Rusty Kelley, PhD, MBA
Managing Director, RD Fund
Rusty Kelley is the managing director for the Foundation’s venture arm, the Retinal Degeneration Fund with responsibility for all external investments that strategically align with the Foundation’s therapeutic mission. Rusty brings over 25 years of experience in identifying and developing life science technologies to his leadership role.
Prior to the RD Fund, Rusty led translational and interdisciplinary science programs at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF). Prior to BWF, Rusty was a senior scientist, director and then head of preclinical at Tengion, a tissue engineering biotech firm that spun-out of Boston Children’s Hospital and Wake Forest University.
Earlier in his career out of Wilmington NC, Rusty served in clinical development at PPD, Inc. where he helped manage clinical trials in the divisions of Medicine, NIH trials and Infectious Disease. Prior to PPD, Rusty served on the bench in the pharmaceutics and analytical chemistry divisions for AAIPharma.
Rusty received a BA in Chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill, a PhD in Pharmacology at LSU’s Health Sciences Center. He was then awarded an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill, and recently earned an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Rusty is currently a founding Board director of Opus Genetics, Board director of SparingVision, and Board observer for Atsena Therapeutics, Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, and Vedere Bio. He also serves as a Board Director of DC-based Health Research Alliance (HRA) and North Carolina’s Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED).