SVP & CTO at Illumina
Alex Aravanis MD PhD joined Illumina in June 2020. As Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, he is responsible for leading Illumina’s research and technology development functions and the innovation engine for next-generation sequencing platforms and applications, accelerating technology breakthroughs and translation to the clinic. This includes the Illumina Accelerator, the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. Aravanis is an experienced entrepreneur and was involved in founding several start-ups in the life sciences and health care. Most recently, he co-founded GRAIL Bio where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D. At GRAIL, Aravanis led the research, development, operational, and clinical teams developing its multi-cancer early detection test. This test is based on technology which combines high-intensity sequencing of unprecedented breadth and depth with the techniques of modern data science. Through what is believed to be one of the largest clinical study programs ever pursued in genomic medicine, GRAIL is creating vast data sets to develop evidence supporting its products. It is deploying, at scale, the latest tools of data science, including powerful approaches from machine learning such as neural networks. Prior to GRAIL, Aravanis served as Senior Director of R&D for Illumina, Inc., where he developed multiple technologies, including clinical assays 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. Alex earned BS in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics Minor from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering, and an MD from Stanford University. He holds more than 30 (pending and issued) patents and numerous peer-reviewed publications.