Illumina announced that Alex Aravanis will join the company in June as Chief Technology Officer. He will be responsible for leading the firm's R&D functions as well as translation of next-generation sequencing into the clinic. He will report to CEO Francis deSouza.
Aravanis returns to Illumina from Grail, where he was chief scientific officer and head of R&D; he was also a cofounder. At Grail, he led development of that firm's multi-cancer early detection test. While at Illumina, he developed clinical assays and bioinformatic pipelines for the analysis of RNA and DNA from fixed tissues, whole-exome analysis, massively parallel single-cell transcriptomics, and liquid biopsy using cell-free nucleic acids. He holds both an MD and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Aravanis will replace current CTO Mostafa Ronaghi, whom Illumina has appointed to lead global entrepreneurial development. Ronaghi is also a Grail cofounder and launched the Illumina Accelerator program in 2014, and was recently appointed to Grail's board of directors.