OpenBiome Announces Additions and Transitions to Board of Directors

Press Release


CAMBRIDGE, MA—OpenBiome is pleased to announce the appointment of three new board members:  

  • Stephen Jones: Executive Director of the Stanley Family Foundation 
  • Ruchika Kumar: General Counsel of a venture-backed healthtech startup; Former Associate General Counsel at Genentech-Roche
  • Garabet Yeretssian, PhD: Science Program Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative 

Following these appointments, the OpenBiome Board will comprise 9 members with expertise in biobanking, healthcare, and scientific leadership and innovation.

“This Board is an exceptional team that will support the expansion of OpenBiome’s mission to fill critical gaps in microbiome medicine and science,” said Julie Barrett O’Brien, CEO of OpenBiome. “We are unparalleled in our commitment to patients with C. difficile and our dedication to expanding scientific understanding and application of the human microbiome worldwide.” 

The Board of Directors has also named Neil Rasmussen as Chair of the Board. Rasmussen will succeed Lisa Serwin who will remain on the Board of Directors. Throughout her tenure, Serwin was critical to maintaining safe access to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for recurrent C. difficile patients including through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“It’s an honor to take on this role at such a pivotal moment for the microbiome field,” said Rasmussen, who is also a major supporter of the Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics at MIT. “We are just beginning to study the full diversity of the microbiome and build a dynamic research ecosystem that’s responsive to the health needs of communities around the world.” 


About Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones is the Executive Director of the Stanley Family Foundation, with the mission of reducing the burdens of serious mental illness through basic scientific research for translation to therapeutics. He also serves as the Trustee of the Stanley Medical Research Institute and has served on numerous nonprofit Boards of Directors. 

About Ruchika Kumar
Ruchika Kumar is an experienced lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry providing counsel on biotech regulation and compliance, digital health, market access, and clinical trial innovation. Ruchika serves as a General Counsel for a venture-backed healthtech startup in stealth mode. Prior to that, she spent 17 years at Genentech-Roche in various roles and most recently as Associate General Counsel. She is also on the Board of Muso Health, a non-profit that works to address the injustices of health and poverty, and to create a cure for delay in health care. Kumar is a member of the State Bar of New York and California, and received her Master of Laws from the University of Pennsylvania law school. 

About Garabet Yeretssian, PhD
Garabet Yeretssian is a Science Program Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he oversees programs related to inflammation and rare pediatric inflammatory diseases. Previously, he worked as the Director for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program where he provided visionary leadership for a multimillion-dollar scientific and clinical portfolio. Yeretssian holds a PhD in biotechnology, cell and molecular biology from the University of Nantes, France.  


Note: This press release was updated on August 7, 2023




About OpenBiome  
OpenBiomeaccelerates bold discoveries in microbiome science to improve health for all. An independent nonprofit, we catalyze cutting edge research, advance treatment, and expand scientific capacity to unlock the full potential of the human microbiome.

Since our founding at MIT in 2012, we have provided investigational FMT treatments to more than 65,000 patients with recurrentC. difficileinfections and supported over 40 studies investigating how the microbiome affects human health. Through OpenBiome’snew flagship program, the Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC), we are building and sharing the world’s most globally representative collection of microbiome samples and strains to fill critical gaps in microbiome science.

For more information, visit    

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