KEYNOTE: George Church, Professor of Genetics – Harvard Medical School and MIT
George leads Synthetic Biology at the Wyss Institute, where he oversees the directed evolution of molecules, polymers, and whole genomes to create new tools with applications in regenerative medicine and bio-production of chemicals. Among his recent work at the Wyss is development of a technology for synthesizing whole genes, and engineering whole genomes, far faster, more accurate, and less costly than current methods. George is widely recognized for his innovative contributions to genomic science and his many pioneering contributions to chemistry and biomedicine. In 1984, he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method, which resulted in the first genome sequence (the human pathogen, H. pylori). He helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 and the Personal Genome Project in 2005. George invented the broadly applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers. His many innovations have been the basis for a number of companies including Editas (Gene therapy); Gen9bio (Synthetic DNA); and Veritas Genetics (full human genome sequencing).
Jeff Allard, Founder and President – Lakeside Life Science
Jeff earned his Ph.D from Dartmouth College, in Biochemistry. Since obtaining his Doctorate, Dr. Allard has brought six “new to the world” diagnostic tests through FDA, with >30 FDA Clearances and Approvals. He has launched sixteen new products. He has authored over 100 scientific papers and abstracts, and invented, developed, and obtained FDA clearance for the first complexed PSA assay.
Paul Allard, COO – Lakeside Life Science
Paul Allard is a Registered Nurse and Cofounder of Lakeside Life Science. Paul saw the need to bring patients back to the foreground of clinical research. He has a proven history of clinical site management as well as a vision to bring academic centers and community centers together to further medical research. Paul manages all day-to-day operations of the company.
Aaron Bailey, Associate Director of Product Management for Mass Spectrometry Services, BGI Americas
Dr. Aaron Bailey is currently Associate Director of Product Management for Mass Spectrometry Services at BGI Americas. He began training in mass spectrometry as a technician in the laboratory of Prof. John R. Yates III at The Scripps Research Institute and then earned his Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the University of Virginia, with the joint mentorship of Prof. Donald F. Hunt and Prof. Daniel R. Foltz. Dr. Bailey joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2013, where he developed intact protein characterization workflows, contributing key technologies for coupling online separations to native MS applications. Currently, Dr. Bailey is responsible for the management and development of the Mass Spectrometry Services portfolio at BGI’s San Jose Mass Spectrometry Center, and continues to focus on developing new technologies for intact mass measurements of “out-of-reach” complex biologic drugs.
Nic Dracopoli, Chief Scientific Officer – Delfi Diagnostics
Nicholas (Nic) Dracopoli, Ph.D. is Chief Scientific Officer at Delfi Diagnostics, a seed stage cancer diagnostics company based in Baltimore, MD. Previously he led oncology translational science teams at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Janssen. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, he spent several years in the biotechnology industry at Sequana Therapeutics. Nic obtained his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of London and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, NY and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA. Subsequently, he served as an Assistant Director at the Whitehead/MIT Genome Center and as a Section Chief at the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health. Nic has authored more than 70 scientific publications and has extensive experience in the fields of genomics, molecular biology and cancer research.
Mark Driscoll, Chief Science Officer – Shoreline Biome
Dr. Mark Driscoll has led and supported teams launching transformative new sequencing innovations globally since 2000, including teams at 454 Life Sciences that launched the GS20, GS FLX, and the GS Junior Next Generation Sequencing systems. Mark has experience leading the development of hardware, software, informatics and reagents supporting transformative NGS technology advancements. As a co-founder and CSO of Shoreline Biome, Mark has been instrumental in the development of their high throughput DNA preparation and rRNA amplicon NGS kits, including the first all-in-one “Shoreline Biome StrainID” 16S-23S long read Amplicon kit and 16S-23S database, that, in combination with the PacBio sequencing system, enables differentiation of closely related bacterial strains using high-throughput, long read rRNA gene sequencing. Dr. Driscoll received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester.
Radoje Drmanac, Chief Science Officer – Complete Genomics
Dr. Radoje (Rade) Drmanac, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Complete Genomics since 2006 and senior vice president of BGI since 2013, is a research scientist and inventor in the field of human genome sequencing including techniques such as DNA sequencing-by-hybridization (SBH), genomic micro- and nanoarrays, combinatorial probe ligation, and long fragment read (LFR) process for accurate whole genome sequencing and haplotyping from 10 human cells. In 1994, he co-founded Hyseq (later Nuvelo) where, as chief scientific officer, he led the effort to discover and patent thousands of genes which formed the basis of Nuvelo’s drug development pipeline. Prior to Hyseq, Rade was a group leader at Argonne National Labs from 1991 to 1994 as part of the Department of Energy’s Human Genome Project. He completed his postdoctoral studies in 1990 in Hans Lehrach’s group at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology for the conception and pioneering development of SBH technology from Belgrade University, where he also received B.S. and M.S. degrees in molecular biology.
Anka Ehrhardt, Science Director, CHDI Foundation
Dr. Ehrhardt is a biophysicist, holding a Ph.D. in physiology. As a leader in technology-based biological research, she is known for driving collaboration and pragmatic innovation. Throughout her career, both in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Ehrhardt has developed and implemented innovative assays to drive programs and achieve results.
Lauren Fitch, Bioinformatician, Program Development Lead – enEvolv
Dr. Lauren Fitch is a bioinformatician and program development lead at enEvolv, a microbial engineering company in Medford, MA. At enEvolv, Dr. Fitch has led the development of a cloud-based third-generation sequencing data analysis pipeline, and the development of a novel method for insertion correction in long read sequencing data. Prior to her work at enEvolv, Lauren was a bioinformatics consultant at Clarivate Analytics for several years, where she worked with clients in large and small pharma and biotech companies to identify novel drug targets, causal networks, and potential drug-drug synergies, using public, client, and proprietary data. She received her PhD in Biology from Northeastern University where she researched drug tolerance in the microbial pathogen M. tuberculosis with Dr. Kim Lewis, followed by a postdoc at Tufts Medical Center studying the mar multiple drug resistance operon in uropathogenic E. coli with Dr. Stuart Levy.
Erin Flynt, Associate Director, Translational Development and Diagnostics – Celgene
Erin Flynt received her BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Georgia, and her PhD in Cancer Biology from Vanderbilt University. Erin is currently an Associate Director in the Multiple Myeloma (MM) Group within Translational Development and Diagnostics (TDD) at Celgene Corporation. Since joining Celgene in January 2016, Erin has led MM Disease projects that focus on patient selection, disease biology, and Translational strategy. Erin leads several large-scale collaborative projects including the Myeloma Genome Project, a Celgene-sponsored collaboration with leading MM academic centers that has defined the genomic landscape of newly- diagnosed MM and identified molecularly-defined high-risk patient and disease segments. A project to define the genomic landscape of relapsed/refractory MM is ongoing. Erin also leads a multi-institute MM Single-cell Consortium that is investigating the biology of resistant MM at the single-cell level, has supported multiple regulatory submissions and communications for the TDD MM group. Prior to Celgene, Erin supported commercial strategy and medical communications for 9 years for multiple brands and indications where she gained knowledge of clinical practice patterns, the MM treatment landscape, strategy, and communication.
Gustav Karlberg, Director of Marketing, Americas, Illumina
Prakriti Mudvari, Associate Bioinformatics Scientist – QIAGEN
Prakriti Mudvari, PhD is an Associate Bioinformatics Scientist with the QIAGEN Bioinformatics Support team. She holds a PhD from the George Washington University. Following her graduate work she performed postdoctoral work at the George Washington University and at the Johns Hopkins University.
Throughout her graduate and post-graduate years, she has worked with various microarray and NGS datasets for identifying genomic alterations, gene expression and epigenetic changes in various cancer types. She has published in various peer-reviewed journals.
She joined QIAGEN as a NGS specialist in April 2016 supporting various. In her current role, she works with customers across academia, pharmaceutical companies and clinical labs in helping them leverage QIAGEN’s bioinformatics applications for their research needs.
Saumya Pant, Director Clinical Genomics and Genetics – Bristol Myers-Squibb
Robert Sebra, Associate Professor – Icahn Institute, Dept. of Genetics & Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai
Robert Sebra, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and leads Technology Development for the Institute for Data Sciences and Genomic Technology. He also leads Sema4 (a Mount Sinai Venture) with technology adoption, and research and development to create high-throughput diagnostics and innovative IP. Dr. Sebra has vast experience in molecular, biochemical, and sequencing technology including surface bioconjugation techniques, lab-on-a-chip platforms, active biomaterials, single-molecule platforms, and the integration of bulk and single cell sequencing technologies for basic science and clinically driven applications. He is a leading expert in sequencing platforms and a pioneer in new approaches for single molecule and single cell assay development. Dr. Sebra has published more than 50 papers in top tier journals, including Science, Cell, Nature, NEJM, and Cancer Discovery, and his work has led to multiple issued patents. Dr. Sebra will continue as the Director of Technology Development at the Icahn Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology and an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Since establishing a team at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Sebra has applied WGS and targeted genomics approach toward a better understanding of genomic variation for higher resolution human disease diagnostics in cancer and inherited disease, alongside infectious disease surveillance using both long- and short-read sequencing techniques. Prior to his work at Sinai, Dr. Sebra was involved in research and development contributing to single molecule real-time long read sequencing technology and applications at Pacific Biosciences after receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering at University of Colorado, Boulder.
Clint Valentine, Director of Computational Biology – TwinStrand Biosciences
Clint Valentine is a Director of Computational Biology at TwinStrand Biosciences where he manages the software development lifecycle, software services, and bioinformatics analysis as related to error-corrected sequencing data and interpretation. His interests lie in pioneering new computational methods to interrogate mutation biology as well as early carcinogenesis. He studied at Northeastern University where he earned his master’s degree in Bioinformatics before joining the Essigmann Lab at MIT. At MIT, he co-developed methods for applying the ultra-high accuracy Duplex Sequencing technology to study how mutations form in vivo mere weeks after exposure to a carcinogen, ushering in a new field of genetic toxicology. Since 2017, Valentine has been extending Duplex Sequencing technology for novel applications in areas of high sensitivity early (and residual) cancer detection, evolution of drug resistance, forensics, and many other fields.
Martin Zillman, Chief Operating Officer – Pillar Bioscience
Dr. Zillmann received his Ph.D. from Rice University in biochemistry and joined the biotech workforce in the early 90’s amid the genomic revolution. As a member of pioneering companies such as Hybridon, Variagenics (acquired by HiSeq), and IQuum (acquired by Roche), Dr. Zillmann worked in the areas of nucleic acid diagnostics and therapeutics when the concepts of Pharmacogenomics = Personalized Medicine and Companion Diagnostics were developed. More recently, he spent 10 years at Millipore (later MillioreSigma) as Head of Technology Scouting, responsible for identifying and accessing innovative technologies for the Processing Solutions business. Currently, Dr. Zillmann is COO at Pillar Biosciences, a biotech company focused on developing custom and pre-configured sample-to-result RUO workflows and IVD assays, primarily in the area of oncology, leveraging NGS technology and Pillar’s proprietary primer design, library preparation, and analytical pipeline technologies.