Crystal R Icenhour, PhD, is one of the rising stars of American biotechnology. After more than 25 years in medical research and biotech, she was named founding CEO of Aperiomics, a company that harnesses the power of next-generation sequencing to identify any known pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite) in a single test. Aperiomics is the only company of its kind and scope in the world. Throughout Dr.Icenhour’s career, she has demonstrated strong leadership in business and science and has dedicated herself to “bridging the translational gap between these two worlds.”
Dr. Icenhour is an expert in infectious disease diagnostics and her mission is to change the entire thinking about pathogen diagnosis. Up to 75% of infections are never accurately diagnosed, leaving millions of people suffering from chronic infection. Aperiomics, under her leadership, has developed a technology that identifies all known pathogens – every bacteria, parasite, virus, and fungus – from clinical samples in one test.
Dr. Icenhour holds two patents, has authored and co-authored numerous research articles and theses, and has been a prolific speaker and presenter at scientific conferences. She has served on review panels for National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases in their Department of Medicine.
Before Aperiomics, Dr. Icenhour was president and chief science officer for Phthisis Diagnostics in Charlottesville, VA, a research and development company focused on development of easy-to-use molecular diagnostics for intestinal parasites. While a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, she was the first to identify and characterize Pneumocystis melanins.
Dr. Icenhour serves as Chairman of VirginiaBIO and was chosen to participate in the SpringBoard Enterprises 2016 class of women-led companies.She is a member of, Sigma Xi, Medical Mycology Society of the Americas, Association for Molecular Pathology, and the American Society for Microbiology. The Kauffman Foundation and Center recognized her as 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.
Dr. Icenhour received her PhD in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine from the University of Cincinnati Medical School of Graduate Studies in 2002. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine from 2002-2005 and in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center from 2005-2006. She has been involved in local and national postdoctoral associations including the Mayo Research Fellows Association Executive Committee (president), the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (chair of membership committee), and the National Postdoctoral Association (2008 chair).
Keith Crandall, PhD, Director GWU Computational Biology and President of Aperiomics
Keith Crandall, PhD, is the founding Director of the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University and President of Aperiomics. Professor Crandall studies the computational biology, population genetics, and bioinformatics of a variety of organisms, from crustaceans to agents of infectious diseases. His lab also focuses on the development and testing of Big Data methods DNA sequence analysis. He applies these methods and others to the study of the evolution of infectious diseases with particular focus on HIV evolution. Professor Crandall has published over 270 peer reviewed publications, as well as three books (The Evolution of HIV, Algorithms in Bioinformatics, and Decapod Crustacean Phylogenetics). Dr. Crandall’s research has been funded by both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health as well as from a variety of other agencies, including American Foundation for AIDS Research, National Geographic, US Forest Service, Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturer’s of America Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, etc. He has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Oxford University and an Allen Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution Sabbatical Fellowship at the Bioinformatics Institute at the University of Auckland. Professor Crandall has received a number of awards for research and teaching, including an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Evolution at the University of Texas, the American Naturalist Society Young Investigator Award, an NSF CAREER Award, a PhRMA Foundation Faculty Development Award in Bioinformatics, an NIH James A. Shannon Directors Award, ISI Highly Cited Designation, Honors Professor of the Year award at Brigham Young University, and the Edward O. Wilson Naturalist Award. He was also recently elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Linnean Society of London. Professor Crandall earned his BA degree from Kalamazoo College in Biology and Mathematics, an MA degree from Washington University in Statistics, and a PhD from Washington University in Biology and Biomedical Sciences. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Puyo, Ecuador.
Evan Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor and Cofounder
Evan Johnson, PhD, is an assistant professor of Medicine and Biostatistics at Boston University’s Department of Medicine and a cofounder of Aperiomics as one of the developers of the core algorithm. At BU the focus of the Johnson lab’s research is to develop computational and statistical tools to investigate core components that contribute to disease prognosis and etiology, and for the accurate determination of optimal diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic regimens for individual patients. The Johnson lab is actively developing methods and software tools for data preprocessing, integration, and downstream analysis, and applying these tools in a variety of clinical and biomedical applications. Their work includes a balance between statistical methods development, algorithm optimization, and clinical application. Statistical innovation in our group focuses on the development of clinically motivated tools that integrate linear modeling, Bayesian methods, factor analysis and structural equations models, Hidden Markov models, mixture models, dynamic programming, and high-performance parallel computing. This work has resulted in widely-used tools and algorithms for profiling transcription factors (MAT, MA2C), preprocessing and integrating of genomic data (ComBat, SCAN-UPC), aligning sequencing reads (GNUMAP), developing multi-gene biomarker signatures (ASSIGN), and metagenomic profiling (PathoScope). They have successfully applied our tools in several biomedical and clinical scenarios, ranging from mechanistic studies and to precision genomics.
Eduardo Castro-Nallar, PhD
Eduardo Castro-Nallar, PhD, is an assistant professor at Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile. During the founding of Aperiomics he studied infectios disease and Genomics at George Washington University. The Castro Lab is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of microbial genetic diversity, and how this can be used to apply knowledge to gain insights into pathogen diagnostics and discovery, microbial distribution and epidemiology, and novel adaptations. For this, their lab uses molecular and computational biology tools such as high-throughput sequencing, recombinant DNA technology, Bayesian statistics and phylogenetics, transcriptomics and metagenomics.
Alvin (Yuan) Chen, PhD Chief Technology Officer
Alvin Chen, PhD, has more than 10 years experience in next-generation sequencing and is an expert in genomics, genetics and bioinformatics. Dr. Chen joined Aperiomics in 2015 and served as PI of the an NSF SBIR Phase II grant. He successfully developed the company’s primary platform, Xplore-PATHO℠, which uses DNA sequencing technology to identify all microbes in a single test. He also leads the development of the company’s information management systems.
Dr. Chen has provided leadership in a number of scientific research projects, and has produced more than 15 publications in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, such as PLoS Genetics, Genome Research, MBio, Nature Communications and Molecular Ecology. He is a passionate programmer with more than 25 years of experience, leading and participating in multiple software development projects. He is proficient in many programming languages and hardware and system architecture.
Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. from Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012 and then he joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center as a Postdoc Fellow from 2012-2015. He is an amateur photographer, sports enthusiast and avid outdoorsman. In his spare time, he likes to hike, camp, bike and play badminton with family and friends.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW WE CAN HELP
How can Aperiomics services with our comprehensive list of known pathogens help with your testing needs?