Board Members

Thomas G. Muehlbauer – CEO / President / Director / Founding Shareholder

​Fortune 500 senior executive experience with over 25 Years of CEO and start-up skills including acquisitions, capital formation and public market transitions.

Prior to founding AVACEN in 2008, Mr. Muehlbauer started an Internet company which was sold to a publicly traded company bringing a return to founding investors of over 180% in 2 years. As a hands-on investor, he engineered the start-up growth and sale of World View, International, providing multimillion dollar returns to shareholders in less than a three-year period.

Mr. Muehlbauer developed his expertise in corporate management working for “Fortune 500” companies. Management positions ranged from Worldwide Data Center Manager, to President and CEO for three mid-sized corporations. He holds a Bachelor of Science, University State of New York.

Gary Pace, Ph.D. – Director

Dr. Pace is a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive with over 30 years of experience in the industry. He has co-founded a number of early stage life science companies where he built products from the laboratory to commercialization. Dr Pace is currently a Director of ResMed Inc (NYSE:RMD), Transition Therapeutics Inc (CDNX: TTH) and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: PCRX). Dr Pace is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, author and co-author of over 50 research papers, reviews, and patents. In 2003 awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government “for service to Australian society in research and development” and 2011 Director of the Year (corporate governance) by the San Diego Directors Forum. Dr Pace holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) from the University of New South Wales and a PhD from MIT, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

Srinivas G. Rao, M.D., Ph.D. – Director

Dr. Rao is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Axial Biotherapeutics with over 17 years of professional experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President and CMO at DepoMed, Inc. (NASDAQ: DEPO), where he oversaw the company’s entire clinical and regulatory development activities. Before that, Dr. Rao was the founder and CEO of Kyalin Biosciences, a privately held biotechnology company developing a potential breakthrough therapy for autism. Dr. Rao served as CMO and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of three companies through his association with Avalon Ventures. For 10 years, Dr. Rao was the CSO of Cypress Bioscience where he was the innovator behind Savella™ which was approved by the FDA for this fibromyalgia in 2009. Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Yale Graduate School and his M.D. from Yale School of Medicine. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale College and Yale Graduate School respectively.

Judith L. Swain, M.D. – Director

Dr. Swain is a Senior Fellow at the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) and a Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Prior to her appointment as a Senior Fellow, she was the Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) within A*STAR since 2007. Before coming to Singapore she was the dean of Translational Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Swain previously served as chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, and on the medical faculties of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University. Beginning with her faculty appointment at Duke, Dr. Swain became widely known in the field of molecular cardiology, and pioneered the use of transgenic animals to understand the genetic basis of cardiovascular development and disease. Dr. Swain is currently a director of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a member of the Academic Research Council in Singapore and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She has served in a number of national and international leadership roles and as a director or member of the scientific advisory boards for a number of biomedical technology companies. Dr. Swain received her B.S. at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.D. at the University of California, San Diego.

Robert Klein M.D. – Director

Doctor Klein is Board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California (Berkeley) and received his MD degree from Stanford University. At the Mayo Clinic, he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in Internal Medicine and the Hench Award for Excellence in Rheumatology. While at the Mayo Clinic, he was involved in several studies dealing with inflammation of the arteries (temporal arteritis). He also has a special interest and expertise in non-surgical methods of treating back pain. In 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Association of Orthopedic Medicine. Dr. Klein is also a member of the AVACEN Clinical Advisory Board.

Nathan Newman, M.D. – Director

Dr. Newman is Director and owner of the Orchid Surgery Center in Beverly Hills, CA. Dr. Newman is a long term user of the AVACEN Thermal Exchange System. Dr. Newman was educated and trained at the most prestigious medical institutes in the United States. After graduating from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, he completed his internship in internal medicine at UCLA-VA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Newman went on to do his residency in dermatology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and completed a fellowship through the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery in Riverside, California. He is board certified in dermatology and specializes in cosmetic surgery.

Jonathan Lakey, PhD, MSM – Director

Dr. Jonathan Lakey’s primary research direction has been cell and tissue transplantation, with a focus on diabetes and islet transplantation including efforts in developing alternative sources of insulin producing cells through stem cell differentiation and sourcing using porcine islets. Dr Lakey is also developing novel methods of protecting islets using biomaterials. Dr. Lakey graduated from the University of Alberta and received additional post-doctoral training in Indianapolis and Seattle before returning to establish his research program at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. There his partnership with Dr. James Shapiro led to improved islet isolation techniques and development of the “Edmonton Protocol,” a recognized major advance in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Lakey is now the Director of Research and Associate Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and Director of the Clinical Islet Program.

James Wangler – Director / Founding Shareholder

M.S. – San Diego State University. President and CEO experience in addition to extensive engineering and engineering management experience. President and CEO of MAXIM Systems until sold in December 2007 to Accenture. Prior to MAXIM Mr. Wangler served as Chief Engineer for the ISR Directorate of SPAWAR Headquarters where he also served as the Program Manager for a $200 million Space Surveillance program.

Don Miller – Director

Mr. Miller, a former Naval officer, was co-founder and Sr. V.P. of SeQual Technologies, a San Diego based medical device company. He was also an early stage investor, Board member, and CFO for the following companies in San Diego: La Jolla Technology (electronic medical device company), Biosym Inc. (computational chemistry software company), Interactive Simulations (chemistry software company), and Azron (electronic medical records company). He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and a M. S. in Finance from San Diego State University.


Pamela Jackson – Military Government

Pamela brings decades of experience at operational and executive levels for various medical device companies. Pamela served as Vice President of Operations of startup – inVENTive Technologies – now owned by Philips. Most recently she served for 10 years as a Senior Director for SeQual Technologies, providing government and military
development expertise for a diverse range of products. Her efforts resulted in numerous multimillion dollar research and development grants. Bachelor of Science, University of Massachusetts. She currently is COO for Panakeia marketing products to the military health system.