Skip to content


November 8, 2018

The Premier Life Science Conference in Texas


2017 Speakers

Alice Turinas

EDUCATION: Harvard Law School, JD
Duke University, BA in Political Science, summa cum laude

New York, New Jersey, Texas
Not currently active: England

Alice is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Duke University, and has more than 20 years of business law experience.  As a former business attorney for a global law firm with 725 attorneys and 13 offices (London, New York, Houston, etc.), and as former senior counsel for AT&T’s web businesses, Alice routinely developed, negotiated and closed complex cross-border agreements for European and American technology businesses. Alice has practiced corporate law in the UK when living in London, before resuming her legal practice in the US.  Her experience in handling sophisticated transactions for global businesses enables Alice to close deals on time, and to provide high quality and cost-effective advice to mid-sized businesses on complex issues. Because Alice has counseled businesses since their inception, she brings a strategic view to typical significant legal issues. This enables her to proactively advise on long-term goals, such as exit mechanisms for founders and/or other investors, or positioning the company for an ultimate IPO or sale.  Every client matters to Alice, who focuses on that client’s desired outcome. She feels rewarded when executives at tech companies tell her they can better sleep at night, knowing that the important legal issues have been considered.  Alice enjoys sailing, skiing and Duke Blue Devils Basketball. A native Texan and therefore a football fan from birth, she is amazed and delighted to witness Duke’s football renaissance. She and her husband belong to a Westie who is a reluctant but resigned sailor.

Angela Shah

Xconomy Texas

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She has written about startups along a wide entrepreneurial spectrum, from Silicon Valley transplants to Austin partying in the '90s tech boom to 20-something women defying cultural norms as they seek to build vital IT infrastructure in a war-torn Afghanistan. As a foreign correspondent based in Dubai, her work appeared in The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek/Daily Beast and Forbes Asia.

Before moving overseas, Shah was a staff writer and columnist with The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman. She has a Bachelor's of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and she is a 2007 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. With the launch of Xconomy Texas, she's returned to her hometown of Houston.

Dr. Evan Melrose

Founding Managing Director
Spindletop Capital

With 24 years of experience in the Healthcare industry, Dr. Melrose possesses extensive operating, clinical, and investment experience in various aspects of healthcare investments (both public and private), research, clinical practice, education, and health policy.

As the Founding Managing Director of Spindletop Capital, Dr. Melrose is providing pivotal expansion capital for healthcare investments from his firm based in Austin. Prior to Spindletop, he was Founding Managing Director of PTV Sciences, a Texas based venture capital firm, and a Director with Burrill & Company, a San Francisco based life science private equity/venture capital firm. While at Burrill he managed investments on behalf of limited partners including IBM, Aventis, Proctor & Gamble, ADM, and Bayer. Dr. Melrose has public board and operating experience including partnerships and IPOs. Current and prior board membership include Bioventus, QSpex, Avanzar Medical, IntersectENT, Asuragen, BioSET, BioForm Medical (Nasdaq: BFRM), Biomimetic Therapeutics (Nasdaq: BMTI), Inhibitex (Nasdaq: INHX), and Insite Vision.

He has held faculty appointments at the UCSF, UPENN, and currently at Baylor College of Medicine and cross trained in medicine with Mayo Clinic, University of Miami, UVA, Georgetown and GW. His courses included, “From Idea to IPO” at the University of California, San Francisco, through support from the Kauffman Foundation; healthcare entrepreneurship classes at the University of Pennsylvania; and seminars for numerous organizations including the Young Presidents Organization and the Association of University Technology Managers. His primary care practice included obstetrics, pediatrics, and emergency medicine.

His research includes biomedical and medical device outcomes/comparative effectiveness research for the NIH and AHCPR. He has published in several medical journals including the Archives of Internal Medicine. Dr. Melrose’s honors include selection as an AMA Health Policy Fellow to work on Medicare reform on Capitol Hill; the first American United Life/Bowen Research Center Scholar (in honor of Dr. Otis Bowen, Secretary of HHS); and the AMA/Glaxo-Wellcome Leadership Award. National leadership roles include the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He initiated the Project Magic program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where magicians and PT aid in the rehabilitation of children by teaching them the art of magic. After Hurricane Katrina, he volunteered to care for patients in the Houston Astrodome. For the last decade, Dr. Melrose has been instrumental in healthcare and lifescience across the State of Texas.

He has been a board member and advisor to many organizations including BayBIO-BayBioNest, BioHouston, MD Anderson Technology Review Committee, BIO Investor Forum, MedTech Insight IN3, Texas Life Science Conference, Rice Alliance, and the $3B Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and is a graduate of the Center for Houston’s Future Civic/Business Leadership forum. He was elected to the Texas Lyceum where he serves as a Director, was a member of the executive committee and co-chaired the 2012 Public Conference on Healthcare Innovation. Dr. Melrose serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation and the selection committee, and is Vice President of the Endowment and Scholarships. He is a board member of the University of Texas Hillel Foundation and a member of YPO International.

Dr. Melrose received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, received his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine, and an MBA from The Wharton School. He completed post graduate studies at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering, at Harvard Medical and Law Schools, Stanford Graduate School of Business and is certified as Public Company Director by Institutional Shareholder Services/UCLA Anderson School of Business.
In 2013 the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) elected Dr. Melrose as a NACD Board Leadership Fellow, the highest level of credentialing for corporate directors and corporate governance professionals.

26 Years Of Healthcare Experience
30+ Healthcare Investments
1 of 10 docs on Hurricane Katrina response team
28 Years as a member of the Society of American Magicians

Gavin Keith

Life Sciences Core Market Leader
DPR Construction

Phone: (650) 474-1450
REGION: Northwest
LOCATION: Redwood City, California
YEARS AT DPR: 24 years

Always look for opportunities to give back to those less fortunate.

With over 30 years of experience, Gavin Keith specializes in life science research facilities. Gavin’s favorite aspect of construction is the uniqueness of each project, including the formation of new teams, creative solutions and new ideas. He drives continuous improvement throughout the organization and constantly seeks new ways to enhance overall construction delivery through processes and technology such as Integrated Project Delivery and BIM. Since joining DPR in 1994, Gavin has been involved in the construction of numerous highly technical and green facilities. Gavin has achieved LEED® Accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council and is a member of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

Role: National Core Market Leader - Life Sciences
Favorite DPR core value: Integrity
What you love about construction: I love the uniqueness of each project - formation of new teams, creative solutions and new ideas.
First job: Lifeguard
Most useful app: LinkedIn
Best vacation spot: Anywhere near the ocean

Gregory Naeve, Ph.D.

Chief Business Officer
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals

Gregory Naeve joined Bellicum in August 2017 as Chief Business Officer to lead product and portfolio strategy as well as business development for the Company. Previously, Dr. Naeve served as the ImmunoOncology & Cell Therapy Lead for Pfizer’s External Research and Development Unit. During his tenure, he was a key member of the executive team responsible for identifying and implementing many of the strategic partnerships in Pfizer’s ImmunoOncology portfolio, including the Cellectis and Servier CAR T alliances. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Naeve served as Principal of The Column Group, a venture capital firm focused on investing in and creating innovative biotechnology companies. Prior to that, he was the President and Chief Scientific Officer at Parallax Biosystems, a company he co-founded that developed novel technologies with applications in preclinical drug discovery and diagnostics. Early in his career, Dr. Naeve held research positions at Neurocrine Biosciences and Amgen. Dr. Naeve earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California and his B.S. in Biochemistry and Biological Sciences from Colorado State University.

Kerry Rupp

General Partner
True Wealth Ventures

Kerry Rupp is a General Partner at True Wealth Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in women-led businesses in consumer health and sustainable products and technologies.
For over 20 years, Kerry Rupp has launched, developed and grown startup companies and new lines of business for established firms. As the prior CEO and General Partner at DreamIt, a Top Ten US startup accelerator and early-stage venture fund, Kerry was directly involved with the launch of over 150 companies. During her 5-year tenure with DreamIt, she grew its programs to five cities and raised and managed ~$20M in investment funds including DreamIt Access (minority entrepreneur), DreamIt Athena (female entrepreneur), and DreamIt Health programs.

Before DreamIt, Kerry was the founder of an online travel service, Holiday Golightly, which organized unique group travel excursions for women. She has also advised senior executives at, ReadersDigest, LexisNexis, Payscale, and Taleo on strategy, business development and marketing. She held Vice President positions at, Jobster, and LexisNexis (and several startups that preceded these). Kerry began her career as a consultant with McKinsey and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

Kerry holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Biology from Duke University. She serves on the leadership teams of Women@Austin, the Austin chapter of Harvard Business School Alumni Club, and on the board of the Texas 4000 for Cancer. Kerry also mentors at Capital Factory and other startup hubs in Texas and is judge or coach on many local and national start-up competitions (e.g., athenahealth, Harvard Business School, Rice University Business Plan Competition, Energizing Health Houston, Texas Venture Labs, AARP Health Innovation). She is also a nationally-certified instructor for the National Science Foundation’s Innovations Corps (I-Corps) program.

Laura Richie

Director of Data Management
Cancer Insight

Laura Richie is the Director of Data Management at Cancer Insight. She has nearly a decade of experience in clinical research data management with a concentration on cancer immunotherapy since 2011.

As Director of Data Management, Richie is responsible for designing and validating the eCRFs and EDC databases for the Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials that Cancer Insight executes. She oversees the assessment and evaluation of data and quality control audits to ensure accuracy and completeness, as well as provides reports and training to staff on best practices for data control.

Cancer Insight, LLC, is a Texas-based clinical research organization (CRO) dedicated to discovering, developing and testing emerging biotechnologies specializing in cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Insight offers CRO services within an academic ecosystem grounded in decades of scientific research and clinical trial experience.  

Prior to joining Cancer Insight, she served as Chief Clinical Trials Data Management Officer at the Cancer Vaccine Development Program (CVDP). The CVDP was established to discover, develop, and test cancer vaccines developed within the military. It was initially associated with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD, and is now part of the Metis Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in San Antonio, Texas.

LauraLee Hughes

Executive Director, Office of Technology Translation
Texas A&M University, Division of Research   

Experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in technology development and commercialization within the higher education industry. Skilled in Biotechnology, Intellectual Property, Grant Writing, Leadership, and Life Sciences. Strong professional background in developing and managing federal programs for biodefense and medical countermeasure development, with a Master's degree focused in Biotechnology from Texas A&M University.

Mary McKinney, M.Ed., PHR

Senior Director of Human Resources
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Human Resources is charged with the responsibility to seek, align and develop talent in tandem with business strategies. As the Senior Director of Human Resources for Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, I have the privilege of working across the company to ensure our talent pipelines are supplied with top notch talent. I am passionate about the mission of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals and talent acquisition and believe that HR has an incredible opportunity to positively impact the lives of people. Lexicon is committed to discovering and developing break through treatments for human disease and I believe this a noble and gratifying endeavor. There is no better way to serve the Company and others by offering an opportunity to be part of an organization that strives to improve patients’ quality of life. I invite you to get to know Lexicon Pharmaceuticals as we change the landscape of medicine and develop breakthrough treatments for human disease.

Mira Chaurushiya, PhD

Senior Associate
5AM Ventures

Mira Chaurushiya, Ph.D. is a Senior Associate at 5AM Ventures. Dr. Chaurushiya joined in 2015 from Genentech where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physiological Chemistry studying mouse models of cancer and stem cells. Prior to Genentech, she completed her Ph.D. work at the Salk Institute, where she studied Herpes Simplex Virus infections and epigenetics. Her work has been published in Science and PNAS, among others. Dr. Chaurushiya currently serves as an Observer on the Boards of Chrono Therapeutics, Precision Nanosystems, Purigen Biosystems, Biodesy, Cleave Biosciences, GenePeeks and Pear Therapeutics. In addition, she is a Fellow of the Society of Kauffman Fellows and serves on the Board of Biotech Connection Bay Area, a non-profit that focuses on career development for academic scientists. Dr. Chaurushiya received a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, San Diego in conjunction with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where she was awarded the Martin Kamen Thesis Prize in Biochemistry. She received her B.A. in Biology from Carleton College. Dr. Chaurushiya is based in the San Francisco, CA office.

Peter Stojkovic

National Managing Director, Healthcare Advisory Services

Peter Stojkovic oversees project management and construction services for healthcare projects across the country.  Stojkovic, who is based in the Houston headquarters, also supports the company’s recruitment and business development initiatives.  Stojkovic brings more than 25 years of experience to the firm, most recently serving as Vice President – Capital Construction and Project Management at JLL. His project and construction management experience spans procurement, process improvement, benchmarking, risk management, and sustainable development and operations.

Excerpted and slightly modified from:

Robert Abdon, Ph.D.

Senior Attorney
MD Anderson Cancer Center

I directly advise senior management regarding legal issues facing Technology functions. Drafting and negotiating contracts, including consulting, procurement, technology sharing, and software licensing agreements. Manage outside counsel and internal legal service providers, as well as providing guidance on compliance matters. My roles require spotting legal issues requiring cross-functional review and ensuring that internal corporate policies and controls are maintained, including those related to hiring of professionals with prior employment at companies in related businesses. A significant portion of my practice relates to intellectual property issues related to commercialization of new products and processes, including review and negotiation of implementing goods and services. This counseling also includes qualitative and quantitative infringement risk assessments, advice related to risks associated with sharing confidential information and managing such obligations, and guidance regarding management of intellectual property portfolios.

Srini Akarraju



Comments from Attendees at Previous Texas Life Science Forums

"TXLSF is the premier event for connecting companies, ideas, investors, and scientists!"

"This is a cannot miss event. All of the major players in Texas are there and are accessible on a personal basis."

"Plenary and company presenter sessions excellent - logistics good, timing excellent. Educational sessions I attended were very useful and interesting - and on appropriate topics."