Acclivity Technologies Inc. Founders

Sandra Merkel-DeJames PhD, CPC
Co-Founder and CEO

Leveraging 20 + years of experience in leadership roles across 5 continents, in multiple industries (including pharma, diagnostics, health and wellness, agriculture and sports and fitness) Dr. Merkel-DeJames builds new businesses, leads transformational change and enables growth.  She has experience working within and leading public, private and venture-backed companies, as well for-profit and non-profit organizations.  She has held various executive and leadership positions in the applied biotechnology, life sciences and data and informatics sectors, primarily responsible for corporate strategy, technology development, early stage commercialization and innovation, and has founded multiple companies.   

In previous roles, Dr. Merkel-DeJames led the development of new technology and commercial innovation platforms and led the technical and commercial development and launch of multiple new clinical metabolomics tools and clinical diagnostic tests.  Dr. Merkel-DeJames has also established and built multi-national innovation hubs, and led senior scientists and commercial teams through identification, valuation, technical development and early stage commercialization of new technologies. She has also held various roles driving external innovation with academic institutions, early stage companies and fortune 500s, technology and commercial platform development, technology licensing and partnering, and played a key role in developing a novel cell-based technology to address next-generation market needs; Albumin Formulation and Use (US WO2013006675A1 - Issued Jan 10, 2013). 

Dr. Merkel-DeJames holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Biotechnology from UNC Charlotte where her interdisciplinary research included: Hepatic Sinusoidal Endothelin-eNOS Interactions in Experimental Endotoxemia; Computational Modeling of Spinal Reflex Circuits; Methodologies in Surface Modifications and Laser Scanning of Hip Implants; and Estrogen Regulation of Septicemia and Endotoxemia.  Dr. Merkel-DeJames completed her post-doctoral training at the UNC School of Medicine, where her research was focused on the molecular elucidation of hepatic stellate cell activation during liver disease.


Kirk Pappan PhD, MBA
Co-Founder and CSO

Dr. Kirk Pappan is Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Acclivity Technologies. Dr. Pappan has led research and product development programs in biomarker discovery and precision diagnostic test development at GeneCentric Therapeutics, Owlstone Medical, and Metabolon. In addition to his role at ATI, he is currently the Director of Clinical Diagnostics at GeneCentric where he leads product development and clinical translation of RNA-based cancer subtyping diagnostic tests for prognosis, predicting therapeutic response, and precision-based decision making.  

Over a 25+ year career in research, Dr. Pappan has focused as a biochemist oriented toward understanding function of individual molecules (e.g., metabolites, enzymes, proteins, genes, etc.) and collections of molecules in systems and have used this approach to understand the function of enzymes, proteins, and metabolites as well as the metabolome and transcriptome. Over his career he has moved along the spectrum from basic (academic) to basic (industry) to commercial application and product development to clinical studies to regulated product development. In prior roles at Owlstone and Metabolon, Dr. Pappan led biomarker discovery and clinical metabolomics applications for metabolite biomarkers in areas of gut health, infectious diseases, inborn errors of metabolism, and undiagnosed disease. While at Metabolon, he provided technical leadership pivotal for the development and launch of the clinical metabolomics CLIA LDTs, Meta IMD and Meta UDx.  

Dr. Pappan completed PhD (Biochemistry) and MBA degrees at Kansas State University before conducting post-doctoral research at Washington University focused on type 1 and 2 diabetes by the study of lipid mediated beta-cell dysfunction, ex vivo nutrient induced beta-cell proliferation prior to islet transplantation, and therapeutic stimulation of beta-cell replication. 


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