Tell us about your role at OmniSeq, and what you typically handle?
I’m the Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of OmniSeq, a biotech company with a CLIA- and CAP-accredited diagnostic laboratory located in Buffalo, New York. We perform RNA and DNA molecular sequencing clinical testing of patients with advanced cancers to inform selection of personalized medicines based on their genomic and immune profiles.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your current role?
I am honored to lead an amazingly talented team of people who are passionately dedicated to our mission to identify the right drug or right trial for every patient. Driving our strategy, scaling our company post-fundraising, and ensuring our team has the resources to execute while continuing to innovate has been challenging and rewarding work. For me, learning about the science related to the next generation sequencing technology we use and the mechanisms of patient response to cancer drugs has been really exciting.
Are there any memorable experiences—such as a pro bono or client win—or colleagues from NP that made a significant impact on your career?
My first pro bono trial with NP was a Bronx Family Court custody matter. It had a tremendous impact on me and opened my eyes to the difference we can make representing disadvantaged populations as well as the difficulties in navigating resolution within the New York City family courts, which are severely overtaxed and under-resourced. For me, that win was as meaningful as any other case I subsequently handled. I will always remember our client’s name and her reaction when finally she regained custody of her son.
How has your experience at NP influenced the direction of your career?
I’m deeply grateful to the partners and senior associates at NP who invested their time to develop my writing and deposition skills, especially Frank Penski, Frank Ryan, and Robert NH Christmas. The ability to craft tight arguments was critical to handling large caseloads in my subsequent government positions.
What brought you to OmniSeq? Can you touch upon your career trajectory?
I left NP to join the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and eventually focused on False Claims Act investigations against pharmaceutical and medical device companies. I continued to investigate these global companies under the state’s False Claims Act as a Special Assistant Attorney General for New York’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, prior to becoming Deputy General Counsel at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Buffalo. After OmniSeq launched as a for-profit spinout from Roswell in 2015, I moved to the company as GC, later added Chief Administrative Officer responsibilities, and was named CEO after we closed our Series B funding in 2019.
Are there any other developments in your professional and/or personal life you’d like to share with the NP Alumni community?
My husband and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary and have two terrific boys who are 15 and 9 years old.
How do you plan on using NP Alumni to keep in touch with former colleagues?
I’d love to reconnect with some of the alumni that I had the pleasure of working with in the 2000s, with whom I’ve lost contact. We had a really great group of associates!
Outside of your legal practice, what do you like to do in your free time?
COVID-19 has impacted all of us, but it certainly has gotten me outside more with my kids, and we like to take weekend hikes at various parks in western New York. I enjoy cooking, entertaining, and golf.
What is your industry outlook? How has COVID shifted your professional approach?
As an essential business, we had to work quickly to ensure our team was safe and could still deliver clinical testing for late-stage cancer patients. It has definitely shifted my management focus to ensuring we’re compassionate, flexible, and overcommunicating with our teams. The productivity I’ve seen from our team, who are juggling all kinds of downstream impact from the pandemic, has been nothing short of impressive. For us, it’s been critical to unite our employees in our purpose, ensuring cancer patients receive the best drug or best trial.