Board of Directors
Dr. Christopher Bladen, PhD, Molecular Neuroscience
CEO and Co-founder
Dr. Bladen received his PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary in 2014. His thesis was based on using Electrophysiology and Molecular Biology to develop drugs and small molecules for Pain and Epilepsy research as well as other clinical purposes. He has a B.Sc. in Freshwater Chemistry and a degree in Environmental management and has extensive experience in both academia and industry. His previous work experience includes several years as an independent environmental consultant for the oil and gas industry in Alberta and several years working in the biopharma industry. He has developed a world-wide collaborative network in the fields of Electrophysiology, Molecular Biology and Drug design. In addition to being CEO of Zymedyne therapeutics, he is currently an (Online) Lecturer at Macquarie University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, where he teaches Pharmacology and conducts research into the therapeutic potential of Synthetic and Phyto Cannabinoids.
Dr. Gerald Zamponi, FRSC, FCAHS, FNAI (USA)
Chief Science Officer, Co-Founder
Dr. Gerald Zamponi is a Full Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and previously served as Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. His undergraduate training was in Engineering Physics from Johannes Kepler University, Austria, and his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Calgary was followed by postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Zamponi’s research addresses how ion channels and receptors contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain, with the goal of developing strategies to regulate ion channel function for therapeutic intervention. His work deciphers the functional connectomics of brain circuits that process pain signals. The translational impact of his work is evident from his co-founding of NeuroMed Pharmaceuticals and Zymedyne Therapeutics, and inventorship on 12 issued US patents pertaining to new pain therapeutics. He has published over 300 articles, has given over 250 invited lectures across the globe and attracted in excess of $25 Million in research support to his lab. Dr. Zamponi is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including; an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Scientist and Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator. He is currently a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neurobiology, an elected Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, which represents top honors for those in the basic and medical sciences.
Meg Bregazzi CPA, CA
CPA, Financial Advisor
Meg Bregazzi is a CPA, CA with more than 25 years of business experience. She has worked with both public and private companies, investment funds and most recently co-founded a venture capital partnership focusing on investments in life science startups in Western Canada. Meg is currently a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation board of directors, an investment advisor for UCeed’s Health Fund and Child Health Fund and an expert advisor with Innovate Calgary. Prior to becoming a CPA, CA, Meg earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta and spent six years working in diagnostic hematology labs in Canada and the U.S.
Dr. Vinicius Gadotti, PhD, Neuroscience
In vivo Neuropharmacologist
Dr. Gadotti is a Pharmacist and received his PhD in Neurosciences from the Federal University of Santa Catarina – UFSC in 2005, where he studied neurobiology of pain. His thesis was based on in vivo pharmacology of pain transmission and the identification of mechanism of action of endogenous modulators of pain signalling. Another great part of his scientific development was as a postdoctoral trainee in Dr. Zamponi’s lab in the University of Calgary where he studied how anxiety and depression arise from inflammatory disorders. He also participated in several studies related to the development of novel pain-relieving calcium channel blockers. He was nominated “Postdoctoral Fellow Researcher of the Year” of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, 2014. In 2015, he was awarded the “David Proud Award for Research Excellence for 2014/2015” of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and further received the “Award in Innovation for Patent – 2018” from the University of Calgary. Besides being a co-creator of one of Zymedyne’s technology platforms, he is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Ketul Patel, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Chemistry Synthesis
Dr. Ketul received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), S.A.S. Nagar, India under the supervision of Dr. Joydev K. Laha. After his Ph.D., Ketul worked for two years in Biopharma at Aten Porus Lifesciences (India), where he honed his medicinal chemistry skills in small molecules-based drug discovery. In December 2020, Ketul joined the University of Calgary’s Dept. of Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Darren Derksen, working on various organic and medicinal chemistry projects.
Dr. Agustin Garcia-Caballero, PhD
Dr. Agustin Garcia-Caballero completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology with Dr. Garcia-Sainz JA at the “Instituto de Fisiologia Celular, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico-UNAM”, investigating the phosphorylation and desensitization of angiotensin 1 receptors (AT1). After completing his Ph.D., Agustin joined the Department of Developmental Biology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and conducted his research in finding novel protein regulators of the Epithelial Sodium Channels (ENaC) using proteomic and bioinformatic approaches as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Sharon Milgram. As part of a second postdoctoral fellowship, Agustin trained at the “Cystic Fibrosis Center-UNC-Chapel Hill” conducting structure-function studies and proteolityc activation of ENaC sodium channels using the two voltage clamping technique and Xenopus oocytes under the supervision of Dr. Jack Stutts. After moving to Calgary in 2008, Agustin joined the Physiology and Pharmacology Department under the supervision of Dr. Gerald Zamponi, to study the post-translational modification (ubiquitination) of Cav3.2 calcium channels and how a novel Cav3.2 regulator (USP5) promotes neuropathic and inflammatory pain. He is also the co-creator of one of Zymedyne’s technology platforms
Dr. Md Yousof Ali, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate , Drug Development & AI Modelling
Dr. Yousof Ali received his Ph.D. in Natural Products Chemistry, from Pukyoung National University, South Korea. His studies included exploring use of natural products for the treatment of various diseases. After his Ph.D., Ali worked as a NRF Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dept. of Prescriptionology, Kyung Hee University, South Korea, investigating novel macronutrients from citrus fruits for the treatment of Diabetes, and Alzheimer disease. He then joined the Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, where he conducted screening, characterization, and production of bioactive metabolites from fungi and myxobacteria for the development of novel antibiotics. He then became an OMEICOS Postdoctoral fellow in the faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, examining how different metabolites mediate protection of mitochondrial structure and function under stress conditions by establishment of hypoxia-reoxygenation model. In January 2021, Dr. Yousof joined Dr. Gerald Zamponi’s lab as a HBI Postdoctoral Fellow, at the University of Calgary, developing potent T-type calcium channel blockers and USP5-Cav3.2 interaction inhibitors. In April 2022 Ali became part of the Zymedyne Chemistry team as a MITACS PDF, where he continues to do in silico research on USP5-Cav3.2 interaction inhibitors, using advanced AI and computer modelling techniques.
Dr. Terrance P. Snutch, PhD, DSc (hc), FRSC, FCAHS, FNAI (USA)
Dr. Terrance P. Snutch is Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Michael Smith Laboratories and Director of Translational Neuroscience at the Djavad Mowafagian Centre for Brain Health. Dr. Snutch is internationally renowned for his cloning and characterization of the voltage-gated calcium channel family underlying signaling responsible for physiological properties ranging from neurotransmitter release to heart contraction and neuronal excitability. Calcium channels are implicated in many human diseases and Dr. Snutch has provided new therapeutic targets including for congenital migraine, night blindness, epilepsies, autism, chronic pain and psychotic disorders. With the aim of finding treatments for some of these diseases, Dr. Snutch founded NeuroMed Technologies (later Zalicus Pharmaceuticals), raising $150M USD and advancing two new drugs into phase 1/2 clinical trials and a third drug through phase 3 trials, FDA approval and onto market in the U.S. Dr. Snutch is an author on over 210 research papers, inventor on 117 issued patents and has been recognized through many prestigious scientific awards including; the International Albrecht Fleckenstein Award (Bayer), the Steacie Prize, Howard Hughes International Research Scholar, the Sarrazin Award (Canadian Physiological Society), Researcher of the Year (BC Biotech), an honorary doctorate of science (SFU), the Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology-Genomics, and induction as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors (USA). In March 2020, Dr. Snutch co-founded Canada’s COVID-19 Genomics Network (VirusSeq). VirusSeq was a transnational collaboration that determined and shared the sequences of over 430,00 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Canadian patients.
Dr. Darren Derksen, PhD
Dr. Derksen completed his PhD in the lab of Professor John C. Vederas at the University of Alberta in 2008 working on the synthesis and evaluation of antimicrobial peptides and new synthetic methods. He then completed an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge in the lab of Professor Ian Paterson working on the total synthesis of peloruside A. Darren began his independent career at one of Canada’s top primarily undergraduate institutions, St. Francis Xavier University on the east Coast of Canada (Antigonish, NS) in 2010 and then moved to the University of Calgary in 2014 to take up the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Junior Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Derksen was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2018. The Derksen research lab has been supported with funding from the NSERC Discovery, Alliance, Collaborative Research and Development grants, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, and collaborative grants from CIHR, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The Derksen lab is integrated into multidisciplinary research institutes at the University of Calgary including the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute, and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.
Dr. Philippe Diaz, PhD
Dr. Diaz is an entrepreneur and professor with over 25 years of experience within both academia and industry. He successfully administered drug discovery projects in industry, collaborated with other researchers worldwide, and produced 39 peer-reviewed publications and 31 patents. As medicinal chemistry team leader and head of combinatorial chemistry at Galderma, he has led and managed chemistry teams that performed discovery and optimization of drug candidates up to clinical studies. He is Professor at the University of Montana where he teaches medicinal chemistry to graduate and pharmacy students. He is CEO and co-founder of DermaXon, which has identified a preclinical candidate currently in IND-enabling studies for the treatment of congenital ichthyosis. DermaXon has also in its pipeline new chemical entities targeting pain and pruritus, and autoimmune diseases. In the industry, he has developed expertise in drug discovery and development, project management, intellectual property strategy and go/no-go decisions. He is coinventor of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of glioblastoma licensed by Stella Therapeutics and sublicensed by Pascal Biosciences and of a neurological agent which completed Phase 1 clinical studies (NTRX-07) in 2020.
Dr. Diane Lipscombe, PhD
Professor Diane Lipscombe, Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Director of the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science and the Thomas J Watson Jr. Professor of Science in the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University, is a leader in the field of neuronal calcium ion channel regulation and function in health and disease. She is a past President of the Society for Neuroscience, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, honorary fellow of the Physiological Society (UK), and past chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH. Professor Lipscombe studies ion channel expression, modulation, and function with interest in the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie neurological and psychiatric diseases. Her research team currently studies the molecular mechanisms that control cell-specific pre-mRNA splicing of a voltage-gated calcium ion channels, with focus on the importance of this mechanism in transmission of noxious stimuli and the development of hyperalgesia and allodynia in heat sensitive nociceptors and mechanoreceptors. The recipient of several awards for teaching and mentorship, Professor Lipscombe has also made significant contributions to graduate education and training at Brown and on the national scale.
World leader in ion channel function in health and diseases. Past President Society for Neuroscience and member of AAAS. Past chair of Board of Scientific Counselors NINDS at the NIH.