Aperiomics Names New VP of Research & Development
News Nov 21, 2015
Aperiomics has named Yuan Chen, PhD, as its new vice president of Research and Development.
Dr. Chen has received his PhD from the Chinese Academy of Science and recently completed a post-doctorate research fellowship at Duke University Health System.
He has authored and co-authored 14 articles for professional journals and has a special interest in high-throughput automated Next- generation sequencing, data analysis, personalized medicine, disease related variants, machine learning and big data.
While he comes from a background in academia, Dr. Chen says he found this position to be especially appealing since “I like to work on things that help people. Research is very important, but it is often more remote and takes longer to see results in ways that affect people’s daily lives.” He is also excited by Aperiomics’ big market potential across industry segments. “This is still an early-stage start-up company, but our business can play a significant role in the areas of human health, food safety, agriculture, and through monitoring animal populations for outbreak control.”
Coincidently, Dr. Chen shared a mentor at Duke with his new boss. Aperiomics CEO Crystal Icenhour, PhD, was a senior research fellow at Duke working with the same mentor nine years earlier. It was when she recently gave a post-doctoral retreat presentation about career paths for young scientists at Janelia Research Campus that Dr. Chen heard about her from his wife who had attended the program.
According to Dr. Icenhour, “Dr. Chen brings an outstanding bioinformatics capability, pathogen knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to Aperiomics. He complements our scientific team and adds a new level of enthusiasm for our technologies that are crucial for success as he leads our R&D efforts forward.”
Based in Sterling, VA, Aperiomics was founded in October 2013 as a spinoff from the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Sterling. The company combines genomics and informatics in an innovative way to produce faster and more accurate results than culture-based or even other molecular-based diagnostic approaches.
From a single test, Aperiomics can simultaneously test for all pathogens whether bacteria, virus, fungus or parasite. The sample can be tissue, plant, animal, or environmental. Based on its unique process that capitalizes on high-throughput Next-generation sequencing and advanced Bayesian statistics, Aperiomics can not only find a “needle in a haystack” but can also reveal that a “needle” is lurking there – even if it is a formerly unknown pathogen. This effective system translates into improved human and animal health, reduced risk to public health, and significant health care cost savings.
Recently, Aperiomics has announced its second National Science Foundation Award in a year. With this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant, the company’s NSF funding through a total of three grants has now reached nearly a million dollars.
In addition to support from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR and iCORP programs, Aperiomics has also received funding from the Center for Innovative Technologies of Herndon, VA, and from private investments.
Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University say neural networks and supervised machine learning techniques can efficiently characterize cells that have been studied using single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq). This finding could help researchers identify new cell subtypes and differentiate between healthy and diseased cells.