Management

Stephen Albert Johnston, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer

Dr. Johnston co-founded HealthTell in 2010 with Dr. Neal Woodbury. Their goal was to translate the inventions/innovations they developed in diagnosis and peptide chip production to transform healthcare. Johnston co-directs with Woodbury the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) at the Biodesign Institute. CIM is unique in its focus on inventing disruptive technologies in biomedicine. The mission is to contribute to the transformation of medicine through technologies that allow prevention, early detection and new therapeutic treatment of disease. Toward this goal CIM is focusing on developing three of his inventions. One project is to create a universal, preventative cancer vaccine. A second, based on immunosignaturing, which is a core technology for HealthTell, is to develop a system for continuous, comprehensive, cheap health monitoring. The third is based on an invention, synbodies, for making new therapeutics and targeted anti-infectives.

Johnston largely focuses on invention. He was inventor/ co-inventor of pathogen derived resistance, mitochondrial transformation, TEV protease system, the gene gun, gene immunization, expression library immunization, linear expression elements, synbodies and immunosignaturing. He was professor and director of the Center for Biomedical Inventions at UT-Southwestern Medical Center and Professor of Biology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University before moving to ASU. He has started 3 companies, Eliance (now Macrogenics), HealthTell and Synbody Biotechnology.

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Neal Woodbury, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Neal Woodbury is an advocate of interdisciplinary science as a means of providing researchers greater vision in addressing real-world problems. His body of published work includes more than 110 published articles, studies and patents. He had been a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Biophysics Panel for the past year; the NSF IGERT Panel; and an associate editor of Photochemistry and Photobiology. He has served as the Director of the Photosynthesis Center at ASU and is an active member of the American Chemical Society, Biophysical Society and American Photobiology Society. Dr. Woodbury is currently co-Director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University as well as a faculty associate in the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics. He is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and also works on programs to develop energy research in collaboration with the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Dr. Woodbury was one of the conceptual founders of the Biodesign Institute and has served as the Director of the Center for BioOptical Nanotechnology, Deputy Director as well as the Chief Scientific Officer in the past. He coordinates multigroup efforts that address major problems in Health, Energy and National Security. For most of his career, he has studied the biophysical and spectroscopic properties of energy and electron transfer in photosynthetic pigments. Over the past ten years, he has also worked on high-throughput patterned chemical synthesis and the development of molecular libraries using such techniques. In 2010, Dr. Woodbury co-founded HealthTell alongside Dr. Stephen A. Johnston.

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Bill W. Colston, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Bill Colston was previously the CEO and scientific founder of QuantaLife Inc.™, a successful biotechnology startup company. QuantaLife developed the most accurate genetic analysis system in the world, now sold internationally (droplet digital PCR™). Dr. Colston raised multiple rounds of private funding, moving from concept to manufactured product in a fraction of the time of comparable companies in this space. QuantaLife grew exponentially during his tenure, from the four scientific founders during the inception in 2008 to over sixty employees by the time it was sold to BioRad in 2011. Prior to QuantaLife, Dr. Colston worked within the University of California (UC) National Labs for almost 20 years, ultimately serving in multiple different senior leadership roles. A prolific scientific writer and inventor, he has authored numerous publications and patents. Dr. Colston received his BS in biology from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1989 and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Davis, in 1997.

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Kathryn F. Sykes, Ph.D.
Vice President of Research

Dr. Sykes brings to HealthTell more than 20 years of experience inventing and developing innovative molecular and chemical technologies to manipulate the immune system toward better health. As a Research Professor in Medicine at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, she developed new recombinant-DNA technologies and vaccine discovery approaches. These technologies were used as the basis for launching her first biotechnology company in 2001, Eliance, subsequently acquired by MacroGenics. As Director of Research at Macrogenics, Inc. she implemented the high-throughput, synthetic methods for genetic engineering and the empirical, yet combinatorial approach to antigen discovery. Her team of ~20 scientists identified lists of protective antigens for a number of biothreat and commercially relevant pathogens.

In 2005 she was recruited to a new translational-research center, The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, as an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences. She grew a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative team that explored innovative molecular and immunological technologies to enable the development of better vaccines against both infectious and chronic diseases. While these innovations were initially centered on vaccine discovery, Dr. Sykes’ team has since adapted these and others for applications spanning from diagnostics, to gene gun engineering, to crystallography. In 2010, she co-founded SynBuild, LLC, a gene synthesis company. Dr. Sykes received her B.S. in Biology and Economics in from Duke University, her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Duke University Medical Center, and post doc’ed in Genetics and Medicine at University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. She has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and holds 23 patents and patent applications.

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David Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President of Operations

Dr. David Smith has more than 15 years commercialization and operations experience in the life science industry in both startup and established companies including Complete Genomics, Codon Devices, Roche/454 Life Sciences, and Affymetrix.  With a focus on process development, product development, and operational scale up, David has a demonstrated capability in transforming technology from feasibility to commercial readiness and sustainable growth.  David received his BS in chemistry from the North Central College in Naperville, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ..

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Ted Tarasow, Ph.D.
Vice President, Product Development

Ted has 20 years of experience in the biotechnology industry establishing and directing innovative research as well as developing and commercializing technologies and products.  At HealthTell, Ted is responsible for establishing development strategies and performance specifications, developing robust technology platforms, and executing regulatory compliant development of new HealthTell products as well as introduction of these products into commercial laboratory settings.  Prior to joining HealthTell, Ted held senior management positions at Tethys Bioscience, a diagnostic company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing multianalyte tests for cardiometabolic disease risk stratification.  Most recently at Tethys, Ted was Senior Vice President responsible for all R&D and product development efforts.  Prior to Tethys, Ted was Director of the Biosecurity and Nanosciences Laboratory at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a 60 person R&D organization focused on translating basic science discoveries and capabilities into advances for biosecurity.  Ted was also a founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Invenux Incorporated, a drug discovery and development company and held research and development positions at NeXstar Pharmaceuticals and Replidyne.  Ted received his B.S. in Chemistry from California Polytechnic State University, Summa Cum Laude, and his PhD in Organic Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute.

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Board of Directors

Stephen Albert Johnston, Ph.D.
Neal Woodbury, Ph.D.
Bill W. Colston, Ph.D.

Executive Team

Bill W. Colston, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Kathryn F. Sykes, Ph.D.
Vice President of Research
David Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President of Operations
Ted Tarasow, Ph.D.
Vice President, Product Development