Charles Gersbach, PhD

Charles Gersbach, PhD

Dr. Gersbach is the John W. Strohbehn Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, the Director of the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering, and the Director of the Duke Center for Advanced Genomic Technologies.  His research interests are in genome and epigenome editing, gene therapy, regenerative medicine, biomolecular and cellular engineering, synthetic biology, and genomics.  His work has led to new approaches to study genome structure and function, program cell biology, and treat genetic disease. Dr. Gersbach’s work has been recognized through awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, and induction as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and member of the National Academy of Inventors. He is also the co-founder of three biotechnology companies and an advisor to several others.

Rodolphe Barrangou, PhD

Dr. Barrangou is the T. R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University. He is focusing on the characterization of CRISPR-Cas systems and their applications in bacteria. Dr. Barrangou spent 9 years in R&D and M&A at Danisco and DuPont, and has been at NC State since 2013. He has received several international awards, and was elected into the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Barrangou is a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics, Locus Biosciences, TreeCo, Ancilia Biosciences and CRISPR Biotechnologies, and the Editor in Chief of the CRISPR Journal. He earned a BS in Biological Sciences from Rene Descartes University, France, an MS in Biological Engineering from the University of Technology in Compiegne, France, an MS in Food Science from NC State, a PhD in Genomics from NC State, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Donald McDonnell, PhD

Dr. McDonnell is a Glaxo Welcome Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at the Duke University School of Medicine, as well as Associate Director of Translational Research at the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. McDonnell is a translational scientist who employs genetics, biochemistry, and chemical biology to probe the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathobiology of dysregulated hormone signaling in different cancers. His group discovered a new class of medicines (oral Selective Estrogen Receptor Downregulators; SERDs), thirteen of which are currently in clinical trials. Notable was his group’s discovery of Elacestrant (FDA approved January 2023) and Lasofoxifene (Phase III) as treatments for metastatic breast cancer. They are also developing new approaches to target the androgen signaling axis in metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer. In recent years, his group has embarked on a major effort to understand how sex hormones impact tumor immunity through their ability to regulate immune cell repertoire and function. The clinical translation of insights from this work is a current focus of the group’s efforts. Dr. McDonnell and his team have also had a longstanding interest in defining the mechanisms by which hypercholesterolemia and dyslipidemia impact cancer biology. This research has been funded continuously for 33 years by the NCI/NIH, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Komen Foundation, and the Department of Defense. Dr. McDonnell is a recipient of a DOD Breast Cancer Innovator Award and is a Komen Scholar. He is a Member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Inventors.

Manesh Patel, MD

Dr. Patel is Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Director of the Duke Heart Center. His clinical interests include diagnostic and interventional coronary angiography, peripheral angiography and percutaneous intervention. His research interest in therapies for athero-thrombosis in the coronary and peripheral vascular arteries has been highlighted by leading several multi-center PCI trials. He also led the Peripheral Academic Research Consortium (PARC) on peripheral artery definitions and is working on defining and improving patient outcomes with cardiovascular disease. In 2016, he was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI). In 2020, Dr. Patel was named the endowed Distinguished Richard S. Stack Professor. In 2022, he received the Duke School of Medicine Career Mentoring Award, and was named the Ron Stoney Vascular Hero by Vascular Cures, a non-profit patient organization aimed at improving vascular health. In 2023, Dr. Patel was named the AHA Physician of the year. Dr. Patel has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals and has been named in the top 1% of cited researchers by Clarivate Analytics. Dr. Patel received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 1997. He completed his residency at Duke in 2000, followed by fellowships in cardiology and interventional cardiology at Duke University and a clinical research fellowship at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Nick Pappas

Nick joined Pappas Capital in 2023 as a Partner. He has been working with early-stage healthcare and technology companies for over 20 years, as a venture investor, board member, investment banker and advisor. Prior to joining Pappas Capital, Nick was a Managing Partner and Head of Investments at Philips Ventures, where he was part of the leadership team tasked with launching and scaling the venture investment program from 2016 to 2023. During his time at Philips, Nick successfully led a global investment program that was comprised of both direct and fund-of-fund investments, and that was ultimately recognized as a leader in corporate venture capital.

Prior to Philips, Nick spent seven years as a Partner and venture investor with MassVentures, an early-stage technology venture capital firm aimed at fueling high-growth start-ups in Massachusetts. Prior to MassVentures, Nick was a senior technology investment banker with Oppenheimer & Co., SVB Alliant, and Canaccord Genuity, both in Silicon Valley and Boston.


MIT Sloan School of Management (MBA)
University of Richmond (BS, Business Administration)

William Pay

William joined Pappas Capital in 2023 as a Venture Partner. He is a Founding Managing Director for Asia for Bryan Garnier & Co. – a leading European boutique investment bank headquartered in Paris with 180+ bankers, where he specializes in advising mid cap high growth or disruptive companies. William is also an advisor to one of the largest privately held clinical CROs headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Before stepping into the investment world, William’s last corporate assignment was with Bayer Healthcare in the Far East as the Chief of Strategic Sourcing, where he was responsible for leading a cross category strategic sourcing and quality compliance team managing a volatile supply chain with half a billion euro spend per year. Prior to joining Bayer in July 2012, he held various globally-based strategic sourcing and business development / sales marketing positions of increasing responsibility at Takeda (Singapore), Johnson & Johnson (California) and Pfizer (NYC and Madrid) on the buy side, and for PPD (then part of the Carlyle Group and now part of Thermo Fisher) and Quintiles Transnational (today rebranded as IQVIA) on the supply side, operating out of Singapore, the US, Europe and China for the past 25+ years.

William is a member of the BayHelix Group, a non-profit professional organization of business leaders from investment and health-tech communities with a mission to shape the growth of the life science industry, foster and create business collaborations, and share information and career experience among its members.

William was educated in both China and the US. He is based in Wuxi near Shanghai, and speaks, reads and writes in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

Richard Staub

Richard joined Pappas Capital in 2022 as a Venture Partner and is currently the President of R&D Solutions at IQVIA. Supported by high-powered information and technology assets, the clinical experts in R&D Solutions leverage comprehensive evidence-driven trial design, accelerate site activation and patient recruitment, and optimize trial execution. Richard also serves as chair of the R&D Solutions Executive Committee. Prior to his role as President of IQVIA's R&D Solutions business unit, Richard was president of Novella Clinical, a specialty clinical research organization acquired by Quintiles in 2013, and the leader of QuintilesIMS’s Global Functional Resourcing business. Richard joined Novella in 2004 and served as president and CEO from 2008-2013. Under his leadership, Novella became a distinctively agile, results oriented CRO in the highly complex and fast-growing areas of specialty pharma and medical technology. Prior to Novella, Richard was senior vice president of global business development for one of the world’s largest CROs. His career in the pharmaceutical industry began at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in 1989, where he was given increasing responsibilities as a medical and hospital sales representative, cardiovascular portfolio analyst and marketing manager.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA in Economics)

Tina Wong-Russell

Tina is an Advisor to Pappas Capital and is also a consultant and executive coach to clients in both the public and private sectors. She brings a global perspective from years of working in Europe, Latin and North America, and especially Asia. Her consulting engagements have included strategies and programs in organizational development and talent management initiatives, such as leadership development, performance & talent management, succession planning and learning & development. Tina’s experience spans multiple industries and multinational organizations, with emphasis in life sciences and technology ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. She has also had multi-year consulting engagements with Federal Government Agencies, including Homeland Security and NASA. She is a board member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) in Boston and is fluent in Chinese.


Boston University (MBA)
Illinois State University  (BS in Communications)

Thyagi Thyagarajan

Thyagi is a Special Advisor to Pappas Capital. A 38-year veteran of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Thyagi is actively involved as an advisor/mentor to a Singapore-based med-tech start-up and a venture-funded healthcare company in India. He has been an independent non-executive director on boards of global companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Varian Medical Systems, and the Murugappa Group of Companies, a leading family-owned conglomerate in South India.

Thyagi’s tenure with GSK included senior executive roles as Marketing Consultant in Spain and Europe, Marketing Director of Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, and Managing Director of GSK India, culminating with his role as Regional Director and Senior Vice President of GSK Asia Pacific. In this capacity, he was a member of the International Management Team of GSK. Thyagi was also chairman of PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America) for Asia from 2005 to 2008, leading the industry’s advocacy with governments in the region. Before his retirement from GSK in 2008, Thyagi served on the Board of International Enterprise (I.E.) Singapore, a statutory board of the Government of Singapore responsible for promoting Singapore’s overseas trade, and as vice-chairman and non-executive director on the board of GlaxoSmithKline Ltd in India, a publicly listed company.

Having worked in both developed and emerging markets, Thyagi has a unique east-west perspective and an in-depth knowledge of Asia and Asian markets, combined with expertise in running significant business operations for a global corporation in Asia. Thyagi is fluent in Hindi and Tamil.


Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (MBA)
Indian Institute of Technology (BS in Electrical Engineering)

Victor Shi, PhD

Victor is a Special Advisor to Pappas Capital. He is also chairman of careLYFE and General Partner of venture capital firm Serica Partners. He previously served as CEO of Adicon Clinical Laboratories, a leading independent clinical laboratory in China, and President Asia Pacific of QIAGEN, a NASDAQ- and Frankfurt-listed leading company focused on in vitro diagnostics and life science research tools. Victor held senior positions at Aura Partners, Bridge Pharmaceuticals, Genospectra and Pappas Ventures. He was a faculty member at the National University of Singapore School of Medicine and a cancer research scientist at Merck & Co.

Victor is a Founding Director of BayHelix Group, a global association of Chinese life science business executives, and was elected Chairman from 2018 to 2019. He also serves on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Biotech Advisory Committee.


University of Rochester (PhD)
University of Rochester (MS)
University of Science and Technology of China (BS)