An Array of Molecular Diagnostic Information at Your Fingertips™

Akonni Management

Charles Daitch – CEO
Darrell Chandler – Chief Science Officer
Jon Davis – Vice President of Operations
Robert Reinemann – Director of Finance
Christopher Cooney – Director of Engineering
Rebecca Holmberg – Director of Applications Development


Charles Daitch Ph.D. – CEO
Dr. Daitch has 20 years experience encompassing a broad range of disciplines including chemistry, biology, biosensors and chemical/biological defense. He directs multidisciplinary teams of scientists focused on the development of infectious disease diagnostic tools that implement novel sample preparation, molecular recognition and optical based detection technologies. Dr. Daitch has significant experience in sensor system product development employing: 1) automated miniaturized biomolecule purification and signal amplification in complex samples, and 2) integration of microfabricated components such as: microarrays, thermal electric control, mircofluidic fluid flow, and electro-optical detection. He brings strong product development and R&D experience from the NIH/FDA, the USDA, and Sandia National Labs. Dr. Daitch was recruited by HandyLab Inc., a microfluidics diagnostics company, to serve on the executive management team as Vice President of R&D. In this role, he assisted in strategic planning, business alliances and agreements, and R&D collaborations. Prior, Dr. Daitch launched a biodefense R&D business unit for Veridian Corporation, a premier defense contractor, and led the growth of the operation to 24 employees and $5M in annual revenue. He has 4 U.S. patents, 17 peer reviewed publications and served as principle investigator on over $12 million in government grants and contracts.
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Darrell Chandler Ph.D. – Chief Science Officer
Dr. Darrell Chandler joined Akonni Biosystems after 15 years of service at Pacific Northwest and Argonne National Laboratories, where he led and managed multidisciplinary teams of biologists, analytical chemists, engineers, statisticians and computer scientists in the development of integrated nucleic acid-based biodetection systems for environmental and clinical applications. Since receiving his PhD in microbiology, he has authored 46 peer reviewed publications, holds 4 issued U.S. patents with several patents pending, and given 34 invited presentations in national and international forums based on investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed research grants from the NIH, DOE, EPA, and DHS. Areas of scientific and technical emphasis include methods and devices for automated sample preparation from large-volume, complex sample matrices and array-based detection technologies. He currently serves on the editorial board for Applied and Environmental Microbiology, is a peer reviewer for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Biotechnology, Nucleic Acids Research and 12 other journals, and is a regular contributor to NIH study section IDM-M.
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Jon Davis – Vice President of Operations
Mr. Davis joined Akonni Biosystems April 2007 and currently manages all aspects of Akonni’s day-to-day operations, to include quality control, human resources, information technologies, IP/legal, facilities, procurement, security and ES&H. Mr. Davis has over 20 years of general management experience with expertise in design, construction, and maintenance of research laboratories to include BSL-2, chemical, optical and class 10,000 clean room facilities. Prior to joining Akonni, Mr. Davis served as Department and Technical Manager for General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems’ Chemical Biological Radionuclide Explosives (CBRNE) business unit. Mr. Davis served in similar roles and as a microbiologist with both Veridian Corporation and Pacific Sierra Research Corporation where he worked with multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers developing novel biological detection technologies for US government agencies. In this capacity Mr. Davis also served as a technical lead for field trials of integrated biological collection and detection systems for US defense and homeland security communities.
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Robert Reinemann – Director of Finance
Mr. Reinemann has over 30 years of P&L responsibilities and experience in financial and general administration at premiere healthcare and higher education institutions in the New York metropolitan region. His responsibilities have included financial oversight of federally-funded medical research, health care reimbursement, new venture launches, diagnostic lab administration and financial management consulting. He was CEO and CFO of Valley Home Care, and has worked in senior financial management positions for Columbia University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Mount Sinai Medical Center of New York. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University and holds an MBA and MPH from Columbia University. He is a trustee and former President of the Cresskill Board of Education.
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Christopher Cooney Ph.D. – Director of Engineering
As Director of Engineering at Akonni Biosystems, Dr. Cooney leads an innovative multi-disciplinary team of engineers and scientists in the pursuit of affordable, highly-informative diagnostics. Dr. Cooney draws upon fourteen years of multi-disciplinary bioengineering experience from both academia and industry – four years in post-graduate academia and ten years in industry. His scientific expertise is in microfluidics and biosensors, which began in 1995 as part of his graduate studies at Arizona State University. Prior to serving as Director of Engineering at Akonni Biosystems, Dr. Cooney was an Engineering Manager at Northrop Grumman’s R&D Division and served as a technical liaison with the Manufacturing Division for the deployed Biohazard Detection System. There he also led the R&D of a microfluidic cartridge for isothermal assays for biodefense applications. Prior to his work at Northrop Grumman, Dr. Cooney investigated digital microfluidics applied to isothermal molecular assays, and he co-developed a patented low-cost isothermal fluorescence reader as a scientist at Keck Graduate Institute. Prior to this position, Dr. Cooney served as Research Director for Biomechanics Research and Associates where he was responsible for developing customized analysis instrumentation. As a student, Dr. Cooney was commissioned as an Ensign Officer with the Public Health Service and served at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Dr. Cooney is named on numerous publications, patents and patent applications and is principal investigator for grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health that total approximately $3M. Of these, one is a NSF Phase 2 SBIR grant with the goal of developing high-confidence Lab-on-a-Film diagnostic tests using the same reel-to-reel manufacturing methodologies as used for pregnancy tests and another is a NIH Phase 2 SBIR grant with the goal of developing a point-of-care TB diagnostic to detect drug resistance in low resource settings. These grants directly support the development of a low-cost consumable that can be analyzed by a sample-to-answer molecular diagnostic instrument currently under development at Akonni.
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Rebecca Holmberg Ph.D. – Director of Application Development
Since joining Akonni Biosytems in 2008, Dr. Holmberg played an intricate role in the development of Akonni’s sample-to-answer solutions with her experienced background in detection technologies. While at Akonni, Dr. Holmberg lead the effort to design, develop and validate high quality clinical and environmental sample extraction and detection methods for various viral and bacterial infectious diseases as well as genomics based applications. She directs projects to transfer these processes to numerous automated liquid handling platforms and leads custom development projects with external customers. She also developed amplification technologies for Akonni’s unique 3D gel spot microarray for the detection of biothreat agents, P450 and Y-chromosome SNPS, and upper respiratory diseases. Prior to Akonni, Dr. Holmberg served as a Principle Scientist at Ionian Technologies (Subsidiary of Inverness/Alere) where she developed assays for rapid detection of biowarefare agents and genetically modified foods using Ionian’s patented isothermal amplification technology. Her work on government funded contracts aimed to detect threat agents in air samples, food, and unknown liquid samples in minimal time. Before entering the diagnostic industry, Dr. Holmberg studied directed evolution of novel polymerases at The Scripps Research Institute under an NIH Post-doctoral fellowship award after finishing her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry at The University of Virginia. Dr. Holmberg holds 15 peer reviewed publications and multiple patents/patents-pending.
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