WISDOM Good Works

Sharing Scientific Expertise to Restore Ecological Balance Around the World

Image courtesy of the Galapagos National Park Service

WISDOM Good Works Team

Boards and Core Team Members

WISDOM Good Works is a collaboration of scientists, educators, environmentalists and philanthropists who believe in the potential of humane animal population control. Learn more about some of the WISDOM Good Works team members below.

Board of Directors

Dr. Loretta Mayer

Dr. Loretta Mayer

Often our greatest scientific discoveries happen when we are looking for something else. Penicillin, the microwave oven, even corn flakes came about as accidental breakthroughs. For Loretta Mayer, it was a quest to understand more about heart disease in women that led to a method of achieving humane animal population control.

Dr. Mayer’s path to becoming a scientist was already unique. After two decades of successful work in the business world, the death of a friend from heart disease led her to change course dramatically and become a scientific researcher, going back to school at the age of 41 and earning her masters and Ph.D. in biological sciences from Northern Arizona University.

It was during her post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Arizona, while working with mice to understand postmenopausal changes in the heart, that she developed a chemical method of inducing peri- and post-menopause in rodents with mentor Dr. Patricia Hoyer.

This led to her becoming a co-inventor of a patent for the MouseopauseTM model. Soon, she was fielding calls from communities looking to control wildlife animal populations. This gave rise to the development of the first oral contraceptive in rats and the founding of SenesTech with Dr. Cheryl Dyer. Their work has been used around the world. Dr. Mayer served several roles at SenesTech from 2004 to 2019, including CEO, Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Board. In 2020, she co-founded WISDOM LLC (Women in Science Doing Outreach and Mentoring), a consulting organization of successful women scientists with a depth of experience reaching out to communicate vital hands-on experience to other women either already in their career or considering other options. WISDOM provides educational seminars, publications, and research data.

Dr. Cheryl Dyer

Dr. Cheryl Dyer’s career has spanned from being an investigator for the American Heart Association to a pioneering university researcher to overseeing a start-up working to change animal population control around the world.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California at San Diego, followed by a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from UCSD’s School of Medicine.

Dr. Dyer served as a NIH-funded Principal Investigator at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, where she was part of a nationally recognized plasma lipoprotein research group. She maintained an independently funded research program and laboratory at Northern Arizona University, and was the first Research Professor in the Department of Biology at NAU. She also was the first Established Investigator for the American Heart Association in the state of Arizona.

In 2004, she co-founded SenesTech with Dr. Loretta Mayer, where they invented and registered the ContraPest orally active bait that prevents rat reproduction. She served as Chief Research Officer, President and Board Member at SenesTech and was with the company until 2019. Most recently, she has become a General Partner at WISDOM LLC (Women in Science Doing Outreach and Mentoring) a consulting firm that promotes women scientists to share their insights, hard-earned wisdom and support to other women working in the sciences and other male-dominated industries.

Sam Buchenau

Susan “Sam” Collier Buchenau

From her early childhood experience as a Brownie, to her recent involvement with WISDOM Good Works, Susan “Sam” Collier Buchenau has spent a lifetime volunteering in organizations committed to making our world a better place in which to live.She served on the local, regional and international boards of Soroptimist, including President of Soroptimist International of the Americas. She currently serves as the coordinator of the Soroptimist International of the Americas Donor Relations Task Force, and is also a frequent speaker and workshop coordinator.

A resident of El Cajon, California, Sam serves as a community member of the CARE Advisory Board at Grossmont Community College, and the EOPS/CARE Advisory Board at Cuyamaca Community College. She has held a variety of governance positions within her faith community, including Moderator (Board Chair), and recently successfully concluded a consulting project at a wider denominational setting providing support, guidance, training and capacity building to essential volunteers.

After a career in a variety of positions of progressive responsibility in legal and investment adviser firms, culminating in being the Vice President of Asset Management for a real estate investment advisory firm, Sam now consults independently with former employers and clients. She also performs a variety of paralegal duties, working alongside her attorney husband Tom.

Dr. Joan K. Vrtis

Dr. Joan K. Vrtis

Dr. Vrtis made her mark in the 1990s by developing technology solutions for Intel Corp.’s Pentium product line. After leaving Intel, she and a business partner acquired FlipChip International, a small microelectronics company. Their efforts resulted in a remarkable doubling of sales within the first 18 months.

Dr. Vrtis also served as the Chief Technology Officer of Multek Corp, a subsidiary of Flex Ltd., a $4 billion global electronics design and manufacturing giant. Her leadership led the company to broaden its intellectual property portfolio in diverse sectors such as automotive, consumer products, medical and health devices, and industrial applications. She ultimately joined the parent company, becoming Flex’s Senior Vice President of Innovation and Technology Integration prior to her retirement in mid-2019.

Her extensive education and experience is an incredible asset to WISDOM Good Works, as we perfect our fertility-control technology. In addition to Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master’s in Metallurgy & Materials from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Dr. Vrtis also has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and an MBA from DePaul University. She also holds several patents in materials, circuit structures, and processes.

Tom Buchenau

Tom Buchenau

Tom Buchenau is a third generation San Diegan who earned his B.A. in Economics frrm Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and returned to San Diego to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1977. During his more than 40 years as an attorney in solo practice, Tom has dedicated himself to improving the community in which he lives and works.

Tom has taught Paralegal Studies as an Adjunct Instructor at both Cuyamaca Community College and San Diego State University College of Extended Studies. He has served as a leader of many professional associations, including the Foothills Bar Association, where he was Association President, and the San Diego County Bar Association, where he served on its Board of Directors.

Tom’s many community-based volunteer experiences include L.E.A.D. San Diego – an intense program of leadership skill building and community volunteerism which has been described as getting a “Master’s Degree” on San Diego. For nearly 20 years he served as a member of the Sharp Healthcare System Institutional Review Board, as a non-medically trained community member on a multi-hospital, system-wide board which approved hospital use of experimental devices, drugs, and treatments. He has been a member of Kiwanis International throughout his professional career, serving as club president for Kiwanis clubs in both Spring Valley and Rancho San Diego, as well as Lieutenant Governor for his Division.

Scientific Advisor

Steve Shuster

Dr. Stephen M. Shuster


Dr. Shuster is the Professor of Invertebrate Zoology, Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. His research has focused on topics including biodiversity, population genetics, and conservation biology. To see his most recent scientific publications, visit his page on ResearchGate.net.

Core Team

Alaina Gonzalez-White

Alaina Gonzalez-White

Director of Operations
Missy Polen

Missy Polen

R&D Manufacturing Manager
Mike Jones

Mike Jones

Quality Control and Assurance Manager
Cindy Murphy

Cindy Murphy

Southwest Field Manager


Lyons Design

Sheila J. Mosher, Lyons Design Co.

Lyons Design provides software development, analysis and administration for the proprietary WISDOM Good Works Data Portal.


Ms. Martha Ellis, KindFix

Manufacturing/Fulfillment. Martha Ellis has a BA in Animal Science from Colorado State University, and a long history in project management.

Founding and Supporting Sponsors

WISDOM Good Works is thankful for the support of the following organizations and individuals: