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Posted: September 16, 2009
BioNanomatrix Appoints Genomic Research Experts Charles Lee and David L Baker as Advisors
(Nanowerk News) BioNanomatrix, Inc., a developer of breakthrough nanoscale technologies for biomedical research, molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine, today announced that Dr. Charles Lee and Dr. David L. Barker have joined the company’s advisory team. Dr. Lee is a pioneer in the field of structural genomic variation working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. Dr. Barker, the former chief scientific officer at Illumina, Inc., has had a distinguished career spearheading the development and commercialization of innovative tools for life sciences research.
“The additions of Charles Lee and David Barker to our advisory team mark an important step in BioNanomatrix’s transition from a development stage to a commercial company,” said Michael Boyce-Jacino, Ph.D., chief executive officer of BioNanomatrix. “Our platform has the potential to revolutionize the analysis of structural genomic variation, and there is no one more knowledgeable to help guide our efforts in this field than Dr. Lee. Similarly, Dr. Barker’s three decades of experience in successfully commercializing highly innovative life sciences technologies will be very valuable as we prepare for market introduction of our single-molecule whole genome imaging and analysis platform. We welcome these outstanding individuals to our advisory team and look forward to working with them to advance our product development programs.”
Dr. Lee is currently the director of cytogenetics for the Harvard Cancer Center , an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a cross-appointment as an adjunct associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong . Dr. Lee received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University and at Harvard Medical School . He has authored over 100 publications in leading scientific journals and is an associate editor for the American Journal of Human Genetics. Dr. Lee serves on numerous committees—he is the chair of the American Society of Human Genetics Program Committee, founding principal investigator of the Genomic Structural Variation Consortium and co-chair of the Structural Genomic Variation Analysis group for the 1000 Genomes Project, an ambitious consortium that is sequencing the genomes of as many as two thousand people from around the world to create the most detailed and medically useful picture to date of human genomic variation (www.1000genomes.org).
“The more we learn about the human genome, the greater our appreciation of the key role that structural variation plays in disease and health,” said Dr. Lee. “The whole genome imaging and analysis platform being developed by BioNanomatrix is uniquely well-suited to identifying important structural variations in the genome and to producing high resolution maps of these variations. This technology has the potential to help accelerate genomic research, and I look forward to working with BioNanomatrix to ensure that it is optimally useful to researchers.”
Dr. Lee’s laboratory was one of two groups to discover the widespread presence of structural variation (in the form of copy number variants, or CNVs) in the genome, and the Genomic Structural Variation Consortium that he helped to establish subsequently published a first generation CNV map for the human genome. Dr. Lee has received many awards, including the Inaugural Team Award from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2007 for “the landmark discovery of recurrent gene fusions in prostate cancer.” In the following year, he became the youngest-ever recipient of the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, characterized as the “Korean Nobel Prize,” for his pioneering work in human genomic variation.
Dr. David Barker formerly was vice president and chief scientific officer at Illumina, Inc., where he played a major role in the development and successful commercial launch of a succession of innovative research technologies. Since its founding in 1998, Illumina has been a leader in the commercialization of novel technologies for the analysis of genomic variation and function. Dr. Barker currently is a member of Illumina’s Scientific Advisory Board and also serves on the board of directors of a number of life sciences companies. Prior to Illumina, Dr. Barker was vice president and chief science advisor at Amersham Biosciences, now part of General Electric. Previously, Dr. Barker held senior positions, including vice president of research and business development, at Molecular Dynamics, Inc.
“BioNanomatrix is developing a novel nanoscale approach that leverages its proprietary semiconductor technology to enable important genomic analyses that are currently not feasible,” said Dr. Barker. “The technology could be very valuable as a research tool and ultimately, for routine use in clinical medicine applications. I welcome the opportunity to work with the BioNanomatrix team as they move towards commercializing this potentially game-changing technology.”
Earlier in his career, Dr. Barker was an assistant professor at the University of Oregon and an associate professor at Oregon State University. Dr. Barker holds a B.S. with honors from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School
BioNanomatrix is developing breakthrough nanoscale whole genome imaging and analytic platforms for applications in biomedical research, genetic diagnostics and personalized medicine. The company is applying its expertise in nanochips, nanodevices and nanosystems to develop its patented platform technology to provide fast, comprehensive, and low-cost analysis of genomic, epigenomic and proteomic information with sensitivity at the single-molecule level. Its current development efforts include a NIST-ATP funded project to sequence the human genome at a cost of $100. The company also receives funding from the National Institutes of Health. BioNanomatrix’s technologies are licensed exclusively from Princeton University. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.