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They’re reimagining what’s possible, reducing healthcare disparities, pushing genetic testing forward and bringing more medical innovation to more patients than ever before. Meet the faces changing the face of healthcare and the stories behind Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies honor.
Dr. Alan Stolier is a surgical oncologist at the internationally recognized Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans. He also teaches at Tulane University. Stolier’s approach to innovation always has involved questioning the status quo. He believes patient-centric innovation requires intense collaboration. For more than 20 years, Alan has worked with Myriad Genetics to push the frontiers of precision medicine.
Dr. Holly Pederson is the director of Medical Breast Services at Cleveland Clinic. She teaches actively, enjoys clinical research and writing, and has a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, but what she is most passionate about is patient care – helping individuals by creating care plans that make sense, and giving the patient a sense of control when it comes to decisions surrounding hereditary cancer risk. Dr. Pederson is committed to saving lives and making a meaningful impact in the legacy of families.
A true innovator with a passion for taking care of patients, Dr. Lincoln Nadauld has spent his career working with DNA sequencing to research, discover and implement novel treatments that improve healthcare outcomes for patients with cancer.
Senior Vice President, Bioinformatics-Biostatistics
Alexander leads a team of researchers: biostatisticians, data scientist and computational biologists. The team works alongside laboratory scientists, clinical researchers, computer scientists, medical
Alexander leads a team of researchers: biostatisticians, data scientist and computational biologists. The team works alongside laboratory scientists, clinical researchers, computer scientists, medical specialists, and many others to advance the science of precision medicine.
Alexander joined Myriad Genetics 26 years ago. While at Myriad, Alexander and his team have been involved in the research and development of novel diagnostic tests. One such test: Prolaris®, is the first genetic test designed to determine the aggressiveness of a patient’s prostate cancer. Since the commercial launch of Prolaris, thousands of patients in concert with their doctor have been able to select less aggressive treatment options for their cancer, such as active surveillance, rather than going through unnecessary treatment that frequently results in severe, long-lasting side effects.
Developing new precision medicine tests can be a very complex process that involves several moving parts. It takes years of research and collaboration with many teams within Myriad and with research partners at academic institutions and healthcare organizations around the world.
Alexander enjoys incorporating cutting edge science to develop new precision medicine tests to help hundreds of thousand patients make important decisions critical to their health. Working closely with many talented and friendly colleagues is another rewarding part of his everyday work at Myriad.
Senior Vice President, Research & Development; Interim Chief Scientific Officer
Listening closely to the voice of customers, Dale works with internal and external stakeholders to progress toward standardizing an accessible and equitable level of care across the healthcare spectru
Listening closely to the voice of customers, Dale works with internal and external stakeholders to progress toward standardizing an accessible and equitable level of care across the healthcare spectrum. He drives innovative projects to figure out what new endeavors Myriad can explore and drives efficiencies across current innovations, ensuring that they make it into the labs.
Dale Muzzey came to work at Myriad Genetics to have a direct impact on people’s lives while working at the intersection of cutting-edge science. He worked intensively on expanded carrier screening and noninvasive prenatal screening, adding important, actionable conditions to screens that help more families make informed health decisions. He values the voice of customer – some of the most useful insights have come through offhand clinician remarks – as a tool to innovate on transformative products for reproductive health, crafting them to be faster, better, cleaner, and more efficient. He has also worked on many publications that led to increased insurance coverage for genetic screening.
Dale is proud to work alongside caring, smart, motivated people that share his enthusiasm and vision to help patients understand their genetics better.
Read more about the prenatal products that Dale worked closely on: Foresight and Prequel
Director, Research Biostatistics
A statistician that spends her day analyzing and visualizing data, Elisha is a driving force for reducing healthcare disparities in precision medicine. She is largely responsible for creating the most
A statistician that spends her day analyzing and visualizing data, Elisha is a driving force for reducing healthcare disparities in precision medicine. She is largely responsible for creating the most innovative and accurate breast cancer risk assessment in healthcare.
Working in genetics is the perfect fit for Elisha. After receiving a formal education in computer science and mathematics, with emphasis in probability, she spent most of her career investigating methods for conducting hypothesis tests in situations where classical methods don’t apply. As an innovator that illuminates the boundary of science, she works to develop new statistical approaches that have never been seen in precision medicine.
Elisha credits her success to having the privilege of working with talented teams of biostatisticians, biologists, geneticists, and computer scientists—one of the many reasons she was drawn to Myriad Genetics. When Elisha first interviewed for a position at Myriad Genetics, nearly twelve years ago, she met with many of the same team members that she still works with today. Elisha knew immediately that she wanted to work with the brilliant teams of scientists who were translating genetic discoveries into clinical practice in order to help improve people’s lives.
Several years back, Elisha and team realized there were large volumes of literature demonstrating that polygenic scores are important to explain genetic breast cancer risk. The idea behind polygenic scores is that genetic risk for breast cancer can be explained by variants across the genome, rather than a mutation in a single gene. However, a large problem with polygenic literature was that the vast majority of studies were based on women of European ancestry, making it difficult to have equity with these breast cancer risk assessments.
Elisha spent years advancing the science of these breast cancer risk assessments to develop a new way of thinking about polygenic risk and a novel methodology that is accurate for all women, regardless of ancestry. Thanks to her dedication to making this assessment equitable, thousands of women have been able to understand their individual risk of breast cancer. Today, healthcare providers can more accurately identify women who are likely to benefit from increased breast cancer screening, and those who can safely forego increased surveillance.
Learn more about MyRisk with RiskScore
Vice President, Product Development
Working with a team of automation engineers and molecular scientists, Helen leverages technology to improve genetic testing. Her contributions to producing results faster, at a lower cost, and with hi
Working with a team of automation engineers and molecular scientists, Helen leverages technology to improve genetic testing. Her contributions to producing results faster, at a lower cost, and with higher quality – think “lab of the future” – help improve care for a larger population of patients.
Helen Wan has always been interested in how to leverage technology to help people. She came to Myriad Genetics to marry her background of biomedical engineering with the world of genetic testing. She collaborates with research and development, operations, software engineering, clinical scientists, and the commercial team to ensure that Myriad products deliver important, accurate, actionable information to customers so they can take action to improve their lives.
Helen has worked primarily on automating and bringing the best manufacturing plant processes into the genetics laboratory setting. She was instrumental in creating a fully integrated, lights out automated system that runs 24/7 – one that can put patient samples on one end and get vials of material ready to sequence from the other end. This has led to high quality, consistent results in less time, leading to higher levels of service excellence and patient satisfaction.
Read more about Helen’s achievements as an award-winning transformational leader.
Learn more about Myriad’s fully automated lab: Lab of the Future
Chief Technology Officer
Leading the technology organization and collaborating with counterparts across the organization, Kevin strategizes innovative approaches to how we run our labs and how we empower and celebrate researc
Leading the technology organization and collaborating with counterparts across the organization, Kevin strategizes innovative approaches to how we run our labs and how we empower and celebrate research. He applies engineering sophistication to how we approach improving the patient and provider experience.
Kevin Haas came to Myriad Genetics to harness his chemical engineering and biophysics skills and apply them to the real world. When he first started at the company, recreational testing was popular, but relatively few people knew about the clinical benefits of genetics. The engineering sophistication he has worked on at Myriad has helped to expand the quality, capability, and accuracy of products. Tests are increasingly able to detect more with better accuracy, at a faster rate, and at a lower cost, contributing to recognition of genetic testing as the next frontier in precision medicine.
The creation of software to support lab automation has led to a fully automated lab where hundreds of robots orchestrate themselves to do most sample processing, freeing humans to work on refinement and new product advancement, rather than physical manipulation. This represents the evolution and adoption of the industrialization of genetics.
Read more about Kevin, a PM360 2021 tech-know geek award recipient.
Learn more about Myriad’s fully automated lab: Lab of the Future and Walter Gilbert Center for Innovation
Senior Vice President, Biomarker Discovery
From spending several years working on the Human Genome Project to profiling a person’s tumor to match it with targeted therapies, Kirsten’s work in human genetics has made her one of the more res
From spending several years working on the Human Genome Project to profiling a person’s tumor to match it with targeted therapies, Kirsten’s work in human genetics has made her one of the more respected researchers in the industry.
Since joining Myriad Genetics in 1998, the average day for Kirsten is filled between leading a team of lab researchers that are either working on research projects or running production assays for patient samples. She handles several meetings with pharmaceutical partners to discuss clinical trials, along with integrating herself into cross functional teams to ensure that tests have the appropriate regulatory approvals. Quite often, Kirsten has conversations with physicians when they have questions about test results or how a test works.
One of Kirsten’s most important projects has been her work with the MyChoice CDx test and the development of its original assay. MyChoice CDx is a tumor test currently used in ovarian cancer, where the tumor’s genome is sequenced to determine if it has certain flaws in pathways of its cells. According to Kirsten, finding these pathways can help the patient become a candidate for more targeted therapies, and helps oncologists select the right treatment to improve outcomes. With Kirsten’s dedication to advancing the MyChoice CDx test, her hope is that the future will allow for this test to be used in other types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
Kirsten loves working on the science, and she finds it exciting and inspiring. She enjoys working at Myriad Genetics because of the philosophy that the patient should always come first, and she sees that philosophy every day, as it’s not just of something people at Myriad say.
“Since I’ve been here [at Myriad] I see this innovation every day, we continue to innovate. There is encouragement and support to pursue difficult scientific questions, important scientific questions, to take risks, which you need to do in science if you want to discover anything new. I think the team that we have here is innovative and collaborative, which is crucial.”
Learn more about MyChoice CDx
As a scientist, every day for Rebecca is a new adventure. One minute she is researching new variants in genes that impact drug metabolism and the next minute, working with laboratory teams on making s
As a scientist, every day for Rebecca is a new adventure. One minute she is researching new variants in genes that impact drug metabolism and the next minute, working with laboratory teams on making suggestions for new assays.
Partnering with several departments is imperative for Rebecca’s line of work. In addition to working with medical information teams, she partners with people in laboratory R&D to help integrate new genes to be analyzed by the GeneSight test. The only constant that remains is Rebecca’s dedication to improving GeneSight, so more patients can benefit from its genetic insights.
Rebecca is devoted to the complex science that goes into GeneSight. The test works by assessing how a patient’s DNA allows them to metabolize medications used to treat various mental health conditions. The output of the assessment aids clinicians in understanding how their patient may metabolize certain medications differently than expected. If a clinician knows their patient’s metabolizer status, they can more appropriately choose and dose medications.
A passion for genetics started when Rebecca took her first course in college and continued ever since. Rebecca enjoys working at Myriad Genetics, because she can combine her passion for genetics in patient healthcare, along with a skillset in bioinformatics and pharmacology. Her most recent work was with a new advancement to GeneSight, the inclusion of medications used to treat ADHD. As such, the improved test includes measuring variants in the genes SAS1 and ADRA2A to help categorize medications used to treat ADHD.
Learn more about GeneSight
Director, Product Research & Development
Focusing on publication strategies to support the introduction of new products, Summer strives to give people a common language to communicate about the complexity of genetic testing. She works on pro
Focusing on publication strategies to support the introduction of new products, Summer strives to give people a common language to communicate about the complexity of genetic testing. She works on product improvements like improved reporting so people can more easily understand test results and make appropriate decisions, enhancing bonds between patients and their healthcare providers.
Summer Pierson was a clinical genetic counselor for ten years prior to joining Myriad. She draws on her clinical experience to enhance her current role directing product research and development, striving to normalize the availability of genetic information, and fostering provider and patient understanding of the role of genetic testing in healthcare. She invests her time in publication strategy, examining existing data, uncovering knowledge gaps, and collaborating with various internal and external stakeholders in the research and clinical space to resolve those gaps.
Summer’s work plays a key role in communicating the clinical impact of products and product features, for example, helping people understand abstract things about noninvasive prenatal screening in a tangible way. She also engages external partners in advisory boards to glean insights for workflow improvement, helping to transform the data generated by the assay into information that can be readily used by providers and patients.
Read more about Prequel, our noninvasive prenatal screening product that Summer worked on.
Director/Scientist, Diagnostic Development
A natural leader that has overseen several life-changing genetic tests in hereditary cancer from the ground floor to commercialization, Thad has seen it all from working on DNA.
A natural leader that has overseen several life-changing genetic tests in hereditary cancer from the ground floor to commercialization, Thad has seen it all from working on DNA.
When Thad first started working in clinical human genetics, the human genome had yet to be sequenced. All the early work spent on identifying genes and trying to figure out how to test them was significantly more complicated nearly two decades ago. “Since then, the usage of human genetics in a clinical setting has expanded significantly. The technologies have changed quite a bit, too.” Thad remembers initially doing work on slab gel sequencers, then over the course of his career moving everything to capillary, and then to next-generation sequencing.
Most of Thad’s time at Myriad Genetics has been spent on helping identify new genes that were associated with hereditary cancer syndromes and designing tests around them. A large project that he worked on was making improvements to a test called BRACanalysis CDx, where his team was heavily involved with the early testing and initial FDA submission of the BRACAnalysis CDx, a test that identifies patients with either a BRCA1/2 mutation, which makes it possible to utilize targeted therapy to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells. Testing for BRCA1/2 with BRACAnalysis CDx allows therapy to be personalized based on the biology of a patient.
On a personal level, Thad appreciates and values the variety of what he can do at Myriad Genetics. From chemistry development through collaborative work with other teams, he loves being able to see from start to finish what the clinical impact is going to look like once a test is launched.
Learn more about BRACAnalysis CDx
Myriad Genetics has created a state-of-the art Lab of the Future to analyze genetic test results and deliver more timely, accurate results to healthcare providers and patients. This 13,000 square-foot facility, which processes clinical samples, is now one of the most advanced and genome centers in the world, resulting from eight years of research, engineering, construction, and optimization. The lab’s advanced robotics and instrumentation were customized by Myriad engineers — processing thousands of clinical samples every day.
A typical running work cell is made up of 300 instruments and 500 software programs. Automated safeguards and redundancies are built into the system to prevent delays in delivering information to patients and providers. The facility is equipped with automated liquid handling and waste treatment capabilities which reduce plastic waste and create a more environmentally sustainable lab.
Myriad Genetics is expanding its lab of the future in South San Francisco to the new Nexus on Grand biotech center slated for completion next year. The new Myriad facility will be named the “Walter Gilbert Research and Innovation Center” in recognition of Dr. Gilbert’s pioneering scientific work in precision medicine. Dr. Gilbert is a Myriad co-founder and retired board member who won the Nobel Prize for contributions to the development of DNA sequencing.
The new lab incorporates advanced robotics, data analytics and instrumentation customized to process clinical samples and deliver timely results. Myriad plans to extend these capabilities and make additional investments in its Salt Lake City and Mason, OH labs.
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Surgeon, Center for Restorative Breast Surgery
According to Dr. Alan Stolier, “Clinicians play a pivotal role in the process of innovation. They need to identify the problems that they and their patients are struggling with.” With more than 35 years of experience in surgical oncology. Dr. Stolier’s interest in genetic testing was piqued when the BRCA genes were sequenced in the early 1990s.
“My phone was ringing way too often with calls from women concerned about breast cancer and wanting to know how to fight it. All those women, I had to have something to offer them,” says Stolier. “We didn’t have a gene test. I looked around New Orleans and no one was ordering it. So, I got involved with Myriad at a critical time.”
Fast forward and Stolier is still committed to forging relationships and increasing access to genetic testing. For years, Dr. Stolier has served as an advisor to Nicole Lambert, Chief Operating Officer of Myriad Genetics. “When it comes to innovation and healthcare, you can’t go it alone. And it’s because of leaders like Alan who challenge conventional thinking and share our passion to empower every individual with potentially life-changing genetic insights. It has made a big difference in my work and in my life.”
As Dr. Stolier sees it, continuous innovation in healthcare demands that clinicians play an active role in the process of innovation. “They need to identify the problems that they and their patients are struggling with.” Then, he adds, they need to help co-create the solutions.
“You can’t bottle innovation up in large academic health systems and research centers alone. We need to expand access and bring genetic insights to the community.”
Director of Medical Breast Services at Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Holly Pederson was an early adopter of Myriad Genetics' multigene panel that went beyond testing BRCA1 and BRCA2, diving into more genes that were responsible for hereditary cancer risk. She teamed up with Myriad in 2015 to spread a shared vision for education around genetic awareness and about the multigene panel.
Dr. Pederson had worked on research related to the idea of polygenic risk score (PRS), a weighted summation of the risk that is attributed to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), providing risk stratification both for people who carry genetic mutations and those who don't. This information helps a woman make personalized, individualized decisions about her risk, such as additional MRI screening or further intervention.
Recently, Dr. Pederson collaborated with Myriad on an innovative project around the development of MyRisk with RiskScore for all ancestries. She was part of a working group collaborating with experts across the country to recalibrate PRS from European women to be applicable to women of non-European descent. The project, largely statistical in nature, showed that combined polygenic risk score based on a woman's genetic makeup is more accurate than risk based on reported genetic makeup and that the allelic frequency of different SNPs differs by ancestry and must be accounted for. This work provided a much more accurate PRS for non-European populations, recalibrating the assessment and improving discrimination between high and low risk women.
Working closely with lab scientists, clinical researchers, biostatisticians, and clinicians, Dr. Pederson played a key role in engaging with experts all over the country. Her strategies for success start with being around smart people who believe in collaboration and communication.
Read more about MyRisk about RiskScore for all ancestries
Vice President and Chief, Academics at Intermountain Health Care
As a practicing physician, in addition to his role as chief of Precision Health at Intermountain Healthcare, Dr. Nadauld continues to see patients and supervise academic research programs that focus on precision oncology. He is passionate about meaningful innovations that directly affect patients and improve healthcare outcomes.
Since joining Intermountain Healthcare in 2013, Dr. Nadauld has researched and implemented successful targeted therapies, enabling patients with cancer live longer, healthier lives. He believes innovation requires collaboration with other leading industry partners. Dr. Nadauld has played an important role in the creation of Precise Oncology Solutions, part of a partnership between Myriad Genetics and Intermountain Healthcare. As a result, physicians will be able to receive more comprehensive insights about their patient’s inherited DNA, driving more personalized treatment plans.
“There is nothing quite like this partnership on the market. It is extraordinarily innovative, and patients will be able to immediately benefit from this new offering.” - Dr. Nadauld.
Read more the Intermountain/Illumina press release