Investigators

Brandon Lenox, DO, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Co-Founder

Sheila Baez-Torres, MD

Principal Investigator & Medical Director of Diversity

Craig Curtis, MD

Chief Medical Officer & Principal Investigator

Nicholas Weber, DO

Medical Director & Principal Investigator

Robert Meyer, MD, FACP, CPI

Principal Investigator

Sejal Patel, MD

Principal Investigator

Kelley Yokum, MD

Principal Investigator

Elizabeth Phillips, MD

Principal Investigator

Ty Turbyhill, DMD

Principal Investigator

Neel Patel, MD

Principal Investigator

Cheryl Klenow, MD

Principal Investigator

Jennifer West, PA

Principal Investigator

Ruth Paiano, APRN, CPI

Principal Investigator

Prity Patel, APRN

Principal Investigator

Melissa Belardo, APRN

Clinical Investigator

Executive Team

Sean Stanton

Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

Brandon Lenox, DO, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Co-Founder

Hank Heller

Chief Operating Officer

Lesia Hise, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Sandra Torres, RN, BSN

Executive Director of Patient Engagement, Marketing & Diversity

Craig Curtis, MD

Medical Director, K2 The Villages, FL

Jim Hoeckendorf

Managing Partner K2 Orlando

Taylor Rice

Managing Partner K2 Winter Garden

Matt Bubalo

Managing Partner K2 Maitland

Victoria Marsh

Managing Partner K2 South Orlando

Marianne McManus

Managing Partner K2 South Orlando

Lora Pea

Managing Partner K2 Tampa

Hans Hoeck, MD

Managing Partner K2 One

Brandon Lenox DO, MPH

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, CO-FOUNDER

Brandon Lenox, DO is a board-certified anesthesiologist and epidemiologist with a long and distinguished career in medicine.  As Chief Medical Officer of K2 Medical Research, Dr. Lenox provides the K2 team with over 20 years’ experience in clinical trials, medical research, and clinical practice.  After earning his graduate degree in public health, he went on to graduate from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine with highest honors then completed his residency training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.   Dr. Lenox served as an epidemiologist with Department of Health and Human Services and Florida Department of Health where he specialized in outbreak research and chronic disease prevention; his ground-breaking work has been featured in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals.  In addition, he has pharmaceutical industry experience in the development of antimicrobials and has been the primary investigator on multiple studies.  Most recently, Dr. Lenox served as the Chairman of the Clinical Governance Board and President of US Anesthesia Partners of Florida where he oversaw clinical and research operations of over 500 clinicians across the state of Florida.  He also served as the Director of Neuroanesthesia and as member of the medical executive committee for Advent Health. 

Dr. Lenox is deeply committed to improving population health.  He has spent most of his life determined to make a difference in the world and is a driving force for fostering change in the medical field and promoting the well-being of our community.  In his free time, he enjoys traveling, surfing and spending quality time with his wife and three active children. 

Sheila Baez-Torres MD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY

Dr. Sheila Baez-Torres joins the K2 medical team as a principal investigator. A neurologist and movement disorders specialist with over 12 years’ experience in the field, Dr. Baez-Torres’ main focus is neurodegenerative diseases- specifically dementia and Parkinson’s. After several years of inpatient and outpatient practice for Advent Health, she joined forces with Compass Research, an independent research facility where she participated as the acting clinical neurologist, providing supervision to patients enrolled in numerous clinical trials within her areas of proficiency. In addition to clinical investigator duties, she also lent her expertise in the referral and pre-screening processes at the site. In 2021, she opened her own successful private practice in Winter Park, Florida.

Dr. Baez-Torres’ academic background includes a bachelor’s in general science from the University of Puerto Rico, followed by her medical degree at Universidad Central del Caribe. After graduation, she completed her neurology residency program at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, then participated in a two-year fellowship in movement disorders and electromyography. Most recently, she obtained a master’s degree in business administration from University of Florida in Gainesville.

Dr. Baez-Torres is bilingual; she is fluent in both English and Spanish. She has two daughters and loves spending her free time with family and friends.

Dr. Craig Curtis, MD

Chief Medical Officer & Principal Investigator

Dr. Craig Curtis, MD, serves as Chief Medical Officer and founder of K2 Medical Research, The Villages and was co-founder of Compass Research, one of the country’s largest and foremost memory loss, Dementia and  Alzheimer’s Disease research centers.  Dr. Curtis’ research focuses on prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and as a collaborator, has been published in leading national and international journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology. He has been both a local and national lecturer on the topics of Alzheimer’s Disease and clinical research site management. Dr. Curtis is particularly interested in the underlying biology and prevention of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease – and pursuing the science that one day will lead to an effective treatment. 

Dr. Curtis began his medical career while proudly serving in the United States Navy. His tour of duty lasted 6 years primarily at the Washington D.C. Naval Yard Medical Clinic, a detachment of Bethesda Naval Hospital. He attended the Univ. of Maryland but obtained his undergraduate degree from Regents College of the State of New York (due to military service) and earned his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine. 

Dr. Curtis trained at Florida Hospital (now Advent Health – one of the largest hospitals in the United States); at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he participated in multiple oncology clinical trials; and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. He has maintained his Florida Medical license in good standing since 1997. 

Dr. Curtis lives in central Florida with his wife, 2 children and their Golden Retriever. His interests outside of medical research include cycling, tennis, WWII history and watching Cleveland sports teams.

Sejal Patel, MD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Dr. Sejal Patel, a board-certified psychiatrist, joins K2 Medical Research as a Principal Investigator with over 16 years of clinical experience.  While she specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder, Dr. Patel is proficient in a wide array of various psychiatric conditions.  After obtaining her medical degree at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, she went on to complete her adult psychiatric resident training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC while serving as an active-duty officer in the National Capital Consortium Program in the US Army. During her time in the military, she proudly served in Operation Iraqi Freedom while deployed at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq as a psychiatric medical officer in charge of a combat stress control unit.

After working for several years in both inpatient and outpatient facilities for the US Army, Dr. Patel moved to Orlando and joined Compass Research, an independent research facility where she participated as the sole psychiatric Principal Investigator providing supervision and oversight to subjects enrolled in numerous psychiatric clinical trials in studies in Phases I-IV.  She also offered her expertise as a Sub Investigator in neurology and general medicine trials, most notably including the SARS Covid-19 vaccine trials during the pandemic.

Dr. Patel is actively involved in the Orlando community- in addition to her role with K2, she is also on staff at University of Central Florida in the Behavioral Health Clinic serving the mental health needs of our local students and associates.  In her free time, Dr. Patel enjoys traveling the world and spending quality time with her husband and two children.

Robert Meyer, MD, FACP, CPI

Principal investigator

Dr. Meyer is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician with greater than 20 years private practice experience and recognized by his peers as a premiere physician in Central Florida. Subsequently, he was a core faculty member launching the University of Central Florida College of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Program. For the past several years, Dr. Meyer has focused on clinical research as a Principal Investigator, participating in over 60 Phase I-III clinical trials addressing Neurodegenerative Diseases, NASH, Pain, IBD, Vaccines and multiple other therapeutic areas.

Kelley Yokum, MD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Kelley Yokum, a board-certified psychiatrist, joins K2 as co-owner and Principal Investigator at K2 Medical Research, Tampa. A Certified PI through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), she has provided clinical expertise on over 100 clinical trials in the last decade. Formerly the Medical Director of a prestigious independent research facility, she worked with populations ranging from pre-school aged children to the elderly and is proficient in a wide range of neurological and dermatological indications, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, to Psoriasis, Atopic Dermatitis, Vitiligo, and Pruritus.

Dr. Yokum holds a B.S. in Biology and obtained her medical degree from the University of Alabama’s Birmingham School of Medicine. She completed her adult psychiatry residency at the University of South Florida, where she obtained additional training in pediatric psychiatry. Dr. Yokum is devoted to maintaining good clinical practice and promoting ethics in research and is currently serving as a board member at Sterling Institutional Review Board (a nationally accredited IRB). She is the mother of three wonderful children and when she isn’t working, enjoys yoga, cooking, and art.

Elizabeth Phillips, MD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Dr. Elizabeth (“Beth”) Phillips joins the K2 medical team as a principal investigator with over 25 years of clinical expertise. Board certified in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Phillips’ experience encompasses all levels of emergency departments; in addition to managing emergent care in all areas of medicine, she has served administratively as departmental medical director, and has held faculty appointments as assistant professor and clinical instructor.  

Dr. Phillips’ academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of the South (Sewanee), followed by her Medical Degree at The University of Alabama School of Medicine.  After graduation, she completed an internship in Internal Medicine at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, then served as a General Medical Officer in the US Navy for four years. Following her military service, Dr. Phillips completed an Emergency Medicine residency program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She has also completed a fellowship in wilderness medicine through the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, and a Master’s in Business Administration through Auburn University Harbert School of Business.

A native Alabamian, Dr. Phillips recently relocated to Central Florida, where she lives in Winter Park with her husband, Terry. A lover of modern and classic literature, when she’s not working, you can find her curled up with a good book, enjoying the warm Florida weather.

Ty Turbyfill, DMD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ty Turbyfill, a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and decorated military veteran, joins K2 Medical Research as an investigator with over thirty years of clinical experience.  Throughout his professional career, which has spanned the globe, he has held leadership roles in clinical practice, academia, humanitarian aid, product development and research.  In private practice for the last twenty years, Dr. Turbyfill has been using his reconstructive skill set to treat some of the most complex head and neck issues, specializing in bone grafting, pain management, and full arch implant reconstructions.

After receiving his doctoral training from the University of Florida in 1993, he served in the U.S. Navy for over a decade, completing residencies in both General Practice and Oral and Maxillofacial surgery and collecting numerous commendation medals along the way. During his military career, Dr. Turbyfill rapidly achieved the rank of Commander in the Navy, where he treated patients on the frontline of the Gulf War as well as in a hospital setting, routinely addressing a wide array of concerns ranging from complex facial trauma to congenital craniofacial deformities. 

Dr. Turbyfill’s contributions to developing nations during the war left a lasting impression; his experience providing humanitarian aid instilled a desire to contribute meaningfully to members in our own community lacking good-quality medical care. Dr. Turbyfill possesses a complex understanding of the importance of including culturally diverse patients in clinical trials and is excited to integrate his clinical skills and teaching ability to inspire others to do the same. When not at work, you can find him When not at work, you can find Dr. Turbyfill spending time with his family or competing in bicycle events all over the country. 

Neel Patel MD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Bio Coming Soon.

Jennifer West, PA

INVESTIGATOR

Jennifer West, a certified physician’s assistant (PA-C), joins K2 Medical Research with more than a decade of clinical experience.  Specializing in neurodegenerative disease research, namely Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, Jennifer has served as an investigator on over 30 trials.  Prior to clinical research, she held roles in both primary and urgent care, which provided her a well-rounded background in general medicine.

Jennifer’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Secondary Education from Northern State University, followed by a master’s degree Physician Assistant Studies from the University of South Dakota.  After graduation, Jennifer participated in the National Health Service Corp, where she provided quality healthcare to diverse and traditionally underserved communities.

While Jennifer’s medical training promoted a sophisticated understanding of disease processes, her background in education equipped her with tools to educate patients on the unique benefits of clinical trial participation.  She doesn’t just advocate for her patients and their families; she teaches them how to effectively advocate for themselves.

A South Dakota native, Jennifer has lived in central Florida for the past eight years.  When she’s not at work, you can find her painting, woodworking, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Sean Stanton

Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

K2 Medical Research co-founder Sean Stanton has dedicated the last 28 years of his career to creating successful, high-performing research sites. In this latest endeavor, Sean leads a dynamic team of dedicated researchers in connecting the innovative solutions of clinical research to the health problems in our country.

Sean has led the start-up of 26 clinical trial sites, six inpatient hospitals, and 19 outpatient clinics. More than 5,000 clinical trials have been conducted at these sites, leading to more than 50 drug approvals in therapeutic areas including general medicine, mental health, neurodegenerative disease, oncology, vaccine, women’s health, diabetes, pain, heart disease, and sleep disorders.

Sean brings innovative thinking and unique problem-solving skills to clinical research in all aspects of site practices, from purchasing and resourcing, to the use of benchmarking and metrics in business planning to guide strategic clinical trial practice growth. He is frequently sought as an industry expert to speak on topics including building successful clinical research sites, patient recruiting, particularly difficult to recruit populations and decreasing time to complete research studies, protocol design, site selection, patient reported outcomes and other areas. He has advised hospitals and institutions on research site growth strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati he joined a team of clinical trial industry experts and has been in this industry ever since. Sean’s passion for clinical research and organizational leadership are a driving force in his life- he works hard every day to make clinical trials a care option for all people. A true people person, he loves to laugh and has a joyful nature that energizes others and allows him to easily motivate a team. Sean’s charisma is only matched by his fierce entrepreneurial spirit- he has a laser sharp focus and a gift for building an enterprise.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA., founding member of the DAVOS Alzheimer’s Collaboration (DAC), a board member of the Alzheimer’s Dementia Resource Center in Central Florida, Strategic Advisor to the Global Alzheimer’s Platform, a member of CEO, and sits on the board of directors for Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

In his free time, Sean is an avid cyclist and competes at a national level with his K2-sponsored team of 35 members. He has been married for 21 years and says he owes the majority of his success to his amazing wife, Charlotte. They live in Winter Park and share four children, one at Baylor, one at Indiana University, and two high school sophomores.

Lesia Hise, CPA

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Bio Coming Soon.

Sandra Torres, RN, BSN

Executive Director for Patient Engagement, Marketing and Diversity

Sandra Carmona Torres currently serves as the Executive Director for Patient Engagement, Marketing, and Diversity at K2 Medical Research. A graduate from the University of South Florida with a nursing degree, she has dedicated over 10 years as a passionate registered nurse advocating for patients.  Sandra began her career in research as an infusion nurse since she has held various leadership positions in clinical research. As a passionate advocate for patient engagement, Sandra recognizes the importance of ensuring that individuals from diverse backgrounds have equal access to clinical research opportunities. Through her exceptional leadership skills and her innovative and creative approach she has been able to build strong relationships with community organizations, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups. These partnerships have not only increased awareness about the importance of clinical research, but they have also helped to address and overcome the barriers that may hinder participation. Through her role as the Executive Director for Patient Engagement, Marketing, and Diversity, she continues to make a profound impact by ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to participate in clinical research. Her tireless efforts have not only transformed the lives of individuals within her community but have also contributed to the advancement of medical knowledge and the improvement of patient outcomes.

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Melissa Belardo, APRN

Clinical Investigator

Melissa Belardo, is a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-BC), joins K2 Medical Research with more than a decade of clinical experience. She has served as an investigator in over 20 trials. Prior to clinical research, she held roles in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nurse education.

Melissa’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Adventist University, followed by a master’s degree in Family Nurse Practitioner from Georgetown University.

Melissa is a native of the US Virgin Islands’ and is fluent in both English and Spanish; Melissa has lived in central Florida for the past twenty years. When she’s not at work, you can find her volunteering at her local church and spending time with family.