Management Team

Our Specialists in Gene Expression in CA and the US

John Dobak, MD - President and CEO

John Dobak, MD has served as Founder and CEO of several venture-backed life science companies in San Diego. Dr. Dobak is the President of the JAKK Group, a life sciences technology accelerator, which has created several companies, including Lithera, INNERCOOL Therapies, and CryoGen/CryoCor. These companies have developed and marketed therapeutics, ranging from endovascular hypothermia to treat cardiac arrest to catheter-based treatments for cardiac arrhythmias. They have been financed by top tier investment firms and have achieved exits through acquisition and an IPO. Dr. Dobak and these companies are the recipients of several awards for entrepreneurship and innovation, including UCSD Connect’s Most Innovative New Product and MIT’s TR 100. Dr. Dobak received a Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA and a Medical Doctorate from UCSD.

Steven Kemper, CPA, MBA, MS - Chief Financial Officer

Steven Kemper’s career includes over thirty years in the financial management of rapidly growing companies in high technology environments ranging from the Fortune 100 to venture backed start-ups. He is President of Pacific Financial Consulting and Adjunct Professor of Finance at the University of San Diego. Mr. Kemper has raised over $650 million including three IPO’s in the medical devices and diagnostics industries. He was formerly Chief Financial Officer for GenMark Diagnostics (NASDAQ:GNMK) and DexCom, Inc. (NASDAQ:DXCM). Earlier in his career he led the financial team at General Instrument’s Satellite Television operations in San Diego, which was sold to Motorola and is now part of Google. Steven holds a bachelors degree from the University of California, San Diego, an MBA in Finance from Loyola Marymount University, an MS in Accountancy from San Diego State University and is a licensed CPA.

Zuxu Yao, PhD - Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Yao has over 16 years of product development and management experience in the biotech industry with a track record of successful development of various molecular diagnostic products, from product idea conception to market launch. Prior to joining DermTech, Dr. Yao has served as VP of Assay Development at Nexogen, Associate Director of R&D at Adnavance Technologies, Principal Scientist at Celula and Senior Staff Scientist at Nanogen. He holds a PhD degree in Biochemistry from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada and received post-doctoral research training at the National Institute of Basic Biology (NIBB) in Okazaki (Japan) and at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He has close to 40 publications and owns numerous patents on rapid nucleic acid amplification and detection for diagnostic application.

Philip D. Cotter, PhD, FACMG, FFSc(RCPA) - Clinical Laboratory Director

Dr. Cotter has nearly thirty years of experience in the clinical laboratory industry as a clinical laboratory director and consultant. He is Principal and Co-Founder of ResearchDx, Inc., the premier Contract Diagnostics Organization providing Companion Diagnostics services to the BioPharma and Biotechnology industries. He has extensive experience in clinical laboratory regulatory issues, application of new technologies, and clinical laboratory management. He has published extensively in the field of medical genetics and related disciplines. Dr. Cotter holds BS and MS degrees from New Zealand in Plant Sciences, a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF, San Francisco, CA, is Board Certified in Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

Darryl Garrison - Vice President, Lab Operations

Darryl Garrison has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including cancer diagnostics and CLIA laboratory operations. He was an original member of Clarient Diagnostic Services and later established NeoGenomics West Coast CLIA operations. He has served as founder, director and vice president for a number of CLIA laboratories, including Clarient, NeoGenomics, Pathway Genomics, Arista Molecular and VantagePoint Laboratories. He has a BS in Microbiology, a MS in Molecular Biology and currently holds State CLS licenses in CA and NY.

Burkhard Jansen, MD - Chief Medical Officer

Burkhard Jansen, MD is a melanoma expert with background as a tenured professor of both dermatology and clinical pharmacology with FDA experience. Dr. Jansen has served as founder, director, and senior executive of a number of dermatology and oncology focused life sciences companies, including Novelix, Avienne, and Oncogenex in the US, Canada, and Europe. Dr. Jansen received his medical doctorate and dermatology training from the Universities of Graz and Vienna in Austria, his postdoctoral science training at the University of Minnesota, and his executive business education at UCLA.

Sarah Dion - Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Sarah Dion comes to DermTech with a successful track record of leading, innovation, development, and product commercialization in many fields of life science, including experience in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and laboratory services. Her background includes work in research, product development, marketing, and leading a sales organization of over 85 personnel. Prior to DermTech, she held the position of Vice President Commercial Operations at LABS Inc. where she led the commercial team of sales, marketing, IT and client solutions. Ms. Dion joined LABS after working as Senior Sales Director at Pathway Genomics where the sales team grew revenues and volume by over 2,000% year over year and was recognized by industry magazines as one of the fastest growing companies in the US. Ms. Dion holds a bachelors degree in Chemistry from Covenant College and an MBA from PLNU.

James Rock - Vice President of Clinical Operations and Research Contracts

James Rock, currently serves as the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Research Contracts. He has over 15 years of experience having worked in clinical and business development capacities including partnering activities, raising capital and product development. He has been instrumental in bring several products to marking including OTC, prescription drugs, and novel in vitro diagnostics. Previously he was Vice President of Clinical Affairs for Trinity Biotech, Director of New Product Development and Interim CEO at Pacific Beach BioSciences, and Director of Clinical Development at MPEX Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Rock holds a BS from the University of Vermont, received his MSc degree from Springfield College, and his MBA from Pepperdine University.