Blending diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skill-sets, with the spirit of collaboration and hard work, the Ceres team produces innovative science with integrity and impact.
MANAGEMENT TEAM BIOS
ROSS DUNLAP - CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Ross is the CEO and a co-founder of Ceres Nanosciences. In the role of CEO, Ross is responsible for strategic planning, technology development and product commercialization; financial management and capital fundraising; and business development and industry partnerships. Ross has led Ceres since its inception during which time he has raised over $15MM in equity and grant funding, overseen the build out of a highly effective and efficient business infrastructure and team, and established multiple high-profile partnerships with industry and academic leaders.
Ross has 22 years of experience working in operational and strategic business development. He began his career with Arthur Andersen's Business Consulting practice, working with start-up technology companies to establish and grow critical business operations and deliver services and technologies to new markets. Following this, Ross spent five years with Washington Consulting, which he helped start up and rapidly grow into a successful business that was acquired by Alion Science and Technology in 2006.
Ross is active in the business and life sciences community in Virginia. He is on the board and executive committee of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, and serves as an adviser to Prince William County’s economic development office and is a member of the county’s Life Sciences Leadership Group. Ross also serves on the board of the George Mason Research Foundation and on George Mason's College of Science Advisory Board.
Ross graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.
BEN LEPENE - CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Ben directs all R&D and product development programs at Ceres Nanosciences. Ben drives the scale-up and commercialization of Ceres' Nanotrap® platform for a range of biomarker discovery applications and diagnostic assay products. Ben has extensive experience and a track record of success with grant funding programs, and is the lead on multiple funded awards from the DOD, Gates Foundation, and other agencies and foundations. Also, Ben works with a range of global pharmaceutical and life sciences companies to define and conduct verification efforts for targeted Nanotrap® sample collection, preservation and diagnostic applications of great interest to industry.
Prior to joining the Ceres team, Ben led the development of polymer-based and bio-inspired antioxidant delivery system designed to actively prevent oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA within targeted cells. Ben has accumulated a broad range of technical laboratory and project management experience at his previous positions. He has managed the fabrication and setup of both R&D and pilot scale laboratory facilities. He has also served as principal investigator on multiple Phase I and II DoD SBIR programs that led to the development and commercialization of multifunctional nanomaterials.
Ben received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech and completed a graduate program in Biomedical Sciences from Virginia Tech.
ROBBIE BARBERO, PH.D. - CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER
At Ceres Nanosciences, Robbie works with the CEO and the rest of the team to drive business growth by supporting key product development programs and identifying new technology commercialization and industry partnership opportunities.
Robbie has over 15 years of experience operating across a range of responsibilities in the biotechnology sector, including in public policy, product development, manufacturing, and customer-facing roles. Prior to joining Ceres, Robbie was the Assistant Director of Biological Innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he spent more than four years developing and implementing policy on global and national life science issues, including the BRAIN Initiative, the Precision Medicine Initiative, biotechnology regulatory policy, genome editing, reducing the organ transplant waiting list, cancer diagnostics for the developing world, the federal government's response to the Zika virus, student innovation and entrepreneurship, and federal R&D agency budgets. Robbie has extensive experience building and maintaining strategic partnerships with leading foundations, universities, private research institutes, non-profit organizations, federal agencies, and companies across a variety of scientific and technical topics.
Robbie received his Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT, where he was a member of Professor Angela Belcher's Biomolecular Materials Group and led or co-led projects on antimicrobial peptides, carbon capture, and industrial biocatalysts. Robbie received various awards at MIT, including being named an MIT Presidential Fellow and a Siebel Scholar. Before graduate school, Robbie spent five years working for three biotechnology startups -- GlycoFi (acquired by Merck), Quantum Dot Corporation (acquired by Invitrogen), and Nanostream. Robbie also holds A.B. and B.E. degrees in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College.