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DSF Welcomes New Board Members

New DSF Logo

Gail Farfel, PhD and Bill Kirshner, MD, bring their skills to enhance DSF's leadership

Gail’s extensive industry experience and know-how, along with Bill’s experience as an MD and grandfather of a child with Dravet syndrome will expand our board’s capabilities.”
— Theron Odlaug, PhD, DSF Board President
CHERRY HILL, NJ, UNITED STATES, October 18, 2023 / -- Dravet Syndrome Foundation (DSF) recently welcomed their newest board members, Gail Farfel, PhD, and Bill Kirshner, MD, who will help to support the organization’s work in the field of Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is an intractable developmental and epileptic encephalopathy that begins in infancy and proceeds with accumulating morbidity that significantly impacts individuals throughout their lifetime. Dravet syndrome is a rare disease, with an estimated incidence rate of 1:15,700, with the majority of patients carrying a mutation in the sodium channel gene SCN1A.

Gail brings more than 25 years of pharmaceutical development and regulatory rare disease experience with both large and small pharmaceutical companies. She is the chief executive officer of ProMIS, a biotechnology company focused on the generation of antibody therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. Gail was formerly the executive vice president and global chief development officer at Zogenix, Inc., where she led all product development activities to bring Fintepla to market to treat seizures in Dravet syndrome. It was through Zogenix that Gail learned the important work of the DSF, and she is proud to join the board to share her expertise to aid the advance towards better treatments and a cure for Dravet syndrome.

After 37 years as a family practitioner, Bill and his wife Ileen enjoyed his retirement over the last 4 years at their home 30 miles east of Seattle. Their youngest grandchild Zoe lives with her parents in San Francisco. She is now 2 years old, but was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome after recurrent seizures at 6 months of age. This all-consuming diagnosis changed the focus of their family, and prompted Bill to join the DSF Board of Directors. He hopes his commitment to improvement in care and support of the Dravet syndrome patient community will reduce the isolation and burdens carried by Dravet families. As we all push towards a cure, he will work to bring that day closer.

Theron Odlaug, PhD, DSF Board President, said “We welcome Gail and Bill to the board. Gail’s role as a key contributor in the approval of Fintepla, extensive industry experience and know-how will add an additional dimension to our board capabilities. Bill’s experience as an MD and as a grandfather of a
Dravet child will further expand our board’s capabilities.”

To learn more about the entire DSF board and read full member bios, click here.

About Dravet Syndrome Foundation:
Dravet Syndrome Foundation (DSF) is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to aggressively raise funds for Dravet syndrome and related epilepsies; to support and fund research; increase awareness; and to provide support to affected individuals and families. Since its inception in 2009, DSF has awarded over $6.7M in research grant awards and over $250K in patient assistance grants. More information is available at

Mary Anne Meskis
Dravet Syndrome Foundation
+1 203-392-1955
email us here