Team

Your DNA Software™ team

Experience, passion, and world-class innovation …

Dr. John SantaLucia

Chief Executive Officer – Dr. John SantaLucia

A world-renowned expert in nucleic acid hybridization, Dr. John SantaLucia served as CSO since co-founding the company in 2000. Then, in August, 2010, he took the reins of DNAS as president and CEO, providing the vision and leadership for the company’s technologies and marketplace opportunities.

Education:

  • Post-doctoral—Biophysical Chemistry; University of California, Berkeley
  • Ph.D.—Physical Chemistry; University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • BS—Chemistry; Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY
Joseph A. Johnson

Vice President of Business Development – Joseph A. Johnson

Joseph A. Johnson is DNA Software’s VP of Business Development. His proven track record in biotechnology includes sales awards and management of a team of international distributors. Before joining DNA Software, Mr. Johnson worked in various sales functions at Neogen Corporation and Kelly Scientific.

Education:

  • MA—Education; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • BS—Microbiology; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Dr. Larry Clos

Director of Bioinformatics – Dr. Larry Clos

Dr. Larry Clos leads our software development team. He has expertise in the analysis of large, complex data sets to provide insights for biomolecular investigations. Larry has extensive experience in engineering and developing robust, automated, production-grade algorithms and software for terrestrial and cloud clinical analysis pipelines. Larry also has a solid foundation in biophysical chemistry, laboratory techniques, assay methods, and instrumentation. Larry enjoys managing technical developers, project planning, and facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations.

Education:

  • Ph.D. – Biochemistry; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • BS – Chemistry; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Jun Jiang

Director of Assay Development – Jun Jiang

Dr. Jun Jiang leads the assay development team to expand our current portfolio of optimized assays for infectious diseases and cancers. He also provides customer service and technical support for our software products and contract research. Before joining DNA Software, Dr. Jiang had ten years of experience focused on the biophysics and biochemistry of nucleic acids, with six publications in major journals or book chapters in the field. In the past five years, he was committed to clinical testing and cancer research, where he led method development, compliance, client service, and published several papers in clinical cancer research.

Education:

  • PhD – Biochemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • MS – Chemical Biology, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • BS – Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
Eric Anderson

Senior Software Engineer – Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson develops C++ backend software for the more computationally intensive aspects of our software products.

Education:

  • BA—Computer Science and Mathematics; University of Minnesota, Duluth
Lars Anderson

Lead Java Developer – Lars Anderson

Lars works on the Java-based web portal for DNA Software, developing its capabilities and helping to add new products and functionality.

Education:

  • BS—Computer and Information Science; University of Michigan, Dearborn, MI
Sarah Jones

Software Developer – Sarah Jones

Sarah is a developer of applications and services, new and existing. She also supports the team as a scrum master and a technical liaison for customers.

Education:

  • BA – Japanese Language and Culture; Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
Rashad Khaddaj

Marketing Director and Strategic Economic Analyst – Rashad Khaddaj

Rashad Khaddaj works on improving sales and marketing environment/process implementation. Assists in goal setting for corporate short-term and long-term goals. Works continuously on expanding DNAS global distribution network.

Education:

  • MBA—International Business; Concordia University, Ann Arbor.
  • BS—Marketing and Management; LAU, Lebanon
Holly SantaLucia

Research Scientist – Holly SantaLucia

Holly performs wet-lab PCR and thermodynamics validation experiments to test the predictions of our software. Holly also performs contract research for several clients by performing UV melting experiments for determining thermodynamic parameters for modified oligonucleotides. Her professional interests include protein structure and function, catalytic mechanisms of enzymatic reactions, sequencing technologies, purification technologies, and all things microbiology and marine biology.

Education:

  • MS—Biochemistry; University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
  • BS—Biology; Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

Research Assistant – Wade Burson

Wade is a current undergraduate who works in the wet lab, automating PCR reactions for DNA Software’s liquid handling robot to determine the limit of detection of assays. He also does sequencing reactions using nanopore sequencing, and assists Holly in her experiments. A senior at Wayne State working on his degree in biochemistry, Wade plans to continue his education through to a Ph. D.

Research Scientist 1 – Maysaa Doughan

Maysaa performs wet-lab PCR experiments and analysis. Before joining the team, she was working extensively on various mammalian cell lines to develop new cancer drugs. Her professional interests are primer design, molecular cloning, and bioinformatics.

  • MS – Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • BS – Biology, University of Michigan; Dearborn, MI

Research Scientist 1 – Miranda Wright

Miranda performs wet-lab PCR experiments to test the predictions of our design software. Before joining our team, she worked in a molecular diagnostic laboratory. Her professional interests are molecular pathology, primer design, sequencing technologies, and bioinformatics.

  • BA-Biological Sciences; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Technical and Automation Supervisor – Matt Olson

Matt is leading our kit manufacturing process. He has a background in molecular diagnostics, experience with a wide range of laboratory equipment and methods, and a special interest in automation, throughput scaling, and continuous quality improvement.

BS – Molecular Diagnostics; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI

AAS – Clinical Laboratory Sciences; Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI

Intern – Peter SantaLucia

Peter is an incoming senior at Orchard Park High School and has joined DNAS as a summer intern. He is developing Python code for predicting DNA unimolecular and bimolecular folding using the nearest-neighbor model and dynamic programming algorithms. His work will become part of the DNAS portal tools.

Intern – Leyou Jiang

Leyou is an incoming junior at Troy High School and has joined DNAS as a summer intern. He works with the software development team, creating algorithms in Java for DNA Multiple Sequence Alignment. His work will become part of the DNAS portal tools. He also helps to maintain the DNAS website.

Norm Watkins

In Memoriam – Norm Watkins

Norm aka “the Bulldog” was quite a character … tough on the outside, but a kind soul on the inside. We could all tell stories about Norm! He loved making jokes and brought joy to all who knew him. Norm served at DNA Software for 16 years as the Chief Operations Officer. He was loyal and faithful in every way. Norm inspired all of us with his amazing physical fitness with running triathlons, ironman competitions, and marathons. We will really miss him. He brightened our lives and made us better.

Norm died on October, 1, 2021, just a short 10 weeks after his diagnosis with Glioblastoma. Many of us from DNAS were able to visit Norm in his last days and despite the sadness, Norm was in good spirits all the way to the end and beautiful conversations were had. Here is his obituary:
https://www.pursefuneralhome.com/obituary/Norman-WatkinsJr
https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/22564652/norman-e-bulldog-watkins-jr

As requested by Norm’s family, we are encouraging all those who loved Norm to contribute to:
Glioblastoma Foundation
P.O.Box 62066
Durham, NC 27715