DAVID BACH, MD | Chief Executive Officer
David is a Harvard-trained scientist, physician, and serial entrepreneur. After spending a decade maximizing his physical and mental performance, he created PlatypusNeuro to bring scientific rigor to, and create commercial applications in, the rapidly expanding neuroperformance space. As an entrepreneur, David previously founded and built three healthcare technology companies, the smallest of which became a $100M enterprise. His last business endeavor, Leprechaun LLC, was – for one year – the fastest growing company in the country, and it generated a 90x cash-on-cash return for investors. David attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and worked as a research scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He has also been a management consultant, a venture capitalist, a competitive martial artist, and a professional cellist.
AMY KRUSE, PHD | Chief Scientific Officer
In 2005, as the Program Manager for DARPA’s performance-focused neuroscience research program, Amy effectively created the field in which we work. As a starting point, she named the field, coining and popularizing the term “Applied Neuroscience.” She also conducted the seminal research in the industry - a series of studies in which she definitely demonstrated that, with biofeedback and brainwave analysis, one could dramatically (and rapidly) enhance military sniper’s performance. Since that time, in a variety of capacities, Amy’s extensive research has addressed a broad range of foundational questions including: how human performance is affected by different natural conditions like sleep deprivation and stress; how elite performance can be enhanced with the use of electrical brain stimulation; and how video gaming technology can be leveraged to accelerate learning speeds. Prior to joining PlatypusNeuro, Amy served as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cubic Global Defense.
JAMIE GALLO | Chief Operating Officer
Prior to joining PlatypusNeuro, Jamie built companies worth more than $550M, raised $57M in capital, led ten acquisitions, and negotiated strategic partnerships with companies including Yahoo, MSN, and Interactive Corp. During her ten years at Primedia (publicly traded Fortune 1000), Jamie built five highly successful digital media businesses from the ground up including ApartmentGuide.com, RealEstate.com and Rentals.com which, in the aggregate, generated more than 100 million in revenues, 6 million monthly unique users and 100 million page views. Jamie’s two divisions at Primedia exceeded financial targets by 15-30% every year while simultaneously achieving the highest level of employee satisfaction in the company. After leaving Primedia, Jamie founded, built and sold RentAdvisor, the leading reputation management platform in the apartment industry. Jamie also has experience in: management consulting (at A.T. Kearney); consumer products (at Procter & Gamble and Ford Motor Company); and R&D (at AT&T Bell Labs). Jamie has an undergraduate degree in Engineering and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from The Wharton School of Business.
WILL MCBURNETT | Chief Technology Officer
Will has over 30 years of experience as a software developer, technology director and game producer. He has led the development of several million-selling software products and was also a Principal Investigator on several DARPA and Department of Defense projects. Will’s development experience spans a wide range of product types including PC games, console games, VR games, web applications, and wide area financial systems. At Electronic Arts, as an engineer, project manager, and producer, Will shipped several highly successful entertainment titles including the Jane’s Combat Simulations Longbow series. At Multimedia Games, Will led a team that designed, installed, and supported wide area video lottery systems for several governments, and he was also responsible for developing systems that tracked billions of dollars of revenue during the implementation of Sarbanes Oxley. In his work for DARPA, Will was a Program Manager and a Principal Investigator on multiple simulations, software test beds, and neuroscience R&D programs.
JAMES NAIL | Chief Marketing Officer
James has a 20-year track record in data-driven marketing and innovation activities in organizations ranging from technology startups to Fortune 500 companies. As the head of Innovation at Assurant, IHE/Emory and International Market Centers (IMC), James was responsible for identifying, developing and launching a range of products that generated over $100 million in incremental annual revenues. His marketing strategy and innovation work at Bain Capital turned around a failing Las Vegas trade show – growing the company’s sales by more than 100% per year, and turning it into a dominant and highly profitable US player. As the head of Digital Innovation at Dell, James developed and built the company’s Global User Experience practice. He has also held senior positions at Razorfish, Accenture and HD Supply. James’s branding work has received multiple industry awards including an Echo award, AMY awards and a gold SouthStar award. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi where he graduated first in his class, and an MBA from Vanderbilt University where he also graduated at the top of his class.
MARK NOONAN | General Manager: Elite Performance Solutions
Mark Noonan has a 20-year track record as a senior-level executive in the sports industry. He is the Founder of FocalSport (an international sports marketing consultancy) and the former CEO of Accra Hearts of Oak SC, where he increased revenues by 113% despite unprecedented turmoil in the Ghana football industry. Earlier in his career, Mark helped negotiate and secure the largest venue naming rights deal in Major League Baseball for the NY Mets’ Citi Field and served at the EVP of Marketing of Major League Soccer, one of three direct reports to the Commissioner. Mark also served as the Global Chief Commercial Officer for the World Surf League (WSL). During tenure, Noonan increased revenues by 163% securing blue chip partners Samsung, Jeep, AB In-Bev, and Airbnb, among others. Noonan holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he was a four-year letter winner on the Duke Blue Devils Men’s NCAA Division I soccer team, winning the school’s first national championship in any sport. Noonan is a member of the Connecticut (Individual) and North Carolina (team) Soccer Halls-of-Fame, and serves on the Advisory Boards of sponsorship analytics company, Hookit (www.hookit.com) and the City of Denver’s World Cup 2026 Bid Committee (www.denver2026.com)
STEVE MILLER, PHD | EVP: Innovation
Dr. Miller works as an applied neuroscience and education technology executive with more than 25 years of industry experience. As an academic, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses and conducted a sponsored research program in neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology including a large multi-site research initiatives on the neural basis of brain plasticity and learning. Dr. Miller authored or co-authored more than 100 publications including numerous research studies, commercial software programs and U.S. Patents. A majority of his patents have been licensed, brought to commercial practice and in 2000 he was a co-recipient of the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award in Medicine for this work. As a business executive, he is a passionate collaborator with broad business experience in technology transfer, translational research, business incorporation, venture funding and the start-up phases of several companies, including a successful IPO.
GAURAV SHARMA, PHD | EVP: Applied Research
Gaurav has 20 years of experience working at the intersection of engineering and biology – translating basic science into practical applications. He joined PlatypusNeuro from Battelle Memorial Institute where he led the organization’s NeuroLife program. His team at Battelle was the first to demonstrate that individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries can volitionally control their hands by using signals recorded from within their brains. This work ultimately led to a fully engineered product that enabled paralyzed individuals to control their hands with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI). At Batelle, he was also the Principal Investigator on the organization’s Next-Generation Non-Surgical Neurotechnologies (N3) program funded by a $21M DARPA contract; in this project, Gaurav led a multidisciplinary team that developed and demonstrated the efficacy of minutely invasive, injectable BCIs – a critical component of assistive as well as performance enhancing neurotechnologies. Gaurav attended Rutgers University and Northeastern University where his graduate research was foundational in the field of bionanotechnology. His work has been widely covered in the media and published in high impact journals including Nature and Nature Medicine. He has more than 10 patents (granted and filed) and has won three R&D 100 Awards and a BCI Best Technology Award.
TOM NUGENT | VP: Elite Performance Solutions
Mr. Nugent leads the Platypus Institute’s Elite Performance Solutions division, which provides state-of-the art neurocognitive assessment and training programs to professional sports teams, military operator communities, and eGaming teams. In addition to being an avid gamer and former Division I athlete, Mr. Nugent has nearly twenty years of experience in neuroscience research and over a decade of experience in program management. Prior to joining the Platypus Institute, Tom was the Senior Director of Neurotechnology, New Media, and Training Solutions at Cubic Global Defense overseeing a wide spectrum of R&D projects that supported the warfighter with an emphasis on Special Operations Forces. Prior to that, he was a Senior Scientist at Strategic Analysis Inc., where he offered program management and technical consultation to neuroscience programs at DARPA.
JUDSON BREWER, MD, PHD
Judson Brewer MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and addiction specialist who currently serves as the director of research at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Brewer’s research focuses primarily on the neurobiology of habit formation and how to “rewire” addictions and habits. His numerous scientific accomplishments include: identification of brain regions that are activated with addiction and research into the influence that meditation has on brain activity. He is the author of “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love—Why We Get Hooked & How We Can Break Bad Habits” (Yale University Press, 2017).
ANDY WALSHE, PHD
Formerly the Director of the High Performance Athlete Program at Red Bull, Andy has a long history of working with the world’s most elite performers, studying and testing their performance limits. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Walshe: created and led the Red Bull Stratos Jump, in which Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped from space reaching a velocity exceeding the speed of sound; coached multiple Olympic teams including the US Olympic ski and snowboard team; and has worked closely with the US military, training many of their most elite operatives.multiple successful drug development programs.
ROGER J. QUY, PHD
Roger is a Managing Partner at Technology Partners, a venture capital firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has worked with many healthtech and life science companies for more than 25 years, and has served on over 30 public, private, or not-for-profit boards. He focuses on neuroscience, neurotechnology, and digital health. He is an advisor to the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and to the neuroscience Bakar program at UC Berkeley. Roger has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a MBA.
K. ANDERS ERICSSON, PHD
K. Anders Ericsson is the Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. His research focuses on the question of how expert performers – in fields ranging from music, to chess, to sports – attain superior performance. In addition to a series of groundbreaking scientific articles on the topic of expert learning, Dr. Ericsson has published several books including, most recently (2016) “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” which he co-authored with Robert Pool. He is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. His research has been featured in cover stories in Scientific American, Time, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, and New York Timesand was also the centerpiece of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers.
ARNE DIETRICH, PHD
Dr. Arne Dietrich, a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the American University of Beirut, is among the world’s preeminent thinkers on the neuroscience of human performance. Arne’s research focuses primarily on the neural basis of creativity, altered states of consciousness (including what’s commonly known as the flow state) and the psychological effects of physical exercise. Arne has written a large number of professional articles and multiple books, including classic texts on the nature of consciousness and creativity. His work is also prominently featured in the international press.
AMIR KALALI, MD
Amir Kalali is a globally recognized thought leader and innovator focused on the rapidly growing intersection between life sciences and technology. In his capacity as a neuroscientist, Dr. Kalali is: the Founding Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Society for CNS Drug Development (ISCDD); Editor of the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience; Founder and Co-Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the CNS Summit; a founding member of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM); and a member of the Scientific Program Committee of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). He was also the lead editor of the book Essential CNS Drug Development.
VINCENT WALSH, PHD
Dr. Vincent Walsh is Professor of Human Brain Research at University College London where he directs the Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Group. He is one of the few neuroscientists alive who has garnered success and respect in both the elite academic and applied neuroscience arenas. Dr. Walsh’s academic reputation was formed on research focused primarily on human brain stimulation and how the brain processes visual stimuli. He has extended his research into several areas and is now primarily working on sleep and wellbeing, decision making under pressure, and improvements in elite performance.
PAUL SAJDA, PHD
Paul is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Radiology at Columbia University and Director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, Paul was the Head of Image and Signal Processing at Sarnoff Corporation in Princeton, NJ. His areas of expertise include computational and experimental neuroscience, neuroimaging, neural engineering, and computational modeling. He has received numerous awards for his research, including an NSF CAREER Award, and has been elected a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE), and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
A former Navy SEAL Commander, Jeff is a Senior Advisor with the McChrystal Group where he coaches and consults with executive leaders and their teams. Mr. Eggers is also a Senior Fellow at New America, a Washington, D.C. based think tank, conducting research on the behavioral science of organizational performance. Jeff is a highly sought out advisor to many of the world’s most senior leaders. He has worked directly with two United States Presidents as a national security and special advisor. Jeff graduated from the US Naval Academy and thereafter received a master of arts in mathematics and philosophy from Oxford University.
VIVIENNE MING, PHD
Named one of Inc. Magazine’s “Top 10 Women to Watch in Tech,” Dr. Vivienne Ming is a wildly accomplished theoretical neuroscientist, technologist, and entrepreneur whose guiding mission is to use neuroscience to optimize human potential. Among her many accomplishments, Vivienne recently co-founded Socos, a company that applies cognitive modeling to create adaptive, personalized educational technologies. She is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience where she pursues research in neuroprosthetics.
Chris Berka is the CEO and Co-Founder at Advanced Brain Monitoring (ABM). She has over 25 years experience managing clinical research and developing and commercializing new technologies, is co-inventor of eleven patented and 14 patent-pending technologies, and served as the principal investigator or co-investigator for grants & contracts awarded by the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, ONR and NSF that provided more than $30 million of research funds to ABM. Prior to founding ABM, Ms. Berka played a key role in the growth of an AMEX public company that patented and commercialized a forensic hair test for psychopharmacological profiles of drug use. She has 10 years experience as a research scientist with publications on the analysis of the EEG correlates of cognition in healthy subjects and patients with sleep and neurological disorders.
KEN GRANT, PHD
Ken is the CEO of General Risk Advisors – an organization that provides outsourced risk management advisory and outsourcing services to a broad range of alternative investment businesses including hedge funds, bank asset management groups, funds of funds, family offices, prime brokers and fund administrators. His client base, in the aggregate, controls hundreds of billions in capital, covering every asset and strategy class in the global capital markets. Previously, Ken was the Head of Global Risk Management for Cheyne Capital (a $5 billion alternative money manager), the Managing Director for Risk at SAC Capital Advisors and the Director of Risk Management at Tudor Investment Corporation. He is a Faculty Member at Columbia University focused on Risk Management/Actuarial Sciences and is a Fellow at the Center for the Management of Systematic Risk at Columbia University.
MICHAEL MERZENICH, PHD
Dr. Michael Merzenich is the brain behind BrainHQ and the author of Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life. For nearly five decades, he has been a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research. As co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, Dr. Merzenich heads the company’s science team. Dr. Merzenich has published more than 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals (such as Science and Nature), and received numerous awards and prizes (including the Russ Prize, Ipsen Prize, Zülch Prize, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and Purkinje Medal). He has been granted nearly 100 patents, and he and his work have been highlighted in hundreds of books about the brain, learning, rehabilitation, and plasticity. In 2016, Dr. Merzenich was awarded one of the world’s top neuroscience prizes, the Kavli Prize, for his achievements in the field of brain plasticity.
“Decades of investment in basic neuroscience research have now, for the first time in history, yielded practical tools that fundamentally stretch the limits of the possible.”
—-Amy Kruse, PhD (Chief Scientific Officer, Platypus Institute)
WHY THE NAME?
In 1798, when European naturalists first learned about the platypus, they thought the animal a hoax. The naturalists believed that a taxidermist had stitched together a hodgepodge of creatures, including a beaver, a duck, and a rat.
Even today, more than two centuries later, the animal almost defies rational comprehension: a duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, semi-aquatic mammal that lays eggs, dispenses venom, and is, at the same time, adorable? What gives?
IT’S A SYMBOL OF THE QUEST FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE
In a peak performance (or flow) state, time and space dissolve, as we merge with our environment and access information and capabilities our minds say we can’t possibly access. These components of the peak performance state have, for decades, been documented; yet the state still somehow defies comprehension.
To provide humanity with consistent access to this peak performance state, to make Human 2.0 a reality, will require that we integrate knowledge from multiple disparate fields in a new and powerful way.
The integration of multiple disparate components to create something new and magnificent is, of course, the essence of the platypus. How could we not make it our emblem?
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