Dede Willis, Orbit Genomics’ Board Member, President & CEO, and Harold “Skip” Garner, their Chief Scientific Officer and Board Member, discuss their important work at Orbit Genomics.
Willis has amassed over 25 years of impressive international leadership experience in a wide variety of interesting start-ups. Before she helped launch Orbit Genomics, Willis was co-founder and COO of the successful, Boulder Diagnostics Inc, whose innovative technology was later acquired by Oxford Immunotec. Willis has been CEO or COO of many life science start-ups in the US as well as Germany.
Garner, Orbit Genomics’ Chief Scientific Officer is the originator/creator of Orbit Genomics’ groundbreaking platform technology. Garner’s extensive background includes academic and corporate work as a renowned engineer, physicist, and biomedical researcher. Garner has held numerous positions at major players in the areas of his expertise and is a sought
after scientific mind in the fields of genomics, engineering, and biotech.
Garner & Willis discuss the core elements of Orbit Genomics, outlining what the company is based upon. Garner talks about his early work studying the human genome, detailing information about microsatellites. Simply defined, a microsatellite is an area of repetitive DNA in which particular DNA motifs can be repeated. Garner states that microsatellites can be used successfully as markers in the study of disease, health, aging, and more. And from his early research, Orbit Genomics was born.
Garner discusses microsatellites in detail, recounting some of his research with dog traits. As he states, these microsatellites could play a role in human morphology, our ability to fight off disease, preferences, etc. Garner explains how microsatellites seem to be a sort of ‘tuning knob’ that allows for the control of traits and diseases that impact all life forms.
The Chief Scientific Officer fully explains some of the specific information from their research that they have published. He talks about the various mechanisms of microsatellites and how the genome is affected. Going further, Garner talks about aging rates and longevity. He explains genetic variance in terms of inheritance and environment.
Willis discusses some of their studies in the area of genomics. She recounts one particular study that showed that genomes do change over time. As she explains, we are born with some risks to disease, but lifestyle may play a role in changes.