Board of Directors


Darell D. Bigner, MD, PhD

Dr. Bigner is a co-founder of Istari Oncology, Inc., and the Edwin L. Jones, Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones Cancer Research Professor and Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC) at Duke University Medical Center. He is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on brain tumors. He has published more than 400 full-length manuscripts, eight books, 63 chapters and 63 reviews, all on brain tumors. His research concerns the cause and improved diagnosis and treatment of malignant brain tumors in adults and children. Dr. Bigner has been awarded three consecutive MERIT awards by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The MERIT Award, given only to the top 1% of NCI investigators, is a highly selective award presented by the National Institutes of Health that recognizes superior researchers who have demonstrated outstanding competence and productivity in research endeavors. Dr. Bigner has just received an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, one of only approximately 60 funded in the first round of competition. Under his leadership, PRTBTC has served a clinical site for a wide variety of clinical trials in CNS cancer.

Dani P. Bolognesi, PhD

Dr. Bolognesi is Chief Executive Officer at Istari Oncology, Inc. and Professor Emeritus at Duke Medical Center, presently serving in a special capacity within Duke University Medical Center. He is chair of the Joint Steering Committee of MedBlue Incubator, Inc., an entity formed to identify and assist in the development of promising ideas, discoveries, innovations, and/or technologies from Duke faculty that have commercial potential.

His career spans all phases of drug development, and he has held a number of senior management positions. He was Founder, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at Trimeris, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company that successfully obtained FDA approval for Fuzeon®, a first-in-class HIV fusion inhibitor, and he led the execution of its development and commercial collaboration with F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG. He also served as CEO and Chairman of b3Bio, Inc; CEO, Enci Therapeutics, Inc.; and CEO, C2 Regenerate, Inc.

Dr. Bolognesi’s scientific career spans three decades, during which he has held many positions at Duke University, including: James B. Duke Professor of Surgery, Professor of Microbiology/Immunology, Vice Chairman for Research and Development – Department of Surgery, Deputy Director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Director of the Duke University Center for AIDS Research. While at Duke, he and his research team contributed to the discovery of AZT (the first anti-HIV drug), identified the HIV protein targeted by fusion inhibitor drugs, and established a central laboratory that supported all HIV vaccine clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. He also directed the NIH Central Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Clinical Trials.

Robert R. Bonczek

Mr. Bonczek is Chief Administrative Officer at Istari Oncology, Inc. He is also President and Chief Financial Officer of MedBlue Incubator, Inc., and has served as President, Director, CFO and General Counsel of b3 bio, Inc.; CFO, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Trimeris, Inc.; and Chief Counsel and Global Director of Safety, Health and Environment, Dupont.

Mr. Bonczek is founding partner, Director and President of Aspen Tree Capital. He also serves on the boards of several other life science-related companies including NeurOp, Inc., Senex Biotechnology, Upstream Therapeutics, Inc., Deep Blue Medical Advances, Inc., Track X Technology, Cellective Biotherapy, Inc., and Istari Oncology, Inc.  He also serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Valence Advantage Life Sciences Fund, and Centre Partners. Mr. Bonczek received an AB in chemistry and a JD degree from the University of North Carolina. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.