Food Allergy Science Initiative Strengthens Leadership Team, Appoints John E. Walter as Chief Operating Officer

New Role Supports FASI’s Overall Growth Strategy of Accelerating Research and Development to Usher in a New Era of Food Allergy Therapies

30-Year Nonprofit Leader is the Former President and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

John E. Walter, Chief Operating Officer, Food Allergy Science Initiative (Photo: Business Wire)

BOSTON--()--The Food Allergy Science Initiative (FASI), a nonprofit organization on a mission to speed development of breakthrough discoveries to transform the lives of people living with food allergies, today announced the appointment of John E. Walter as the organization’s first Chief Operating Officer. A seasoned healthcare and biopharma executive with a strong track record of building successful organizations, Mr. Walter will be responsible for leading strategic operations and fundraising to support FASI’s expanding research network.

“We are thrilled to welcome John to the FASI team,” said Chris Olsen, President and CEO, FASI. “He will play a crucial role in our next phase of growth and brings a wealth of expertise and experience in operations and revenue development to support the increasing demand for research funding as FASI works closer to discovering a cure for food allergies.”

John joins FASI from the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research where he served as CEO and increased the Foundation’s revenue by more than 30% in his first year. Previously he served as president and CEO of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy where he was recruited to lead the organization as the successor to the co-founder and president, Barbara Netter. Prior to that role, John spent nearly 20 years helping to lead and build The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) into the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancers, where he most recently served as its president and CEO. Earlier in John’s professional career, he held leadership positions in financial planning and auditing at the March of Dimes and Bristol-Myers Squibb where his work spanned forty countries in reviewing subsidiaries ranging in size from millions to billions of dollars. He holds a B.S. in Economics with a Minor in Accounting from Southern Connecticut State University.

“I’m excited to join FASI at such a pivotal time in the organization’s history,” said Walter. “In just five years, FASI has changed the trajectory of food allergy research and uncovered a major new theory and research direction – the role of the nervous system in food allergies. I’m honored and energized to roll up my sleeves and help the nation’s leading food allergy science organization achieve its goals.”

FASI was launched in 2016 at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in partnership with a group of Boston-area families who have been affected by food allergies. Together they sought to advance knowledge of the biological basis of food allergy, which affects more than 32 million Americans. Now as an independent nonprofit, FASI is building upon the research progress made at the Broad and is under the leadership of Chief Scientific Officer, Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. FASI has awarded more than $15,000,000 to support cross-disciplinary food allergy research and has made tremendous progress pioneering new research directions for informing development of novel therapies.

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About FASI

The Food Allergy Science Initiative (FASI) was founded in 2016 at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and was spun out in early 2021 into an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. FASI boasts an extensive research network that encompasses 20 world-class labs across the U.S. and over 100 scientists dedicated to unraveling the mysteries underlying food allergies. FASI employs a cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach for accelerating breakthrough discoveries poised to transform the lives of patients with food allergies, with a long-term goal of eradicating food allergies. FASI is funded by philanthropic donations to support its groundbreaking research. To make a charitable donation go to or email Kate Todd to discuss a leadership gift. Connect with FASI on social media to follow the latest food allergy research and news @Twitter, @LinkedIn and @Facebook.

About Food Allergies

Globally, it is estimated that approximately 220 million people are living with food allergies. In the U.S. there are twenty-six million adults and 5.6 million children with food allergies or 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 13 children. Food allergies represent a serious public health issue that require 200,000 people annually to receive emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food. In fact, every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. The economic burden is also significant. Caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families $25 billion annually. There is currently no cure for food allergies and the only treatment remains epinephrine. The top nine food allergens include shellfish, milk, peanut, tree nuts, egg, fin fish, wheat, soy and sesame.


Heidi Creighton
Mobile/Text: 978-302-1198

Release Summary

The Food Allergy Science Initiative Appoints Veteran Healthcare Leader, John E. Walter, as the nonprofit's First Chief Operating Officer.


Heidi Creighton
Mobile/Text: 978-302-1198