Board of Directors
Dr. Lucas Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Rodriguez co-founded CerSci Therapeutics while completing his PhD requirements in 2015 and 2016. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Texas at Dallas studying novel bioactive bone cement for orthopedic and craniofacial surgery and new vented dental implant abutments for the mitigation of residual excess dental luting cement in cement-retained crown prosthetics after receiving his BS in biology with a minor in chemistry from Baylor University in 2010. Dr. Rodriguez has extensive experience in the design, development, and testing, of medical devices and biomedical technologies for commercial applications. He has over 5 years of project management experience in high-tech biomedical and biotherapeutic industries. During graduate school Dr. Rodriguez pursued a concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management. Dr. Rodriguez has experience in start-up development, business model generation, business development, and sales.
Dr. Scott Dax, Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Scott Dax has over 25 years of experience guiding research & development at both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. His leadership roles span chemistry, drug discovery, pharmacology and technology. Prior to joining CERSCI, Dr. Dax served as Chief Technology Officer at Galleon Pharmaceuticals, where he discovered and designed breathing control modulators to treat respiratory depression caused by opioid therapy without compromising analgesia. Scott’s research contributed to venture capital investments totaling greater than $60 million. Dr. Dax also served as Analgesics Research Team Leader at Johnson & Johnson. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, he held positions at DuPont-Merck and Hoffmann-LaRoche working in the area of infectious diseases. Dr. Dax is an inventor of nearly 100 issued patents worldwide and approximately 100 publications & presentations in peer-reviewed journal and professional societies. He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in chemistry at the University of Michigan and was an NIH post-doctoral awardee at the University of Wisconsin.
Mr. David Hitt, Chief Legal Officer
Mr. Hitt received his Bachelors of Science degrees in both Physics and Business and Public Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1982. He then received a Masters degree in Taxation at Baylor University in 1983 and his Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University in 1987. He applies his formal education to protecting technologies and guiding businesses at his law firm, Hitt Gaines, located in the north Dallas area. He specializes in all facets of intellectual property law with extensive experience in patent procurement in the electrical, mechanical, and computer arts. His expertise includes preparation of patentability, registrability, and infringement opinions, as well as counseling regarding corporate intellectual property strategy, valuation, and cost control.
Dr. Dennis Robbins, Chairman
Dr. Robbins holds a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Arizona State University (1976). He also holds an M.S. in Physics (Arizona State University, 1973) and a B.A. in Physics (DePauw University, 1971). Dennis is passionate about growing and developing early-stage technology companies and has built a reputable portfolio of successful and well-funded small business involvement in the integrated circuit, medical device development, and pharmaceutical arenas. Since 2003, he has served as a reviewer for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). He holds seven U.S. patents. Over the course of a 23-year tenure, Dennis held various management and leadership positions at Texas Instruments, including Vice President for Worldwide Manufacturing Operations for Mixed Signal and Analog products—a business unit generating more than $4 billion in annual revenues. Also at TI, Dennis was actively involved in the company’s acquisition of Silicon Systems ($600M), Unitrode ($1.2B), and Burr-Brown ($7B).
Dr. Brent Duncan
Dr. Duncan has been involved as co-founder, director, officer, and/or investor in numerous technology development start-ups including Dallas-based CerSci Therapeutics, Logan Medical Devices, Ted’s Brain Science, Syzygy Memory Plastics, and Adaptive 3D Technologies. He is an experienced investor and has recently founded Orion Capital, an investment fund primarily interested in fostering biomedical and material science early-stage companies. Dr. Duncan received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, concentrating in biomaterials and supported by an NIH Fellowship at the Duke University Center for Cellular and Biosurface Engineering. After receiving his degree, he worked as a research scientist at the Duke University Medical Center and BioGyali, a start-up company where he managed early-stage research and development. Dr. Duncan then received an NSF Fellowship to pursue an MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he focused on technology commercialization.
Dr. Pat Confalone
Dr. Confalone received his BS degree in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prior to completing his MS and PhD from Harvard. Dr. Confalone has held positions in “Big Pharma” at Roche, DuPont, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb; from Research Fellow to Vice President and Executive Director. Dr. Confalone is an expert in medicinal chemistry, pre-clinical development, process chemistry, and technology transfer to manufacturing. Dr. Confalone is now the chair of the board of directors for the American Chemical Society (ACS). Utilizing his over 40 years R&D experience in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical space, he now offers consulting services along with extensive experience on Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Boards. Dr. Confalone specializes in strategic thinking, planning, and implementation as well as in-depth technical discussions on all R&D challenges.
Dr. Perry Molinoff
Dr. Perry B. Molinoff is a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania with more than 30 years of experience in both the academic and industrial sectors. He currently serves as a director of CerSci Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Molinoff served as the Vice Provost for Research of the University of Pennsylvania and as the Chairman and A.N. Richards Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research focused on the molecular pharmacology of receptors and signal recognition. Additionally, he served as the Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Palatin Technologies, and Vice President of Neuroscience and Genitourinary Drug Discovery for the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. During his tenure, clinical candidates were identified for treatment of sleep disorders, schizophrenia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Dr. Molinoff earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University. He has served on the Board of Directors of both public and private companies including Cypress Bioscience and Palatin Technologies, and has served on multiple editorial advisory boards. Dr. Molinoff has also authored or edited more than 230 publications and six books.
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Ted Price
Theodore (Ted) Price returned to the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UTD as an Associate Professor in 2014. He graduated from UTD in 1998 with a B.S. in Neuroscience where he worked with Dr. Alice O'Toole on human face perception. He then received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio under the mentorship of Christopher Flores and Kenneth Hargreaves. He was then a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Fernando Cervero at McGill University until 2007. Dr. Price was a faculty member of The University of Arizona School of Medicine from 2007-2014 with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rita Allen Foundation, and Migraine Research Foundation. Dr. Price is the recipient of Young Investigator Awards from the American Pain Society and International Association for the Study of Pain, has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles in international journals, serves as the pharmacology section editor for European Journal of Pain and is on the editorial board for Pain, Molecular Pain and The European Journal of Neuroscience. He is also a regular reviewer for National Institutes of Health and American Pain Society study sections.
Dr. Greg Dussor
Gregory (Greg) Dussor received his PhD in Pharmacology at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 2002 under the mentorship of Drs. Chris Flores and Ken Hargreaves after receiving his BS in biochemistry at the University of Alabama. Following his PhD studies, he did postdoctoral training from 2004-2007 in the laboratory of Dr. Ed McCleskey at the Vollum Institute on the campus of The Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. In 2007, he joined the Faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. While in Arizona, he shifted the focus of his laboratory to understanding the pathophysiology contributing to chronic headache disorders such as migraine. He remained on faculty there until joining the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2014. Greg was a recipient of a Future Leaders in Pain Research Award from the American Pain Society, he has received funding from the NIH, the American Pain Society, the National Headache Foundation, and the Migraine Research Foundation, he is on the Editorial Board for the journal PAIN, and he regularly serves as a study section member at NIH/CSR.
Mr. John Braca
Mr. Braca has served as a director and board observer for other healthcare, technology and biotechnology companies over the course of his career. Since April 2013, Mr. Braca has been the President and sole proprietor of JNB Consulting, which provides strategic business development counsel to biotechnology companies. From August 2010 through April 2013, Mr. Braca had been the executive director controller for Iroko Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held global pharmaceutical company based in Philadelphia. From April 2006 through July 2010, Mr. Braca was the managing director of Fountainhead Venture Group, a healthcare information technology venture fund based in the Philadelphia area, and has been working with both investors and developing companies to establish exit and business development opportunities. From 1997 to April 2005, Mr. Braca was a general partner and director of business investments for S.R. One, Limited, or S.R. One, the venture capital subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline. Mr. Braca is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Pennsylvania and is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Braca received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Villanova University and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University.
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