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About Us

WPI originated from hope and determination to find the underlying causes of myalgic encephalomyeltis (ME) and a cure for a spectrum of disabling illnesses that continue to profoundly affect our founders’ family members and thousands of other families within the state of Nevada and millions throughout the United States.  With expert advice from concerned pysicians, Dr. Kenneth W Hunter, Sci.D., and the help of many interested friends, the Whittemores worked with the University of Nevada and the Nevada state legislature, to create a new medical research center on the medical campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.  Their combined resources resulted in the 2010 opening of WPI in the Center for Molecular Medicine on the medical campus in Reno, Nevada.  

Thousands of publications describe the severe systemic consequences of infection-associated chronic diseases such as ME, post-treatment Lyme disease, and, more recently, Post-Acute Sars CoV or PASC, an illness that is similar to ME. Yet, there are still too few treatment options and no FDA-approved biological diagnostic tests.


WPI is committed to finding answers for the millions impacted by ME through research, education, and individualized service programs.


All Hands In

Our Team

F. Harvey and Annette Whittemore and Daniel Peterson MD

Board of Directors
Annette Whittemore, Sam Shad, Peggy Sullivan, Nancy Ghusn, and Joann Lippert, PhD

President & CEO - Annette Whittemore
Administration - Kellen Jones
Controller - Jim Harris      
Technology - Dean Laslo
Government Affairs - Pete Ernaut

Board of Directors

Annette Whittemore

President, Board of Directors WPI President & CEO Affiliations: Davidson Academy Board of Directors, SolveME, The ME Association, International Association CFS/ME, American Association of University Women

Sam Shad

Member, Board of Directors President and CEO, Bonsam Corp DBA Sam Shad Productions DBA Nevada Newsmakers Affiliations: Executive Director, Nevada Newsmakers Outreach, Inc. Sam Shad is a household name in Northern Nevada where his face and voice are as instantly recognizable as an old friend from his four decades as a broadcast personality on television and radio. A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Sam has also worked in every form of advertising. His cheerful manner and trademark attire of suit and white tennis shoes established him as one of the area's most popular TV personalities. A self-admitted Type A personality and early riser, Sam has interviewed the prime movers and shakers in the state's political, business, health and education spheres for many years. The Nevada Newsmakers television show airs in both Reno and Las Vegas. In Northern Nevada the show airs on The CW Tuesday through Friday at Noon. News Talk 780 KOH airs all four weekly programs in a two-hour block each Sunday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 am. Nevada Newsmakers is available in streaming video on their website and also on audio and video Podcasts on iTunes as well as on YouTube.

JoAnn Behrman-Lippert, PhD

Member, Board of Directors Psychologist, Joann Behrman Lippert, PhD Affiliations: US Department of Justice and various municipal, county, and federal law enforcement agencies JoAnn Behrman-Lippert, Ph.D., Psychologist and Trauma Consultant, has 30 years of experience working with missing and exploited children, victims of crime and assessing threats of workplace violence and harassment. She specializes in treatment of these issues. She also serves as a forensic consultant and evaluator in criminal and civil actions involving violence, threats of violence and allegations of harassment and hostile work environments, child abduction and exploitation. Dr. Lippert has been a consultant to municipal, county, and federal law enforcement agencies since 1985. She has also been a frequent consultant and faculty member in U.S. Department of Justice training and research programs including Reunification of Missing Children the Missing and Exploited Children Action Program (MCAP). In 1999 she completed a five‑year research and development grant for the U. S. Department of Justice on treatment models and family trauma response to missing children who have been recovered and to their families. In addition to treating children recovered from abductions, she has also assisted law enforcement and social services in reunifying children with their left behind parents. She maintains a private practice in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada

Peggy Hagen

Treasurer, Board of Directors Community Member A longtime friend of Annette and Harvey Whittemore, Peggy remembers well when Andrea Whittemore, their daughter, was diagnosed with ME/CFS. She recalls the profound impact it had on the entire family and their immediate search for answers. Peggy has remained a close friend and supporter of WPI since its inception and is proud to be an advocate for the institute and neuro-immune diseases. Her time and work with the institute has been motivated by her desire to see WPI become a world-renowned institution and an innovative leader for research and treatment for all neuro-immune diseases and afflictions. A native Nevadan, Peggy has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been involved with various political campaigns including former Nevada Chief Justice Bob Rose’s run for governor (1978) and Dick Bryan’s governor race (1983). Peggy was married to retired federal district court judge David Warner Hagen for 40 years. While raising their three children, in addition to her continued support for WPI, she spent 10 years substitute teaching in the Washoe County School District. One of Peggy's children, Kathryn Hagen, MD, volunteered in Dr. Lombardi's research lab at UNR prior to attending medical school where she became a neurologist. Additionally, Peggy served for several years on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood, spearheading their various fundraising efforts.

Nancy Ghusn

Secretary, Board of Directors Pro Tem Judge, Reno Justice Court, Administrative Hearing Officer, Washoe County, Administrative Hearing Officer, Washoe County Human Services Agencies Nancy Moss Ghusn has been an attorney in Northern Nevada for over 30 years. A product of local schools and a proud alumna of the University of Nevada and Seattle University School of Law, she has donated her time to benefit the Northern Nevada community in various ways. Early in her career, she helped to establish and served as an original director of Volunteer Attorneys of Rural Nevada (VARN), served on the City of Reno Parks and Recreation Commission, including as its chair, represented clients from the predecessor to Washoe Legal Services, receiving its “Outstanding Lawyer” Pro Bono award, is a proud member and was president of Northern Nevada Women Lawyers (and that group’s nominee for Nevada Women’s Fund “Women of Achievement” award), and has participated in innumerable legal clinics, including NLS, “Project Salute,” and VARN. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Nevada Legal Services, Sierra Nevada Ballet, and WPI. In her professional capacity, Nancy has served as and is currently a pro tem Justice of the Peace for Reno Justice Court for over 20 years, is an administrative hearing officer at the city, county, and state levels, and was a Family Court Master for approximately ten years. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter, beloved pets, and almost anything outside when it’s not smoky. She loves Lake Tahoe, travels whenever possible, and when it’s not possible, she has at least four live webcam streams of beautiful and interesting places in the world on her laptop. She’s a particular fan of the Fat Bears catching salmon in Alaska.

There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.

~ Idowu Koyenikan,

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