PNAi Management Team

The PNAi Management Team is comprised of renowned experts in molecular and biological sciences.

Danith H. Ly, Ph.D.

Danith H. Ly, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Chemistry/CNAST Carnegie Mellon University

Danith Ly, PhD  Co-Founder – Danith Ly is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology (CNAST), Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC), Joint Pitt-CMU Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology Program (MBSB), and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Head & Neck Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE). He received his B.S. (1994, Chemical Engineering) and Ph.D. (1998, Chemistry) degrees, and a Minor in Philosophy from Georgia Institute of Technology. He did his postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley (1998-1999) and at The Scripps Research Institute (1999-2001) under the supervision of Prof. Peter G. Schultz in the fields of Chemical Biology and Functional Genomics. In 2001, he joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at CMU as an Assistant Professor and joined CNAST upon its founding in 2007.

Danith’s research is focused on the design and synthesis of chemical reagents for regulation of gene expression and manipulation of RNA folding patterns and architectures, and the development of molecular therapeutics and diagnostics for treatment and detection of genetic and infectious diseases. In 2012, Danith co-founded PNA Innovations with Bruce Armitage in order to commercialize γPNA technology, which was invented in Danith’s academic lab at CMU.

In addition to his full-fledged commitment to research, teaching and enterpreneurship at CMU and in the Greater Pittsburgh community, Danith is an avid defender of human rights and a champion for orphaned children in his birth country of Cambodia.

Bruce A. Armitage, Ph.D.

Bruce A. Armitage, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry/Co-Director of CNAST Carnegie Mellon University

Bruce Armitage, PhD  Co-Founder – Bruce Armitage is a Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, with courtesy appointments in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. He is also Co-Director of the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology (CNAST), founded in 2007. Bruce’s education includes B.S. (University of Rochester, 1988) and Ph.D.  (University of Arizona, 1993) degrees in Chemistry, followed by post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Copenhagen prior to beginning his faculty career at Carnegie Mellon in 1997. A dedicated educator, Bruce has received the Julius Ashkin Teaching Award from the Mellon College of Science and the William H. and Frances S. Ryan Teaching Award from Carnegie Mellon University, the highest teaching awards in the college and university.

Bruce’s research interests include the design of molecules that can specifically recognize natural DNA or RNA and either interfere with, or report on, gene expression as well as developing new fluorescence technologies for biological imaging and sensors. Funding to support these projects has come from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the DSF Charitable Foundation. In 2007, Bruce and John Woolford created CNAST to organize the diverse community of scientists and engineers at Carnegie Mellon who study various aspects of nucleic acids’ structure and function. One of the unifying themes of research in CNAST is the development of γPNA, invented by Danith Ly, for widespread use in fundamental biology as well as applied biotechnology and biomedical research.

Ian photoIan Magazine – Chief Financial Officer – Ian Magazine  has served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Company since February 2012. Mr. Magazine has extensive experience in understanding the critical issues and opportunities that can affect building and growing a ‘game changer’ business.  Mr. Magazine served as Vice President of Finance and Operations, Secretary and Treasurer of 4DK Technologies, a Multi-National wireless telecom solutions provider. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Magazine served as VP of Finance and Administration and Assistant Treasurer at Cyren Call Communications, a company seeking to create a nationwide, seamless, ultra-broadband network for public safety communications.   Mr. Magazine was an initial member of Nextel’s management team and held various leadership roles.  Mr. Magazine was instrumental in leading the company through an intensive growth phase where he was responsible for the consolidation, integration and operations management of the company’s domestic and international mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Magazine Received a B.A. in Economics from State University of New York at Binghamton and completed M.B.A. courses at Pace University

James CoullJames M. Coull, PhD – Chief Executive Officer – Dr. Jim Coull has extensive experience in research and development, intellectual property creation and strategy, and has built successful life science and diagnostic companies. Prior to joining PNA Innovations, Dr. Coull served as CTO of AdvanDx, Inc., a company which created the first FDA-cleared molecular tests for rapid diagnosis of bacterial and fungal bloodstream infections.  Preceding that, he served as VP of Commercial Operations, and subsequently CTO, of Ensemble Discovery Corporation, a venture-backed pharmaceutical discovery company located in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Coull also co-founded and led R&D at Boston Probes, Inc., where he spearheaded the development of the company’s core PNA technology and probe-based tests for life science applications. He has comprehensive knowledge and understanding of PNA-based technologies and applications. Boston Probes was acquired in 2001 by Applied Biosystems whereupon Dr. Coull served as a senior R&D manager at ABI until 2004.

Before founding Boston Probes, Dr. Coull held other senior leadership positions at Millipore Corporation and PerSeptive Biosystems, where he supervised teams of scientists working on the development of new methods and materials for PNA synthesis and analysis. He also conducted research on DNA/peptide synthesis and protein analysis leading to new product lines at Millipore and PerSeptive Biosystems. As a pioneer of many innovative techniques, Dr. Coull is listed as an inventor on more than thirty issued US patents, has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles, and presented numerous posters and oral presentations at international scientific meetings and conferences.

He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University and a B.Sc. from Colby College.

AndrewAndrew Fraley, PhD – SVP Research & Development – Dr. Andrew Fraley serves as SVP for Research and Development bringing nearly two decades of experience in the fields of nucleic acids and peptides in to PNA Innovations. Most recently, he served as Head of Chemistry for Moderna Therapeutics leading the effort for the chemical development of modified mRNA for therapeutics. Dr. Fraley started his career at Ensemble Therapeutics serving in multiple roles and providing leadership for platform development, and library design for Ensemble’s DNA programmed chemistry technology. His work at Ensemble enabled the routine generation of million member macrocyclic peptide libraries for drug discovery resulting in drug development programs for hard to hit targets in areas such as oncological and autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Fraley has authored and reviewed scientific publications and is listed as inventor on patents in areas including nucleic acid therapeutics, oligonucleotide delivery, and macrocyclic drug discovery. He has serves as a Boston University Kindle Mentor and has consulted for government organizations and biotechnology corporations.

He holds a B.A. from DePauw University, earned his Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry at Boston College, and was a Chateaubriand Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Université de Louis Pasteur.

Low res color img_8074rc2_std - Oct 2007 (1)Brian Gildea, JD – General & Intellectual Property Counsel – Mr. Gildea has more than eighteen years of experience as an intellectual property attorney focusing on patent, trademark and trade secret matters in the areas of chemistry, biotechnology, life science, pharmaceuticals, pathogen detection, mass spectrometry and diagnostic assays. Most recently, Mr. Gildea spent five years as Executive Director of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Boston University. In this position, Mr. Gildea was responsible for a four person group that handled the entire Boston University patent portfolio and all patent licensing and related transactions.

Prior to that, Mr. Gildea was in private practice of law, counseling clients in the life science, diagnostic and pharmaceutical industry. Before that, Mr. Gildea spent almost six years as a Senior Attorney at Applera Corporation. Mr. Gildea co-founded Boston Probes, Inc. in early 1996 and managed all aspects of the company’s legal requirements until it was acquired by Applera Corporation in 2001.

Mr. Gildea holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law School (1996, cum laude), a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in bioorganic chemistry from Boston College (1988) and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in chemistry from Stonehill College (1985). Mr. Gildea is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (December 1996), is registered to practice as a Patent Attorney before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (April 1997) and is admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (April, 2010).