Derek Pupello, MBA

Derek Pupello has been working for the foundation since 2002. As a research manager, he managed several clinical research projects including an FDA investigational device exemption multi-center study of the first reverse shoulder arthroplasty system in the United States. The Reverse Shoulder Prosthesis®, invented by Mark Frankle, MD, was FDA approved in 2005. Derek became Director of Clinical Research in 2006 and became CEO of FORE in 2007. In his time at FORE, he has co-authored 27 publications including 7 articles published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

When Derek started in 2002, the Foundation was primarily engaged in clinical research. After becoming CEO, he worked to expand FORE’s capabilities to include Biomechanical Research, Surgical Training, and Continuing Medical Education (CME).

He worked to build a biomechanical research lab on the premises so that biomechanical research would no longer have to be outsourced. A biomechanics lab sharing the same building with FOI has enabled FORE to increase its ability to conduct this type of research while allowing physicians in a non-academic setting to participate in this type of research. The close proximity of scientists and physicians is an ideal scenario for the clinicians to engage in research that can answer fundamental questions about problems that they see in the clinic.

In 2005, Derek attended a surgical training course in Chicago and realized the growing need for surgeons to practice and hone their surgical skills in a laboratory setting. In 2007, Derek converted storage space in the basement of FOI into a small surgical training space that could host from 6 to 8 stations. Two years later, the growing need for surgical training was the impetus for renovating and expanding the space to include an auditorium and a much larger space for surgical training. The Surgical Training Center was completed in early 2010 and features space for up to 20 stations and a state of the art audiovisual system and lecture theater.

In 2007, FORE was accredited by the ACCME to provide CME credits to educational events. Since that time, the overall attendance at FORE’s educational events has more than doubled. The CME department remains a rapidly growing department of FORE as the need for healthcare professional education grows.

In addition to the day to day business operations of FORE, he is personally involved in several of the ongoing research projects. Also, he currently serves as Affiliate Associate faculty in the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Department, University of South Florida School of Medicine.

For a list of publications, powered by PubMed, click here.
Curriculum Vitae


Lexi Betances
Director, Continuing Medical Education

Susan Doan-Johnson
Director, Content & Marketing

Richelle Lopez
Program Manager

Maegan Griffin
CME Coordinator



Peter Simon, PhD
Senior Lead Scientist

Peter Simon works as a Senior Lead Scientist at the Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education (FORE) where he has been employed since August 2012. Dr. Simon holds the courtesy Professorship appointments at University of South Florida at Morsani College of Medicine and Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. His primary research interest is focused on morphometric and morphologic evaluation of healthy and diseased human joints.

Peter completed his Ph.D. at University of Illinois at Chicago and his Master degree at Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia. His research endowers at this period, reflected by his dissertation, lied in the area of orthopaedic biomechanics of the spine and effects of natural progression of osteoarthritis – degenerative disease affecting every human joint. After graduation, Peter joined FORE for his post-doctoral training with primary focus on shoulder biomechanics and became a full-time staff scientist in 2014. His primary area of expertise is quantification and assessment of shoulder anatomy and pathology from both basic and clinical science perspectives with firm focus on improvements in diagnostics and treatment of shoulder related pathologies. Dr. Simon is best known for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the three-dimensional models of the human bones from computer tomography scans.

Peter authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and he is active participant in national and international conferences with more than 35 podium or poster presentations. More recently, Dr. Simon got involved in research and development of new implant designs for shoulder joint replacement.

Dr. Simon has served as a research mentor for ten students (both medical school and engineering department), he is active in orthopeadic residency and fellowship research training and currently Dr. Simon serves as a leader of the multicenter study group within the society of American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons that aims to better diagnose and treat Osteoarthritis in the shoulder joint. The long-term goal of Natural History of Osteoarthritis study group is to develop new diagnostic methods for detection of gleno-humeral osteoarthritis, particularly in its early stages. His other research interests include studying the biomechanics of the spine and ankle joint and developing clinical outcome measures.

Peter received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in Biomechanics from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. Peter enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with his friends.

Click here to download Peter's CV.

Miguel Diaz
Biomechanics Research Laboratory Manager

Miguel Diaz began working with FORE in 2011 as a biomechanics research intern and worked on multiple projects involving shoulder, spine and hip biomechanics. His main role was assisting Dr. Simon in the development of a 6-DOF Shoulder Kinematic Testing rig and assessing scapular morphology using CT to 3D renderings. Miguel became a full-time Research Assistant in 2015 after the completion of his Masters degree. During this time, he assisted in the completion of biomechanical and clinical studies and helped author several biomechanical papers. Miguel is now heading the Biomechanics Research Laboratory and works closely with FOI surgeons, Fellows and residents, as well as, other Researchers and Engineers.

Miguel received his B.S in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Physics from the University of South Florida in 2012. He went on to receive his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2015. Outside of FORE, he enjoys spending time with his wife Diana and their dog Olive. His hobbies include playing soccer, biking, motocross, and music.

Sergio Gutierrez, PhD

Sergio Gutierrez began working at FORE in May of 2001 as a part time Research Assistant while finishing his Bachelors degree at the University of South Florida (USF). During those early years, he performed biomechanical research in the Biomechanics lab at USF under the mentorship of Dr. William E. Lee III (Director of the Biomedical Engineering program) and Dr. Mark Frankle (Orthopaedic surgeon at Florida Orthopaedic Institute). Through his research in biomechanics, Sergio was instrumental in furthering the understanding of the biomechanics of reverse shoulder arthroplasty and even in helping to alter surgical technique to improve patient outcomes. He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, podium and poster presentations in national and international conferences, as well as a co-authorship in a book chapter. He is currently an Affiliate Associate Professor at the USF Medical School where he is helping to train future orthopaedic surgeons through an affiliation with the Orthopaedic Residency program.

Sergio received his B.S. in both Chemical Engineering and Biology from the University of South Florida in 2002. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida in 2009. His hobbies include running, biking, kayaking, flying, playing tennis and developing software for the iPhone.

For a list of publications, Powered by PubMed, click here


Debbi Warren, RN, CCRC
Clinical Research Operations Manager

Debbi began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at FORE in August of 2003. She received her Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) designation from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) in March of 2007. She is a Registered Nurse since 1980 and has 20 years of surgical experience working as a Perioperative Nurse and Educator before transitioning to Clinical Research. Debbi has overseen over 20 Clinical IDE’s and several Investigator Initiated Studies over the years and contributed to many publications and presentations. Teaching is one of the many opportunities she enjoys. Over the years, she has been given the chance to mentor several research coordinators, and finds that empowering and nurturing personal growth in others is very rewarding.
Between the two of them, Debbi and her husband, David, share the joy of 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Spending time with family is her greatest treasure, whether it is traveling to visit siblings or cousins, or taking grandkids to Busch Gardens.

Kaitlyn Christmas, BS
Research and Fellowship Coordinator, Shoulder & Elbow

Kaitlyn Christmas started as an intern in the Phillip Spiegel Orthopaedic Research Laboratory in 2013 and transitioned into Shoulder and Elbow Clinical Research in 2015, taking over the division in 2016. Kaitlyn maintains a Shoulder Arthroplasty database of over 5000 surgeries and a large repository of corresponding intraoperative videos. In her time at FORE, Kaitlyn has co-authored 9 publications and continues to take a very hands-on role in all ongoing Shoulder and Elbow research projects, including various multi-center research pursuits within the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES). She remains an active part of the FOI/FORE Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship curriculum and enjoys contributing to the advanced training of future leaders in Shoulder and Elbow surgery.

Kaitlyn received a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2013. She plans to pursue her Masters and is working toward her Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) designation from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

Outside of work, Kaitlyn enjoys spending time with her fiancé Christian and their two dogs. She looks forward to her wedding in 2019. Kaitlyn loves reading, cooking, playing softball, singing loudly and off key, and winning trivia nights with friends and family.

Kathy Kops
Research Coordinator, Adult Reconstruction - Total Joint

Kathy Kops has been working at FORE since 1999. She works as a CRC with the Adult Reconstruction team on total joint research studies. She is also responsible for database management and assisting with the Joint Fellowship program. Kathy graduated with an Associates degree in Applied Science from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio in 1979. She is an avid animal lover and enjoys spending time with her family and singing in a competing women’s acapella chorus.

Sherri Leverett
Research and Fellowship Coordinator, Adult Reconstruction

Sherri began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at FORE in April of 2013. Sherri brings with her over 20 years of medical experience. She works primarily with the Adult Reconstruction team which includes Dr. Kenneth Gustke, Dr. Thomas Bernasek, Dr. Steven Lyons, Dr. Michael Miranda, Dr. Brian Palumbo and Dr. Christopher Grayson. As well, Sherri manages multiple research studies with the hand division which consist of Dr. Jason Nydick, Dr. Alfred Hess, Dr. Jeffrey Stone and Dr. Michael Garcia. Sherri is responsible for database management and coordinates the Adult Reconstruction Fellowship program. Sherri enjoys quality time with her family.