Scientific and Business Advisors

Gavril Pasternak, MD, PhD

Dr. Gavril Pasternak holds the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and is a Laboratory Head in the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program within the Sloan-Kettering Institute. After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University he completed his clinical training in Neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and then joined the faculty at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in 1979. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and a Fellow of the American Neurological Association.

His research has focused on opioid receptors and their mechanisms of action. He has published over 400 articles. Much of his work has addressed the reasons underlying the subtle, but distinct differences among opioid analgesics. These studies revealed the existence of multiple mu opioid receptor subtypes generated from alternative splicing of a single gene. He demonstrated the importance of different sets of mu receptor subtypes in the actions of various opioid analgesics and identified a set of subtypes that offer a unique target for the development of analgesics lacking opioid side-effects.

He is a recipient of a Senior Scientist Award and a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and has served on their Board of Scientific Counselors. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and has been awarded the Millenium Prize from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the John J. Bonica Award from the Eastern Pain Association, the Julius Axelrod Award of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the S. Weir Mitchell Award from the American Academy of Neurology and the Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award for Clinical Investigation from MSKCC.

Andrew Rice, MD, FRCA

Dr. Andrew Rice is Professor of Pain Research at Imperial College and an Hon. Consultant in Pain Medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, providing a service for patients with neuropathic pain.  He qualified in medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1982 and received his research doctorate from St. Thomas’ Hospital Medical School (UMDS) in 1991. He completed his specialist training in Oxford before coming to Imperial College in 1995.  Dr. Rice is Administrative Director of the London Pain Consortium (www.lpc.ac.uk), which is currently funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award. He is a Workpackage Leader and Steering Committee member in the European Union and EFPIA-funded “Innovative Medicines Initiative” collaboration “EUROPAIN”.

His research is devoted to elucidating basic and clinical aspects of neuropathic pain. Particular areas of interest include:

  • Revealing the pharmacology of cannabinoid analgesia and pursuing strategies for improving the therapeutic index of cannabinoids.
  • Developing models of herpes zoster-associated pain and HIV GP120 and antiretroviral-induced neuropathies.
  • Using these models to reveal pain mechanisms in these diseases.
  • Investigating the neurobiology of the relationship between neuropathic pain and co-morbidities such as anxiety, depression and circadian rhythm disturbance.
  • Identification and exploitation of novel mechanistic and drug targets in neuropathic pain using functional genomics.
  • Identification of sources of experimental bias in animal models.
  • A programme of clinical pheno-/geno-typing studies which seeks to identify risk factors for developing neuropathic pain.
  • Conducting meta-analyses of the clinical evidence for therapies in neuropathic pain

He executes a number of responsibilities relating to education and training. For example, he leads the Faculty of Medicine programme for medical students who undertake a PhD (MB BS/PhD) and is Site Tutor for Postgraduate Research Students at Chelsea and Westminster. At the Royal College of Anaesthetists, he served on the Founding Board of the Faculty of Pain Medicine and was a Regional Advisor for the Faculty until 2009.

Dr. Rice serves on the Editorial boards of: Pain, PLoS Medicine and the European Neurological Journal and is lead editor of theTextbook of Clinical Pain Management, published by Hodder.  He is Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Pain, Special Interest Group on Neuropathic Pain (NeuPSIG) – www.neupsig.org. He has served on the British Pain Society Council.  Dr. Rice was the Michael Cousins lecturer at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists in 2009; Covino Lecturer at Harvard University in 2008; a plenary lecturer at the 10th World Congress of Pain in 2002 and the Patrick D. Wall Professor at the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 1998.

Robert H. Dworkin, PhD

Dr. Robert H. Dworkin received his B.A. in 1971 from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in 1977 from Harvard University. He is currently Professor of Anesthesiology, Neurology, Oncology, and Psychiatry, Professor of Neurology in the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics, and Director of the Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Dworkin is Director of the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Co-chair of the Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT); a member of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zoster Working Group; and a Special Government Employee of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Pain, Journal of Pain, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, and Current Pain and Headache Reports, and has previously served as a consultant to and member of the FDA Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee and as a member of the CDC Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Working Group. In 2005, he received the American Pain Society’s Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award, which “recognizes individual excellence and achievements in clinical pain scholarship and is presented to a pain professional whose total career research achievements have contributed significantly to clinical practice,” and in 2011, he received the Eastern Pain Association’s John J. Bonica Award for his “many contributions to the study, prevention, and treatment of chronic pain.”

The primary focus of Dr. Dworkin’s current research involves methodologic aspects of analgesic clinical trials, especially identifying factors that might increase the assay sensitivity of a trial to detect differences between an active and a control or comparison treatment. With research funding from the FDA and other sources, he and colleagues are currently examining in acute and chronic pain trials the relationships between study methodologic features and study outcomes, as well as comparing the responsiveness to treatment effects of different primary and secondary outcome measures. The overall objective of these efforts — which are being conducted under the auspices of the ACTTION public-private partnership — is to identify approaches to improving the efficiency and informativeness of clinical trials of pain treatments and provide the foundation for an evidence-based approach to analgesic clinical trial design. In addition, Dr. Dworkin has for many years conducted studies of risk factors for the development of different types of chronic pain, which have been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and various pharmaceutical companies. One of the major results of this research has been that patients with greater acute pain are more likely to develop chronic pain, which suggests that attenuating acute pain might prevent chronic pain.

Dr. Dworkin has served as a consultant to over 100 pharmaceutical and device companies in the development and evaluation of analgesic and antiviral treatments. As Director of the Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center, he has served as principal investigator for a large number of clinical trials of analgesic treatments. These studies have examined treatments for various types of chronic pain—including neuropathic pain conditions, low back pain, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis—as well as treatments for acute pain in herpes zoster and for acute post-surgical pain.

Michael E. Thase, MD

Dr. Michael E. Thase joined the faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 as Professor of Psychiatry after more than 27 years at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

Dr. Thase's research focuses on the assessment and treatment of mood disorders, including studies of the differential therapeutics of both depression and bipolar affective disorder.

A 1979 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Dr. Thase is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, and Vice Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Dr. Thase has been elected to the membership of the American College of Psychiatrists and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr. Thase has authored or co-authored more than 500 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as 15 books.

James Dolan, MBA

James Dolan is an experienced biopharmaceutical executive with more than 36 years of pharma/biotech industry experience, including in the areas of global finance, strategic planning, pharmaceutical marketing and business development.

Mr. Dolan presently serves as a consultant to universities and biotech boards and investors regarding the development of early-stage technologies and transactional strategies.

He previously served as Senior Vice President of Licensing and Business Development and as a member of the Executive Committee of Purdue Pharma L.P. During his almost 20-year tenure at Purdue, a leading company in the pain management therapeutics area, he was responsible for all external transactions from early-stage discovery alliances to licensing, asset purchases, product licenses, strategic alliances, equity investments and company acquisitions. In support of Purdue's equity investments in Infinity Pharmaceuticals and Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Dolan served as board observer at both companies.

Prior to Purdue, Mr. Dolan spent 15 years at Pfizer in the International Pharmaceuticals Group, where he held operational management positions at subsidiaries in Brazil and Morocco, following international finance and strategic planning roles in New York.

Mr. Dolan was a two-term president of the New York Pharma Forum and he has been actively involved with BIO and the Licensing Executive Society.

Mr. Dolan holds a BA degree from Holy Cross and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.