Board of Directors
Meet our team of leaders, researchers, and advisors.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Lucas Rodriguez, MS, PhD
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 extensive experience and a background in biology, biochemistry, general & organic chemistry, and biomedical engineering (specifically in medical devices design and development). Additionally, he has developed his career in business development concentrating on strategy, business plan development, fundraising, sales, and mergers and acquisitions.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Scott Dax, MS, PhD
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. The team delivered multiple New Chemical Entities into Early Development, working in the areas of delta-selective and mixed mu / delta opioid agonists, (Transient Receptor Potential) TRPV1 and TRPM8 antagonists, mono-acylglycerol lipase inhibitors, N-type calcium channel blockers, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), voltage-gated sodium channel blockers and differentiated tramadol and acetaminophen analogs. Scott also served on the Diligence team that in-licensed tapentadol later marketed as Nucynta. 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 over 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. John Harkey, MBA
Mr. John D. Harkey, Jr. is the Founder and Principal of JDH Investment Management, LLC, which is focused on leading innovative technologies and emerging company opportunities in biotech, gene therapy, non-opiate pain and pharma/therapeutic spaces. He is co-founder and formerly Executive Chairman of the Board of AveXis, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVXS), which was acquired in 2018 by Novartis for $8.7 billion. AveXis develops proprietary gene therapies for rare neurological genetic diseases. He has over 25 years’ experience as a private investor, chief executive and director in both public and private companies. He has merged, acquired, operated and/or served on the board of directors of eight public companies in biotech, energy, technology, aerospace, telecom, and restaurants, and private companies in healthcare, real estate, farm and ranch products and software. He previously served nine years on the Board of Directors of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation. He is formerly the Chairman of the Board of Regency Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:RGP, sold to Energy Transfer for $18 billion) and has served on the Board of Directors of the Energy Transfer, LP companies (NYSE: ET). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Loral Space & Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:LORL), and on the Board of Directors of Emisphere Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:EMIS). He formerly served on Board of Directors of Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP), which was acquired by AT&T for $4.1 billion. Mr. Harkey also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Restaurant Companies, Inc. Mr. Harkey grew up in Brownwood, Texas, obtained a B.B.A. in Business Honors and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from Stanford University School of Business.
Chief Legal Officer
Mr. David Hitt II, MS, JD
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, MS, PhD
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, MBA, PhD
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, MS, PhD
Dr. Pat Confalone, MS, Ph.D. Dr. Confalone is a graduate of M.I.T. with a B.S. in Chemistry. Dr. Confalone obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard with Nobel laureate Prof. R.B. Woodward and did a post-doc with Woodward developing the development of vitamin B-12. Dr. Confalone was with Hoffmann-La Roche for ten years. He joined Dupont Central Research where his Bioorganic Chemistry group developed the fluorescent dye-labeled reagents that were used in automated DNA sequencing, eventually employed in the human genome project. He served as Director of Medicinal Chemistry and Senior Vice President of Chemical Process R&D at Dupont Merck. Dr. Confalone recruited a world class Medicinal Chemistry department which discovered Cozaar™, a major anti-hypertensive based on angiotensin II antagonism. After 22 years in Discovery Research, he moved into pre-clinical development and built a highly successful Chemical Process R&D organization which carried out the chemical development of Cozaar™ and Sustiva™, a highly successful NNRTI used to treat AIDS. As Vice President, Global R&D, DuPont Health, Nutrition and Crop Protection, he led 300 scientists to build a world class pipeline of novel products, including RynaxypyrTM, with worldwide sales over a billion dollars a year. He was elected Chairman of the Board of the American Chemical Society. He was elected Chair of the Organic Division of the ACS on Chemistry and Public Affairs. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received honors and awards, including the Alpha Chi Sigma Award and the Harvard Graduate Society Prize and the Harvard Society of Fellows. Dr. Confalone has been an independent consultant for the last 12 years to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry (R&D).
Dr. Perry Molinoff, MD
Dr. Perry B. Molinoff, M.D, Ph.D., serves as Faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Dr. Molinoff served as Vice Provost for Research at the University of Pennsylvania from 2003 to July 2007. From January 1995 to March 2001, he served as Vice President for Neuroscience and Genitourinary Drug Discovery of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wallingford, CT, where he was responsible for implementing and directing the Institute's research efforts in multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Molinoff established multidisciplinary structure to facilitate rapid development of drugs directed against a variety of therapeutic targets across broad spectrum of neurologic, psychiatric and genitourinary diseases. Dr. Molinoff served as an Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Palatin Technologies Inc. Edison, NJ from September 2001 to November 3, 2003, where he was responsible for all basic, preclinical and clinical research. From 1981 to 1994, he served as A.N. Richards Professor of pharmacology and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He spent 10 years in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado. He authored or edited six books including 2 editions of Basic Neurochemistry and the 9th edition of Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, as well as over 230 manuscripts. He is neuropharmacologist with Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School in 1967 and Post-doctoral training was with Julius Axelrod at the U.S. National Institutes of Mental Health and in the Department of Biophysics at University College London. Dr. Molinoff received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1962 from Harvard College.
Dr. David Genecov, MD
Dr. David Genecov is a dedicated physician in the field of Cleft Lip and Palate, Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery. A 4th generation Texan, he graduated from the Plan II Program at the University of Texas at Austin (1985). David began his medical education at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (1990) and then completed residencies in General Surgery at West Virginia University (1995) and in Plastic Surgery at Wake Forest University (1997). Dr. Genecov completed fellowship training in Craniofacial Surgery at the International Craniofacial Institute, where he is now the director and owner. He is an adjunct associate professor at Baylor College of Dentistry at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and teaches residents and graduate students about cleft lip and palate and craniofacial surgery. He has been recognized for his medical service by Dallas Chapter of Hadassah, The Bnai Zion Foundation, D Magazine, Texas Monthly, Consumer Choice Awards and DFW Alliance for Healthcare Excellence. He has also been honored for his philanthropic efforts by the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. Dr. Genecov maintains American Board of Medical Specialties board certificates in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Genecov currently serves on the Board of Trustees at St. Mark’s School of Texas where he is chairman of the Education Committee and also serves on the Executive Committee. He is on the Plan II Visiting Committee and the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board, both at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Genecov serves on the Board of Directors at the Dallas Opera. He is also on the PTECH Advisory Board of the Dallas Independent School District which assists in their early college high school program. Dr. Genecov founded or co-founded numerous companies in the health care space including AveXis (AVXS – Nasdaq), Skin Within, Inc., Synergy Surgical Services LLC, and Biolife Cell Bank LLC, He currently assists on the Board of Directors of a Dallas pharmaceutical start-up, CerSci Therapeutics. He is the also the owner and director of DGG Spa Services and the Bloom Medical Spa. Along with his wife, Lisa, their philanthropic efforts are focused on education and children’s healthcare initiatives. Dr. Genecov lives in Dallas with his wife, Dr. Lisa W. Genecov. Together they have 4 children, Michael, Max, Matthew and Megan. His hobbies include hunting, fly fishing, skiing and running triathlons. Dr. Genecov has completed 5 Ironman long distance races, including the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Mr. Tyler Brous
Mr. Tyler Brous is Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of Lennox Capital Partners, LP, a special situations and value-oriented investment company active across public and private equity. Tyler currently serves on the Board of Directors of Shattuck Labs, a cancer immunotherapy biotech in Austin. While at Lennox, Tyler spent over a year working at Arog Pharmaceuticals as the acting CFO, leading their capital markets and business development efforts. Prior to joining Lennox, Tyler worked as a senior analyst at YX Funds, a short-only hedge fund in Dallas. In addition, Tyler started his career in the M&A group at Citigroup in New York. Tyler holds a B.S. in Finance and Business Honors from the University of Texas, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He lives in Dallas with his wife and three children.