Our Team

Anita Pepper, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Anita Pepper, Ph.D., is Executive Director of The Jane Coffin Childs Fund for Medical Research (JCC), established by the Childs Family in 1937. At JCC, she is focused on advancing and expanding the Fund’s mission to support postdoctoral fellows who deepen our understanding of the causes, treatments, and cures for human disease.

Prior to joining JCC, she was the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at The Wistar Institute, the nation’s first independent research institution devoted solely to biomedical science. There, she led the development and implementation of strategic fundraising opportunities to strengthen and cultivate individual and philanthropic support and created new, complementary relationships with individual, corporate and nonprofit partners.

Before coming to Wistar, Dr. Pepper was the Director of the Pew Biomedical Programs at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she oversaw Pew’s biomedical research programs including, the Pew Scholars Program, the Pew-Stewart Scholars Program and the Pew Latin American Fellows Program.

Dr. Pepper brings close to two decades of experience designing and implementing comprehensive scientific programs to advance and support philanthropic and institutional goals. She graduated with a B.S. from Cornell University, she holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics from NYU, after which she joined UPenn as a postdoctoral fellow in Genetics.


Christina Bruno
Chief Operating Officer

Chris joined the Jane Coffin Childs Fund for Medical Research in 2022 as the Director of Operations and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in July 2023. In her current role, she helps manage all operational aspects of the Fund including assisting the Executive Director in managing the JCC Fellows program, budgets, application review cycle and annual symposium planning.

Prior to joining JCC, she worked at The Wistar Institute as Manager for the Institutional Advancement Department. While at Wistar, she managed the department budget, organized the annual melanoma symposium, and assisted with donor and outreach events. Chris helped to launch and manage Wistar’s Women & Science program.

At the Pew Charitable Trusts, Chris worked as the Senior Associate for the Pew Biomedical Programs for six years. During that time, she organized and managed the Pew Scholars and Pew Latin American Fellows’ annual meeting including communication with all attendees and on-site logistics. She set up and executed all contracts and budgets related to the programs.

Chris has worked in the non-profit community for over 20 years. Previous positions include Director of Administration and Operations at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Preservation Services Administrator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. She is a native Philadelphian and attended Temple University.


Heather Demet
Administrative Associate

Heather Demet is the Administrative Associate at The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research (the Fund), one of the nation’s oldest cancer research foundations. She joined the Fund in July 1996 and has served as the organizational liaison to the applicants, Fellows, Boards and staff throughout her tenure. Heather has been part of the transition of the Fund from a more historic charitable fund structure, providing the resources to the Fellows to conduct their research, to playing a part in a more holistic organization that works to support the Fellows careers. As part of this, she helped to transition the Fund to an online and efficient organization. She enjoys working with the Fellows in the program, as well as the various members of both governing boards.

Prior to working with the Fund, Ms. Demet worked in the Department of Neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine as an administrative assistant for the Graduate Student program. Her work, preparing grant applications for the department faculty as well as day to day functions of the business office, allowing her to bring great experience to the Fund upon her arrival.