Meet The Beyond Celiac Team

At Beyond Celiac, we work day in and day out to ensure that people with celiac disease can live life to the fullest and eat without fear. We envision a world without celiac disease and work to inspire hope, accelerate research and forge the pathways to a cure.

Alice Bast


Alice’s personal journey as a celiac disease survivor and champion for research in this field, coupled with her prior experience of more than two decades in healthcare business development and marketing, taught her that patients need to be educated and empowered with solid information in order to make decisions about their desired health outcomes. She believes that clinical research must include patients, caregivers and the healthcare community working together to focus on the most pressing areas of need for those living with a particular disease.

Salvatore Alesci, MD, PhD

Beyond Celiac Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer

Dr. Alesci, formerly Vice President and Head of R&D Global Patient and Scientific Affairs at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, is a highly regarded physician-scientist and science policy and advocacy influencer. A dynamic and visionary enterprise leader, he has distinguished himself by transforming organizations through designing innovative functions and initiatives, championing and managing complex projects, building high-performing cross-functional teams, and nurturing long-lasting relationships with leaders from various sectors across the healthcare ecosystem. At Beyond Celiac, Alesci will lead the organization’s science team and oversee the design and implementation of the scientific strategy and plan, with a particular focus on deepening partnerships with scientists, key opinion leaders, policymakers and influencers across pharmaceutical companies and academic and government institutions.

Bailey Arman

Digital Content Manager

As a part of the Communications team, Bailey gets to share the work of Beyond Celiac with the world! She was diagnosed with celiac disease as a teenager and knows all too well how difficult adjusting to the gluten-free lifestyle can be. Before coming to Beyond Celiac, Bailey worked as a technical writer and editor, taking long-winded, complicated information and making it easy for the average person to understand. Now, she uses her editing, writing, and social media skills to expand the celiac community and encourage thoughtful conversation around the disease. When she’s not responding to questions on Facebook or drafting Instagram posts, you can find her drawing in a patch of sunshine and taking walks through the woods.

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Kate Avery, MPH

Director of Research and Patient Engagement

Kate supports patients and caregivers who share their experiences with us in pursuit of increased diagnosis rates, improved disease management and future treatments. She has worked on multiple qualitative and quantitative research projects focused on understanding the diagnostic and disease management experience and has long been interested in health communications and the patient journey. She manages our Go Beyond Celiac patient registry, assists in clinical trial recruitment proposal creation and planning, and oversees our Patient & Family Advisory Council. Kate holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame and an MPH in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kate works in the Ambler, PA office.

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Claire Baker

Senior Director of Communications

Claire joined the Beyond Celiac staff in July 2014 with 20 years of non-profit management experience. Diagnosed with celiac disease, she sought to improve the lives of others who need to live gluten-free through her blog, social media and publications. Prior to joining Beyond Celiac, Claire served as Director of Gardening Programs for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). She managed the PHS City Harvest program and led community engagement and greening teams focused on gardening education, parks revitalization, youth environmental stewardship, Pop Up Gardens and more. Claire formerly served as Director of Operations and Interim Executive Director of the Metropolitan AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, and Manager of Off-Air Civic Engagement Activities and Events for WHYY.

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Mary Kate Carofano

Chief Advancement Officer

Mary Kate is an accomplished leader with decades of experience in the nonprofit space. As an accomplished fundraising executive, Mary Kate excels in strategy, execution, team building and creating partnerships. As head of the Beyond Celiac development team, she builds mutually beneficial collaborations with strategic partners, fully understanding their needs and the needs of the celiac disease community.

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Deanne Field

Director of Corporate Partnerships

Deanne brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector to her role at Beyond Celiac, having worked in a variety of roles such as fundraising, development, project management, relationship management, and event planning. As an enthusiastic nonprofit professional, she joined the Beyond Celiac team in 2023 with the primary goal of cultivating and expanding partnerships that align with the organization’s mission. Deanne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication from Temple University. Her strategic mindset, coupled with her passion for social impact, makes her a valuable asset to the Beyond Celiac team.

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Nancy Ginter

Director of Administration

Nancy joined Beyond Celiac in June of 2004 after working extensively for AT&T leading a global sales team focused on the needs of multi-national corporations. At Beyond Celiac, Nancy works across departmental lines to assist in operational matters along with programming, Philadelphia area events, contracts, sponsorship and supporting volunteers. She also is responsible for coordinating efforts with the Beyond Celiac Board of Directors, contributing to Beyond Celiac publications and working on Beyond Celiac programs for raising awareness. In addition to her work with Beyond Celiac, Nancy serves as the Chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC), an advocacy organization comprised of the major national voluntary and professional societies concerned with digestive diseases working to improve public policy and increase public awareness to promote the best possible medical outcome and quality of life for current and future patients. Nancy works out of the Ambler, PA office.

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George Gorge, MBA

Director of Finance

George J. Gorge is responsible for all finance operations at Beyond Celiac. Prior to joining Beyond Celiac, George held a variety of financial management positions; most recently he led the accounting department at Amplifier Research Corporation. George also was the Chief Financial Officer at the Girl Scout of Eastern Pennsylvania and held various financial management positions with Olympus Corporation of the Americas. Before joining Olympus George held several positions of increasing responsibility for a 21-year career with Subaru of America. George is a graduate of Drexel University with a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business majoring in Accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant and member of both the American Institute of CPAs and the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs. George is also an active volunteer in both the community and church. George works out of the Ambler, PA office.

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Valerie Kraft

Director of Community Engagement

Valerie joined the Beyond Celiac team in 2020, first as a member of our inaugural Summer Intern Council, then as our Volunteer Engagement Intern, our Community Engagement Coordinator, and now Community Engagement Manager. Valerie graduated with a triple major in Medicine, Health, and Society; Psychology; and Women’s and Gender Studies from Vanderbilt University in the spring of 2021. After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2015, Valerie started a career of advocacy that included creating an international network for newly diagnosed celiac teens, revolutionizing Vanderbilt’s special diet program, designing the Nima College Ambassador Program, and working individually to help students navigate collegiate life with Celiac Disease. She is extremely passionate about being an advocate for one’s self and excited to be working with Beyond Celiac to engage the community through the Reach Beyond Celiac ambassador program and work to advance a cure.

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Isabel Lieberman

Advancement Associate

Isabel supports the advancement team in their work in donor relations and development. Before joining Beyond Celiac, she was active in climate change advocacy and worked at an environmental organization through the University of Rochester. Isabel has experience in database management and social sciences research. She earned a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology from the University of Rochester and is excited to be a part of a team working together toward a cure for celiac disease.

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Maria Luci, MPH

Director of Research Communications Projects

Maria is a dedicated professional with a keen focus on clinical trial recruitment, patient engagement, and research concerning celiac disease. Her work bridges the Beyond Celiac communication and science efforts. She is committed to providing the community with the latest news and research on this condition through a variety of digital content, with the goal of raising awareness, funding science initiatives, and building an informed audience. Maria has extensive experience in recruitment and consulting for celiac disease trials and is passionate about helping individuals struggling with autoimmune diseases. She is the co-author of several Beyond Celiac posters, abstracts, and articles presented at DDW, ICDS, and more. Living with Sjogren’s and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, Maria understands the challenges and frustrations that can arise when trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Maria holds a BS in Communications and History from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s in Public Health from The George Washington University.

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Erin Miller, MPH

Associate Science Project Manager

Erin joined Beyond Celiac in January 2022. She monitors grant awards and project progress, tracks metrics for the Go Beyond Celiac patient research database, and provides support to Beyond Celiac advisory boards and scientific partners. Prior to joining Beyond Celiac, she conducted research and managed federally funded subgrant awards that largely focused on food insecurity, healthy food access, and the reduction of health disparities. Erin is a graduate of Brown University, where she earned both her undergraduate degree in Public Health and an MPH in Global Health. She is based in Wilmington, DE.

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Amy Ratner

Director of Scientific Affairs

Amy Ratner joined Beyond Celiac in 2016 as the medical and science news analyst to provide coverage of celiac disease research news. She has extensive experience reporting on and writing about celiac disease. She was editor-in-chief, associate editor and contributing editor for 23 years at Gluten-Free Living magazine, where her work touched on all topics related to celiac disease, including lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and medical and research developments. When Amy’s daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease as a toddler 24 years ago, she was set on a path that combined her commitment to improving life for those with celiac disease with her journalism training. She holds of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Pennsylvania State University and was an award-winning newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania before working in alumni relations for Goucher College in Baltimore and in communications for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, D.C. Her writing about celiac disease has also appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Baby Talk magazine, Allergic Living and other publications. Her current role has expanded to include managing Beyond Celiac research grant awards and scientific partnerships. Her family has now grown to include two grandsons.

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Mary Tackett, MLIS

Senior Director of Grants and Donor Relations

As Senior Director of Donor Relations, Mary handles a wide range of development functions, including communications and special events. She joined Beyond Celiac in April 2016 shortly after the organization’s rebranding and shift in focus to accelerate research. Previously, Mary worked as a clinical medical librarian after completing a post-graduate fellowship with the National Library Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. She was introduced to development work through community outreach work in Chester County while raising her now college-aged children. She holds a BA in English from Cornell University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland. Mary works out of the Ambler, PA office.

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