Union, where he facilitated business and government exchanges between Georgia and the US and Europe. He immigrated to the US in 1992, earned an MS degree in Accountancy from Weber State University in Utah in 1997, and has been working in business accounting since then. George had his first exposures to phage treatment in Tbilisi as a child, receiving phage preparations from the Eliava Institute for sore throats. After moving to Olympia and meeting Dr. Kutter, he became enthusiastic about bringing the therapeutic use of phage to other parts of the world and joined the board of the original Phagebiotics Foundation in 2005, becoming its Treasurer and occasional translator of Georgian and Russian correspondence and resources.

Randolph Fish, DPM is a board-certified podiatrist (ABPM) with more than 30 years of experience in clinical wound management. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1976 and received his DPM from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia. Post graduate training was at James C. Giffre` Medical Center in North Philadelphia. He has both a certificate of added qualification in wound management from the American Board of Wound Management and a Certification in Medical Education and Testing (CMET), and is a fellow of the Academy of Physicians in Wound Healing and of the Academy of Certified Wound Specialists. He is currently working in wound clinics at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma, WA, and Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, WA. His interests include resistant infections and vascular disease. He was introduced to phage while working in Dr. Kutters’ lab while at Evergreen as an undergraduate, recently became interested in the therapeutic potential of phage for diabetic ulcers, and joined the Phagebiotics Board in 2013.

Jan Gleckler, Microbiologist Jan graduated from Evergreen in 1990 with a BS focused on microbiology. Early in life, she had been a serious student of music & piano, but was equally caught up with a curiosity for biology and process. From 1966 -1970 she pursued her piano/Music degree at Cal State Long Beach, minoring in Biology, and then worked as a professional accompanist. After several years and a move from California to Washington, Jan was drawn back to her science interests, returning to school at Evergreen in 1988. There, she signed up for the full-time Molecule to Organism program, where T4 phage particularly caught her interest. Jan worked in the T4 Lab for a year while also a student, graduated in 1990, and joined the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Fish Health Lab as microbiologist. The Lab was set up in 1988 to provide services to the steelhead and salmon hatcheries of the 20 Native American tribes around Puget Sound and Washington Coast. In addition to the lab’s own preventative measures to protect the salmon from diseases, a collaboration developed between students from the Evergreen T4 lab and the NWIFC lab, working jointly on projects using phage to control fish pathogen growth. Jan retired in July 2013 but is now back working part time at Northwest Indian Fisheries to help through their busiest season. She has been on the Phagebiotics Foundation Board since its inception in 1997.
Barbara Anderson, Microbiologist. Barbara received her BS in Microbiology in 1970 from Montana State University and then worked in the MSU viral lab of Al Fiscus PhD. Moving with her family to Idaho, she worked at the Weyerhauser Tree Nursery for Wayne Sinclair PhD on Douglas Fir mycorrhizsae and taught a microbiology course for the one year Environmental Technology option at Lewis Clark State College. After raising her, she went back to science at Tacoma Community College and The Evergreen State College. While working in the Evergreen Phage Lab, she learned Molecular Biology from visiting Russian and Georgian scientists and went on to manage the Phage Lab during a 1995-99 $950,000 NSF Collaborative Research at Undergraduate Institutions grant. Since then, she has worked for Dr. LeBris Quinn doing muscle cell tissue culture, molecular biology and biochemistry, originally at the American Lake VA, now moved to the Seattle Veterans Administration. She maintains an active interest in phage, attends as much of the biennial Evergreen International Phage Meetings as possible, and helped establish the original Evergreen PhageBiotics Foundation in 1997.

Amy E. Cooper: Amy is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Chemical Engineering, and has worked for E.I. du Pont de Nemours (DuPont), since 1993 in a variety of manufacturing, technical service, sales, and marketing roles. She joined the board of the Phagebiotics Foundation in 2001, drawn to its work because she lived next door to Dr. Kutter, enjoyed long philosophical conversations about world health issues, became fascinated with phage, and traveled to Georgia to explore phage application there. Amy is currently the Technology Manager for Brand Licensing and Intellectual Property in DuPont’s Titanium Technologies business in Wilmington, Delaware, and brings her international experience with business agreements and intellectual property management along with her enthusiasm and critical eye to the Phagebiotics Foundation Board of Directors.

Bob Blasdel: Bob, an Evergreen phage lab graduate with a Master’s degree from Ohio State, has long been interested in the therapeutic applications of phages and has co-authored several articles on the subject with Dr. Kutter and other colleagues. He is now a doctoral student in the Laboratory of Gene Technology at KU Leuven in Belgium, studying the changing patterns of host and phage transcription during infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by each of the 6 quite different lytic Pseudomonas phage genera suitable for therapeutic applications, using the powerful new RNA-Seq method of analysis. Bob is very interested in the power of molecular genetics and the details of phage infection, viral ecology and evolution, the mysterious intersections between biofilm ecology and defense against phage in Pseudomonas, and the systems some phage use to eliminate their hosts’ gene expression while protecting their own. He also is our liaison with the European therapeutic phage community and participates actively in Board meetings on Skype.