The Milken Center for Strategic Philanthropy’s senior scientists serve
as BD² program leaders ensuring the scientists, people with lived experience, clinicians, and philanthropists are working in concert.

Cara Altimus, PhD

Managing Director

Cara Altimus, PhD is managing director of BD² and a senior director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy where she leads the Center’s biomedical philanthropy portfolio. A PhD neuroscientist, Altimus developed and leads the Center’s work on bipolar disorder. Aligning the interests of multiple philanthropists, the research and clinical field, and people with lived experience, she facilitated the development of BD² from concept to reality.

Daniel Pham, PhD

Program Director

Daniel Pham, PhD is a program director of the BD² Research Programs and an associate director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. He has played a lead role in building the foundation for BD², cultivating productive collaborations and co-authoring multiple publications on bipolar disorder. Pham also researched and wrote the Institute’s Giving Smarter Guide, “Giving Smarter: Philanthropic Opportunities to Advance Bipolar Disorder Research.”

Emily Baxi, PhD

Program Director

Emily Baxi, PhD is a program director of the BD² Integrated Network for Bipolar Disorder (INBD) program and a director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. She joined the team in January 2022 to operationalize and lead the INBD program. Baxi was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University where she served as the executive director of the Packard Center for ALS Research and program director for Answer ALS, a multi-institutional ALS research program.

Elena Helmers-Wegman

Program Manager

Elena Helmers-Wegman is a program manager of the BD² Research Programs and a senior associate at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. She works on the Center’s biomedical research team, where she advises family foundations on fusing scientific strategy with effective giving practices. She oversees CSP’s broad grantmaking portfolio, which has been used to deploy millions of philanthropic dollars to a number of biomedical research areas, including bipolar disorder.

Ashwin Govindan

Program Manager

Ashwin Govindan is program manager of the BD² Integrated Network for Bipolar Disorder (INBD) and a senior associate at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. He manages and coordinates operations for INBD to ensure successful development and implementation of the program. Govindan holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Biology as well as a master’s degree in Applied Health Behavior. Prior to joining the team, he worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis, where he focused on the maintenance and oversight of institutional, multi-site, and pharmaceutical clinical trials.