Leadership

Kira Sheinerman, PhD, MBA

Kira Sheinerman is DiamiR’s Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director. Dr. Sheinerman also serves as a Managing Director, Healthcare Investment Banking at H.C. Wainwright & Co., where she works on financial and strategic transactions for growth life sciences companies. Previously, she was a Managing Director at Burrill Securities and earlier at Rodman & Renshaw. Prior to healthcare investment banking, Dr. Sheinerman worked at the Arcus group, a life sciences strategic consulting firm. She is a board member of Boyce Thompson Institute, an affiliate of Cornell University, and the senior strategic consultant to Aptorum Group (NASDAQ: APM). From October 2015 through December 2018, Dr. Sheinerman served as the co-chair of Alzheimer’s Association Business Consortium. Dr. Sheinerman received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for her work on molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease. She also holds an MBA from the Honors program at Baruch College/CUNY.

Samuil Umansky, MD, PhD, Dr Sci

Samuil Umansky is DiamiR’s Co-Founder, CSO and President. Dr. Umansky is an experienced biotech entrepreneur and inventor. Previously, Dr. Umansky co-founded and served as the Chief Scientific Officer and President of Xenomics (now Cardiff Oncology; NASDAQ: CRDF), where he and his colleagues developed the cell-free transrenal nucleic acids technology for detection and monitoring of various cancers. From 1993 to 1999, he served as Director of Cell Biology, Vice President of Molecular Pharmacology, and Chief Scientific Officer of LXR Biotechnology, and led the discovery of SARPs/sFRPs, a new family of genes involved in regulation of Wnt-signaling pathway. Prior to joining LXR, Dr. Umansky was a professor at the Institute of Biological Physics of the USSR Academy of Science. He was among the first scientists to study apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Dr. Umansky conducted pioneering studies on DNA degradation in dying cells and proposed a hypothesis on the existence of a genetic cell death program, its evolutionary origin and role in carcinogenesis, concepts that later became widely accepted. Dr. Umansky has published more than 160 articles and is an inventor of over 80 US and international patents. He completed his medical training at Bogomolets National Medical University, Ukraine and graduate training at the Institute of Biological Physics, Russia.

Gyanendra Kumar, PhD

Gyanendra Kumar is DiamiR’s VP Assay Development. Dr. Kumar is an accomplished research & development leader, with experience in leading CLIA facility operations. Dr. Kumar has 20+ years of experience in the development of technologies for molecular diagnostic and other applications. Prior to joining DiamiR, he was VP of Assay Development at Interpace Biosciences. From 2014 to 2021, he led the completion of product development, validation, and launch of two molecular diagnostic tests for thyroid malignancy based upon Next Generation Sequencing and microRNA profiling. From 1999 to 2009, Dr. Kumar led R&D efforts for the development of whole genome amplification (WGA) technologies at Molecular Staging and at GE Healthcare. Furthermore, he has expertise and record of establishing independent research programs related to “Expression Regulation and Functional Genomics”. Prior to joining biotechnology industry, Dr. Kumar was Associate Professor of Molecular Biology & Genetics (1988-1996) at Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit MI. He received his post-doc training in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Prof. David C. Ward at Yale University, and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Lucknow University, India.

Michael Kiefer, PhD

Michael Kiefer serves as Director of Research & Development at DiamiR. Dr. Kiefer has extensive molecular biology and assay development experience working primarily in start-up and early development biotech companies. From 2001 to 2016, Dr. Kiefer worked as a Senior Scientist at Genomic Health Inc. He led a research group that pioneered the development of a prototype diagnostic assay for predicting breast cancer recurrence, Oncotype DX. Prior to Genomic Health, 1993-1998, Dr. Kiefer served as a Senior Scientist, Director of Molecular Biology and Vice President of Molecular Biology at LXR Biotechnology Inc., where his group discovered BAK, a gene important in the regulation of cell death. Dr. Kiefer also served as a Research Scientist and Senior Scientist at Chiron Corp., 1987-1993, developing molecular cloning methods to facilitate the isolation of novel bone growth factors. Dr. Kiefer has published 74 articles and has 32 issued patents. He has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics and a B.S. in Zoology, both from the University of California, Davis.

Vladimir Tsivinsky, PhD

Vladimir Tsivinsky joined DiamiR early on as Head of Informatics. Dr. Tsivinsky has more than 25 years of experience in software design, architecture, and development. His background includes applied mathematics, and his doctoral thesis was devoted to various aspects of computerized measurements. Dr. Tsivinsky worked as Principal System Engineer at Forte Technology, as Senior Software Engineer at Speedline Technology and Parker Hannifin, and System Software Developer at MCI Engineering. Prior to joining MCI Engineering, he was a professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics and the Chief of Laboratory of Control and Measurement Computation, Kiev Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Tsivinsky published two books and over 40 articles. He is an inventor of over 30 patents in different aspects of measurement hardware and algorithms.

Advisory Board

Mikhail Denissenko, MD, PhD

Mikhail Denissenko has over 20 years of experience in Diagnostics and Drug Discovery. He is currently serving as Director of Program Management at the Diagnostics Solutions division of Hologic, a medical technology company primarily focused on improving women's health through early detection and treatment. At Hologic, Dr. Denisenko oversees a portfolio of new product development projects encompassing molecular diagnostics of infectious diseases and cancer, including instrumentation. Previously, Dr. Denissenko led New Product Portfolio Management at Prometheus Labs, a Nestlé Health Science Company that employed both Dx and Rx approaches to improve human condition in gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Prior to Prometheus, Dr. Denissenko was a head of strategic innovation, technology assessment, and product development for Molecular and Cellular Essentials business platform at Thermo Fisher Scientific; was on  Drug Discovery management team in the Pharmaceuticals division at Sequenom; and led an R&D group involved in the development and production of commercial bioreagents at BD Biosciences. During his career in the life sciences industry, Dr. Denissenko had advanced Product Lifecycle Management beyond being a mere toolset and established it as a key business approach, thus facilitating innovation and driving product development. Dr. Denissenko is also a founder of two biotech startup companies and an author of over 40 peer-reviewed publications, including a seminal Science paper (>1,960 citations), and several book chapters.

Kevin Krenitsky, MD

In 2015-2016, Kevin Krenitsky served as President of OpGen (NASDAQ:OPGN) and oversaw the rollout of the company’s Acuitas® MDRO family of Gene Tests and the development of Acuitas Lighthouse™ MDRO Management System. Dr. Krenitsky has more than 15 years of experience leading and managing global diagnostic and biotechnology operations, including as Chief Commercial Officer & SVP of International Strategy and previously Chief Operating Officer of Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ: FMI). Prior to Foundation Medicine, he served as President of Enzo Clinical Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of Enzo Biochem (NYSE:ENZ), where he instituted a comprehensive strategic and operational plan that led to the launch of numerous FDA-approved esoteric tests, as well as several new laboratory developed tests. Dr. Krenitsky served as Chief Executive Officer at both BioServe Biotechnologies, a global biotechnology company specializing in processing genetic diagnostic tests, and Parkway Clinical Laboratories, a clinical diagnostic lab providing comprehensive routine and esoteric testing. He also held various senior-level positions within Genomics Collaborative, Inc. (a SeraCare Life Sciences Company), a full-scale clinical and genomics research company, and is a former Board member of the New York State Clinical Lab Association and BioServe. Dr. Krenitsky received a B.S. in business management from the University of Scranton and an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College (now the Sidney Kimmel Medical College) in Philadelphia.

Laura A. Philips, PhD, MBA

Laura Philips is the co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spheryx, Inc., a technology company providing innovation to the analysis of high tech liquids for a broad range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry, consumer products, quality assurance and process control. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Boyce Thompson Institute, a biological research institute associated with Cornell University, and as Board member of POGIL Project, a non-profit organization with an innovative approach to science and technology education. Prior to co-founding Spheryx in 2014, Dr. Philips served as CEO and Director of WellGen, and from 2003-2006 as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at NexGenix Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining NexGenix, she was Vice President at AMDeC, a biomedical research and development consortium in New York. She held a variety of executive positions at Corning Incorporated, from 1997 to 2002, including director of product development and strategic planning. Dr. Philips served in the Clinton Administration both as a Fellow in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and as a Presidential Appointee in the position of Senior Policy Advisor to Sec. Ronald Brown in the Dept. of Commerce. Dr. Philips was on the Faculty of the Department of Chemistry, Cornell University from 1987-1993. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Cornell University.

George J. Vergis, PhD

George Vergis has over 25 years in the healthcare industry serving in global leadership positions ranging from blockbuster brands at large pharmaceutical companies to research platforms at small biotechnology companies. He is currently retired and serves on several boards for not-for-profit organizations, including the Board of Choice One Crisis Pregnancy Center focused on medical, emotional and behavioral care for women and their families. He is a past board member of the Wistar Institute and former Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for Woods Services, LLC, a nationally recognized leader in behavioral and mental health for children and adults. Dr. Vergis most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Neose Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:  NTEC), a clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company focused on next-generation therapeutic proteins. During his tenure at Neose, Dr. Vergis raised over $100 million in capital and transformed a technology platform into a fully integrated company that was successfully acquired by two of the company’s development partners. Prior to leading Neose, Dr. Vergis led New Product Development (Humira®) and the Endocrine Franchise at BASF/Knoll Pharmaceuticals (now Abbvie (NYSE: ABBV)). His career also included senior management positions in research and development, pharmaco-econоmic, marketing, sales, and new business development at Warner- Lambert Parke-Davis and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories (now Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)). Dr. Vergis received his undergraduate degree in Biology and History from Princeton University, his Masters in Science and Doctorate degrees in Physiology from The Pennsylvania State University, and his Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University.

Benjamin R. Bowen, PhD

Benjamin Bowen is a Managing Director in the Investment Banking group at Northland Capital Markets focused on the healthcare sector. Dr. Bowen is also the Principal of Owatonna Advisors, Inc., a consultancy that provides scientific and business advice to early stage life science companies. Before joining Northland in 2013, Dr. Bowen was Managing Director at The Benchmark Company, LLC, and at Rodman & Renshaw, LLC. Over the course of his investment banking career, he originated nearly $3 billion in financing for early stage companies and advised numerous health care companies on strategic matters. Prior to 2004, he worked in pharmaceutical research and research management at Genentech, CIBA‐Geigy, and Novartis, as well as in healthcare-focused retained advisory services at Acumen Sciences. Dr. Bowen received his B.A. in Chemistry from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from MIT.