Meet Our Team

Philip Yeske, PhD • Interim Managing Director & Science & Alliance Officer

Philip Yeske is UMDF’s Science & Alliance Officer. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Allegheny College and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Emory University. Prior to joining UMDF, he served as President and CEO of Fluorous Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based, early-stage life sciences company. He also worked at Bayer Corporation in positions ranging from basic research to global account management and co-founded the drug discovery company, MS2 Array.

Dr. Yeske has been active in the mitochondrial disease community since 2004, first as a parent of an affected child, then as a trustee of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, he accepted the position of UMDF Science & Alliance Officer, responsible for leading the foundation’s research mission and managing all scientific and business development efforts related to improved diagnoses, development of treatments and cures and optimized patient care.

Rare Fact about Phil: Phil’s first job was as an usher at a movie theater where a lifelong passion for buttered popcorn developed.

Andy Dearth • Director of Marketing & Communications

Andy started his career as a marketer for concert giant Live Nation, where he rose from part-time publicist to a director role over 12 years with the company, promoting some of the biggest names in music including The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and more.

He joins UMDF from Goodwill Columbus, where as Marketing Director the last five years he championed the organization’s unique social enterprise model, helping to grow shopping, donations and fundraising to boost Goodwill’s impact in the community.

Andy is a graduate of Otterbein University and resides in Central Ohio with his wife, son and many dogs and cats.

Maria Porto • Director of Finance & Operations

Maria came to UMDF in early 2024 with nearly three decades of finance expertise, most recently with Lowell Public Schools in Lowell, MA, where she served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Prior to this, she rose to the role of Vice President of Financial Wellness over a 20-year career with Hanscom Federal Credit Union.  Maria resides with her husband and their two teenage children in the greater Boston area. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family skiing, hiking, bike riding, attending soccer games, and traveling. She also speaks three languages, including English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Kara Strittmatter, MA, CMM • Director of Education and Support Services

Kara Strittmatter joined the UMDF in 1997 and has enjoyed many roles in support of patient families.  As the first employee, Kara has touched many through her leadership in member services, finance, fundraising, meeting planning, marketing and communications.  Currently, she is thrilled to be dedicating her time as the UMDF Meeting Event Director and focusing on education in our mitochondrial community to help the patients and families we serve. 

Under her direction, the UMDF organizes a very successful annual international conference which attracts more than 700 physicians, researchers, industry partners, patients, caregivers, and families. She is also very excited about expanding the UMDF’s education outreach and assist in the creation of a new educational portal to better serve the mitochondrial community.  Kara has a Master of Arts in Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations/Theatre.

Rare Fact about Kara:  Has played many theatrical roles in her life, including Peppermint Patty in the musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” 

Tania Hanscom • Associate Director of Development

Tania Hanscom joined UMDF in 2005.  Since then, Tania has served in many capacities with UMDF.  Beginning her career in data processing, Tania now works with patient families and volunteers to plan, organize, and host fundraisers in honor of their loved ones.  Tania leads UMDF Special Event fundraising, including our Energy for Life Walkathons and helps our patient families organize events in their community and on social media.

Prior to coming to UMDF, Tania managed events and ticket sales for a professional sports franchise in Pittsburgh. Tania is a 2002 graduate of Slippery Rock University with a degree in Sport Management and Marketing.  She and her husband, John, have two sons.


Margret Moore • Associate Director of Support and Education

Margaret Moore formally joined the UMDF as an employee in January of 2012, after serving as a volunteer for many years. Margaret has assisted in many roles, special events and fundraising, but she eventually found her career home in support and education.
Maragaret is widely respected as a trusted advisor and dauntless advocate for our patient community. She connects families with necessary and impactful resources through the UMDF’s support concierge program.
In 2023, Margaret became the Associate Director of Support and Education. she supervises the UMDF’s Support Ambassador program and enjoys collaborating with our patient families.
Margaret has a Master of Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Fredonia. She resides in Charlotte, NC, area with her dog, Daniel.

Join our Team!

UMDF is always looking for talented individuals.