Regarding her studies, Fiona has a background in computer science and an interest in healthcare led our founder, Fiona Nielsen to study bioinformatics and learn about the tidal wave of genomic data hitting medical research. It was so interesting she decided to start a PhD, creating software to study genetic and epigenetic markers in gene regulation.
Later Fiona Turned from scientist to entrepreneur. At Illumina she was developing tools for interpretation of next-generation sequencing data and analysing cancer and FFPE samples sequenced on the latest technology. There she realised how difficult it is to find and get access to genomics data for research, which led to DNAdigest being founded as a charity to promote best practices for efficient and ethical data sharing – aligning the interests of patients and researchers. In August 2014 Repositive Ltd was spun out of DNAdigest as a commercial entity to develop and provide a novel software tools and mechanisms for sharing of data. Fiona and Adrian, co-founder at Repositive, met during their time at Illumina. Leaving Illumina to lead the development of Repositive’s Discover platform in 2014, Adrian brought his wealth of experience as a data scientist to bridge the scientific software and product requirements with market needs. The mission and journey of Repositive won support from the UK startup community and is now a recognized global player in the market for genomic data via their selection as tech contributor to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Data Commons in the US and customer partnerships across Europe, US and China.
With this brilliant trajectory, Fiona was nominated for the 2013 WiSE award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and in 2018 she was recognized at the Cambridge science and technology awards as ‘highly commended’ CEO of the year.
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