About Us


Hank Nordhoff

Executive ChairmanMr. Nordhoff has an exceptional depth of experience and expertise in diagnostic, pharmaceutical, operations and business. He served as president and CEO of Gen-Probe for 15 years until his retirement in May 2009. In addition to Gen-Probe, he served as CEO of three successful biopharmaceutical companies.

At the beginning of his career, Nordhoff spent 16 years at Pfizer in senior positions and lived (and worked) in Europe and Asia for 11 years. He holds a B.A. in International Relations and Political Economy from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA degree from Columbia University.

Ashley Van Zeeland, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Executive OfficerDr. Van Zeeland has been leading innovative scientific programs for the past 10 years, including groundbreaking work in the genetics of autism, and is an expert in large-scale sequencing studies. Previously she was Director, Strategic Partnerships at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) where she focused on novel public-private partnerships for translational science, including biomarker discovery.

Dr. Van Zeeland oversees the overall scientific direction of Cypher Genomics and played a critical role in the initial commercialization of its technology. She received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA degree from the University of California, San Diego.

Adam Simpson

President and Chief Operating OfficerMr. Simpson brings significant operational and emerging company experience to Cypher Genomics. Prior to his appointment as Cypher’s president and COO, Simpson served as an executive advisor to life science investors and companies including Cypher Genomics.

Before that, Simpson was co-founder and chief business officer of Meritage Pharma from company creation through an option agreement with ViroPharma for its sale, was the general counsel at Verus Pharmaceuticals where he led its sale to AstraZeneca and Shionogi, and previously was an attorney at Latham and Watkins. He holds a B.S. in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego and received a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Ali Torkamani, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Scientific OfficerDr. Torkamani, an expert in genomic data analysis and interpretation with a strong focus in DNA sequence variation interpretation, is the lead inventor of Cypher Genomics’ genomic interpretation technology and Director of Genome Informatics and Drug Discovery at STSI.

Dr. Torkamani is the lead investigator on validation studies of the Cypher Genomics technology, including in a clinical study at STSI to uncover the genetic cause of the idiopathic disease (IDIOM). He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego.

J. Patrick Ravenel

Chief Technology OfficerMr. Ravenel is a major contributor to the design, development, and deployment of high-performance distributed computing solutions. His career has focused on high-performance financial trading, commercial electronic data interchange (EDI), security, compliance, and analytic systems. He was previously vice president of software development at MedImpact Healthcare Systems.

Prior to MedImpact, he had successful exits (both acquisition and IPO) as a co-founder and a director in the areas of security and distributed transactional caching environments. In addition to his published papers, articles and book contributions, Mr. Ravenel has four patents in information security and automated compliance management. He holds a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Scientific Programming from the University of California, San Diego.

Key Advisors

Herb Boyer, PhD

DirectorDr. Boyer co-founded Genentech in 1976 and served as a director of the company until its 2008 acquisition by Roche. He also was a vice president of the company from 1976 to 1990. Dr. Boyer also served on the board of Allergan for 19 years, 12 years as vice-chairman, and three years as chairman. In addition, Dr. Boyer was a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Dr. Boyer received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1980 and the Shaw Prize for life science and medicine and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, each in 2004.

Eric Topol, M.D.

DirectorDr. Topol is a visionary and world expert on precision medicine and genomics. He is currently Director of STSI, Professor of Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute, Chief Medical Advisor of AT&T; and Editor-in-Chief for Medscape. Dr. Topol spearheaded the implementation of routine genotyping of CYP2C19, the major gene implicated in Plavix metabolism in patients undergoing stinting at Scripps.

He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine (Dr. Topol has published 1100 peer-revewed articles and over 30 medical textbooks). His popular book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” examined the impact of both the genomic and wireless revolutions on the health care system.

Andy von Eschenbach, MD

DirectorDr. von Eschenbach currently serves as president of Samaritan Health Initiatives and as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. From September 2005 to January 2009, he served as commissioner of the U.S. FDA,

where he championed an agenda to modernize the FDA by process improvement of the regulatory pathway for drugs and medical devices and by fostering creative projects, including the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative. Under his leadership, the FDA experienced dramatic increases in resources enabling the implementation of many new programs designed to strengthen the FDA in its mission to protect and promote public health.

Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. von Eschenbach served as the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and had an outstanding and award-recognized career over three decades as a physician, surgeon, oncologist, and executive. In 2006, Dr. von Eschenbach was named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people to shape the world.”

Nicholas Schork, Ph.D.

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board & Co-FounderDr. Schork is a world expert in quantitative and integrated human genetics and genomics, particularly the design and implementation of methodologies to dissect the genetic basis of complex traits and diseases, and is the lead inventor of Cypher Genomics’ biomarker discovery technology.

He is Professor and Director of Human Biology at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and the Head of Integrated Genomics at Human Longevity, Inc. Dr. Schork has published over 425 scientific articles and book chapters on the analysis of complex, multifactorial traits and diseases.

Kelly Bethel, M.D.

Scientific AdvisorKelly Bethel, M.D., is a practicing hematopathologist in the Scripps Clinic Medical Group and holds an adjunct appointment at The Scripps Research Institute. In addition to her clinical practice, she is the medical director of the Blood Bank at Scripps Clinic and Green Hospital, the past program director of the Scripps Hematopathology Fellowship, and participates in various translational research activities investigating circulating tumor cells, anemia, low-grade B-cell malignancies and myelodysplasia.

She completed an internship in pediatrics, a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology, and subspecialty training in hematopathology at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. She received her B.A. in English literature from Yale University and her M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Bethel is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology and hematopathology.

Michael Hultner, PhD

Scientific AdvisorMichael Hultner, Ph.D. is chief scientist for Lockheed Martin’s Health and Life Sciences (HLS) division where he promotes technical and business innovations to position HLS for future new business in healthcare IT. He currently manages a diverse portfolio of healthcare innovations including big data analytics, population-scale genomics, and synthetic biology.

As a Lockheed Martin Fellow, Dr. Hultner supports corporate engineering and technology with subject matter expertise, strategy, and business development in advanced information fusion, machine learning, software development, and program management. Dr. Hultner received his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California, San Francisco and an undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Myla Lai-Goldman, M.D.

Scientific AdvisorMyla Lai-Goldman, M.D. is the chief executive officer and a founder of GeneCentric Diagnostics. Dr. Lai-Goldman spent more than 18 years at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp), with the last 10 years as executive vice president, chief medical officer and chief scientific officer.

During her tenure at LabCorp, she led all clinical, scientific and medical activities, including the introduction of more than 400 clinical assays. After leaving LabCorp, she became a venture partner at Hatteras Venture Partners. Dr. Lai-Goldman received her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology.

Arnold Levine, PhD

Scientific AdvisorDr. Levine is a pioneering cancer research scientist, having discovered the p53 tumor suppressor protein in 1979. He established the Simons Center for Systems Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study, which concentrates on research at the interface of molecular biology and the physical sciences in cancer biology.

Dr. Levine was previously President of The Rockefeller University from 1998 until his retirement in February 2002 and prior to that was the Harry C. Wiess Professor in Life Sciences and former Chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University from 1984 until 1996. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and serves on a number of cancer center scientific advisory boards. Dr. Levine holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Harpur College, the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Diego Miralles, MD

Scientific AdvisorDr. Miralles is Head of Janssen Healthcare Innovation within Janssen Research and Development, and leads a multi-disciplinary group focused on enhancing the value of the pharmaceutical business by identifying and integrating emerging technologies and novel partnerships in areas including genomics and clinical trials.

In addition, Dr. Miralles has recently been named Head of the California regional Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center (JJIC) where he oversees the business and operational management of Janssen Labs including the initial concept development, site construction, business model architecting, and company selection criteria.

He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in 1986 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN followed in 1990 by a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Cornell University-New York Hospital.