SATB2 Gene Foundation

The SATB2 Gene Foundation, Inc. was established to enrich the lives of individuals with SATB2-associated syndrome, including those diagnosed with the condition and their families, through support, research and education.  Our mission will be met by:

  • Providing support to families.

  • Supporting research in a wide range of issues related to SATB2-associated syndrome.

  • Raising awareness about the characteristics of SATB2-associated syndrome.

We are pleased to share our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan that will help serve as our roadmap.

Board of Directors

Allison Kaczenski graduated from the College of Charleston with a BA in Arts Management where the study of focus was nonprofit management. Mrs. Kaczenski has spent her entire 20+ year career working in the nonprofit field of fundraising, donor relations, and event planning with various nonprofits such as the Atlanta History Center, Zoo Atlanta, Special Olympics Georgia, and most recently for Emory University.

As a mother of a daughter with SATB2-associated syndrome, she wanted to help others who receive this diagnosis receive the proper support they need as well as further support research and awareness.

David has been in academia since 2009, most recently as a Professor of Pharmacy at Ferris State University.  He earned his PharmD from the University of Toledo and his MBA from Ferris State University.  David and his wife Heather have two children, Lainey and Lydia.  Lydia was diagnosed with SATB2-associated syndrome in 2018.

Jenna graduated from Cairn University with her Bachelor of Social Work degree. She has always been passionate about doing work that helps others to live a better life. Until recently, her passion had been to work with individuals with eating disorders, those who had come out of human trafficking situations and teen pregnancy. When her oldest daughter was diagnosed with SATB2-Asssociated Syndrome in 2019 her passions switched to helping families navigate the ins and outs of raising a child with special needs.

One of the things that Jenna quickly realized after he daughter’s diagnosis was that there was very little information readily available for families about what programs and services were available through their state for their children. Jenna wants to do what she can to help families learn about their states programs and services and ensure that every child has equitable access to those programs and services.

Heather Green is the Director of Development at Odylia Therapeutics where she oversees fundraising. She began working in development in Metro-Atlanta in 1991 serving social service organizations and private universities. Heather has wide-ranging experience in multiple fundraising strategies both as a full-time staff person within nonprofit organizations and as a fundraising consultant. In addition to extensive work in fundraising in Metro-Atlanta and Georgia, she has worked on national cause marketing and direct mail campaigns, and international corporate sponsorships.

Heather has written (and received) grants for program support, operations, capital campaigns, and capacity building ranging from $10,000 – $750,000. She has also taught several fundraising classes and seminars including the AFP Essentials of Fundraising-Corporate and Foundation Grantseeking; AFP Essentials of Fundraising-Starting a Development Program; and the Nonprofit University-Individual, Board and Volunteer Giving classes.

Heather has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Nonprofits from the University of Georgia, and earned her CFRE in 1999.

Julie Hamburg is the Director of Patient Advocacy for Guardant Health, a precision oncology company. Prior to joining Guardant, Julie worked at Pfizer, where she managed their prescription assistance programs and helped patients navigate access and affordability challenges.

Throughout her career, Julie has worked to advocate for patients’ needs. In 2017, that work became personal, when Julie’s daughter, Lila, was diagnosed with SATB2-associated syndrome (SAS). Julie is excited to bring her love of advocacy and communications to the SATB2 Gene Foundation to build further awareness, connections, and support for those impacted by SAS, and to ensure their collective voice is heard.

Julie holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University.

Bill recently retired from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) after 39 years, serving as the director of university events during the last 27 of those years.  His areas of expertise include project management, program development, budgeting, and sponsorships.  Bill earned his BA & MBA from UB.  He is a current board member of two local foundation boards.

Bill and his wife Terry have three adult children.  Their oldest is Lindsay, born in 1989, who was diagnosed with SATB2-associated syndrome in 2017.  Lindsay continues to live at home with her parents and attends full-time day programming through People Inc.

Medical and Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Jennifer Fish is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), where she teaches Developmental Biology and Comparative Vertebrate Embryology. Prior to arriving at UML, she trained at King’s College London and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Fish has been researching the roles of SATB2 in development since 2008 using animal models of disease. Her research involves in vivo assays (in the mouse model system) and in vitro studies on osteoblasts (bone cells) and neurons. Additionally, through involvement in the SATB2 Gene Foundation, Dr. Fish’s lab is using SAS patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to further investigate disease mechanisms and treatments.

Dr. Rita Ibitoye, BSc, Cert. Med. Gen RCPath (UK), MSc Genomic Medicine 

Dr. Rita Ibitoye, a consultant in Clinical Genetics, based at the NorthWest Thames Regional Genetics Service in London, England. Dr. Ibitoye’s interest in the SATB2-Associated Syndrome (SAS) started in 2013, following carrying out a research study on the gene as part of the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD study) Complimentary Analysis Project. She has presented on SAS at a number of genetics conferences and also co-authored a medical paper on the condition (Bengani H, Handley M, Alvi M, Ibitoye R et al. Clinical and molecular consequences of disease-associated de novo mutations in SATB2. Genet Med. 2017 Aug; PMID: 28151491).

Dr. Ibitoye sees people with a diagnosis of SAS a in England in her Clinical Genetics clinic at the NorthWest Thames Regional Genetics Service. Dr. Ibitoye is also in the process of trying to set up a national multidisciplinary team SAS clinic with other medical specialists.

Ashlen Thomason, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a member of the outpatient speech pathology team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She is a graduate of the Arkansas Consortium for the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a major research emphasis in stuttering and minor in cleft palate. Ashlen is an adjunct instructor for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology graduate program teaching Fluency Disorders and supervising student clinicians. She is the director of the Arkansas Stuttering Network, a non-profit organization designed to elevate the level of care available to Arkansans who stutter.

Dr. Barber Tinselboer is a physician for people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID). In the Netherlands, this is a medical specialty, created to provide better medical care to people with ID. Her work is comprised mostly of treating the comorbid conditions in people with ID like epilepsy, behavioural issues, psychiatric disorders and additional physical problems. She works at ‘s Heeren Loo in Apeldoorn, an organization that provides care, services and treatment for people with ID. She also has a son with SATB2-associated syndrome.

Dr Yuri Zarate is Professor and Chief of the Division of Genetics and Metabolism at University of Kentucky.  In 2014, Dr Zarate started a research project that led to a report with the first cohort of patients with SATB2-associated syndrome (SAS). From there, he established a strong-long lasting relationship with the support group for this rare condition, created the initial dedicated SAS website (, and launched the only available clinical registry for this syndrome. Through his leadership, Arkansas Children’s Hospital hosted multidisciplinary international SAS clinics in 2017 and 2018 and continues to be the only dedicated clinic in the United States to offer routine care for this population. Dr Zarate has published extensively on different aspects regarding this syndrome and activity leads and collaborates on several ongoing SAS-related research projects.

International Partners

The SATB2 Gene Foundation is an international organization that supports all families living around the globe, through a unified approach to ensure that we succeed in achieving our mission and vision for all families living with SATB2-associated syndrome. Together, we continue to collaborate and provide support of our families, educating the world about SAS, and furthering research.

SATB2 Connect (Australia, New Zealand, and Asia Pacific region)
SATB2 Europe
Association Francaise Du SATB2 (France)
SATB2 Italia associazione onlus (Italy)
SATB2 Stichting Nederland en Belgie (Netherlands and Belgium)
Asociación del Síndrome Asociado al SATB2-SAS (Spain)
SATB2 Gene Trust UK

Membership Information

The SATB2 Gene Foundation is a proud member of the Global Genes Foundation Alliance and COMBINEDBrain.