Parabon NanoLabs, Inc. is a vertically integrated DNA technology company that develops next-generation therapeutic and forensic products, which leverage the enormous power of DNA. Staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists and technologists, with expertise ranging from bioinformatics and oncology to chemistry and computer science, the Company is bringing to market revolutionary new products and services made possible by recent advances in DNA sequencing, processing and manufacturing technologies.
Organized in the State of Delaware, Parabon NanoLabs is a for-profit, C-Corporation with headquarters in Reston, Virginia. The Company is a small business as defined by the US Government's Small Business Administration and is the recipient of numerous Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and contracts.
Parabon NanoLabs' Foundation
In 2005, Dr. Michael Norton, a pioneer in the field of DNA-based nanotechnology, and Dr. Steven Armentrout, serving as CEO of Parabon Computation (PCI), began discussing the computational roadblocks then hindering progress in the field of DNA nanotechnology. Soon thereafter, PCI developed the inSēquio™ Design Studio, an innovative software application that enables DNA researchers to design and optimize nanostructures made with DNA self-assembly. In 2007, Drs. Armentrout and Norton began collaborating with Dr. Christopher Dwyer, a leading expert in the merged disciplines of DNA nanotechnology and computer science. On 4 March 2008, after proving the commercial potential of their DNA nanotechnology in the laboratory, PCI, Dr. Norton and Dr. Dwyer jointly founded Parabon NanoLabs with the mission to create breakthrough products using DNA. The initial focus was to develop oncology therapeutics using DNA nanostructures. Other therapeutic applications soon followed, such as the development of synthetic vaccines using similar DNA technology. In recent years, the Company applied the bioinformatics infrastructure it developed for drug development to the problem of DNA phenotyping and is now also developing trait prediction capabilities for forensics applications.
Parabon NanoLabs' Management and Scientific Team
Steven Armentrout, Ph.D., President, has over 25 years experience designing and using high-performance computing solutions to solve large-scale problems in a wide range of domains ranging from financial forecasting, proteomics and satellite communications to genomic sequence analysis and climate modeling. In 1999, desiring a robust, scalable, on-demand computing platform, able to handle even the largest machine learning and data mining problems, which were then his focus, he founded Parabon Computation (PCI), today a leading cloud computing software company and majority shareholder of Parabon NanoLabs. Dr. Armentrout received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.
Michael L. Norton, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, is also a Professor of Chemistry at Marshall University (MU). He first began working in the field of nanoscience in 1977, when he was a graduate student working with two-dimensional materials. He regularly participates in National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund proposal reviews. He earned a Ph.D. in Solid State Chemistry from Arizona State University and went on to pursue two years of post-graduate training in Optical and Electronic Materials at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California.
Christopher Dwyer, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Vice President, Research & Development, also serves as an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Dr. Dwyer has a unique combination of wet-lab and bit-lab experience. He received the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given to early career scientists by the US Government, is a Member of DARPA's 2009 Computer Science Study Group, and received a 2008 Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office. Dr. Dwyer received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hong Zhong, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, has highly specialized expertise in the design and assembly of DNA nano-structures with special biological, electronical and photonic functions, and the self-assembly of nanomembranes and antibody mimics based on nanosized dendritic polymers. He earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Biomolecular Chemistry from the New York University (NYU) and a Master of Science in Polymer Science and Engineering from Peking University in Peking, China.
Ellen McRae, Ph.D., Lead Bioinformaticist, is an expert in using comparative genomics to study complex traits. Dr. McRae received her Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University, where she was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Fellowship, an NIH Genetics and Genomics Training Grant, and the James Mills Peirce Graduate Fellowship.