Mauro Mileni, PhD

Founder & CEO

Mauro is the founder of Abilita Bio, Inc. and inventor of its core EMP™ technology. He has gained significant experience over 18 years of conducting academic membrane protein research and contributing to industry drug discovery projects. Mauro has authored eighteen peer-reviewed scientific articles, including publications in Cell, Nature, PNAS, and JACS. He received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute under Nobel laureate Prof. Hartmut Michel and carried out his postdoctoral studies as a Pfizer fellow in the Stevens lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), widely regarded as the world’s top lab for GPCR structural studies. Prior to founding Abilita Bio in 2014, Mauro worked as a Structural Biologist at Receptos, Inc. and has consulted for Eli Lilly & Company.

Michael Hanson, PhD


Michael is the CSO of Abilita Bio with a joint position as Director of Technology at the Frost Institute for Chemistry and Molecular Sciences at the University of Miami. He has over 20 years of research and entrepreneurial experience, co-founding StructureTx and serving as CTO, founding and leading the GPCR Consortium as President, and serving as Director of Structural Discovery at Receptos. Michael played a significant role in building and implementing a “toolbox” of techniques for working with and determining structures of integral membrane proteins such as GPCRs. In addition, he has led early-stage discovery contributing to three clinical-stage programs, including Zeposia, an approved therapy for multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis.

Jim Schmidt


Jim Schmidt serves as Chief Financial Officer of Abilita Bio. He has over 30 years of executive financial experience in the biomedical and technology sectors. Since 2013, he has worked with companies as consulting CFO ranging from private, early formation to publicly traded. He served as Vice President of Finance and Administration at Receptos, Inc. from founding until successful IPO. He was formerly Senior Director of Finance and Operations at Conforma Therapeutics until its acquisition by Biogen Idec in 2006, where he assisted in the transition and integration of the companies. Prior to that, Mr. Schmidt served in various financial and operational roles. He started his career with Coopers Lybrand and received his B.S. in Accounting and Corporation Finance from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christopher B. Roth, PhD

Vice President, Research

Chris brings more than ten years of innovation in membrane protein engineering, structural biology and drug discovery to Abilita Bio. He most recently served as a Research Scientist at Receptos, Inc. from 2009 to 2015, where he was a founding member of the scientific team and the lead inventor of critical GPCR protein engineering technologies that were patented and licensed to domestic and international industry partners. Prior to joining Receptos, Dr. Roth conducted postdoctoral research in GPCR structural biology in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond Stevens at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), where he also earned his PhD. Dr. Roth earned his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Alexander Alexandrov, PhD

Associate Director

Among his many contributions to the field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drug discovery, Alexander’s most pivotal was the personal conception and development of a generic membrane protein stability assay known as the CPM assay, widely regarded by many in the field to be transformational for the measurement of thermostability. Prior to Abilita Bio, he served in Scientific positions of increasing responsibilities at Takeda San Diego and Heptares Therapeutics, and completed his postdoctoral studies in Ray Stevens’ lab at the Scripps Institute (TSRI), and David Bredt’s lab at University of California, San Francisco. Alexander received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Karen Chiang, PhD

Research Scientist


Karen brings over 10 years of molecular and cell biology experience to the team and has a broad background in the fields of plant biology, HIV and neurodegenerative diseases. She completed her postdoctoral training in Dr. Edward H. Koo’s laboratory at UCSD, after earning her Ph.D. in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Roberto Jappelli, PhD

Principal Scientist


Roberto brings a strong research background and track record of working for top laboratories, most recently for Dr. Rusty Gage at the Salk Institute, where he contributed to projects in Parkinson’s disease animal modeling, viral gene delivery and CRISPR-Cas9 editing technologies. He completed his postdoctoral training with Nobel laureate Prof. Sydney Brenner at The Scripps Research Institute, where he developed a novel genetic system to analyze the interactions between soluble and membrane proteins. Roberto has previously held research scientist positions at Lynx Therapeutics, Acidophil, and Salgomed.

Sunghoon Kim, PhD



Sunghoon adds to the core strengths of the company through his research into the structure, biochemistry and biophysical properties of ion channels and other challenging membrane proteins. He developed an outstanding expertise in the study of membrane proteins through his Ph.D. research in Biophysics at Vanderbilt University and Postdoctoral training at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Le Li, PhD

Research Scientist


Le recently joined Abilita Bio as a Research Scientist and brings key expertise in membrane protein biophysical characterization, purification and formulation. Previously, she worked as an Analytical Scientist at Catalent Pharma Solutions. Le completed her postdoctoral studies at Oak Ridge National Lab after earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry from North Carolina State University.

Kin Moy, BSc

Lab Manager/Research Associate


Prior to joining the company, Kin worked at Stevens Lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) focusing on a range of research methods in molecular biology from vector construction to protein expression and cell culture. He played a major role in the lab’s high-throughput GPCR initiative and contributed to over 40 publications.