Exciting science starts with our team

Floyd E. Romesberg, Ph.D., is the scientific founder. Prior to Synthorx, he served as the scientific co-founder and a member of the board of directors of RQx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Genentech) and Achaogen, two biopharmaceutical companies focused on developing new antibiotics. Dr. Romesberg is also an associate professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His academic research laboratory uses a broad range of interdisciplinary techniques, including non-linear optical spectroscopy, organic chemistry, microbiology, and genetics, to study different aspects of evolution. This work has been described in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Office of Naval Research. Dr. Romesberg is best known for developing unnatural base pairs for the expansion of the genetic alphabet and is also working to develop novel antibiotics, as well as to understand how evolution tailors protein dynamics and how cellular stress and DNA damage induce cell-cycle checkpoint responses and mutations. Dr. Romesberg performed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Peter Schultz at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Cornell University and a B.S. in chemistry from The Ohio State University.
  • Is a Michigan fan who went to OSU.
  • Wants everyone to know p=ℏk.
  • Lost his superpower for tolerating the cold after moving to San Diego.

The company was founded based on important discoveries by Floyd Romesberg and The Scripps Research Institute. We are integrating the technology to create improved protein therapeutics, which we call Synthorins™.

Shukuan Li
Senior Research Associate
  • Likes San Diego for its mild weather.
  • Would like to travel to Europe.
  • Could eat fish every day.
Lauren Baker Ph.D.
VP, Scientific Affairs and Communications
  • Is an alumni of Purdue University—Boiler Up!
  • The ability to always find the silver lining is her superpower.
  • Paducah, Kentucky is home to Nobel Laureates, World Series Winners, and her.
Josh Toschi
Associate Scientist
  • Would eat surf-and-turf burritos every day if he could.
  • Beaches full of friendly people are his favorite thing about San Diego.
  • Wants you to know that the Earth is shaped like an oblate spheroid, flattened at the poles and bulging at the Equator, therefore resembling an egg.
Nicole Acuff, Ph.D.
  • Quotes Disney movies in everyday conversation.
  • Would eat Publix fried chicken every day if she could.
  • Wants you to know that there is currently a debate among virologists as to whether viruses are alive or not.
Lesley Johnson
Sr. Research Associate
  • Is an alumni of University of California, San Diego.
  • Would eat waffles every day if she could.
  • Wants you to know that mass spectrometers aren’t just used in labs on earth, they’ve been sent to space to identify molecules and look for life on other planets.
Christen Buetz
Research Associate II
  • The variety of outdoor activities, craft beer and wonderful people she’s met are her favorite things about San Diego.
  • Wants to travel to the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.
  • Has a pet rabbit named Attila the Bun.
Molly Roudabush, MBA
Associate Director of Late-Stage Analytical and Bioassay development
  • Would eat cheese and siracha sauce every day if she could.
  • Wants you to know that humans share 50% of DNA with bananas.
  • Her favorite part about San Diego is that everything is close by – ocean, mountains, desert, another country and the best street tacos.
Brianna Robak
Operations Assistant
  • Would eat cheese all day, every day if she could.
  • Has performed the National Anthem for the Padres twice.
  • Wants you to know that contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t color blind; they can see shades of blue, yellow, green and gray.
Helene Pham
Research Associate I
  • Would eat sushi every day if she could.
  • Wants to travel to the Maldives on her next vacation.
  • Is allergic to dogs, but she’ll sacrifice her own breathing to love them.
Neyssa Marina M.D.
Executive Medical Director
  • Is an alumni of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.
  • Played for the Puerto Rican national basketball team in the Pan American games in 1979.
  • Would eat French fries every day if she could.
Becky Franklin
Accounting Specialist
  • Multi-tasking while staying organized and singing along to the radio is her superpower.
  • Her eyes change color from green to blue (depending on what she’s wearing).
  • Wants you to know that there is enough DNA in the average person’s body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back — 17 times.
Deisy Corredor, Ph.D.
Director, Late Stage Process Development
  • The food and the weather are her favorite things about San Diego.
  • Wants you to know that Colombian coffee is the best in the world. Fact.
  • Once won an all-paid trip to Jamaica by winning a national dance competition.
Sharon Gao, Ph.D.
Senior Director of CMC Analytical & Formulation Development
  • Is an alumni of University of California, San Diego.
  • No weather-related travel delays are her favorite thing about San Diego.
  • Perseverance is her superpower.
David Welkie, Ph.D.
Scientist I
  • His favorite thing about San Diego is the ocean.
  • Is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Would eat a banana split every day if he could.
Floyd Romesberg, Ph.D.
Founder and Distinguished Fellow
  • Is a Michigan fan who went to OSU.
  • Wants everyone to know p=ℏk.
  • Lost his superpower for tolerating the cold after moving to San Diego.
Katie Schutz
Research Associate II
  • The beaches and hiking are her favorite things about San Diego.
  • Used to play horse polo and was voted MVP in her women’s league.
  • Wants you to know that camels don’t actually store water in their humps—their extra water is stored in their bloodstream.
Hans Aerni, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist
  • Thinks San Diego is an amazing place for innovation with a bonus of being located in paradise.
  • Wants to travel to the bottom of the ocean in pursuit of new discoveries.
  • Used to be a firefighter.
Miglena Manandhar, Ph.D.
Scientist I
  • Would eat chocolate croissants everyday if she could.
  • The sun and not having to check the weather before going anywhere is her favorite thing about San Diego.
  • Does not drink coffee.
Jill Mooney Ph.D.
Senior Director of Research
  • Grew up on a dairy farm.
  • Is an alumni of Oregon State University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
  • Wants to travel to New Zealand and Australia.
Carolina Caffaro, Ph.D.
Senior Director of Early Stage CMC and Protein Sciences
  • Combining creativity and focus at work is her superpower.
  • Wants you to know it can take three to five generations for Monarch butterflies to migrate 3,000 miles from Mexico to the northern U.S. but only one generation to complete the return trip.
  • Has backpacked through Uganda to visit mountain gorillas.
Rob Herman
Senior Research Associate
  • If he could, he would eat donuts every day.
  • Patagonia is his number one travel destination.
  • Would make a great addition to your bar trivia team, as a large portion of his brain is full of interesting, but mostly useless, knowledge.
Lilia Koriazova, Ph.D.
Director, Preclinical Development
  • Open-mindedness is her superpower.
  • Wants you to know that over a century ago, Ilya Metchnikoff theorized that manipulating the intestinal microbiome with host-friendly bacteria found in yogurt could lead to health enhancement and longevity.
  • Was born in a country that no longer exists.
Lina Ma, Ph.D.
Scientist II
  • Wants to see the salt flats in Bolivia.
  • Curiosity is her superpower.
  • Likes to explore new things.
Mike Pena
Senior Research Associate
  • Is an alumnus of U.C. Santa Barbara.
  • Loves to travel.
  • Has swum with humpback whales in Tonga.
Kristine San Jose
Senior Research Associate
  • Appreciates San Diego’s dog-friendly atmosphere and fantastic breweries.
  • Could eat breadsticks every day.
  • Has two dogs and two cats.