Michio Painter, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer  
Michio spent nearly a decade advancing basic biological research at Harvard University, including helping to launch the Immunological Genome Project (, completing a PhD in the lab of renowned pain neurobiologist Clifford Woolf, and post-doctoral studies with Amy Wagers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Prior to beginning his scientific career, Michio acted as COO in a small fashion company in New York.
Ajay Yekkirala, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer  
Ajay is responsible for scientific and experimental oversight at Blue with over 10 years of research experience in opioid medicinal chemistry and the neurobiology of pain. He completed his doctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Philip Portoghese at the University of Minnesota. Ajay completed his post-doctoral training under renowned pain neurobiologist Clifford Woolf at Harvard Medical School. He has authored several papers published in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals on the topic of pain and opioids, including several book chapters and invited reviews. He is also a recipient of the Bacaner Research Award from the Minnesota Medical Foundation.
David Roberson, Ph.D., M.B.A., Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer
Before co-founding Blue Therapeutics, David spent 8 years developing novel analgesics, anti-pruritics and antitussives under the direction of Harvard Medical School pain neurobiologist, Clifford Woolf, MD, PhD. Before this, David worked in clinical trials management and investment banking. David's drug discovery experience includes contributions toward IND filings in the analgesic space and he is an inventor on numerous drug- and drug development-related patents. He has >10 peer-reviewed research publications focused on preclinical drug development. David received his M.B.A. from Harding University and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University.

Philip Portoghese, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN  
Professor Portoghese is a world-renowned medicinal chemist and co-founder of Blue Therapeutics. He has authored over 350 peer-reviewed articles, served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including being inducted into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. He is a scientific adviser and mentor for Blue Therapeutics.