Jimmy Lin / President
Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, is a 2012 TED Fellow and Founder & President of Rare Genomics Institute, the world’s first platform to enable any community to leverage cutting-edge biotechnology to advance understanding of any rare disease. Partnering with 18 of the top medical institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford, RGI helps custom design personalized research projects for diseases so rare that no organization exists to help. Previously, Dr. Lin was also a medical school faculty member at the Washington University in St. Louis and led the computational analysis of the first ever exome sequencing studies for any human disease at Johns Hopkins. He has numerous publications in Science, Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, and Nature Biotechnology, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.
Imran Babar / VP, Scientific Affairs
Imran A. Babar, Ph.D., serves as the Vice President of Scientific Affairs for RGI and has been involved with the organization since its founding. He is also a Private Equity Senior Associate at OrbiMed, a life sciences focused investing firm. Prior to joining OrbiMed, Imran was a biotechnology associate at Cowen & Company, where he covered 20+ companies in the therapeutics space. Imran completed his Ph.D. in molecular biology at Yale University, where he researched microRNAs as both causes and treatments for cancers. While at Yale, Imran was a Howard Hughes Fellow, Harvey Fellow, and a fellow for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting for young scholars. Prior to Yale, Imran completed his BA in Biology at Carleton College and conducted research at MIT and NIH.
Romina Ortiz / VP, Policy & Patient Advocacy
Romina Ortiz received both a Master’s degree in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. Her master’s thesis was on rheumatoid arthritis and how female-typic hormones may affect the microbiome to enhance autoimmunity. She has conducted research at Johns Hopkins Hospital and at City of Hope Cancer Research Center in California.
Jonathan Franca-Koh / VP, Finance & Business Affairs
Dr. Franca-Koh holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of London and did post-doctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins University and the J. Craig Venter Institute. Currently he is a Project Manager at the National Cancer Institute and is pursuing an MBA at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Meisha Bynoe / Director of Operations
Meisha joined RGI in January 2012. She has worked on various projects, including development of our business and marketing strategies. She holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Yale University, during which time she was a Gilliam Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical institute. Upon graduating, she took up a position as a management consultant in the wonderful city of Toronto.
Drew Dunahue / Director of Marketing
Drew is a sales and marketing professional with over 10 years of experience networking, cultivating professional relationships and developing new business opportunities. He also volunteers his time and expertise to further the efforts of charitable organizations he supports by fundraising and serving on business development committees. Drew holds a degree in marketing and plans on continuing his education by pursing an MBA.
Marisa Dolled-Fillhart / Strategic Alliances
Marisa Dolled-Filhart, Ph.D. is currently a scientist in pharma, focused on biomarkers. Previously, she has held director-level positions at Quintiles and at HistoRx (acquired by Genoptix Medical Laboratory/Novartis) in business development roles as well as responsibility for running the day-to-day operations of a biomarker assay development, validation and clinical sample analysis laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Genetics from Yale University.
Austin Spurlock / Director of Patient Affairs & Research
Austin Spurlock is a BSBA candidate at Washington University in St. Louis. Though he studies business, his true career interest is in the field of medicine. He is currently applying to medical school, where he hopes to apply his love for science, people, and communication. Outside of RGI, Austin contributes a significant amount of time to sustainability efforts and volunteer work in the community.
Rajini Haraksingh / Director of Science 2.0 Initiative
Rajini leads the RGI Science 2.0 initiative which aims to advance rare disease research projects beyond genome sequencing. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University studying the impact of variation in the human genome on disease. Rajini holds a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Yale University and Bachelors degrees in Biology and Mathematics from MIT. Rajini is excited to apply her expertise to further the development of rare disease research, and to hopefully impact the lives of those afflicted with rare diseases.
Lindsey Cholewa / Education Coordinator
Lindsey’s experiences with the US EPA and a major food organization span almost ten years and her skills range from analytical laboratory operations to her current role in managing revenue and sales functions as a business analyst. She enjoys creating and contributing to educational pieces for RGI focused on raising public awareness of medical research and rare diseases. Lindsey holds a master’s degree in business administration from Webster University as well as a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Claudia completed her Ph.D. of Immunology at Duke University, where she studied T cell signaling using preclinical models of infectious disease. Prior to Duke, Claudia received her MS in Microbiology/Immunology with specialization in human genetics and pharmacogemonics from National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in NIH, investigating molecular mechanisms of autoimmunity. Within RGI, Claudia helps with scientific affairs, strategic alliance, and scientific publications.
Ming Guo is an information architect and statistician with extensive experience in healthcare. Ming received her M.S. in biomedical informatics from Stanford University and MBA from The University of Akron. She is leading the organizational effort of Rare Disease Common. Her current research interest lies in finding disease relatedness through large-scale genetic and clinical data mining. She previously worked in Cambridge Healthtech Institute and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Kilannin is currently pursuing her doctorate in Molecular Genetics and Genomics in Dr. Matt Walter’s Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Her thesis work focuses on understanding the genetic basis of myelodysplasatic syndrome, primarily through the use of mouse models. Before WashU, she was a research specialist at the University of Illinois in the lab of Dr. Eric Oldfield, working on enhancing the anti-tumor properties of bisphosphonates. After reading an article about the RGI, she wanted to lend a hand in any way she could and found a good fit with the Science Team. She has a passion for human genetics and hopes to use that knowledge to bring science out of the lab to help individuals suffering from genetic disorders. Following completion of her Ph.D., she aspires to provide a greater daily impact for patients by pursuing a career in clinical molecular genetics.
Sophie holds a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Bordeaux (France) as well as a graduate business degree from ESCP Europe (Paris). She interned at Genzyme, which sparked her interest in rare diseases. After completing her internship, she took time off to raise her baby son. She writes for the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable review, an online platform focusing on new developments in the biotech industry.
Vasundhra received her PhD in Pharmacology from Weill Medical School of Cornell University where she was awarded a U.S. Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Fellowship. Her research was focused on epigenetic pathways underlying stem cell differentiation, as well as altered epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in prostate cancer. Following her doctoral degree, she pursued MBA from Cornell University. She is currently working in a life sciences and healthcare focused consulting firm, leveraging her scientific background to solve strategic business problems for companies in the healthcare space.
Milap is an upstream vaccine production engineer at AstraZeneca and has also worked for MIT and Merck Group, where he tested the prototype Mobius bioreactor for vaccine manufacturing and in VC funded pharma where he helped to meet a $1MM Novartis option fund milestone.