Executive Team & Staff

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas’ efforts are guided by an executive team and staff that are committed to fulfilling CPRIT’s mission to find and fund the best cancer research and prevention projects in Texas.

Wayne Roberts

Chief Executive Officer

Wayne Roberts has been with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas since December 2012, first as Interim Executive Director and then as Chief Executive Officer.  

Prior to four years with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston as Associate Vice President for Public Policy, Wayne’s career emphasized public finance and budget, especially related to higher education and economic development. He held numerous senior positions under Governor Rick Perry.

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James K.V. Willson

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Willson leads CPRIT’s academic research program in supporting innovation in cancer research and recruiting world-class cancer researchers to Texas institutions. He is nationally renowned for his work in the genetics of colorectal cancer, having spent more than three decades in the field. Dr. Willson’s research led to the development of cell and animal models for human colon cancer that have been key to identifying genetic factors in disease progression.

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Rebecca Garcia

Chief Prevention and Communications Officer

Dr. Rebecca Garcia heads up CPRIT’s prevention and communications efforts. Ten percent of CPRIT's total funding is dedicated to evidence-based prevention services. Her responsibilities include directing the prevention program and fostering collaboration among the cancer and disease prevention community to maximize CPRIT's impact. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing CPRIT’s strategic communications efforts.

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Cindy R. WalkerPeach

Chief Product Development Officer

Dr. WalkerPeach leads CPRIT’s Product Development Program to critically evaluate and fund Texas-based companies with promising novel assets (drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices) and services that will benefit cancer patients and society.

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Kristen Doyle

Deputy Executive Officer, General Counsel

Ms. Doyle is responsible for overseeing the legal issues that arise as part of CPRIT’s operations, including grant award contract negotiations, intellectual property and revenue sharing agreements, conflicts of interest and confidentiality, and regulatory/compliance issues.  Prior to joining CPRIT, Ms. Doyle was a partner at an Austin-based law firm and served as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Central Texas Chapter for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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Heidi McConnell

Chief Operating Officer

Ms. McConnell has oversight for CPRIT’s daily operations, including financial administration, grants management administration, communications, governmental relations, and information technology services. Most recently, she served as Senior Budget Advisor to Governor Rick Perry. In this capacity, she worked on a range of issues addressing the state budget and was the principal advisor on CPRIT.

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Vince Burgess

Chief Compliance Officer

Mr. Burgess oversees compliance strategy and planning for CPRIT’s grant review, award, and monitoring processes.  As the Chief Compliance Officer, he is also responsible for assessing and ensuring compliance by the Institute’s committee members and employees with applicable laws, rules, and policies, including matters of ethics and standards of conduct, financial reporting, internal accounting controls, and auditing.

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Ralph Azeez

Grant Compliance Specialist

Christopher Bair


Sandra Balderrama

Grant Compliance Specialist

Donald Brandy

Purchaser and HUB Coordinator

Melanie Cleveland

Executive Assistant

Randy Cunningham

Grant Accountant

Chris Cutrone

Senior Communications Specialist

Ed Dorotik

Grant Accountant

Araceli Dwyer

Operations Specialist

Cameron Eckel


Rosemary French

Senior Program Manager for Product Development Research

Michelle Huddleston


Jim Hurlbut

System Administrator

Melanie Jamison

Grant Compliance Specialist

Bob Lansdowne

Grant Accountant

Daniel Limas

Operations Specialist

Ramona Magid

Senior Program Manager for Prevention

Debra McHenry

Grant Accountant

Spencer Miller-Payne

Information Specialist

Patricia Moore

Senior Program Manager for Research

Stephen Nance

Compliance Program Manager

Lisa Nelson

Operations Manager

Sandra Reyes

Operations Specialist

Therry Simien

Information Technology Officer

Joan Thomas

Grant Accountant

Rashonda Thomas

Grant Compliance Specialist