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About Us

Our Scientists

LAB DIRECTORS

 

Brian Mariani, PhD, is a Stanford University educated and Harvard University trained molecular biologist and serves as Chief Scientist at the Genetics & IVF Institute.  His PhD research, completed at Stanford in the Department of Biological Sciences, focused on cancer biology and genetics, specifically the molecular mechanism of chemotherapeutic resistance in human cancers.  Following his PhD, Dr. Mariani received a Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship to study molecular genetics at Harvard in the Department of Cellular and Development Biology.  This work focused on how the expression of genetic information is regulated during ovarian development and cellular differentiation.

Dr. Mariani then served on the faculty of the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, having joint appointments in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Orthopedic Surgery.  Besides teaching medical biochemistry and molecular biology and mentoring MD/PhD graduate students, his research involved the molecular basis of embryogenesis, particularly the genetic regulation of pattern formation and the control of skeletal development in the early vertebrate embryo.  Additional studies by Dr. Mariani at Jefferson involved pioneering advancements in the molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases; one of the first applications of genomic medicine for the detection of clinically important pathogens. 

Dr. Mariani joined GIVF in 1998 and established the Molecular Infectious Disease Laboratory, offering molecular diagnosis for over 60 clinically relevant infectious diseases that serves critical care patients in hospitals in the Washington DC region.  With his expertise in molecular genetics and assay development, Dr. Mariani is also Director of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) Laboratory.  In this context, he is working on the application of genomic technology for the improved detection of genetic diseases and chromosomal abnormalities in IVF generated embryos using customized, patient-specific protocols. Dr. Mariani and the PGD team take pride in successfully developing molecular strategies to address some of the most technically difficult and challenging genetic disorders, providing hope for at-risk couples and a pathway leading to the birth of healthy children.  This effort represents personalized medicine at its most fundamental level; preventing the transmission of genetic disease prior to the implantation of the human embryo.

 

 

Veronica Novik, Ph.D, is Assistant Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Genetics & IVF Institute. Veronica received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Yale University in 2008 studying the virulence mechanisms that bacteria employ during infection process. Her interest led to the identification and functional characterization of novel genes that mediate the interaction of Campylobacter jejuni, the major cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, with human host cells.

That work led to the development of an animal colonization model to study C. jejuni infection that contributed towards a better understanding of the pathogenesis of this important human pathogen. Veronica Novik also holds a BS from Belorussian State University with a major in Genetics and Biotechnology (1995).

After coming to GIVF, Veronica has been the coordinator of the PGS program managing the critical interaction between the laboratory, embryology, physicians, and clinical genetics staff to ensure a seamless and accurate clinical process for our patients. In this capacity, Veronica is responsible for reviewing and cataloging all 24-chromosme analyses with respect to clinical correlation and outcome. As a team, all PGS data is analyzed and documented for aneuploidy, mosaicism, and segmental aberrations with respect to patient medical history and pregnancy success. Her technical expertise in molecular methods has also contributed greatly to test design and validation for the infectious disease program.

 

David Karabinus, PhD, HCLD is the Andrology Laboratory Director. Before coming to GIVF, he started his academic career with a BS and MS from Ohio State University. He went on to receive a PhD with an emphasis in Male Reproductive Physiology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1988. As a post-doctoral fellow at South Dakota State University he studied the genetic structure of sperm.

In 1992, he became the Director of the Andrology Laboratory at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, a position he held for more than 10 years. In 1997, he added responsibilities becoming the Director of the Hormone Assay Laboratory and the Chair of the OB/GYN Department Human Subjects Committee. Dr. Karabinus has published extensively on sperm structure and function. Dr. Karabinus has been with GIVF since 2002.

Michelle Ottey, PhD, HCLD is the Director of Operations for Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc. She received her BA in Biology from Rosemont College in 1997. Dr. Ottey received her PhD in Genetics from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 2003. During her graduate work her focus was on the FHIT gene, a human tumor suppressor found to be aberrant in multiple cancers. Her work led to the development of an assay by which to measure clonal survivability after exposure to UV irradiation. This assay was used to study the effect irradiation on Fhit homozygous, heterozygous, and null primary and established cells lines. The data retrieved from this assay led to work on the role of the Fhit gene in cell cycle survival pathways.

She then moved on to the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine where she completed a post-doctoral fellowship during which she studied the Mob1/Dbf2 protein complex and its role in regulating chromosomal passenger proteins. This work established that Mob1 is essential for maintaining the localization of the Aurora, INCENP, and Survivin chromosomal passenger proteins on the anaphase spindle as well as a role in the dissociation of the proteins from the kinetochore region. This work was important in establishing kinetochores as sites for Mitotic Exit Network (MEN) signaling.

Dr. Ottey was interested in moving from research science to science management and thus joined Fairfax Cryobank in June 2006 at the Philadelphia site as lab supervisor. She now manages each of the Cryobanks' laboratories and is involved in other GIVF pursuits.