Our Team

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.

Chairman  

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.

 

Ms. Teresa Byrne

Teresa is the Director of Clinical and Regulatory Operations for BioMotiv, and brings more than 17 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with her to this role. She is responsible for overseeing all Clinical and Regulatory operational functions in support of the development and progression of compounds from pre-clinical through early phase clinical research.

Teresa has broad clinical research experience, across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunology, vaccines and oncology. Prior to joining BioMotiv, Teresa was the Director of Global Clinical Operations for a small CRO, and was responsible for all clinical trial management, project management and regional monitoring activities across the global organization. For many years, Teresa held roles in clinical trial management and clinical operations at companies such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis Vaccines.

Teresa has a BA degree in biology from Rutger’s University and has done post-graduate work in clinical pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University.

 

Mr. Eugene Garza


 

Mr. Greg Dyer


Advisory Board

Chief Medical Officer  

Dr. Marco Pappagallo, MD

Dr. Marco Pappagallo, MD completed his medical school and a post-graduate training in neurosurgery at the University of Rome, Italy. He completed his residency training in Neurology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1990 he obtained a position as clinical and research fellow in pain medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. After his pain fellowship, he became faculty member of the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology and Medical Director of Chronic Pain at Hopkins. In 1999 Dr. Pappagallo moved to the Hospital of Joint Diseases – New York University, NY as Director of the Comprehensive Pain Center. In 2003 he joined the Department of Pain and Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, NY as Director of Chronic Pain. From 2006 till 2011 he worked at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC, NY where he held the position of Professor and Director of Pain Research in the Department of Anesthesiology. In 2010 Dr. Pappagallo co-founded the start-up NovaPharm Therapeutics (NPT - Wayne, PA) where he operated as Chief Medical Officer. NPT001 asset was subsequently acquired by Grünenthal. Dr. Marco Pappagallo began to work with Grünenthal (GRT)-US as Medical Expert-in-Residence and Executive Director of Medical Intelligence. He collaborated with the GRT-US regulatory team in compiling the initial application concerning the Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) for neridronate in CRPS, which was eventually granted by the FDA in Dec 2016. Since 2011, he has directed the New Medical Home for Chronic Pain in NYC, NY. In July 2014 Dr. Pappagallo was named Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY and in January 2015 he became Co-director of the Pain Management Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ.

 

Dr. Ted Price, PhD

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, PhD

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.

 

Dr. David U’Prichard, PhD

Dr. David C. U’Prichard is the former CSO, and current Advisory Board Chair and member of the Board of Managers of BioMotiv LLC (Cleveland). He also serves as a President of Druid Consulting LLC, consulting to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries from his base in Philadelphia, US, and as a Partner at Druid BioVentures LLP (Philadelphia). Dr. U’Prichard is a director of Arix Bioscience plc (LSE: ARIX), a public global healthcare and life science company focused on generating value from the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies, based in London and New York. From 2005 until 2009, he was a Venture Partner at Red Abbey Venture Partners (Baltimore). During 2003 – 2006, he was a Venture Partner for Apax Partners Ltd. (London) and Care Capital LLC (Princeton). From 1999 to 2003 he was CEO of 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Yardley PA. During that time he took 3DP public and secured large collaborations with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson. In March 2003, 3DP become a part of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R&D. From 1997 to 1999, Dr. U'Prichard served as Chairman of Research and Development at SmithKline Beecham, managing 8000 R&D staff, and a portfolio of 200 projects. Prior to SmithKline Beecham, he worked for ICI/Zeneca from 1986 to 1997, as Executive Vice President and International Research Director from 1994 to 1997. While at Zeneca and SmithKline Beecham, Dr. U’Prichard oversaw the discovery and development of a number of successful drugs including Seroquel®, Accolate®, Avandia® and Iressa®. Previously, Dr. U'Prichard as CSO was instrumental in the launch of Nova Pharmaceuticals, Baltimore MD in 1983, following an academic career as tenured Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Neurobiology at Northwestern University Medical School (1978-83), and his postdoctoral fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University (1975-78). Dr. U'Prichard received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Kansas, and his B.S. in Pharmacology with first-class honors from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He has held academic appointments at Northwestern University, The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow. He is also an author of more than 100 primary and review publications, was a founding co-editor of Molecular Neurobiology, co-editor of Epinephrine in the Central Nervous System and has served as a member of various editorial boards. Dr. U'Prichard chairs the boards of Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CYCC, Berkeley Heights, NJ), Vala Sciences Inc. (La Jolla, CA), and additionally Dual Therapeutics Inc. (Cleveland) and Orca Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Oxford), two of BioMotiv’s investment companies. He also serves on the board of directors of Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC and Churchill Pharmaceuticals (Philadelphia), and Splash Pharmaceuticals (La Jolla, CA). Dr. U’Prichard was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association 2004-2005, and has served on the boards of BIO, BioAdvance (the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania), Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Bioethics Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. U’Prichard was Chair of the Executive Board of Stratified Medicine Scotland, a national academic-industry consortium supported by the Government of Scotland. Dr. U’Prichard was a consultant for Booz & Co., and is a board member of the International House of Philadelphia, and ex-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Wilma Theater, also in Philadelphia.

 

Dr. Nigel Calcutt, PhD

Dr. Calcutt took his B.Sc. in Zoology and Ph.D. Physiology and Pharmacology at Nottingham University, England. Following post-doctoral research at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and at the University of California San Diego, he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Pathology at UCSD in 1993. Dr. Calcutt first began studying nerve damage caused by diabetes as an undergraduate, with a largely unsuccessful, but nevertheless entertaining, attempt to generate diabetic chickens. Undeterred by the paucity of pre-diabetic poultry, he has continued to investigate mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy and neuropathic pain throughout his career, with a particular interest in developing therapies than can be translated to clinical use. Dr. Calcutt’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association. He is a co-founder of WinSanTor Inc. and the non-profit organization Diabetes Research Connection.

 

Dr. Neil Singla, MD

Dr. Neil Singla, a board-certified anesthesiologist, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Clinical Research. Since its inception in 2001, Dr. Singla has served in several roles within the organization including: Research Coordinator, Sub-Investigator, Principal Investigator, Coordinating Investigator, and Chief Scientific Officer.

In his capacity as CEO for Lotus Clinical Research, Dr. Singla has had the opportunity to interact frequently with the FDA’s Analgesics Division on behalf of clients and to play a significant role in guiding development strategies for dozens of putative analgesic agents. In the company’s 17-year history, Dr. Singla and Lotus Clinical Research have played a significant role in bringing several molecules to market.

Dr. Singla has published extensively and is a frequent lecturer for physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and medical research institutes throughout the country. He currently chairs the Analgesic Clinical Trials Shared/Special Interest Group at both the American Pain Society (APS) and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). He chairs the annual APS Conference on Analgesic Clinical Trials (APS-CAT), which aims to help experts advance best practices in analgesic drug development.

The main focus of Dr. Singla’s academic endeavors has been to analyze and understand how the inherent variability in subjective endpoint analgesic clinical trials can be minimized. As a result, he has developed novel techniques for patient education designed to minimize variability, reduce placebo response, and increase effect size.