President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Johnson has served as the President & CEO of Empire Genomics since its founding in 2006. He leads and manages all facets of the business, leveraging his 20 years of experience in the healthcare field. Mr. Johnson has led the company through multiple phases of development from business creation and product launch, to becoming a leader in the field of personalized medicine. He has implemented successful sales and marketing strategies, obtained funding, pursued joint ventures and coordinated deals with public, private and government organizations worldwide. Mr. Johnson is passionate about the mission of the company to revolutionize how molecular testing can be leveraged to dramatically improve oncology decision making tools and improve lives.
Mr. Johnson previously served as Business Area Manager for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine for Invitrogen Corporation where he coordinated and directed their entry, and ultimately their leadership position in the stem cell market. Prior to Invitrogen, he worked as a strategic business consultant, directed global sales and marketing activities within the pharmaceutical industry, and played an integral role in the design and development of the global competitor intelligence system for the CRESTOR product of AstraZeneca.
Mr. Johnson is an Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow, and holds an MBA in International Strategy from Manchester Business School and a BS in Biology from Fisk University.
Norma Jean Nowak PhD
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Nowak is recognized as a leader in the field of human genomics. Her research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, as well as to genomic based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer. Dr. Nowak is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Empire Genomics. In 2015, Dr. Nowak was named executive director for the University at Buffalo (UB) New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and holds the rank of Professor of Biochemistry. Dr. Nowak was appointed to the Empire State Stem Cell Board in 2014. She also serves as Principal Investigator, UB Center for Advanced Technology in BIG Data and Health Sciences, as of the July 1, 2017 redesignation.
Among her major achievements, Dr. Nowak has authored landmark papers describing the cloning of several heritable cancer disorders, including a form of Ataxia Telangiectasia (Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome). Her work on the Human Genome Project was published in the 2001 landmark genome issue of Nature describing the sequencing of the human genome. Dr. Nowak led and coordinated the three groups for the NCI extramural Cancer Chromosome Aberration Project. As part of this project, Dr. Nowak also developed BAC based array CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization), a microarray-based method for identifying numerical differences in DNA between tumor and normal cells and cells from individuals with genetic disorders, including autism and other developmental disorders. The results of this work were published in Nature Genetics.
Dr. Nowak's efforts were instrumental in obtaining more than $70 million in funding for research and infrastructure and she has authored or co-authored 145 research articles in leading scientific journals. She also has served on the editorial board of Cytogenetics and Genome Research as well as an Associate Editor of Physiological Genomics. Read her full bio here.
John Rushton PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Rushton is responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of the clinical and manufacturing labs at Empire Genomics. His wide breadth of industry experience includes commercialization, regulatory compliance and project management. Since joining Empire Genomics in 2015, Dr. Rushton has successfully led the operations of the clinical and manufacturing aspects of the business. He has been instrumental in managing test development and improving customer experience. Dr. Rushton sees laboratory testing as a means to precision medicine with the focus of delivering the right treatment options at the appropriate time.
Dr. Rushton previously held the position of Science, Technology and Innovation Director at Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, and Product Development Lead at Signature Genomics Laboratory. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Medicine, focusing on molecular biology approaches to the study of cancer and infectious diseases. Following his fellowships, Dr. Rushton joined the faculty at UNM School of Medicine with a focus on biomarkers of cancer and infectious disease susceptibility, and was later promoted to Director of UNM’s Center of Infectious Disease and Immunology Sequencing, Microarray and Biological Safety Level 3 Core Laboratories.
Dr. Rushton earned a Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences, with a focus on genetics, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1992. He also received an MBA from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management in 2005.
Reza Mazaheri PhD
Vice President, International Business Development
Dr. Mazaheri is responsible for leading international business development efforts for Empire Genomics. Since joining the Empire Genomics team in 2014, Dr. Mazaheri has expanded export sales through the establishment of a global distribution network. Dr. Mazaheri also serves as a strategic advisor to senior management by identifying potential investment opportunities, and merger and acquisition partners.
Dr. Mazaheri was the Founder, President and Scientific Director of ID Labs Biotechnology for over 20 years before it was acquired by Empire Genomics in 2014. Dr. Mazaheri led strategic global business development for ID Labs, including the commercialization and branding of in vitro diagnostics, cytogenetic tissue culture and cancer-related molecular genetics technologies. Prior to ID Labs, he worked in hospital oncology and transplant laboratories, conducting research and development of in vitro diagnostics. In addition, he conducted clinical biotechnology multi-center research trials in the bio-pharma industry.
Dr. Mazaheri received his postdoctoral training in Immunology at McGill University. He holds a PhD in Pathology/Immunology and a Dip Bact from the University of London, and a BS from the University of Leeds.
Vice President, Sales and Business Development
Mr. Scarpello is responsible for directing the commercial business development activities for Empire Genomics. Since joining Empire Genomics in 2009, he has been a contributor to the growth of the company through establishing relationships with customers, guiding product and service line extensions as well as entry into new markets.
Mr. Scarpello has extensive experience in both the life sciences and clinical lab markets. Prior to joining Empire Genomics, he held numerous senior management roles with Enzo Life Sciences for over 17 years. During this time, he built the commercial team and drove the expansion of the business development practice, leading up to the successful acquisitions of Axxora, BioMol and Assay Designs. He also managed the company’s first large scale agreements with Affymetrix, Roche, Amersham/GE, Abbott, Leica & Dako.
Mr. Scarpello served as a member of the US Army’s Airborne Combat Team. He holds a BS in Biology and Chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.