Company

Firefly BioWorks has developed an open platform allowing industrial, academic and clinical scientists to develop and use multiplexed assays on standard laboratory instrumentation.

Scientific Advisory Board

Victor Ambros, Ph.D.

Dr. Victor Ambros is the Silverman Professor of Natural Sciences in the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and serves as co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute at UMass Medical. His laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation by microRNAs and how microRNAs function in regulatory networks affecting development and disease. The Ambros lab identified the first microRNA in 1993, while characterizing a genetic locus involved in the control of developmental timing in C. elegans. Since then, his research group has focused on the role of microRNAs in development. Dr. Ambros completed his Ph.D. at MIT, under the supervision of Prof. David Baltimore, and his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Prof. H. Robert Horvitz. He became a faculty member at Harvard University in 1984, moved to Dartmouth College in 1992, and joined the faculty at UMass Medical School in 2008. Dr. Ambros is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was named co-recipient of the 2008 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, with Dr. Gary B. Ruvkun and Dr. David C. Baulcombe, for his work on the discovery of microRNAs.

Kevin Elias, M.D.

Kevin Elias, MD, is a physician-scientist in Gynecologic Oncology with appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Elias’s research brings together techniques and insights across clinical, basic science, and translational fields to improve the care of women with cancer. As a surgeon and an intensivist, he is focused on the effects of perioperative events on tumor biology and patient physiology, and he brings extensive medical knowledge to Firefly BioWorks. His research focuses on three main areas: 1) The impact of surgical stress on tumor behavior, 2) Markers and mechanisms of chemoresistance, and 3) Understanding the initiating events in tumorigenesis.

Patrick S. Doyle, Ph.D.

Prof. Doyle is a Firefly co-founder and Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Prof. Doyle received a Chateaubriand Fellowship to pursue postdoctoral studies at the Institute Curie in Paris where he studied single molecule DNA dynamics. A major theme of his current research is the translation of a molecular understanding of transport phenomena into new microfluidics-based processes. He was the recipient of a NSF CAREER Award, 3M Innovation Award, MipTec PolyPops Foundation Award, and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He is also the winner of the "Pioneers of Miniaturization" from the Lab on a Chip, Royal Society of Chemistry and Corning Inc, Rothschild-Yvette Mayent-Institute Curie Award, and Joliot Chair at E.S.P.C.I. in Paris.

Management Team

Davide M. Marini, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Marini designed our business strategy by structuring Firefly as an instrument-independent reagent provider. He led two rounds of funding with private investors and developed our relationship with industry partners and early adopters. Dr. Marini received his Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where he studied the self-assembly of de-novo designed peptides for biomedical applications. He completed his postdoctoral training at Children's Hospital Boston, where he developed nano-sensors for detecting the activity of ion channels and membrane transporters. Before deciding to pursue his passion for biotechnology, Dr. Marini worked as a marketer of fixed-income derivatives at J.P.Morgan in London. He obtained an M.B.A. from Collège des Ingénieurs (Paris, France) and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Politecnico of Milan (Italy).

Daniel C. Pregibon, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Pregibon developed the technical foundation of our firm during his doctoral work under the supervision of Prof. Patrick Doyle in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT and Prof. Mehmet Toner at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. His interest in medicine dates back to undergraduate research at Case Western Reserve University, where he obtained his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and performed fundamental studies to aid in the search of an effective malaria vaccine. Dr. Pregibon is responsible for the technological development of our platform.

Andreas Windemuth, Ph.D.

Chief Information Officer

Dr. Windemuth brings to Firefly 15 years of experience in computational biology. Prior to joining Firefly, Dr. Windemuth served as Chief Technology Officer of Genomas, a company advancing DNA-Guided Medicine and personalized healthcare. Prior to Genomas, he was Senior Director of Computational Research and Development at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, where he was in charge of the development of haplotype sequencing algorithms. Dr. Windemuth started his biotechnology career at CuraGen Corporation (New Haven, CT), where he was instrumental in developing many of the company's genomic technologies. Dr. Windemuth is a fellow of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (Stuttgart, Germany), and has done post-doctoral research on biomolecular modeling at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (Urbana-Champaign, IL) and Columbia University (New York, NY). Dr. Windemuth obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Technical University of Munich.

Isaac B. Stoner

Vice President of Product Development

Mr. Stoner comes to Firefly from several startups in the sequencing industry. He was a member of the core team that launched and commercialized the Ion Torrent™ Personal Genome Machine (PGM™) instrument. His expertise lies in single-molecule amplification and assay development. Mr. Stoner received his Sc.B. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University.

Andrea K. Bryan, Ph.D.

Director of Engineering

Dr. Bryan re-engineered Firefly's microfluidic instrumentation in order to effectively scale manufacturing processes and meet commercial demands.  Her expertise includes 8 years of experience in design, construction, and validation of microfluidics-based instrumentation.  Dr. Bryan earned her PhD and was a postdoctoral fellow in Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, she combined microfluidic engineering with biology to develop the first sensor to simultaneously measure single-cell mass, volume, and density. 

Jessica Tytell, Ph.D.

Sr. Director for Life Science Innovation

Dr. Tytell brings to Firefly over 15 years of research experience in the areas of assay development and clinical biomarker discovery. Prior to joining Firefly, Dr. Tytell worked in the laboratory of Dr. Gaudenz Danuser, in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, where she focused on cell migration. Dr. Tytell received her Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, where she studied chromosome segregation under the supervision of Dr. Peter Sorger. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Donald Ingber at Children's Hospital Boston, investigating how cells interact with their physical environment.

Conor Rafferty, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research

Dr. Rafferty brings to Firefly a background of computational mathematics and microfabrication. He was at Bell Labs Research for 15 years and co-authored two of the most widely used technology simulators in the semiconductor industry. At NoblePeak Vision, which developed silicon-based infrared imaging chips, he was CTO from founding to acquisition. At MC10, he led stretchable electronics technology development. Dr. Rafferty received his B.A in Mathematics and B.Sc. in Physics from Trinity College, Dublin and his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Board of Directors

John L. (Kip) Miller

Mr. Miller most recently served at Life Technologies as President of Genetic Systems, where he was responsible for the Applied Biosystems DNA sequencing business and the development of applications for applied markets in forensics and HLA diagnostics. Other roles at Life Technologies included Senior Vice President of the Biodiscovery and Enabling Technologies Divisions at Invitrogen, where he headed industry leading consumable franchises in molecular biology and cellular analysis. Prior to joining Life Technologies, Mr. Miller held multiple leadership roles at BD Biosciences as Vice President and General Manager, which included responsibility for the development of the research flow cytometry business and commercial operations for the Americas region

Roger Dowd

Mr. Dowd brings 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur in technology companies. He currently serves as CEO of Biotrofix, a contract research organization that specializes in preclinical models of CNS and cardiovascular disease. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University.

Rick Ryan, Ph.D.

Dr. Ryan brings to Firefly over 30 years of experience in business management and new business/technology development in the life sciences industry. He has held executive leadership positions in multinational corporations and early stage ventures. He was formerly the President of LINCO Research Inc., acquired by Millipore in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois and his executive M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Business Advisory Board

Martin Madaus, Ph.D.

Dr. Madaus brings to Firefly more than 20 years of experience in the diagnostics and life science industries. He most recently served as President, Chairman and CEO of Millipore Corporation, recently acquired by Merck KGaA. Before joining Millipore, Dr. Madaus was President, CEO and head of North American Operations for Roche Diagnostics Corporation. Prior to this he served as Vice President of Business Development for Roche Molecular Diagnostics and General Manager of Boehringer Mannheim Canada. He obtained his Ph.D. in veterinary medicine from the Veterinary School of Hanover, Germany.

Augustine Lawlor

Gus Lawlor has been a managing director of HealthCare Ventures since 2000. He was previously chief operating officer of LeukoSite, Inc., a HealthCare Ventures III, IV, and V company. Before joining LeukoSite, he was chief financial officer and vice president of corporate development for Alpha-Beta Technology. He held similar positions at BioSurface Technology and Armstrong Pharmaceuticals. He was previously a management consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick. Mr. Lawlor is a member of the board of directors of the Slater Center in Providence, Rhode Island. He received a Master's degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University.

Joseph Gentile

Mr. Gentile serves as COO of StemGent, a company developing reagents for the quantification of stem cell function. He previously served as Vice President and General Manager of BD Biosciences and brings more than 25 years of experience in the high-technology medical device and life sciences industry. Mr. Gentile received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University and M.B.A. from Boston University.

Paul B. Manning

Mr. Manning is the president and CEO of PBM Capital Group. He is also the founder, president, and chief executive officer of PBM Products, LLC, the first company to launch store-brand infant formulas in the United States. Before forming PBM Capital, Mr. Manning held key sales and marketing positions with leading pharmaceutical companies and founded several companies, including Able Laboratories and Manfam, Inc., two companies that developed and distributed prescription and over-the-counter products to major chains in the United States. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where he earned a B.S. in microbiology.

Ian Ratcliffe

Mr. Ratcliffe is the Executive Chairman of Stemgent. Previously, he was President of Upstate, a leading provider of cell signaling research products and services, acquired by Serologicals, Corp. in 2004. Mr. Ratcliffe is also a General Partner with Keswick Ventures LLP, Virginia. He obtained his degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Surrey and an M.B.A. from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

Michael P. Rubin, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Rubin currently serves as CEO of Sands Capital Ventures. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Rubin's experience as a financial analyst and his background in genetic research and medical training bring to Firefly valuable insights into the life science industry.