Meet our Foundation Board

The DKMS Stiftung Leben Spenden (Foundation for Giving Life) exclusively and directly pursues non-profit and charitable purposes.

It achieves its purpose in particular by:

  • Taking measures and promoting institutions to improve patient care (support and after-care)
  • Recruiting and supporting informed volunteers who are willing to donate bone marrow or blood stem cells for the purpose of transplantation
  • Developing and maintaining systems to simplify and accelerat the search for donors with the purpose of finding matchingdonors for bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantations
  • Financially supporting scientific research in the field of bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation with non-related donors, with test methods of histocompatibility, for stem cell expansion and gene therapy
  • Taking measures and promoting institutions for vocational training in the area of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, in particular medical specialists, clinical staff, search coordinators, staff of donor centers and registries, scientists, geneticists, medical ethicists, and laboratory staff
  • Promoting the co-operation of all institutions active in the area of the Foundation’s purpose
  • Publicity work to achieve the purpose of the Foundation.

Foundation Board Members

Katharina Harf, Chairwoman of the DKMS Foundation Board

For Katharina Harf, the motivation to change the lives of blood cancer patients has always been personal. At 14 years old, she watched her mother fight and ultimately pass away from leukemia. Inspired by her mother’s strength throughout her battle and aware of the fact that a stem cell donor could mean a second chance for patients like her, Katharina embarked on a mission to ensure other families were saved from the painful experience of loss that her family suffered.

Katharina put her focus on education, ultimately moving to the United States and graduating from Harvard cum laude. She co-founded the first international branch of DKMS in the US with her father in 2004. Through the creative use of innovative, multi-platform marketing campaigns, the amplification of patient voices, and record setting fundraising galas, Katharina quickly led DKMS US to great success, adding over one million new potential stem cell donors since the office’s founding. Today, Katharina Harf is the Chairwoman of the Foundation Board of DKMS and the Executive Chairwoman of DKMS US.

Together with Global CEO Elke Neujahr, Katharina is overseeing all activities of the international DKMS Group operating in seven countries across five continents with over 12 million registered donors worldwide. Katharina’s personal passion and values have also shaped the core of the organization’s guiding philosophy: we do not work for a company, but rather live for a cause. By treating every patient, donor, and staff member with the love and care of a family member, Katharina has ensured that, as the organization continues to expand its lifesaving work, it remains firmly rooted in the belief in the overwhelming power of love and hope.

Katharina lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.

Marcel R.M. van den Brink, MD, PhD, Vice Chairman of the DKMS Foundation Board and Chairman of the DKMS Medical Council

Marcel R.M. van den Brink, MD, PhD, is a leading oncologist with extensive experience in both laboratory and clinical research, specializing in strategies to improve allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). He is the President and Chief Physician Executive at City of Hope Los Angeles and National Medical Center, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States.

Laurence David Atlas

Laurence David Atlas is a senior executive and attorney. He is the Special Counsel at the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, an independent United States government agency regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

Niren Chaudhary

Niren Chaudhary is Chairman of the Board of Panera Brands, one of the world’s largest fast casual restaurant companies with nearly 4,000 locations in 10 countries. Niren’s daughter Aisha was born with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). When she was six months old, she had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. As a side effect of the medical therapy following chemotherapy, she developed pulmonary fibrosis – a type of condition that causes irreversible scarring of the lungs. She died at the age of 18. Niren dedicates his personal time serving on the Tufts Medical Centre Board and as an advocate for DKMS.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Hoelzer

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Hoelzer was the Director of the Department of Hematology/Oncology, Rheumatology and Infectious Diseases at the Frankfurt University Hospital for more than 20 years. He has extensive clinical experience with inpatient and outpatient treatment of all hematological/oncological and internal diseases. Prof. Hoelzer is one of the most renowned haematologists and specialists in the field of acute lymphatic leukaemia. He was also awarded with the DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award in 2017.

Prof. Dr. Carl H. June

Prof. Dr. Carl H. June has been a pioneer in the field of immunotherapy, most widely known for the development of T-cell therapy for cancer. His work led to the development and commercialization of tisagenlecleucel, the first FDA-approved cell therapy. He is currently the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2020 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society. He was honored with the DKMS Mechtild Harf Award in 2023 for his outstanding achievements in cancer immunology.

Anna-Lena Kamenetzky-Wetzel

Anna-Lena Kamenetzky-Wetzel is a former Partner and Head of Business Development at JAB Holding in Washington, DC as well as former Co-Head of JAB Consumer Partners. Consequently, she founded and runs K4 Family Investments, an investment company focused on backing growth companies in consumer goods and services. She serves on the Boards of Kitu Life, Inc (owner of the brand Super Coffee), Fuzzy and Project Pollo.


Prof. Dr. Thomas Klingebiel, Vice Chairman of the DKMS Medical Council and Senior Advisor Access to Transplantation

Thomas Klingebiel, MD, was Director of the Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Frankfurt University Hospital of the Goethe University from 2000-2021. The Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine also includes the focus areas of pediatric oncology, hematology and hemostaseology and the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Center Frankfurt; it is considered one of the best in Germany. Since July 1, 2021, he has been managing director of the Frankfurt-based association Hilfe für krebskranke Kinder Frankfurt e.V. (Help for Children with Cancer Frankfurt).

Alejandro Santo Domingo

Alejandro Santo Domingo is the Managing Director of Quadrant Capital Advisors Inc. in New York. He is also a member of the Board of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Chairman of Bavaria S.A., member of the Board of Backus & Johnston SAA in Peru, Director of Caracol Televisión and Fundación Mario Santo Domingo.

Meet our dedicated leadership teams.