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The Nalu Bio Team

Our world-class team of biotech and CPG experts is accelerating the potential of cannabinoids for the health of people and the planet.

Caitlyn Krebs
CEO and Co-founder

Entrepreneur with 20 years of healthcare experience with a passion for building companies at the intersection of science and technology—epigenomics, diagnostics, digital health, and eye tracking. Focused on commercializing new products and technologies within wellness and health. Mother of two boys, raised in Hawaii, and a Crossfitter. BS in biology from Brown University.

"I'm committed to building a world-class team that will deliver chemistry-derived cannabinoids that solve some of the world’s top health and wellbeing needs."
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Chris Cornyn

Chief Business Officer

Chris’ focus has been scaling health and wellness start-ups, food innovation firms and partnering with global multinational companies to solve high-impact health needs. Chris was most recently Chief Innovation Officer at SpoonfulOne, an infant nutrition product company with the goal of preventing food allergies in children around the world. Chris developed the product platform, manufacturing and supply chain, IP/patents, and assisted in raising over $120 million in capital for the growth of the organization. SpoonfulONE was acquired by Nestle Health Science.

“The idea of helping people worldwide who suffer from inflammation, anxiety, pain and insomnia in a safe, sustainable, and scalable manner is so needed and compelling.”

Tim Lefever

Director of Discovery

Tim Lefever is an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of 20+ years of preclinical in vivo research and leading effective teams. He spent 9 years at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) managing the research endeavors and team focused on structure activity relationships, abuse liability, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids. He successfully designed and executed numerous in vivo studies for Federally funded grants (NIH), Federal contracts (FDA, DEA), and Pharmaceutical/Biotech contracts, many under GLP conditions. He spent 3 years at Canopy Growth working closely with the Chief Medical Officer to develop and implement a product safety program; evaluating potential products for safety and efficacy through preclinical in vivo studies. Tim has  been an active member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) since 2013 and co-hosted the Carolina Cannabinoid Collaborative meeting in 2017. He has authored or co-authored numerous manuscripts and presented research findings at a variety of scientific conferences over the past 20 years. 

Mehdi Haghdoost, PhD

Director of Medicinal Chemistry

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Medhi Haghdoost, PhD, has spent his postdoctoral career focused on medicinal chemistry, and is currently driving drug discovery and development efforts for Nalu Bio. With a background in cancer therapeutics and extensive cannabinoid experience, Mehdi has led groundbreaking research in extracting and synthesizing unique minor cannabinoids. As the former leader of the Organic Chemistry Team at Canopy Growth and later at PDC/Organigram, Mehdi spearheaded efforts to produce high-purity cannabinoid products while leading analytical and extraction teams. His research, which has resulted in 20+ peer-reviewed articles and 10+ patents, showcases his commitment to advancing the field. Recognized as one of the top mentors in the Canadian cannabinoid sector by the Chemical Institute of Canada, Mehdi is dedicated to driving innovation.


"I guide molecules through the intricate dance of chemistry, aiming to transform patient care one reaction at a time. At Nalu Bio, we don’t just follow molecules—we create them, aiming to script the next chapter in medical advancement."

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Benjamin Rizkin, PhD

Director of Process Chemistry

Benjamin Rizkin, PhD, brings a wealth of experience in chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) and operations leadership to Nalu Bio as our Director of Process Chemistry. With a proven track record in spearheading innovation, Benjamin has led the development, manufacturing, and large-scale production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and new chemical entities (NCEs) for a private equity biotech firm and at AbbVie.


"There is tremendous untapped therapeutic potential in our molecules and countless underserved patient populations who can benefit from them. It is our job to bring the most efficacious, cleanest, and innovative treatments to the patients who need them. It is not just a job—it is a commitment to making a difference in peoples' lives and for the planet."

Luke Dickinson

Project Manager

Cannabinoid Manufacturing

Luke Dickinson is a highly skilled project manager currently overseeing cannabinoid manufacturing at Nalu Bio. In this role, he has successfully managed the tech transfer and scale-up production of minor cannabinoids through chemical synthesis, demonstrating expertise from bench-top to commercial scale. With a background that spans cannabinoids, pharmaceuticals, and biotech, including at Pfizer, MJ Wooly Corp, Realize Hemp, Biogen and Novogene, he has extensive experience managing various aspects of pilot to large-scale manufacturing and quality control operations. Luke earned his BS in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and holds minors in Biomanufacturing (BTEC) and Microbiology.

Alex Dorenbaum
Medical Advisor

A world class physician with more than 25+ years of experience in healthcare as a physician and drug development expert. He has served as the Chief Medical Officer and held leading roles at Genentech, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Chiron, Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Allakos, and Lumena Pharmaceuticals. Developed 30+ drugs in allergy, HIV/AIDS, pulmonary, immunological, cardiovascular, metabolic, and pediatric diseases. Currently a Clinical Professor at Stanford School of Medicine where he sees patients weekly. Received his MD from The National Autonomous University in Mexico City, Residency at University of Texas Health Science Center, and Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.

"As a physician, I recognize and am excited about the broad therapeutic potential of cannabinoids. That's why I'm so enthusiastic about medical-grade, chemistry-derived cannabinoids to advance the treatment of multiple diseases."

Phyllis Whiteley
Co-founder and Board Member

Serial entrepreneur with 25+ years of healthcare experience. Builds, invests and creates companies within therapeutics, diagnostics, life science tools, digital health, and personalized medicine. Sits on multiple boards and is dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs address the problems of poverty, empower women, and build resilience to climate change. Passion for transformative life science innovations, healthcare solutions, global health, mentorship, and locavore cooking. BA in Chemistry and Ph.D in Pharmacology from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

“Engineering new cannabinoid-inspired chemical entities for optimal impact has very exciting potential for the world of health and wellness.”

Randall Ussery
Co-founder and Board Member

Entrepreneur and investor with 15+ years sitting at the intersection of design and business, bringing new products and companies to life for startups and F1000 companies. Expert at incubating, investing, and advising on design and Go-to-Market for early stage startups. Sits on multiple Boards in healthcare, education, and fintech. BA from James Madison University and MBA from Babson College.

“Let's clinically validate what we know about cannabinoids, and then make those benefits available at a global scale, so we can solve a ton of problems and improve people’s lives."

Dondeena Bradley, PhD
Board Member

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With a distinguished career guiding the top global CPG companies, Dondeena Bradley, PhD, brings invaluable expertise to drive an industry shift comparable to the introduction of vitamins 70 years ago. As a seasoned executive recognized for bridging the worlds of public health, nutrition policy, and food systems for Fortune 500 brands including Mars Wrigley, Barilla, Pepsico, and Weight Watchers, Dondeena will contribute to Nalu Bio's go-to-market strategy and growth trajectory. With a doctorate in Food Science and international experience customizing competitively advantaged wellness strategies that focus on physical, emotional, and social adaptations, her drive for change comes from investing thousands of hours immersed in the emerging science of wellbeing, stress, and life coaching.

"Women are the caregivers for so many but often need to be reminded to prioritize their own wellbeing. I am honored to join a team that values the unique perspectives of women to help solve pressing wellness challenges through expertise and empathy. Together, we will advance a new category of cannabinoids solutions that promote health equity and empower individuals worldwide."

Ken Mackie, MD
Scientific Advisor and Research Partner

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Chair and Distinguished Professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Gill Center for Biomolecular Science, Indiana University. Research in neuroscience, regulation of CB1 receptors, regulation of endocannabinoid production, and role of novel cannabinoid receptors. 400 publications with 100+ publications on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, ScB in Engineering, Brown University, MD from Yale University.

“I’m really excited to evaluate how the potency and efficacy of Nalu Bio’s proprietary synthetic cannabinoids—specifically their market-ready CBD—may enable the development of effective non-opioid pain management."

Christopher Dino Beckett, DO
Clinical Advisor and Research Partner

A rural family medicine physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Beckett is known for his innovation and leadership in treating the opioid crisis in West Virginia.  He has been named the “National Rural Health Center’s Rural Practitioner of the Year” after being nominated by his peers.  He has been instrumental in the treatment of patients suffering addiction in central Appalachia by creating Medically Assisted Treatment Centers.  He has led the charge to open a recently closed acute care facility to create a detoxification unit and outpatient treatment facility while creating internships and workforce development for individuals successfully participating in recovery. BA in biology from West Virginia University and DO from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

“The challenge of treating intractable pain for the vast number of people who suffer from it remains a significant challenge for clinicians. I've experienced first hand how the limitations of pain meds can contribute to opioid abuse and addiction. I've had a lot of success with CBD as an opioid-sparing alternative; and Nalu Bio's chemistry-derived cannabinoids are an important advance because they assure the consistency and predictable dose-to-dose performance we need for further research.”

Sam Banister, PhD
Scientific Advisor

A Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney. Research on new cannabinoid drugs for epilepsy, neuropathic pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and more. Authored two book chapters on the chemistry of synthetic cannabinoids, 70+ peer-reviewed publications, postdoc at Stanford University, BSc and PhD in Chemistry, University of Sydney.

"Innovative chemistry and rigorous data are crucial for manufacturing complex natural products like cannabinoids at scale. I am very excited that Nalu Bio is raising the standard and working to bring such high quality cannabinoids to the market."
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