Dr. John Shaughnessy, Jr, Founder
John D. Shaughnessy, Jr., Ph.D., was a Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, and the director of basic sciences at the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, as well as director of the UAMS Donna D. and Donald M. Lambert Laboratory for Myeloma Genetics. Dr. Shaughnessy is an internationally recognized pioneer in the use of genomics in translational cancer research. During his 14 year tenure at UAMS, Dr. Shaughnessy built a comprehensive tissue archive and molecular genetics database in human myeloma consisting of more than 7,000 samples from more than 2,000 patients. His group identified the importance of altered Wnt signaling in myeloma and discovered that myeloma tumor cells alter the bone marrow microenvironment by secreting the Wnt-signaling antagonist dickkopf-1 (DKK1). Dr. Shaughnessy’s group further demonstrated that blocking the activity of DKK1 can prevent tumor growth and bone destruction. Dr. Shaughnessy and his team were the first to show that myeloma consists of distinct molecular entities and to identify a gene expression signature of high-risk disease that is predominated by an altered expression of genes mapping to chromosome 1. This discovery, validated in independent cohorts, is the basis for prognostic modeling for risk stratification.
Dr. Shaughnessy has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals such as Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell, Cancer Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, FASEB Journal, and also Blood, for which he serves on the editorial board. Dr. Shaughnessy has presented over 180 invited lectures at both national and international meetings on translational research in myeloma. Dr. Shaughnessy received his Ph.D. in molecular biology through a joint program between the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Laboratory of Genetics and the University of Maryland, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Mammalian Genetics Laboratory at the NCI.
Dr. Tony Albino, Executive Vice President of Science and Technology
Tony Albino, Ph.D., is the Executive Vice-President for Science & Technology for Signal Genetics LLC. Dr. Albino is an innovative, creative scientist with over thirty-five years of broad experience in both basic and clinical cancer research and public health. He has a proven record of achievements, including directing a large research group at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and serving as the deputy director of one of the country’s foremost research institutes whose major focus was cancer prevention. Dr. Albino is a highly respected expert in the field of cancer biology with more than 135 research papers in such prestigious journals such as Nature, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and Molecular and Cell Biology. He has also been awarded nine patents in the areas relevant to cancer identification, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Dr. Albino has been a scientific consultant to medical centers as well as funding organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), New York State Department of Health, New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research, University of California Breast Cancer Research Program, and the Veterans Administration. In his career, Dr. Albino has held numerous leadership positions in both the academic and corporate environments. Dr. Albino received his doctorate in cancer biology from Cornell University and did his graduate work at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
In addition, as a member of the Vector Group’s leadership team, Tony lead the Company’s effort to obtain FDA approval for the first nicotine-free cigarette product designed to promote smoking cessation.
Ryan VanLaar, Ph.D., Director of Bioinformatics
Dr. VanLaar joined Signal Genetics following its purchase of ChipDX, the Company he founded. Prior to joining Signal Genetics Ryan was the CEO of ChipDX and had responsibility for identifying and developing oncology targets and biomarkers at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in New York. Ryan received his Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology as well as post graduate certification in Biostatistics from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
He also served as a Bioinformatics Research Assistant at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Melbourne. After leaving Melbourne Ryan worked as the Senior Bioinformatician at Agendia, where he developed novel diagnostic and prognostic multi-gene assays for various types of cancer. Ryan’s work has been extensively published in several peer reviewed journals, most recently “An on-line gene expression assay for determining adjuvant therapy eligibility in patients with stage 2 or stage 3 colon cancer”, published in the British Journal of Cancer.