Mountain View, Calif. – April 2, 2015 – 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced the appointment of Robert Gentleman, Ph.D., as vice president of computational biology. Dr. Gentleman joins 23andMe to focus on the exploration of how the human genetic and trait data in the 23andMe database can be used to identify new therapies for disease. Most recently, Dr. Gentleman served as senior director of bioinformatics and computational biology at Genentech.
“Dr. Gentleman is a trailblazer in his field,” said Andy Page, president, 23andMe. “A scientist of his caliber coming to the company speaks volumes about the rigorous scientific foundation 23andMe has built and the unique opportunity our data set provides to identify significant genetic discoveries.”
In addition to broadly overseeing computational biology activities at the company, Dr. Gentleman will specifically focus on collaborating with Dr. Richard Scheller, 23andMe chief science officer and head of therapeutics. He will work with Dr. Scheller and others to help the newly formed therapeutics group utilize data analytics and theoretical models to identify trends and ultimately advance the drug research and discovery process.
“My hope is that my experience can help bring better treatments to market fast for the patients who need them most,” said Dr. Gentleman. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with the 23andMe community so we can together find these great cures. It is the commitment of the active 23andMe research community that enables this potentially groundbreaking venture.”
Dr. Gentleman’s career has spanned more than 30 years. Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Gentleman was a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he was the Head of the Computational Biology Department. Dr. Gentleman served as a professor at Harvard University, the University of Auckland, and the University of Waterloo. During his tenure at Harvard, Dr. Gentleman founded the Bioconductor Project, an open source, open development software project to provide tools for the analysis and comprehension of high-throughput genomic data.
In addition to his industry and academic experience, Dr. Gentleman recently served as member of the Board of Directors of Revolution Analytics where he helped guide the company through a successful acquisition by Microsoft. He has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award, an award for Open Access in the Life Sciences presented by the Bioinformatics Organization and is Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Dr. Gentleman, along with Ross Ihaka at the University of Auckland, is also recognized as one of the originators of the R programming language, a widely-used programming language software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
Dr. Gentleman earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from The University of British Columbia and holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., in Statistics from the University of Washington.
23andMe is actively hiring in a variety of areas, particularly for computational biologists, geneticists, interaction designers and software test engineers. For more information on available positions please visit www.23andme.com/careers.