Our Leadership

Dr. Benedict Benigno

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

benedict_benignoDr. Benedict Benigno is a world-renowned gynecologic surgeon and oncologist who has spent his career treating women with ovarian cancer. In 1999, he founded the Ovarian Cancer Institute and serves as its CEO. Through his alliance with the Georgia Institute of Technology he has become a forerunner in ovarian cancer research. Dr. Benigno is the principle investigator in numerous clinical trials including the new PARP inhibitor drugs. He is dedicated to the discovery of a 100% accurate diagnostic test, as well as, the development of more efficacious and less toxic ways of treating this dreadful disease.

He received his M.D. degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Benigno completed two fellowships in gynecologic oncology, one at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and the other at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston.

Dr. Benigno is the founder and President of University Gynecologic Oncology and the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of many societies including the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Felix Rutledge Society, and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Dr. Benigno is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Emory University School of Medicine, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Mercer University. He serves on the board of the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Benigno has published numerous articles and textbook chapters, and travels the world speaking on various aspects of gynecologic cancer. He is the author of the book, The Ultimate Guide to Ovarian Cancer: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research. This book is sold all over the world and is a great help to patients and their families. He was honored in 2002 with the Hero of Medicine Award for the Most Innovative Cancer Research in the State of Georgia. In 2014, Dr. Benigno was appointed to the ovarian cancer steering committee based in the National Institute of Health.

In addition to his interest in ovarian cancer research, Dr. Benigno supports the Atlanta Symphony and Atlanta Opera. He is fluent in French and has been a lifelong student of the piano. His wife, Sheila, is a prominent portrait artist, and they have three children, Justin, Alexander and Serena.


Dr. John McDonald

Chief Research Officer

john_mcdonaldDr. John McDonald earned his PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. He completed his post-doctoral work at the University of California San Diego and Columbia University’s Cancer Research Center in New York. Dr. McDonald is the former Editor-and-Chief of Geneticathe International Journal of Genetics.

After serving as Head of the Genetics Department at the University of Georgia for 6 years, Dr. McDonald moved to Georgia Tech in 2005 to assume the position of Chair of the School of Biology and Associate Dean for Biology Development.

He currently serves as the Director of Georgia Tech’s Integrated Cancer Research Center and is a Professor in the College of Sciences. Dr. McDonald has authored over 160 research papers for various science journals, and four books on the subject of genetics including the popular genetics textbook “The Science of Genetics”.

As Chief Research Officer of the Ovarian Cancer Institute, Dr. McDonald leads the ovarian cancer research team at the lab on the Georgia Tech campus. He also coordinates collaborative research projects with other researchers at Georgia Tech and at cancer research institutions around the world.


Kathryn Harper

Executive Director
Harper HeadshotSuccessfully working in nonprofit for over eight years, Kathryn Harper joined the Ovarian Cancer Institute in 2013. Sharing her expertise in marketing and fundraising, Kathryn was recruited to the Ovarian Cancer Institute after exceeding fundraising goals for Make-A-Wish after just five months with the organization. Prior to that, Kathryn managed and conducted over six major fundraising events and raised over $1.5 million during her three years as a Senior Community Director for the March of Dimes.

At the Ovarian Cancer Institute, Kathryn leads all business developments and operations. A “jack-of-all-trades,” her favorite part of the job is collaborating with over 100 volunteers working tirelessly to advance ovarian cancer research.

When not facilitating board meetings and organizing events, Kathryn enjoys competitive ballroom dancing, fishing, hiking, and traveling.

To learn more about our team, ovarian cancer research, and how you can help, contact the Ovarian Cancer Institute at 404-300-2997 or our our contact form.

Board of Directors

Shannon Banna
Benedict Benigno, CEO
Heather Catlin, Galentine’s Day Chairman
Kathy Darnell
Becca Krumdieck, Treasurer
Georgette Robertson
Amanda Sills, Secretary
Collin Trost
Dana Whitlow, Teal Cup Golf Tournament Chairman
Hillyer Young, Chairman of the Board
Dr. Richard Zane



Thank You To Our Major Partners

Join us in the fight to detect ovarian cancer early and empower communities with the knowledge to save lives!

Pin It on Pinterest