Solve M.E. Staff

Listed in alphabetical order. 

Afifah Ayub Headshot

Afifah Ayub

Clinical Data Coordinator

After graduating from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in May of 2020, Afifah received an offer from a local pharmaceutical research company, DM Clinical Research, for the position of Research Data Coordinator. This position helped spark her interest in the realm of Clinical Research and paved the way to her current role at Solve M.E. as a Clinical Data Coordinator. Afifah aspires to further her education in Public Health and attain a PhD in Epidemiology within the next five to ten years. 

In her freetime, she enjoys reading, watching “Gravity Falls”, planning trips, going on drives, spending time with her family, writing, modifying her Spotify playlists, or scrolling through reddit.

Ilise Friedman Headshot

Ilise Friedman

Associate Director, Donor Relations

Ilise Friedman has worked in development for over two decades, most recently in the independent school sector: at Turning Point School, where she served for 5 years as Director of Advancement, and previously at Campbell Hall School, where she spent 10 years as Associate Director of Advancement.

She received her BA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz, graduating with honors. After working as an Executive Assistant after college, she found her calling to help others by serving as the Director of Development for Gateway Center of Monterey County, an adult residential and vocational facility. At Gateway, Ms. Friedman was responsible for the organization’s grant writing, foundation relations, and fundraising events.

Ms. Friedman has managed numerous volunteer committees and finds great joy in working with community members from a diverse range of backgrounds. From 2001-2005, Ms. Friedman worked as the Gala Director for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in New York and Rhode Island. She also served as a volunteer manager for the Salvation Army immediately following the 2001 terror attacks.

She has also worked as a Development Officer for the Starlight Children’s Foundation; an Outreach Volunteer post-hurricane Sandy via and Habitat for Humanity. She also served on the scholarship panel for the Nordstrom Foundation, granting $10,000 scholarships to high school juniors in Los Angeles County who exhibited exemplary community service.

In her spare time, you can find Ms. Friedman on the beach collecting seashells with her daughter, and on new adventures, either in a book or on a plane, traveling near and far.

Erin Gary Headshot

Erin Gary

Organization Support Coordinator

Erin brings over a decade of experience in the for-profit sector. Throughout her career, she has always harbored a deep passion for non-profit work. After earning her degree in Organizational Management, she seized the opportunity to transition into the non-profit sector.

Currently, she proudly serve as a valuable team member at Solve, where she channels her expertise and commitment into making a positive impact on individuals and communities affected by ME/CFS and Long Covid. She am passionate about driving change, fostering social responsibility, and creating a better world for all.


H. Timothy Hsiao, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research Strategy and Alliances


With more than two decades of research and scientific management experience, Tim joins Solve M.E. with the passion to strategically accelerate M.E./CFS research with and for patients, their families, and the broader community that share the interest in combating infection-associated chronic illnesses. Tim believes that medical research not only enriches the collective knowledge of humankind but also, more importantly, brings hope to patients.

Immediately before joining Solve M.E., Tim exercised leadership to steer the research and alliance strategy in a non-profit setting and mobilized the government, research foundations, and private sector stakeholders to partner and advance medicine together. Previously, Tim oversaw a multi-million-dollar portfolio of federal investments in scientific research as Program Director for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, Tim worked in science policy for the NIH Office of the Director, small business innovation for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), and epigenetic research for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He has been recognized by awards such as the NIH Director’s Award, NCATS Director’s Award, NIAID Merit Award, the U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellowship, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. Tim holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale University.

Kristin Jacobson Headshot

Kristin Jacobson

President, Chief Executive Officer

Kristin’s 30-year career in healthcare has included CEO and executive roles in corporate and nonprofit sectors. In all her work she has been a patient advocate first, with a special focus on medically underserved communities.

Kristin has served as a strategic advisor to health care companies and nonprofits.  She is an Advisor to Easterseals Southern California (Kaiser Permanente’s southern California provider network manager for autism and related conditions), Sharpen, Action Behavior Centers, Special Needs Network, and Wave Neurosciences, and she is a Venture Partner at Learn Capital.

While new to the ME/CFS and Long Covid space, Kristin has extensive and relevant experience as a patient advocacy leader, developing and empowering California’s autism community. She was the founder and CEO of Autism Deserves Equal Coverage Foundation and served as Autism Speaks Advocacy and Policy Chair for the state of California. In these roles, she led key initiatives to establish coverage, advance health policy, and spur legal enforcement of insurance coverage for autism and other mental health conditions. She is especially proud of leading the Medi-Cal effort, resulting in California being the first state in the nation to voluntarily cover behavioral health treatment for autism and other conditions through its Medicaid plan.

Kristin held executive and consulting roles at McKinsey and Company, Bain & Company, and life science companies Heartport, Cardiogenesis, Guidant, Pharmacyclics, and Threshhold Pharmaceuticals. 

She received an AB from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.


Amanda Martin

Engagement Manager

Amanda holds a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan and two bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Global Studies from Arizona State University. She has experience in policy analysis, hospital administration, and exercise science. Prior to joining Solve M.E., Amanda owned a small business in health behavior consulting.
In her role as Engagement Manager, Amanda works as a critical project manager, advocate, event producer, and community relations contact. She collaborates closely with community and patient leaders, leading scientists, and members of Solve M.E.’s Lived Experience Taskforce.
During her free time, Amanda loves exploring hiking trails, watching Disney movies with her son, or backpacking through new countries with her husband.

Leslie E. Phillips, PhD

Senior Director of Research

An epidemiologist specializing in clinical epidemiology, research study design and analysis, and best practices for data collection, Leslie is accomplished in helping organizations navigate complex epidemiologic questions, providing insight and support to better understanding the ME/CFS landscape. Leslie holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Washington. She has served in a variety of analytic and leadership capacities in research and public health and, in addition to epidemiology, has expertise in survey research, health equity, population health, and Lean Startup methodologies.

At Solve, Leslie is focused on “getting under the hood” to identify data insights that can be translated into actionable next steps. As a Seattle resident through many a grey, wet winter, Leslie has developed an excessive addiction to coffee and an impressive collection of GORE-TEX.

Emily Taylor Updated Headshot

Emily Taylor

Vice President of Advocacy and Engagement

Emily brings to the organization over fifteen years of policy, organization, and advocacy experience in both the non-profit and government sectors. With five years’ experience on Capitol Hill, Emily contributes a keen understanding of both state and federal policy processes while cultivating strong grassroots organization and patient representation.

Prior to joining the Solve M.E., Emily served as the director of policy and advocacy for an award-winning autism organization. There she spearheaded major overhauls in disability, early intervention, and education policies. She is also a veteran of several successful electoral campaigns, where she trained others in effective social media and online organization. She received a B.A. with honors in politics and international relations from Scripps College in Claremont and earned her M.A. in American politics from Claremont Graduate University. Emily draws inspiration from her mother who has battled ME/CFS as well as chronic autoimmune and thyroid conditions since 1999.

Monique Wike

Monique Wike

Advocacy Manager

Monique brings to the organization experience in corporate, non-profit, and political campaign sectors, with a focus on volunteer coordination, human resources, and program management.  She is motivated by the amplified impact that individual stories can make when people come together to advocate, and loves being a part of and supporting communities in sharing those stories. She is dedicated to ensuring that everyone feels a sense of belonging and connectedness as they engage in their advocacy journey.

Prior to joining Solve M.E. Monique focused on planning and implementing processes and programs to allow communities to fight collectively. She received her B.A in Psychology at Azusa Pacific University and is currently working towards her M.A. in Counseling at Amberton University in Texas.  Monique draws motivation from her experiences as an immigrant and navigating Fibromyalgia and Long Covid in her own life.

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