Board of Directors

Eric Linsley, M.S., M.B.A – Managing General Partner, Mission Biocapital

William A Hawkins, M.B.A. – Former CEO, Medtronic

Sue Mahoney, Ph.D., M.B.A. – Former President, Lilly Oncology

Michael Zalutsky, Ph.D. – Co-Founder of Cereius

Scientific Founders

Cereius was founded in 2017 by Dr. Michael Zalutsky, Ph.D. and Dr. Kimberly Blackwell, M.D.

Dr. Zalutsky is Professor of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University & Dr. Blackwell is currently Chief Medical Officer of Tempus, Inc.

Peter Kiener, D. Phil.


Peter Kiener has deep experience in drug development with biologics and immunotherapies. He is the former Chief Scientific Officer at Sucampo, prior to which he served as CSO of Ambrx Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of antibody-drug conjugates.

Earlier, Dr. Kiener was President and Co-founder of Zyngenia Inc., an early-stage biopharmaceutical company. He also held executive roles at MedImmune LLC, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, including Executive Vice President and Global Head of Biologics Research and Development, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Research, and Vice President of Research. He also worked on biologics for Bristol-Myers Squibb prior to his work at MedImmune. Dr. Kiener serves on the Board of Directors of two public companies (Cue Biopharma and Peiris) and has served on scientific advisory boards of several Biotechnology companies.

He has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on more than 40 patents and patent applications. Dr. Kiener earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lancaster and a Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Oxford.

Mariana Nacht, Ph.D.


Mariana Nacht has over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry with a focus in oncology. She helped build several successful biotech companies from the start. She was most recently CSO of Vivid Biosciences.

Prior roles include VP Cancer Biology at KDAc Therapeutics, as well as a member of the founding executive team and VP/Head of Biology at Padlock Therapeutics, which was acquired by Bristol-Myer Squibb in 2016.  Mariana was also one of the first employees at Avila Therapeutics and was responsible for three programs that advanced from discovery to clinical development in the first 5 years. Avila was acquired by Celgene in 2012.  Mariana started her biotech career at Genzyme.

Michael Zalutsky, Ph.D.


Michael R. Zalutsky, Ph.D., is the Jonathan Spicehandler, M.D., Professor of Neuro-Oncology Research and a Professor in the Departments of Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Pathology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.

He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Clark University (Worcester, MA) and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Washington University (St. Louis, MO).  He received his postdoctoral training at Argonne National laboratory in radiopharmaceutical chemistry.

Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, he held academic positions at the University of Chicago, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.  The author of more than 370 scientific publications and patents, his primary research interest is in radiochemistry applied to cancer imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy.  His laboratory has been responsible for the development and validation of many of the most widely used methodologies for labeling antibodies, antibody fragments and peptides with radiohalogens including 18F, 131I and 211At.

A major focus of his research has been the development of targeted radiotherapeutics labeled with alpha particle emitters, including their production, labeling chemistry, radiation dosimetry and clinical translation.  Working with his clinical colleagues, he has played a major role in the design, performance and interpretation of multiple first-in-human molecular imaging and targeted radiotherapy trials.

Dr. Zalutsky’s honors and awards include the Berson-Yalow Award and the Aebersold Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine for outstanding achievement in basic nuclear medicine science, and a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute for his research in developing novel radiochemistry for targeted radiotherapy and molecular imaging probe development and clinical translation.

Kimberly Blackwell, M.D.


Dr. Blackwell is the Co-founder of Cereius and the Chief Medical Officer at Tempus, Inc.  She is a board-certified medical oncologist, having trained at Mayo Clinic Medical School and Duke University Medical Center. For over 20 years, she was a Professor and breast medical oncologist at Duke Cancer Center, holding a variety of positions including Director of the Breast Cancer Program and the Women’s Cancer Program. Prior to becoming an adjunct professor in 2018, she was the co-director of the Duke Center for Solid Tumor Brain Metastasis and the director of Strategic Relations for the Duke Cancer Institute. Today she serves to oversee all early phase Oncology and Immuno-oncology development at Eli Lilly and Company.

Dr. Blackwell contributed significantly to the development of a number of breast cancer therapeutics, in particular, agents directed at HER2+ breast cancer. She served as the principle investigator on several studies that led to the approval of HER2 targeted agents, lapatinib and T-DM1. She has been the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publication and is considered a thought leader in the field of breast cancer. She serves or has served on multiple biotech boards for companies focused on oncology. Dr. Blackwell is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Duke University Alumni of the Year and the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Ed Field, M.B.A.


Ed Field has 20+ years C-level experience in building and selling numerous early-stage and publicly traded biotechnology companies. He has raised over $200M in capital and negotiated corporate partnering deals valued in excess of $1B. He has been responsible for managing commercial operations, regulatory, manufacturing, clinical development, finance and human resources. He was previously the Chairman of NCBIO and serves currently on its Board of Directors.

Mr. Field received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration and a BS from Duke University.

Jeffrey Schaal, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Jeff Schaal is an expert in the design and recombinant engineering of drug delivery systems for radionuclide therapeutics. He has Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Under the mentorship of Ashutosh Chilkoti at Duke University, he developed a thermally responsive biopolymer system for the delivery of radionuclide brachytherapy in pancreatic cancer for overcoming tumor resistance to conventional radio chemotherapy. He was awarded a NIH T32 fellowship in the pursuit of his multi-disciplinary research in tissue, cellular, and protein engineering. In addition to radiotherapeutics, his experience extends to designing novel peptide/protein materials, developing novel nanoparticle chemotherapeutics, and creating and testing animal models of tumors.

Prior to graduate school, Jeff also worked at Deloitte Consulting, LLC specializing in full life-cycle project management and enterprise system development.