Dede Willis, President & CEO and Board Member

Dede Willis has over 25 years of international leadership  experience in start-ups and turn-arounds. She is on the Board of Directors of Panion Animal Health AB, a Swedish animal health company. Prior to co-founding Orbit Genomics, she was co-founder and COO of Boulder Diagnostics Inc, whose technology was acquired by Oxford Immunotec in 2014. Prior to that, she was CEO or COO of numerous life science start-ups in the US and Germany. She has expertise in strategic planning & execution, product development from concept to commercialization, capital build outs including CLIA laboratories and cGMP manufacturing, FDA and CE Marking regulatory processes for drugs & devices, as well as sales & marketing. Dede spent the first 15 years of her career with the former Hoechst Group (now Sanofi, Celanese and DuPont) where she worked in several corporate start-ups in the U.S. and Germany. Her last position with the Hoechst Group was President and CEO of a $100 million coatings subsidiary. Dede has a B.Sc. Degree in Chemical engineering from Clemson University and an MBA from the University of Houston.

Harold “Skip” Garner, Chief Scientific Officer and Board Member

Harold “Skip” Garner is the inventor of Orbit Genomics’ platform technology. He has a corporate and academic background as a physicist, engineer and biomedical researcher. He is currently Executive Director, Primary Care Research Network and the Center for Bioinformatics and Genetics and Professor of Biomedicine at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). He is a serial entrepreneur and has held multiple founder, board and advisor positions in the biotech industry, including Light Biology which was acquired by Nimblegen and subsequently Roche and BIoAutomation. He is an adviser and reviewer for various US and international government agencies, publishers and journals. He has contributed to 10 books, has over 200 peer reviewed publications and has over 30 issued and pending patents. Skip has a B.Sc. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Missouri, an M.Sc. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics from the University of Wisconsin.

Randy Berholtz, General Counsel

Randy Berholtz has more than 25 years of experience as an executive and general counsel to public and private life science companies.  He also has over 15 years experience as an angel and venture capital investor into seed and early stage life science companies.  His experience includes advising on various corporate, financing, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, collaborations, patents, trademarks and litigation for companies in the genomics, diagnostics, therapeutics, device and other related healthcare fields.  He worked for large law firms in New York and San Diego and was the general counsel for Nanogen, Inc. (Nasdaq), the ACON group of Chinese and life science companies, (Apricus Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq), Convalo, Inc. (Toronto Venture Exchange) and for Innovus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC Markets).  He is also a Senior Advisor to Mesa Verde Venture Partners, a San Diego-based venture capital fund and is on the board of directors if Life on Earth, Inc. (OTC Markets).  He is a graduate of Cornell University, Yale University Law School, Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar) and the University of San Diego School of Business.

Deborah Johnson, Laboratory Director

Deb Johnson is board-certified in anatomic, clinical, and forensic pathology and a fellow in the American Society of Clinical Pathology, the College of American Pathologists, the National Association of Medical Examiners, and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Following a forensic pathology fellowship at the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque, she has been employed for 25 years in various jurisdictions and types of forensic practice in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, New York, and New Zealand. A Vietnam-era veteran, she served in the USAF as a space systems analyst and analytical chemist (including analyzing moon rocks). She holds both a BS (Texas Tech) and MS (U. of Colo) in chemistry. After taking a few years off to start a family, she received an MD with Honors from CU’s School of Medicine. A 5-yr residency at CU included a fellowship year in pediatric pathology at The Children’s Hospital. In 2003 she founded her own private autopsy and forensic consulting firm and in that capacity served for ten years as the CLIA Medical Director for Chematox Lab in Boulder.

Sarah Urfer, Director of Laboratory Operations

Sarah received her B.A. in Biochemistry, with a minor in Chemistry, from the University of Colorado Boulder and an M.S. in Forensic Science from the University of Illinois Chicago. She is a board certified Diplomate of The American Board of Forensic Toxicology (D-ABFT-FT). After the completion of her M.S., Sarah was hired by ChemaTox Laboratory, Inc. where she became the Laboratory Director and in 2009, she purchased ChemaTox. Under her leadership, ChemaTox went on to gain lab certification for High Complexity Testing through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), in addition to maintaining Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment certification for drug and alcohol testing in all four offered categories of certification and was a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) registered lab for all controlled substances. Sarah and Dede Willis first met and worked together when Boulder Diagnostics, Inc. leased space and services from ChemaTox Laboratory. Through the collaboration, Boulder Diagnostics was able to have its laboratory testing operational in three months.

Nicholas Kinney, Director of Bioinformatics

Nick Kinney has spent over ten years working in a variety of fields from biomarker discovery to polymer physics. Along the way Nick gained experience with high performance computing, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, molecular dynamics simulation, and data science. Nick joined the Garner lab in 2016 with the goal of better understanding the human repeatome; i.e. genomic dark matter. Since then, he has discovered new candidate biomarkers for medulloblastoma, breast cancer, and Lung cancer. In addition to biomarker discovery, Nick has a special interest in population structure, ethnicity, and ancestry which could expedite Orbit’s discovery pipeline. Nick’s unpublished work brings another layer of sophistication to the OrbiSeq platform; in particular, using neural networks to predict disease state from blood samples. Nick’s broad expertise has been cultivated alongside an array of skills bolstered by working with small teams. As part data scientist, statistician, back-end engineer, and programmer; Nick is well-equipped to make a breakthrough.

Kyle Caltrider, Director of Quality and IT

Kyle has over a decade of combined experience in life sciences, quality management, and research and development. He began his journey with an undergraduate degree in molecular, cellular, & developmental biology coupled with embryonic development research at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Along with years of quality assurance and research experience, Kyle has studied as a full stack web developer combining data science with backend and frontend development. Kyle has worked as a forensic & analytical chemist and ran the method development department for the clinical and forensic toxicology laboratory ChemaTox Laboratory, Inc. He worked for Boulder Diagnostics as a research scientist where he contributed to developing novel cell-based assays for the detection of pathogens and disease states. He has also operated the quality and research & development departments for a Colorado based contract manufacturing company with a range of product specializations and consults on the development of quality systems for analytical testing laboratories.