Industry veteran will lead the UK Biobank platform and other global biomedical data initiatives driving the future of precision medicine
DNAnexus, Inc., the leading cloud-based biomedical and data management platform for healthcare and life sciences, has announced the appointment of Asha S. Collins, PhD, to General Manager, Biobanks. Dr. Collins will be responsible for managing the UK Biobank project and supporting the company’s diverse global health research community. She will report to DNAnexus’ Chief Executive Officer, Richard Daly.
DNAnexus has built the cloud-based research analysis platform for UK Biobank, the world’s most comprehensive biomedical database. More than 22,000 researchers around the globe are currently using UK Biobank database to access and analyze genetic, lifestyle, and health information from 500,000 UK participants. Over the past four years, the database has enabled numerous scientific discoveries that have accelerated research for common human disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. As part of her new role, Dr. Collins will work with the UK Biobank team to further develop the analytics capabilities, optimize the user experience, and support the platform as the database scales to more than 40 petabytes in the next five years.
“Asha brings a breadth of unique international expertise and a proven track record of scaling biopharma businesses,” said Richard Daly. “DNAnexus is privileged to partner with UK Biobank and provide the cloud-based bioinformatics platform that enables the world’s largest collaborative scientific biobank community. Asha will help us build on the recent success of the UK Biobank partnership and facilitate global health research collaborations redefining how researchers and clinicians access, analyze, and translate the world’s biomedical data.”
Dr. Collins has spent the past 20 years as a biologist, strategist, and operational leader focused on transforming and scaling biopharma and healthcare companies. Previously, she was the Head of U.S. Clinical Operations at Genentech, where she was responsible for executing in-sourced, late-stage, pivotal clinical trials for the entire Genentech / Roche product portfolio. Prior to that, Dr. Collins was Vice President and General Manager for the U.S. Clinical Trial Sourcing business at McKesson Corporation and worked as a senior executive focused on life sciences strategy and operations for Fortune 500 companies at Deloitte and Quintiles Consulting. Dr. Collins is also an Aspen Institute Health Innovator Fellow, an independent Corporate Director for IDEXX Laboratories, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Translational Research Institute for Space Health, and a mentor for Backstage Capital. She also worked on The Cancer Genome Atlas project (TCGA), where she focused on managing stakeholder and public communications, as well as the integration of business requirements for the first public database. Dr. Collins earned her PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Throughout her career, Dr. Collins has been focused on innovation and improving healthcare access. She helped launch a novel healthcare research effort in East Africa and currently co-leads a community dedicated to supporting underrepresented healthcare entrepreneurs.
“Today, we are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to realizing the full potential of biomedical data,” said Dr. Collins. “I’m looking forward to working with the global research community to expand access to data and analysis tools that generate life-changing insights.”
To learn more about DNAnexus-powered UKB Research Analysis Platform, sign up here.