Who We Are

Baszucki Group aims to deliver fundamental improvements in metabolic and mental health, democracy, and regenerative agriculture.

Our founders personally understand the challenges of a mental health crisis as well as the life-restoring impact of successful interventions. They are dedicated to supporting research and treatments that will offer new hope to families like theirs.

Founders

DAVID BASZUCKI

 

David is the founder and CEO of Roblox, a global platform where millions of people around the world gather together every day to imagine, create and share experiences with each other in immersive, user-generated 3D worlds. Pioneering the category of virtual human co-experience, Roblox became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in March of 2021. David has committed any additional compensation he receives as CEO toward philanthropic purposes.

With his wife, Jan Ellison Baszucki, David has funded neuropsychiatric research for many years. Together, David and Jan launched Baszucki Group in 2021 to propel and expand this work and to address societal change in other areas. David co-directs Baszucki Group’s philanthropic investment strategy, with particular interests in metabolic health, democracy and astronomy. David and Jan have four children and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Originally from Canada, David grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he spent time outdoors riding dirt bikes and building go-karts. As a child, he liked to read the encyclopedia, and he enjoyed science fiction novels that transported him to different worlds. In high school, he led his school’s quiz bowl team and played saxophone in the all-state band. David studied electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford, where he became a General Motors Scholar. He spent two summers in Flint, Michigan, as an intern at Buick product engineering.

Prior to Roblox, David, Erik Cassel, and his brother, Greg, founded Knowledge Revolution in the late 1980s. They created “Interactive Physics,” a leading educational physics software package. The company later built a 3D mechanical engineering simulator for companies producing a range of products, from cars to cameras to farm equipment to copy machines. Knowledge Revolution was acquired by MSC Software Corporation and after several years, David left to pursue other interests.

David dabbled in angel investing, hosted his own talk radio show, and crossed the Western U.S. and Canada in a motorhome with Jan and their children. Returning home, David was joined by Erik Cassel, who had been the lead engineer at Knowledge Revolution, in a one-room office in Menlo Park. They began writing the simulation code that would ultimately become the foundation of Roblox. Erik died of cancer in 2013. David continues the work of Roblox in Erik’s memory.

JAN ELLISON BASZUCKI

 

Jan is president of Baszucki Group and founder of Metabolic Mind. A former Silicon Valley fintech marketing executive, Jan is a writer, parent, mental health advocate and aspiring citizen scientist. She is the author of the national bestselling debut novel, A Small Indiscretion, which was a San Francisco Chronicle recommended book of 2015. Her essays have appeared in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Writer’s Digest, and her short fiction has received numerous awards, including an O. Henry Prize for her first published story.

Jan holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford, and an MFA from San Francisco State University. She is currently at work on a memoir about her son’s recovery from bipolar disorder with a 100-year-old metabolic treatment for epilepsy. 

Jan is married to David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox. David and Jan have a son and three daughters and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, they co-founded Baszucki Group to advance the family’s philanthropic goals. Jan co-directs strategy and runs day-to-day operations. Jan’s particular passions include metabolic treatments for mental illness, regenerative approaches to both food production and environmental conservation, and electoral initiatives that combine open primaries with instant run-off voting.

After college, Jan spent two years in Hawaii, Australia and Southeast Asia. She worked as a waitress and a typist, trekked solo in the Himalayas, took trains across India and job-hunted in Hong Kong. Before that, Jan took a gap year in college to study French in Paris, work in an office in London, and try her hand at writing. A decade later, her notebooks from those travels inspired her novel, essays and stories.

In the 1990s, Jan spent seven years leading product and corporate marketing for Silicon Valley fintech startup Infinity Financial Technology, which produced derivatives trading and risk management systems. After Infinity went public and was then acquired, Jan left to devote herself to writing and raising a family. When their son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 19, Jan directed her energies full-time to learning about and funding promising neuropsychiatric research.

Staff

ANNA HUYNH

Senior Director, Grants & Systems

Anna manages the grantmaking process and drives ongoing operational excellence through technology solutions for Baszucki Group. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, Anna was the senior grants manager at Sunlight Giving, overseeing the grantmaking and budgeting process for a private foundation and two donor-advised funds. Prior to that, Anna worked in the private sector for six years, building and scaling workflows to expand Google Shopping and Google Play into new markets.

As a first generation Vietnamese American, Anna remembers nonprofit workers who stopped by after their work day to help her mother fill out government paperwork, as well as her teachers who offered their lunch hours to teach her English. The deep appreciation for those that helped transform her life motivates her to be a positive force beyond her immediate circle of influence.

Anna received a BA in Economics at University of California, Berkeley. While in college and throughout her career, Anna has volunteered her time to fundraise for a nonprofit that supports children in Vietnam by enabling their access to basic need services and organizes public forums to discuss issues faced by the AAPI community in the Bay Area. For fun, Anna seeks out new activities that pique her interest including long-distance cycling, marathon training, Krav Maga and Toastmasters.

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ANNA HUYNH

Senior Director, Grants & Systems

Anna manages the grantmaking process and drives ongoing operational excellence through technology solutions for Baszucki Group. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, Anna was the senior...

BRET SCHER, M.D.

Director, Metabolic Mind

Bret leads Baszucki Group’s newest initiative, Metabolic Mind, which is focused on providing information and resources about the emerging field of metabolic psychiatry. He also is the lead for the organization’s broader metabolic health work. He is a board-certified cardiologist, lipidologist and leading expert in therapeutic uses of metabolic therapies, including ketogenic diets. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, Bret was the medical director at DietDoctor.com, an online platform promoting improving metabolic health through low carb nutrition, where he was a content creator and medical reviewer. Earlier in his career, he worked as a cardiologist in San Diego.

Bret has spent most of his 20-year career as a preventive cardiologist, helping people improve their metabolic health and preventing heart disease using low carb nutrition and lifestyle interventions. His deep passion for educating the public about the benefits of metabolic therapies grew from his experience with the prevailing medical teaching, which frequently misrepresents nutrition science and undervalues metabolic health. 

Bret received an MD from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and a BS in Biology from Stanford University. He grew up in San Diego and began competing in triathlons at an early age which helped fuel his love of health and fitness. He continues to enjoy spending time outdoors mountain biking, swimming, hiking, and playing baseball with his two boys.

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BRET SCHER, M.D.

Director, Metabolic Mind

Bret leads Baszucki Group’s newest initiative, Metabolic Mind, which is focused on providing information and resources about the emerging field of metabolic psychiatry. He also...

BURCIN IKIZ, PH.D.

Science Program Officer

Burcin joined Baszucki Group in July 2023. She is a neuroscientist with over 15 years of experience in research and consulting, mainly in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. In her previous role, Burcin worked as a data scientist at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where she developed new tools and technologies to support patient-driven research for rare and neurological diseases. Burcin also initiated motor neuron disease research efforts at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and led preclinical development for several biotech startups.

Burcin is passionate about making scientific knowledge accessible, available, and inclusive to everyone. She occasionally writes for popular science outlets, such as Psychology Today, about recent scientific discoveries in neuroscience and what they mean to patients.

Burcin received a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Columbia University and a B.Sc. in Biomedical Computation from Stanford University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three children, and puppy. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach or hike with her family, bake, and dance.

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BURCIN IKIZ, PH.D.

Science Program Officer

Burcin joined Baszucki Group in July 2023. She is a neuroscientist with over 15 years of experience in research and consulting, mainly in the field...

CAROLYN WALL SAKATA

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director

Carolyn directs Baszucki Group’s philanthropic activities. She has worked in philanthropy with family foundations at varying stages, most recently as managing director of Sunlight Giving, where she helped ramp up the private foundation and two affiliated donor-advised funds. Her previous experience includes working with multiple family foundations at Pacific Foundation Services, a brief stint at the City and County of San Francisco in the Department of Children, Youth and their Families and work as a program officer at the Medina Foundation. She has served on nonprofit boards and funding collaboratives and volunteers regularly in the community.

Carolyn has spent most of her career in the nonprofit space, including working as a clinical social worker in community mental health and dual diagnosis settings. The formative experience of working within hospital and community mental health settings provided powerful insights into the experiences of clients and their families, the possibilities for recovery, and the critical need for improved interventions. Earlier in her nonprofit career, she tutored students with learning challenges, worked at Children’s Hospital Boston and wrote stewardship reports for donors.

Carolyn received an MSW from Smith College and a BA in History and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends time exploring the outdoors, swimming, and getting lost in the immersive worlds of books.

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CAROLYN WALL SAKATA

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director

Carolyn directs Baszucki Group’s philanthropic activities. She has worked in philanthropy with family foundations at varying stages, most recently as managing director of Sunlight Giving,...

ELIZABETH (LIZ) RIMIO

Program Director

Liz manages Baszucki Group’s Regenerative Agriculture and Electoral Innovation grantmaking initiatives. She has over 15 years of experience working with family foundations, individual donors and family offices across a wide range of issue areas. In addition to her role at Baszucki Group, Liz maintains a philanthropy consulting practice where she advises individuals and family foundations on their philanthropic strategies.

Prior to starting her own consulting practice, Liz spent most of her career in a single family office based in Palo Alto, CA where she managed the family’s various philanthropic vehicles, including two private foundations, donor advised funds and direct giving. In that role, Liz led their overall philanthropic strategy including their local grantmaking portfolio which supported underserved populations.

Liz received a BA in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children and two dogs. Outside of work, Liz enjoys spending time with her family at the beach and other outdoor adventures.

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ELIZABETH (LIZ) RIMIO

Program Director

Liz manages Baszucki Group’s Regenerative Agriculture and Electoral Innovation grantmaking initiatives. She has over 15 years of experience working with family foundations, individual donors and...

Hannah Warren

Mental Health Communications and Advocacy Manager

In her role as an advocate and writer for Baszucki Group and Metabolic Mind, Hannah works to increase awareness of the emerging field of metabolic psychiatry. She has worked in the nonprofit field the majority of her career, most recently as Marketing and Development Director at Serenity Hospice and Home, a nonprofit serving terminally ill patients and their loved ones. In 2008, she founded Jhoole, an eco-fashion social enterprise that employs women in India and currently serves on its Board of Directors.

In July 2021, Hannah implemented ketogenic therapy and ultimately put her bipolar 1 disorder into complete remission. This experience inspired her to devote her career to disseminating the science of metabolic therapies and working to make them a first-line treatment option. Hannah serves as a volunteer with the Brain Energy Movement started by Dr. Christopher Palmer to spread awareness of the brain energy theory. Today, she actively implements treatments for neurometabolic dysfunction including ketogenic therapy, intermittent fasting, exercise and meditation.

Hannah has a MA in Fashion Entrepreneurship from London College of Fashion and BA in South Asian Studies and Linguistics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She is a recipient of a Global Grant Scholarship from Rotary International which she used to expand Jhoole and complete her master’s program. In her free time, Hannah is working on a book about her experiences titled Radiant Beast: The Mitochondrial Pathway.

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Hannah Warren

Mental Health Communications and Advocacy Manager

In her role as an advocate and writer for Baszucki Group and Metabolic Mind, Hannah works to increase awareness of the emerging field of metabolic...

JULIE MILDER, PH.D.

Director, Neuroscience

Julie leads Baszucki Group’s scientific initiatives. Throughout her career, she has applied her expertise in neuroscience across academia, grantmaking, scientific strategy and the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Julie was Associate Director at Jazz Pharmaceuticals where she led the US Medical Affairs Training and Excellence team to work collaboratively across multiple focus areas including epilepsy/movement disorders, sleep, hematology, and oncology. Prior to that, she served as the first scientist on staff for CURE Epilepsy, the largest non-governmental funder of epilepsy research where she directed their grantmaking and collaborative team science initiatives.

Julie is known throughout the epilepsy research and advocacy community for her passion and dedication to the cause. Her PhD focused on investigating the effects of a ketogenic diet on mitochondrial function and antioxidant response, given its utilization as a therapy for pediatric onset epilepsy. During her time at CURE Epilepsy, Julie initiated CURE Epilepsy’s first team science initiative, which sought to bring researchers and clinicians together to work toward a common goal of finding a new treatment for infantile spasms, a devastating epilepsy of infancy.

Julie received a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado, Denver and a BA in Biology/Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Denver with her two daughters and rescue dog, and they try to escape to the mountains as often as possible.

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JULIE MILDER, PH.D.

Director, Neuroscience

Julie leads Baszucki Group’s scientific initiatives. Throughout her career, she has applied her expertise in neuroscience across academia, grantmaking, scientific strategy and the pharmaceutical industry....

KARIN KISSANE

Head of Investments

Karin directs investments for the Baszucki Family Foundation and advises on impact investing for Baszucki Group. She brings more than 25 years’ experience investing in early-stage companies and funds. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, she was managing director and chief operating officer of Gates Capital Partners, where she led the private equity program. During her early career, she co-founded an early-stage venture firm, made software investments for a corporate venture group and worked for Parthenon Consulting Group.

Along with her husband of 30 years, Karin is raising four kids in the Bay Area. She is especially grateful for educators and mental health professionals who work with neurodiverse children, helping them to realize their full potential. Karin volunteers her time to support girls and women, and has led her daughters’ Girl Scouts troop, served on UPWARD Women’s Board and co-led the Harvard Business School Women’s Student Association. She currently serves on the Zellerbach Family Foundation’s Board and chairs the Investment Committee.

Karin earned an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School and a BA in International Relations with honors from Stanford University. In 2021, the school recognized her as a Top 100 Harvard Business School Alumni in Finance & Investing. In her free time, she does yoga, reads, travels and spends time with friends.

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KARIN KISSANE

Head of Investments

Karin directs investments for the Baszucki Family Foundation and advises on impact investing for Baszucki Group. She brings more than 25 years’ experience investing in...

Jeff MacGregor

Chief Communications Officer

Jeff MacGregor leads Baszucki Group’s content and communications efforts, overseeing media relations, documentary films, and the brand management of its metabolic mental health initiative, Metabolic Mind. With over 15 years of experience, Jeff has built and led successful communications programs for some of the world’s most renowned companies, philanthropies, individuals, and brands.

Before joining Baszucki Group, Jeff led communications at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network. There, he managed a science portfolio encompassing grant programs, open-source tools, and a nationwide network of institutes. His diverse career also includes co-leading an AI startup to a successful Silicon Valley exit, executive producing two award-winning documentaries, collaborating with a world-famous author on a best-selling book sold to Universal Pictures, and crafting two of the most successful marketing campaigns in global banking history. Jeff has received over 50 international communications awards and has spoken on global stages such as SXSW, Aspen Ideas, the National Academies, and various film festivals across the US.

Jeff holds a BA in English and Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto. Outside of work, he enjoys running ultramarathons, surfing, and spending time with his wife, daughter, and very senior dog.

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Jeff MacGregor

Chief Communications Officer

Jeff MacGregor leads Baszucki Group’s content and communications efforts, overseeing media relations, documentary films, and the brand management of its metabolic mental health initiative, Metabolic...

Kirk Nylen, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Neuroscience

Kirk directs Baszucki Group’s strategic approach to neuroscience research and discovery. He has extensive experience in the health and research sectors, most recently serving as the Deputy Scientific Director and Vice President of Research and Informatics at the Ontario Brain Institute where he led the Institute’s approach to collaborative research networks, informatics and analytics, and knowledge translation. He believes in the power of team science and that the future of discovery and innovation is anchored in data connectivity. His previous experience involves writing healthcare strategy and business plans for Ontario’s provincial cancer agency.

Kirk is a member of the Milken Institute’s LeadersLink program, a Fellow of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT Health), and has advised both national and provincial governments at research and data governance policy tables. He is a recipient of the Van Gelder Savoy Award for epilepsy research and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Research Award, and led work that received the Changemaker Award from the Neurological Health Charities of Canada. He has authored dozens of academic and policy publications, and serves as an adjunct professor and lecturer at the University of Toronto.

Kirk holds an MSc and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and a BA in psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ontario Science Centre and the founding Director and Chair of ReachUp, a not-for-profit focused on engaging Indigenous youth in active, healthy living through sport. He lives in Toronto, Ontario Canada with his family and is an insatiable traveler, sourdough bread maker, ultimate frisbee player, and former alluvial gold miner.

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Kirk Nylen, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Neuroscience

Kirk directs Baszucki Group’s strategic approach to neuroscience research and discovery. He has extensive experience in the health and research sectors, most recently serving as...

Nicole Feldman

Grants Associate

Nicole joined Baszucki Group in January 2024 and supports all grantmaking activities across the organization. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, Nicole worked at the Heising-Simons Foundation in several roles spanning program and operations teams. In each role, she focused on planning, implementing, and improving efficient processes and systems to support grantmaking efforts.

Nicole received her BA in Sociology from San Jose State University. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she enjoys being close to the beach and never far from a hiking trail.

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Nicole Feldman

Grants Associate

Nicole joined Baszucki Group in January 2024 and supports all grantmaking activities across the organization. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, Nicole worked at the Heising-Simons...

Rachael Xiong

Program Associate

Rachael manages Metabolic Mind’s digital presence and communications. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, she worked at wikiHow, a mission-driven internet company, where she led expert relations, developed site features and managed digital social content.

Beyond her professional interests, Rachael has a heart for giving back to her community. She has a particular passion for improving access to healthcare and education. During college, Rachael volunteered in free clinic settings to ensure uninsured patients receive care. Additionally, she has led programs for Hmong youth and mentored high school students from underrepresented communities to promote the pursuit of higher education.

Rachael received a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University. She was born and raised in Georgia but now calls the San Francisco Bay Area her home. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys hiking and baking for her friends and family.

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Rachael Xiong

Program Associate

Rachael manages Metabolic Mind’s digital presence and communications. Prior to joining Baszucki Group, she worked at wikiHow, a mission-driven internet company, where she led expert...

Soly Lee

Program Associate

Soly supports day-to-day operations for Baszucki Group’s science program. In his prior role, he worked as an admission counselor at Stanford University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission to improve public-facing communication strategies and streamline operational processes. He also worked as a health fellow at The Primary School, a nonprofit integrating education, health, and family support services. During college, Soly worked with multiple public service organizations focused on improving healthcare and education access.

Soly received a BS in Human Biology from Stanford University. He currently serves on Stanford’s Young Alumni Philanthropy Council. Soly grew up in Fresno, California and enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also loves to volunteer, travel, and explore the outdoors through camping, hiking, and fishing.

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Soly Lee

Program Associate

Soly supports day-to-day operations for Baszucki Group’s science program. In his prior role, he worked as an admission counselor at Stanford University’s Office of Undergraduate...

Xia Luu

Executive Administrative Partner

Xia joined Baszucki Group in October 2023 as an Executive Administrative Partner with over 11 years of experience. In her previous roles at BlueJeans by Verizon and Malwarebytes, Xia has consistently demonstrated her passion for building strong strategic partnerships with C-Level executives. She actively seeks out opportunities for personal and professional growth, embracing new challenges and expanding her knowledge in a rapidly evolving business landscape. 

Xia received a BA in Business Administration, Management from San Jose State University. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. When not lost in the pages of a novel, Xia loves to explore the world through travel. 

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Xia Luu

Executive Administrative Partner

Xia joined Baszucki Group in October 2023 as an Executive Administrative Partner with over 11 years of experience. In her previous roles at BlueJeans by...