You can Imagine...

...Our Focus

Our Founders

Jeremy Richman, Ph.D.

Jeremy-Biosketch-Pics-37e-CroppedDr. Jeremy Richman has extensive research experience that spans the range from neuroscience and neuropsychopharmacology, to cardiovascular biology, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, immunology and inflammation, and kidney disease.  He has worked in the drug discovery arena for over two decades and is passionate about helping people live happier and healthier lives.  His hobbies include rock climbing, mountain biking, kung fu, and teaching children how to be healthy and happy.

Dr. Richman earned his Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis on chemistry and physics from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ in 1992.  He worked as a laboratory technician for two years in the lab of Dr. Henry Yamamura, studying the pharmacology of pain modulation and molecular pathologies of Alzheimer’s disease.  In 1994, Dr. Richman was accepted into the graduate program of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona where he earned a Ph.D. studying the distribution and functions of alpha2-adrenaline receptors in the laboratory of Dr. John Regan.

In January of 1998, Dr. Richman continued his research on the sympathetic nervous system in the laboratory of Dr. Lee Limbird at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.  Here, Dr. Richman focused on the sub-cellular distribution of the alpha2-adrenaline receptors as it pertained to micro-domain and synaptic formation.  In January of 2001, Dr. Richman moved into drug discovery as a neuroscientist at Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc, San Diego, CA with the hope of identifying therapeutic mechanisms to prevent schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.  His drug discovery interests broadened over the next decade, leading projects in atherosclerosis and thrombosis, and eventually diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.  In January of 2011, Dr. Richman took on a drug discovery leadership role at Boehringer Ingelheim in Danbury, CT exploring ways to prevent or cure a number of autoimmune and chronic diseases of the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.

Following the murder of his daughter, Avielle, Dr. Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, started the Avielle Foundation. It is his belief that through brain health research and initiatives, we can protect our loved ones and foster happier and stronger communities.


Jennifer Hensel, M.S.

Jenn-Biosketch-Pics-27Jennifer Hensel is a multi-disciplinary scientist having worked in a number of research fields from clinical microbiology to molecular and cellular immunology and oncology.  A hobby of Mrs. Hensel’s is reading about the history and public health implications of infectious diseases such as influenza, cholera, and the plague.  Her practical experience ranges from bench scientist to regulatory medical writer.  She is driven to answer the “whys” of disease pathology and as a result has a unique understanding of microbiology, parasitology, immunology, inflammation, and oncology.

Mrs. Hensel earned her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of Arizona.  During college she worked in a county hospital as a clinical microbiologist.  Mrs. Hensel earned a Master of Science degree in Pathobiology from the department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Arizona, studying how opportunistic parasitic infections cause disease in immunocompromised populations.

Mrs Hensel continued her post-graduate research in the lab of Dr. Marilyn Halonen, studying respiratory immunology at the University of Arizona Medical Center.  She went on to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she studied B lymphocyte signaling pathways with Dr. Wasif Khan and G protein-coupled receptor pharmacology with Dr. Lee Limbird.  In 2001, Mrs. Hensel moved to San Diego, CA to work in the biotech industry developing therapeutics to treat cancer, first at Idun Pharmaceuticals and then at Celgene Corporation.  Mrs. Hensel left the biotech industry in 2006 to stay at home and raise her daughter, Avielle.  Finding she missed working in the sciences she started a medical and scientific writing company, Presentus Research Communications, Inc. in Sandy Hook, CT, allowing her to work from home and to be a stay at home parent.  Following Avielle’s murder, Mrs. Hensel and her husband Dr. Jeremy Richman, started the Avielle Foundation.


Darren Bishop, CFP

IMG_0148_5x7 Darren Bishop 1Darren Bishop is a co-founder and serves on the Board of Directors for the Avielle Foundation.

Darren graduated from the University of Arizona in 1992 with majors in finance and accounting.  He has worked for Ameriprise Financial in Denver, Colorado the last 20 years (via two buyouts) as financial advisor, branch manager, and complex manager.  He is a Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor, Chartered Retirement Planning Councilor, and holds many licenses.

Darren lives in Denver with his wife Kristi and two kids Jeremy and Miranda.  He is an avid racquetball player, loves playing cards (poker and bridge), and fly fishing. 


Michael Nichols, Ph.D.

Michael smlDr. Nichols is a classically trained psychologist and pharmacologist with an expertise in neuropsychopharmacology.  He earned his master’s degree in psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1992, where he studied the links between brain biochemistry and behavior in alcoholism and addiction with Dr. Larry Reid.  He continued his studies, earning a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Arizona College of Medicine investigating opiates and pain in 1997 with Dr. Frank Porreca.  Dr. Nichols went on to post-doctoral research in chronic pain at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry with Dr. Pat Mantyh.  His extensive publications list includes peer-reviewed articles and book chapters covering neuroscience and psychopharmacology.

Dr. Nichols moved away from academics to serve as director of business development for Phylogeny, Inc. which provides cross-disciplinary gene expression assays and functional genomics support services.  In 2005, Dr. Nichols left the scientific arena to be a stay-at-home dad raising his two children.  A long-time friend of Dr. Richman and Mrs. Hensel, he is dedicated to advancing the efforts of The Avielle Foundation. 


Ace Robinson, MPH

Ace RobinsonAce Robinson has extensive experience working to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and other chronic diseases on vulnerable populations domestically and worldwide. He has focused his work on public policy, evidence-based community health, and legal advocacy. He is the Director of Health Education, Prevention, and Public Policy & Advocacy at Lifelong in Seattle. In his role, he oversees legislative agendas focused on communicable diseases in addition to developing, planning, administrating, and evaluating health messaging and prevention initiatives for vulnerable populations. Previously, Ace has served as the Managing Director at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City, Director of Health Information at Partners In Health, and the Director of the AIDS Prevention Unit at the University of California, Los Angeles and co-founded the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council of Philadelphia.

Mr. Robinson earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Duke University. And earned his Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Cape Town in South Africa with a concentration in International Health Promotion with a focus in Infectious Disease. He brings a wealth of experience to the Avielle Foundation with a background in non-profit management, research oversight, and an insatiable drive to improve the health outcomes of all persons through measurable research and community engagement.