CEO DNAdigest & Repositive
Fiona Nielsen, founder and CEO of DNAdigest and Repositive, is a bioinformatics scientist turned entrepreneur. She has more than 15 years of experience in project management and software development ranging from web applications to scientific tools for genetic analysis. Fiona experienced first-hand the disconnect between the amount of genetic data generated versus the amount of data available for research, through her work in both academia and industry. Whilst working as a bioinformatics scientist, she recognised that much the human genomic data produced was of immense value in diagnosis of diseases, pharmaceutical discovery and research, but could never be shared because no tools existed to share this information whilst maintaining data confidentiality and privacy in an easy and efficient way. She became increasingly frustrated that the knowledge carried in the huge quantities of data that she generated and analysed – often related directly to specific diseases –was, effectively, wasted. Realising the urgency for data access to enable genetic research and diagnostics, she left her job at Illumina to change the status quo and founded DNAdigest as a charity and Repositive as a social enterprise to enable faster and more efficient ethical data sharing for genetics. In 2015 Fiona was an invited speaker for the International Conference of Genomics by BGI in the Community Genomes track, she was a panelist at the BioData World Congress and she was featured as a Rising Star in the Movers and Shakers of BioBusiness at the BioBeat conference in Cambridge, UK.