Chief Executive Officer

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.

Derek received a B.S. in Biomedical Science at the University of South Florida in 2002, and an M.B.A. from the Executive MBA program at the University of South Florida in 2007. Outside of FORE, he enjoys spending time with his wife Kalisha, son Rocco and daughter Carmen. He is involved in his church, enjoys traveling, music, film and outdoor activities like scuba diving, fishing and playing flag football.

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

Continuing Medical Education Staff

Janine Hartfield

Continuing Medical Education Manager, Telecom

FORE Janine Hartfield
Janine joined FORE’s CME Department in 2013 as Manager of Continuing Medical Education to manage live, regularly scheduled series and internet activities sponsored by FORE. Janine earned her BA degree in Communications/Theatre Arts from Western Connecticut State University in 1990 and has been coordinating small and large scale events for 20 years, and specifically designing educational events for physicians and other healthcare professionals since 2006. Janine enjoys spending time with her husband, Craig, and step-children Celeste and Tony. In her “spare time” Janine can be found enjoying her first love, musical theatre.

Michelle Paradise

Senior Continuing Medical Education Coordinator, Telecom

Michelle Paradise began working with FORE in February of 2009 as a CME Coordinator where she handled small events, administrative tasks and course registration. She is now the Senior Coordinator for CME managing several live courses and symposiums. Prior to FORE, Michelle worked in non-profit for the Salvation Army as a Marketing & Community Development Coordinator where her responsibilities were on fundraising and marketing projects in Hillsborough County. Michelle attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and completed a bachelor’s in Corporate Communications & Interpersonal Public Relations. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, attending theater productions, sports and traveling.

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Research Staff

Brandon Santoni, Ph.D.

Director of Research, Telecom

FORE Brandon SantoniBrandon began working for FORE in the fall of 2010 as the Director of the Phillip Spiegel Orthopaedic Research Laboratory. Prior to starting at FORE, Brandon was a Research Scientist and Affiliate Faculty in the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. Brandon brings over nine years of experience in the field of orthopaedic biomechanics to the directorship position. These research endeavors have resulted in over twenty peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals, over fifty conference proceedings, posters and podium presentations at national and international orthopaedic and biomedical engineering meetings, as well as several commendations for outstanding and influential scientific research from various research societies and journals. Currently, Brandon serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, Journal of Biomedical Materials and Engineering, and the American Journal of Veterinary Research among others.

Brandon is also actively involved in grant writing and has solicited funding from numerous agencies including the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Space and Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). As the Biomechanics Director at FORE, he aims to continue to foster the existing research collaborations with the orthopaedists, spine surgeons, and trauma experts at FOI as well as develop new extramural collaborations with industry and academic partners within the orthopaedic community.

Brandon received his B.S. in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Texas Tech University in 1998. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Maliya, and enjoys playing golf and acoustic guitar.

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

Biomechanical Research Staff


Peter Šimon, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Telecom

FORE Peter SimonPeter Simon began working at FORE in August of 2012 as a Post Doctoral Researcher. He works with Dr. Santoni on shoulder biomechanics projects and spine related research projects. Peter worked for five years at the Orthopaedic department of Rush University as a Research Assistant prior joining FORE. Under the supervision of Dr. Gunnar Andersson , Dr. Howard An and Dr. Nozomu Inoue he worked on studying spinal biomechanics and image-based modeling. His research was focused on understanding of normal and degenerative kinematics of the facet joint. Peter has several publications in peer-reviewed journals and numerous conference abstracts.

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.

T. Kyle Stoops, M.D.

Research Fellow, Telecom

FORE T. Kyle StoopsKyle began working at the Foundation for Orthopaedic Research & Education after graduating from Ross University School of Medicine in June 2014. Kyle is working primarily in the biomechanics lab where he prepares cadaveric tissue for instrumentation and testing, while also assisting the biomedical engineers with experimental apparatus design and implementation. He has several current projects across multiple subspecialties of orthopaedic surgery, working with Drs. Roy Sanders, Claude Sagi, Anjan Shah, and Alfred Hess. He is also conducting several clinical studies, working primarily with Dr. Thomas Bernasek, researching different topics pertaining to adult hip and knee reconstruction. After completion of his research fellowship, Kyle plans to pursue an orthopaedic surgery residency.

Kyle graduated from the University of Tampa with a B.S in Exercise Science. He participated in intercollegiate athletics in undergrad, playing basketball. After college, Kyle taught high school health sciences and middle & elementary school physical education before entering medical school. In addition to this fellowship, Kyle is finishing up his MBA with a concentration in Health Services this year with plans to have the degree completed by May 2015. When he is not working, Kyle enjoys spending time with his wife Emily. He is also an avid hunter and enjoys making trips back home to Ohio to get some time in the woods.

Sergio Gutierrez, Ph.D.

Consultant Engineer, Telecom

FORE Sergio GutierrezSergio 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.

Clinical Research Staff


Viki Gavulova

Process Engineer, Telecom

FORE Viki GavulovaViki began to work for FORE in December 2011. She received her M.S. in Economics and Management of Engineering Production from Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia in 2004. She works with the Shoulder and Elbow team and assists Dr. Mighell in both clinic and research. She likes to spend time with her family and friends.

Kathy Kops

Clinical Research Coordinator, Telecom

FORE Kathy KopsKathy Kops began working as a Research Assistant at FORE in October of 1999. She works with the Adult Reconstruction team on total joint research studies. She is also responsible for database management and assisting with publications. Kathy graduated with an Associates degree in Applied Science from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio in 1979. Kathy is an avid animal lover and enjoys spending time with her family and singing in the choir.


Sherri Leverett

Clinical Research Coordinator, Telecom

FORE Sherri LeverettSherri began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at FORE in April of 2013. Sherri brings 20 years of medical experience with her. She is working towards her certification to be a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC). She works primarily with the spine division which includes Dr. Antonio Castellvi, Dr. John Small, and Dr. Jim Billys. However Sherri also assists the shoulder and elbow team with studies for Dr. Mark Frankle and Dr. Mark Mighell. Sherri enjoys being with her family, reading, sports and horseback riding . Being a mother of three, Sherri’s favorite thing to do is being with her children and husband.


Nazeem Virani

Research Fellow, Telecom

FORE Nazeem ViraniDr. Nazeem Virani has completed 3 years of orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. He is currently involved in research on various projects at FORE with an emphasis on reverse shoulder arthroplasty. His work has resulted in grants and several publications, including manuscripts, book chapters, and poster/oral presentations. Nazeem graduated with honors from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. He received his MD/MPH in New Orleans from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. His hobbies include table tennis and playing the piano.

Debbi Warren, RN

Clinical Research Manager, Telecom

FORE Debbie WarrenDeborah Warren, RN 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. Debbi works with Dr. Antonio Castellvi, Dr. John Small, Dr. Jim Billys on studies involving the spine, including studies on preservation of motion in the spine, artificial disc replacement (cervical and lumbar), facet joint replacement and other devices which may advance treatments of degenerative disease. She has 33 years of experience as an RN with a background in PeriOperative Nursing. Debbi enjoys spending time with family, movies, reading, traveling, outdoor activities and especially grandchildren!

Surgical Skills Staff

Richard Johnson

Director of Lab Operations, FIVE Labs

FORE Richard JohnsonRichard began working as the Surgical Training Center Manager at FORE in September 2012. Richard brings 27 years of experience in Facilities Engineering Management. Richard interest include spending time with family especially his grandson Mason. He also enjoys the outdoors particularly Tournament Bass fishing.

Joseph Leonard

Surgical Training Center Lab Supervisor, FIVE Labs

FORE Joe LeonardJoe started with the Foundation in 2009 as the clinical research intern for shoulder and elbow research. He assisted with the Shoulder Arthroplasty Registry, 5-year follow up patient study, and the ORIF study as an intern. In 2010, while pursuing his degree in microbiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Joe started working in the Surgical Training Center as a part-time lab technician. Currently, Joe is the lead lab technician for the Surgical Training Center and will graduate in 2013 with his degree in microbiology with a concentration in medicine and biomedical physics.

Affiliate Staff

William E. Lee III, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor, University of South Florida

Dr. Lee is a Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida, where he established the graduate biomedical engineering program (the first degrees were granted in 1998). Dr. Lee has been involved in orthopaedic research at FOI over the last fifteen years and now participates in orthopaedic research within FORE. Most of this research focuses on biomechanics, including basic and applied biomechanics, along with prosthetic design and evaluation. A number of Dr. Lee’s students have completed graduate degrees that featured FOI and FORE-based projects for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering. In addition to collaborations at FOI and FORE, Dr. Lee is also actively involved in biomechanics research at the Tampa Veterans Administration Patient Safety Center.

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