James McNamara, MD

James McNamara, MD

Jim has been a faculty member at Duke University for over 30 years, where he holds the positions of Duke School of Medicine Professor of Neurosciences in the Departments of Neurobiology, Neurology, and Pharmacology. He also serves as Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience. Jim’s research seeks to elucidate the mechanisms of epileptogenesis, the process by which a normal brain becomes epileptic. He is the founder of the Duke Center for the Advanced Study of Epilepsy, and is a former director of the Epilepsy Center at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Jim has served as President of the American Epilepsy Society, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. He has received two Javits Neuroscience Investigator awards from the NIH, and a Freedom to Discover award from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Jim is a highly regarded leader in the fields of neurology and neuroscience, authoring more than 300 publications and abstracts, and contributing to leading textbooks in the field.

Jim has been a member of the Pappas Ventures Scientific Advisory Board since 2006.


Marquette University
University of Michigan (MD)
Salk Institute, Laboratory of Stephen Heinemann, PhD (Sabbatical in Molecular Neurobiology)

Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD

Geoff is the founding director of the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center. He is also the founding director of MEDx, a partnership between the Schools of Medicine and Engineering created to spark and translate innovation. He is a professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.

Geoff has pioneered translational genomics, the development of novel diagnostics, and precision medicine, initiating programs in genome enabled biomarker discovery, longitudinal registries with linked molecular and clinical data, biomarker-informed clinical trials, and the development of novel practice models and implementation research for the integration of genomic tools and digital health technologies into heath care delivery systems. He has over 200 published papers, and funding from NIH, DOD, Air Force, DARPA, the Gates Foundation, and industry. He has received a number of awards for his research accomplishments, including the Innovator in Medicine Award from Millennium Pharmaceuticals and the Basic Research Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Medicine from Duke. In 2015, he was an honored speaker at the White House Champions for Change in Precision Medicine. He is a founding member and former board member of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, a senior consulting editor for The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and an editorial advisor for Science Translational Medicine. He is also the editor of Genomic and Personalized Medicine (Elsevier).

Geoff has been a member of the Pappas Ventures Scientific Advisory Board since 2007.


Boston University (MD)
Boston University (PhD in Biophysics)
Beth Israel Hospital (Internal Medicine Residency)

Lee Babiss, PhD

Lee is currently the Chief Executive Officer of X-Rx Inc. He was formerly the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Laboratory Services at Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD). Prior to this, he was President and Director of Pharmaceutical Research at F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Prior to Roche, Lee spent seven years with Glaxo, Inc., now GlaxoSmithKline, where he held senior positions, including Vice President of Biological Sciences and Genetics. He received his doctorate in Microbiology from Columbia University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University, where he served as both an assistant and associate professor. He is an author on more than 60 publications. Lee has received numerous fellowship awards and grants, and serves on several scientific advisory committees and boards.

Lee has been a member of the Pappas Ventures Scientific Advisory Board since 2012.


Columbia University (PhD in Microbiology)

Russel Kaufman, MD

Russel is currently President Emeritus of The Wistar Institute and previously served as the Director of The Wistar Cancer Center. Prior to his role at The Wistar Institute, he was the Vice Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor at the Duke University School of Medicine, where he is now professor emeritus. He also serves as a Wistar Professor in the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. His research career focused on cancer, genetics and blood diseases. He is certified in Internal Medicine and has practiced hematology and medical oncology. Russel has held leadership positions in national academic organizations in Internal Medicine and on committees within the NIH, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Cancer Society, and the American Association of Medical Colleges. He has served on the boards of the CEO Council for Growth in Philadelphia, BioAdvance, Osage Ventures, Militia Hill Ventures, and the University City Science Center.

Russel joined Pappas Capital in 2008 as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, becoming an Executive-in-Residence in 2015.


Ohio State University (BS in Biochemistry and Zoology)
Ohio State University (MD)
Duke University (Residency)

David Savello, PhD

Dave joined Pappas Capital in 2002 as a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, becoming a Venture Advisor in 2012. He regularly provides clinical development guidance to our portfolio companies – including CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Milestone Pharmaceuticals and Lumena Pharmaceuticals, for which he was a member of the board of directors prior to its acquisition by Shire in 2014.

Dave was most recently Senior Vice President of Development Operations for Xenoport. Prior to Xenoport, he co-founded NDA Partners, a drug development consulting company. Prior to NDA Partners, he was Chief Scientific Officer for Cardinal Health, and before that, Senior Vice President for Drug Development at Guilford Pharmaceuticals. He held senior level positions in drug development and regulatory affairs at Glaxo and Glaxo Wellcome, including Vice President for North American Regulatory Affairs. Prior to Glaxo, Dave held positions with Warner Lambert Corporation, Boehringer Ingelheim and Riker Laboratories. Dave served on the North Carolina State University School of Physical and Mathematical Science Foundation Board, and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Advisory Committee. He previously served as a director for Panacos Pharmaceuticals, a Pappas Ventures I portfolio company.


Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (BS)
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (MS and PhD in Pharmaceutics)