Skip links

Our People


Dr. Dhiren Thakker has been familiar with pharmacy and pharmaceutical concepts since middle school when his father and uncle bought a pharmacy, and rights to produce several over-the-counter medicines.


Dhiren R. Thakker, Ph.D.

Founding President & Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Chiara Canzi is responsible for optimizing internal and external communications at Med Aditus, including the website management, print and social media communications, and public relations. Chiara works with the leadership to enhance and convey Med Aditus brand and to manage stakeholder relations, and serves as a liaison with the Board of Directors.


Chiara Canzi, M.A.

Chief Communications Officer

Ms. Lauren Frank is responsible for identifying and coordinating the preparation and submission of funding proposals to foundations, government agencies, and private sector establishments. Lauren works closely with the leadership to operationalize initiatives and manage projects.


Lauren McQuillan Frank, B.A.

Interim Chief Operations Officer

Astrid Vallat is currently in her third year as a Biology and German Literature and Slavic Languages Major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her education has a pre-dental focus with a Peace, War, and Defense concentration integrated into her curriculum.


Astrid Vallat


Board of Directors

Dr. Dhiren Thakker has been familiar with pharmacy and pharmaceutical concepts since middle school when his father and uncle bought a pharmacy, and rights to produce several over-the-counter medicines.


Dhiren R. Thakker, Ph.D.

Founding President & Chief Executive Officer

Prior to launching Arkane Innovation, an international advisory services firm (based in Ireland, the UK and the US), Mr. Mark Crowell served as Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST)


W. Mark Crowell, M.R.P.

President and Co-Founder, Arkane Innovation

Mr. Pape Gaye is a native of Senegal and a lifelong advocate for health workers, strong health systems, and access to health care for all.


Pape Gaye, M.B.A.

Med Aditus Board Chair
Founder and President, Baobab Institute
President and CEO Emeritus, IntraHealth International

In addition to his responsibility as the Executive Vice Provost at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Ron Strauss was Chief International Officer for the University for nearly a decade.


Ronald P. Strauss, D.M.D., Ph.D.

Adams Distinguished Professor of Dentistry and Professor of Social Medicine,

Director and Chief Global Officer, ASOD-Global

Ambassador Brenda Brown Schoonover is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. She was appointed United States Ambassador to Togo, where she served for three years.


Brenda Brown Schoonover, B.A.

Emeritus Board Member
Former U.S. Ambassador to Togo in West Africa

Under his leadership as Dean, Robert Blouin brought the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to prominence and recognized by US News and World Reports as the #1 program in the United States. In addition, Blouin raised the largest gift from a single donor in the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($100M) to create the Eshelman Institute for Innovation.


Robert A. Blouin, Pharm.D.

Bryson Distinguished Professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

With extensive multidisciplinary technology and business leadership background, Ngozi Bell is an entrepreneur and investment partner at Trans-Sahara Investment Corporation, a private equity and business development consultant corporation based in the U.S. and West Africa.


Ngozi Bell, M.S.

Entrepreneur and Investment Partner at Trans-Sahara Investment Corporation

Dr. Wagoner has over thirty years of experience as a leader in drug discovery, drug development and health care. Dr. Wagoner founded and led a not-for-profit cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation company for which she raised funding, led multi-faceted teams of healthcare workers, and provided direct patient care.


P. Kay Wagoner, Ph.D.

Founder, Icagen, Inc.

Steve Hammond retired in 2018 after 39 years with Pfizer. He is now an independent consultant. Hammond joined Pfizer from Unilever’s Perfumes Division in 1979, to work as an Analytical Chemist in the Global Fermentation Development Group, where he developed a number of Process Analytical Technology (PAT) Applications for Pfizer’s Bioprocess Manufacturing Division.


Steve Hammond, M.S.

Former Pfizer Executive for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Advisor Network

Zhiyang Zhao

Chief Scientific Officer, Alliance Pharma

Zawadi Barskile Walker

Executive Assistant to the CEO at the Modern Classrooms Project

Youthika Chauhan

Ph.D. Candidate, UNC Keenan Flagler Business School

Verinder Syal


Tom Tillett

Chief Executive Officer, MBF Therapeutics

Timothy Qi

Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tim Tippin

Senior Director, DMPK, Chimerix

Tim Bradshaw

Executive Director, Global Drug Development, PRA Health Sciences

Sundeep Dugar

Chief Technology Officer, Epirium Bio

Sumitra Pati

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellow, EII, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Stan Parker

President, Winston Starts

Shrey Verma

Merger Arbitrage Analyst, Reorg Research Inc.

Shimoga Prakash

Former Pharmaceutical R&D Professional, Takeda, Millenium, DuPont-Merck, Glaxo

Scott S. DeRossi

Dean and Professor, UNC Adams School of Dentistry

Scott Neuville

Chief Executive Officer, Chesson Labs

Satinder Sethi

Former Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development, GSK, Former Executive Vice President, Science and Engineering, RTI

Sailesh Varia

Pharmacutical Development Consultant, SAV Pharma Consulting LLC

Shailesh Desai

Director, Synthesis Lab, Qyality Chemical Laboratories

Sachiko Ozawa

Associate Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Ryan Klein

Director, Business Development, Alliance Pharma

Ruth Everett

Director, Strategic Research Development, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Russ Lehrman

President & Founder, BioSuperior Technology Inc.

Roy Zwahlen

Associate Director, Eshelman Institute for Innovation, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Rob Maples

Team Leader & Founder, The M2B Group

Rob Lindberg

Vice President, Science & Technology Development, North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Richard Kouri

Professor & Executive Director Emeritus, NC State University College of Management

Richard Graham

Senior Vice President, Development, Theravance Biopharma

Rebecca Kohler

Independent Consultant

Rasheed Mohammed

Pharm.D./M.P.H. Student, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Purav Bhatt

Director, Global Medical Affairs Lead, Astra Zeneca

Pooja Khetani

Director, Financial Planning & Analysis, Mount Sinai Health System

Nik Wasudev

Ragiologist, Wake Radiology

Nicole Zane

Alumna, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Nicole Schwerbrock

Director, Technology Development & Commercialization, Small Business and Technology Development Center

Nathan Frank

Senior Data Scientist, Strong Analytics

Miranda Law

Clinical Assistant Professor, Director, International Experieces and Engagement, Howard University

Mike Patil

Former Special Asstistant to the Chancellor, UNC-Chapel Hill

Melanie Joy

Associate Professor and Director, Pharm. Sci. Innovation and Commercialization, Scaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado

Margaret Louey

Senior Technology Manager, Product Development & Regulatory Affairs, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc.

Margaret (Peggy) Bentley

Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Global Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Mankit Law

Former Entrepreneurial Development Fellow, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Malini Mukherjee

Associate Principal Scientist, Merck

Lyn Maples

Team Leader & Founder, The M2B Group

Lorraine King

Regulatory Coordinator, Duke University

Lawson Rankin

Partner, Rankin McKenzie, LLC

Laura Rowley

Director, Life Science Economic Development, North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Kayla Knilans

Former American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow, USDA

Kaushik Suchak

Investment Professional, Multi-Family Office

Kailas Thakker

Co-Founder Emeritus, Tergus Pharma

Julia Barnes-Weise

Executive Director, Global Healthcare Innovation Alliances Accelerator (GHIAA)

Joyce Tan

Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UNC-Chapel Hill

John Bamforth

Director, Eshelman Institute for Innovation, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Jason Cross

Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Rymedi

Hui (Fred) Ouyang

Chief Operating Officer, Alan Laboratories

Hetal Wasudev

Project Manager, Tergus Pharma

Gururaj Rao

Research Director, International Stemcell Services

Grayson Hall

Alumna, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Gina Chowa

Associate Dean, Global Engagement, UNC School of Social Work

Esther Agyei

Specialist Quality and Compliance Capital Project, Merck

Emanuel Chan

Clinical Research Coordinator, Duke University Health System

Elizabeth Heller

Program Manager, Kaizen Co.

Doug Mendenhall

Former Senior Vice President, Development, GSK

David R. Steeb

Assistant Professor and Director, Global Engagement, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Cynthia Rewerts

Senior Director, ADME-Tox Services, Solvo Biotechnology

Claudia Generaux

Senior Research Investigator, BMS

Christina Won

Pharmacist & Clinical Pharmacologist, Bausch Health Companies

Chee Ng

Consultant, Pharmacometrics

Chand Gundecha

Former Director, Marketing Management - Fixed & Mobile Communications, AT&T

Carrie Martin Blanchard

Assistant Professor, Center for Optimization, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Carolyn Kreuzkamp

Co-Founder, REESHI

Caroline Slade

Former Director of Industry Relations, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Caroline Eason

Pharm.D. Candidate, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Robert Jacobs

Former Vice President, Chemistry, Anacor Pharmaceuticals; Co-Inventor of Acoziborole

Betty Tushabe

Country Director, IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rwanda

Benyam Muluneh

Assistant Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Ashok V. Bhatia

Former Director, Process R&D, AbbVie

Ashok Mendiratta

Former Chief Commercialization Officer, STI

Ashok Kumar

CEO, Ashford Communities

Ashish Dugar

Vice President, Operations and Information Management, Sphaera Pharma Pte. Ltd.

Arti Thakkar

Associate Professor, Trinity University

Anthony Bogachev

MBA/MS in Biotechnology Candidate, Harvard University

Anjali Raithatha

Head, Compensation & Benefits, Whole Foods Market

Alexander Tropsha

Associate Dean, Data & Data Science, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Adam Hanne

Pharm.D. Student, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy