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The SPSRF Board of Directors

The Board of Directors at The Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation (SPSRF) is a legally required entity for nonprofit organizations, playing a critical role in guiding the organization's strategic direction to ensure that its mission is carried out effectively and efficiently. This dedicated group is financially responsible, approving all budgets and actively engaging in fundraising efforts to support these financial plans.


Comprised of individuals who often become hands-on contributors, the board members assist in executing the organization's various initiatives. Importantly, the board provides continuity to SPSRF, as its members may change over time, but the board itself remains a steadfast pillar, ensuring the organization's ongoing stability and progress.

Board of Directors

Tara Zier, DDS


Dr. Tara Zier co-founded Smiles dental practice in Fairfax, Virginia and later joined an Alexandria practice. When Stiff Person Syndrome tried to hijack her life, she decided to establish the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation to raise money for development of treatments and a cure. Tara has established relationships with people at the Stiff Person Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and patients around the world.

James Weiss, MD


Dr. Jim Weiss recently retired from practicing nephrology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of his sons was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome as a young teenager. Both of his children have another rare disorder, Gaucher disease. Jim is a cofounder of a western Pennsylvania organization focused on care for underserved communities.

Lara Vujovic, PhD


Lara earned her PhD in psychology from Tufts University and currently works as a user researcher. She’s motivated to find better treatment and ultimately a cure for Stiff Person Syndrome.

Helena Zec


Helena earned her PhD in biomedical engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she was recognized as a Medtronic Scholar. She holds five provisional patents from her research on developing systems for high-throughput diagnostics and has published more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and journal publications. Helena holds a master of science degree in molecular bioengineering from ETH Zurich, and she received her bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Vidyashankar Krishnan


Vidyashankar is a Finance & Forensic Accounting professional with over 20 years of experience. After a personal tragedy and to be closer to his brother, Vidyashankar moved recently to the US with his family and is a resident of Edison, New Jersey.

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