About Us

Genetic testing doesn't have to be so complicated.

Our Story

With more than 60,000 genetic tests on the market, the selection, delivery and reimbursement of genetic testing is more complicated than ever. With scattered information about testing products, inconsistent ordering processes, and inefficient coding and billing systems, there is a growing need for tools to navigate this explosive field. NextGxDx launched as an IT company dedicated to enhancing the transparency of genetic testing data and streamlining processes related to genetic test ordering, payment and management for healthcare providers, laboratories and health insurers.

With an outstanding team of physicians, researchers, web developers, data scientists and software engineers, NextGxDx launched its proprietary GeneSource, GeneConnect and GenePayer solutions to provide data and tools for end-to-end genetic testing management, from searching and comparing testing products, to tracking orders and results, to payment integrity and forecasting trends in pricing and utilization.

As the genetic testing resource, NextGxDx provides comprehensive, intuitive solutions that address the specific challenges faced by the medical community.

Rob Metcalf

CEO

An experienced software and information services executive, Rob has a passion for building world class companies that use technology to transform entire industries. As CEO of NextGxDx, Rob is expanding the company’s suite of products for the genetic testing marketplace.

Prior to NextGxDx, Rob led cognitive computing company Digital Reasoning as President and Chief Operating Officer, guiding the business through an expansion into financial services and healthcare markets, as well as securing multiple rounds of capital from strategic investors. Prior to Digital Reasoning, Rob held executive positions in Mexico, Canada and the United States with the information services leader LexisNexis. At LexisNexis, Rob oversaw numerous acquisitions as part of the acceleration of the company’s software strategy.

Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University and his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Mark Harris, PhD, MBA

Founder and Chief Innovation Officer

Mark founded NextGxDx in 2010 to bring efficiency to the genetic testing market. He has over 15 years of experience in molecular biology, technology commercialization, and executive leadership. Today, as Chief Innovation Officer, Mark leads a dynamic team of software engineers, data scientists and clinicians to advance the company’s product suite and outline its roadmap for the future.

Deeply involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Mark has been a mentor for several accelerator programs and an advisor for startup companies and investment groups. He frequently speaks at healthcare, genetics, and technology industry events.

In 2010, before founding NextGxDx, Mark worked for Athena Diagnostics, leading a team that designed one of the first implementations of a Next Generation Sequencing platform for a commercial lab. He earned his PhD in Cancer Biology and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.

Blake Blackshear

CTO

As a technologist with a range of experience in building applications across several industries, Blake is passionate about bringing secure, intuitive, and physician-centric applications to the world of healthcare. He believes that better technology enables physicians to focus on what is important, caring for their patients.

By leveraging the latest in cloud technology, Blake is focused on an application architecture that allows integration with the next generation of healthcare applications. Flexibility and agility are going to be key for adapting to the rapid changes occurring in the world of healthcare IT.

Jud Schneider, PhD

VP Bioinformatics

With a passion for bridging the scientific and medical worlds, Jud is dedicated to translating basic science discovery into actionable medical technology. With over 12 years of experience in clinical and biomedical research, Jud brings deep experience in genetics, genomics, next-generation sequencing, and high-throughput data analysis to the team. Having spent both time in the clinic and at the bench, he is focused on providing relevant and accurate testing information to physicians at the appropriate point in their workflow.

Outside of science, Jud has experience in economic development, government relations, technology commercialization, and education. Jud has founded programs at Vanderbilt University designed to facilitate the commercialization of laboratory-developed technology by building bridges between scientists, businesses, investors, and state government. He is intimately involved with Life Science Tennessee, the state's biotechnology association, currently serving on the Education and Workforce Development Committee and the Board of Directors.

Jud performed both his PhD, in Cell and Developmental Biology, and fellowship, in Molecular Endocrinology and Biophysics, at Vanderbilt University.

Gillian Hooker, PhD, CGC

VP Clinical Development

Applying her background in molecular and clinical genetics, genetic counseling and behavioral science, Gillian is committed to overcoming the barriers to effective translation of genome science at the patient, provider and system levels. As a researcher in academic and government settings, Gillian has worked with numerous transdisciplinary teams on the front lines of genomics, developing and evaluating methods for delivering genomic information to patients and their providers. Having served as the associate director of a genetic counseling training program, Gillian also brings significant experience in genetics education and outreach.

Gillian completed her doctoral degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University and her masters degree in Genetic Counseling at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health / National Human Genome Research Institute Genetic Counseling Training Program. She has been actively involved in the National Society of Genetic Counselors, serving on multiple committees and holding leadership positions in the Familial Cancer and Research Special Interest Groups.

Jim D. Kever

Chairman of the Board

Kever has been a principal in Voyent Partners, LLC, a venture capital firm, since 2001. He is also a director of Luminex Corporation, a developer and manufacturer of innovative biological testing technologies, and Tyson Foods, Inc., an integrated processor of food products. He previously served as a director of Emdeon Business Services LLC and EBS Master, a provider of healthcare revenue and payment cycle solutions, and Transaction Systems Architects, Inc., a supplier of electronic payment software products and network integration solutions. Kever also served as the President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Transaction Services Division of WebMD Corporation (formerly Envoy Corporation), an internet healthcare services company, from 1995 to 2001.

Mark Harris, PhD, MBA

Founder and Board Member

Mark founded NextGxDx in 2010 to bring efficiency to the genetic testing market. He has over 15 years of experience in molecular biology, technology commercialization, and executive leadership. Today, as Chief Innovation Officer, Mark leads a dynamic team of software engineers, data scientists and clinicians to advance the company’s product suite and outline its roadmap for the future.

Deeply involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Mark has been a mentor for several accelerator programs and an advisor for startup companies and investment groups. He frequently speaks at healthcare, genetics, and technology industry events.

In 2010, before founding NextGxDx, Mark worked for Athena Diagnostics, leading a team that designed one of the first implementations of a Next Generation Sequencing platform for a commercial lab. He earned his PhD in Cancer Biology and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.

Rob Metcalf

CEO and Board Member

An experienced software and information services executive, Rob has a passion for building world class companies that use technology to transform entire industries. As CEO of NextGxDx, Rob is expanding the company’s suite of products for the genetic testing marketplace.

Prior to NextGxDx, Rob led cognitive computing company Digital Reasoning as President and Chief Operating Officer, guiding the business through an expansion into financial services and healthcare markets, as well as securing multiple rounds of capital from strategic investors. Prior to Digital Reasoning, Rob held executive positions in Mexico, Canada and the United States with the information services leader LexisNexis. At LexisNexis, Rob oversaw numerous acquisitions as part of the acceleration of the company’s software strategy.

Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University and his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Patrick J. Balthrop Sr.

Board Member

Balthrop is the founding principal of Apalachee Ventures since his retirement as CEO and President of Luminex Corporation in 2014. Balthrop served as the president and chief executive officer of Luminex Corporation (NASDAQ: LMNX) from 2004 to 2014. Luminex is a developer and manufacturer of life science products, with a market-leading position in DNA based testing products used by clinical laboratories worldwide. Prior to Luminex, Balthrop served as president of Fisher Healthcare, a Fisher Scientific International company, a manufacturer and supplier of products and services principally to the scientific and laboratory markets from 2002 to 2004. Prior to Fisher Scientific International, Mr. Balthrop served in a number of leadership positions for over 20 years with Abbott Laboratories, a global, broad-based health care company. Mr. Balthrop holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Biology from Spring Hill College.

Phil Hertik

Board Member

Hertik is the former founder, chairman and CEO of Windsor Health Group, a holding company for healthcare acquisitions, which he launched in 2000 and sold in 2010. Windsor developed Windsor Medicare Extra, a leading regional Medicare Advantage plan. In the mid-1990s he served as an independent consultant and investor in healthcare and also led Coventry Corporation, a publicly traded regional managed care and insurance organization. He's additionally been at the helm of Dental Health Management, Inc. and held senior executive positions with Preferred Care, HealthAmerica, Saratoga Hospital and Ernst & Ernst, where he had a practice concentration in healthcare. Mr. Hertik holds bachelors and masters degrees from the State University of New York and is a Certified Public Accountant. He holds directorships at other companies, including Amplion Clinical Communications and Unity Physician Partners. He previously sat on the boards of Tandem Health Care, Inc., Esoterix, Inc., CompBenefits Corporation, Athena Diagnostics, Inc. and Coventry Corporation.

George I. Lazenby, IV

Board Member

Lazenby most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Emdeon and was a member of its board of directors since September 2008. Mr. Lazenby is currently a senior advisor for Emdeon's majority investor, Blackstone Capital Partners, advising the firm on current and future healthcare technology and services investments. Prior to this role, Lazenby served as the Chief Executive Officer and a director of EBS Master since March 2007. Before that, Mr. Lazenby served as Executive Vice President of Provider Services at Emdeon Business Services from December 2003 to March 2007. Mr. Lazenby is a Certified Public Accountant and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Alabama.

Chase Perry

Board Member

Perry is Director of Nashville Capital Network and a General Partner of NCN’s affiliated investment funds. In addition to his work with NextGxDx, Perry serves as a board director or observer at NCN portfolio companies including Shareable, LiveSchool, Inova Payroll, and Cloudbeds. Previously, Perry was Vice President of Corporate Development at FrontStream Payments, a leading provider of electronic payment services. Before that, he was an Analyst for Harbert Management Corporation’s middle market private equity funds. Perry graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hampden-Sydney College and earned his MBA at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business.

Curt Thorne

Board Member

Thorne most recently was CEO of MedSolutions, which he grew from start up to nearly $1 billion in revenue and more than $100 million in EBITDA. MedSolutions merged with CareCore in December 2014, to create eviCore, the leading Benefits Management organization in America, which reduces health care costs as a consequence of improving the quality of care patients receive. Prior to his 17 year stent at MedSolutions, Thorne held a variety of executive roles in the managed care industry, including starting and running PBMs for Cigna, The Travelers and Aetna. Thorne received a bachelors degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Jud Schneider, PhD

VP Bioinformatics

With a passion for bridging the scientific and medical worlds, Jud is dedicated to translating basic science discovery into actionable medical technology. With over 12 years of experience in clinical and biomedical research, Jud brings deep experience in genetics, genomics, next-generation sequencing, and high-throughput data analysis to the team. Having spent both time in the clinic and at the bench, he is focused on providing relevant and accurate testing information to physicians at the appropriate point in their workflow.

Outside of science, Jud has experience in economic development, government relations, technology commercialization, and education. Jud has founded programs at Vanderbilt University designed to facilitate the commercialization of laboratory-developed technology by building bridges between scientists, businesses, investors, and state government. He is intimately involved with Life Science Tennessee, the state's biotechnology association, currently serving on the Education and Workforce Development Committee and the Board of Directors.

Jud performed both his PhD, in Cell and Developmental Biology, and fellowship, in Molecular Endocrinology and Biophysics, at Vanderbilt University.

Gillian Hooker, PhD, CGC

VP Clinical Development

Applying her background in molecular and clinical genetics, genetic counseling and behavioral science, Gillian is committed to overcoming the barriers to effective translation of genome science at the patient, provider and system levels. As a researcher in academic and government settings, Gillian has worked with numerous transdisciplinary teams on the front lines of genomics, developing and evaluating methods for delivering genomic information to patients and their providers. Having served as the associate director of a genetic counseling training program, Gillian also brings significant experience in genetics education and outreach.

Gillian completed her doctoral degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University and her masters degree in Genetic Counseling at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health / National Human Genome Research Institute Genetic Counseling Training Program. She has been actively involved in the National Society of Genetic Counselors, serving on multiple committees and holding leadership positions in the Familial Cancer and Research Special Interest Groups.

Taylor Murphy, PhD

Director of Data Procurement

Taylor has over 5 years of experience in scientific and biomedical research and is focused on revealing valuable insights from data for both NextGxDx and the greater genetics community. Taylor brings deep experience in cancer genetics, data mining, and complex network analysis to the team. During Taylor's dissertation research, he helped develop an in vivo and in silico model of tumor cell metabolism to understand how genetic changes can alter growth.

Outside of his educational endeavors, Taylor has successfully run his own freelance technical and scientific writing company. Taylor earned his Bachelor's degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Jon Staples, MS²

Director of Analytics

Formally trained as a molecular geneticist, Jon comes from a strong background in biomedical research in the genetic basis of disease. During his first year of Ph.D. training at Vanderbilt University, Jon was awarded an F31 NRSA NIH fellowship and produced a first-authored publication, but ultimately elected to leave his graduate studies and pursue his passion for data science. His primary expertise and interests include data mining and artificial intelligence.

Jon received a M.S. in molecular genetics from Vanderbilt University and a M.S. in molecular biology from the University of South Carolina. Outside of academia, Jon has served as an independent IT contractor and consultant as well as being the founder and CEO of his own educational software company, Biomagine.

Joy Pratt

Data Analyst

Joy has more than ten years of experience in direct patient care as a Radiologic Technologist. She discovered her love for data while working with mammography data and statistics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. There she developed a process to aid in improving clinical outcomes using physician-driven performance metrics. She left her career at Vanderbilt to attend Nashville Software School, and NextGxDx provided her with the perfect opportunity to combine her clinical experience and love for data.

Joy obtained her associates degree in Radiology Technology from Mansfield University and is working toward her bachelor's degree in Information Technology through University of Phoenix. She is a graduate of Nashville Software School (Cohort 6).

Kevin McKnight

Director of Sales

With an extensive background in sales and marketing to physicians and health care professionals in a variety of channels, Kevin brings more than 12 years of experience to NextGxDx. While immediately focused on introducing the platform to laboratories and institutions, Kevin will work on guiding the current platform to meet the needs of clinicians nationwide.

Kevin spent 10 years in the medical arena working with Takeda Pharmaceuticals in the sales, management and training departments. He led multiple initiatives to increase volume both locally and regionally. Most recently he led a Nashville-based medical start-up in national sales and business development.

Nick Tazik

Director of Marketing

Tazik draws on a deep background in healthcare marketing and public relations, most recently in the strategic marketing department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. While at Vanderbilt, Tazik supported the launch and growth of new clinical initiatives, including the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, which is now the largest provider-organized network of physicians, health systems and other healthcare providers in Tennessee and surrounding states. Previously, he led marketing for Premerus Diagnostic Accuracy, a subsidiary of MedSolutions.

Tazik completed his graduate management education at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, where he focused on the evolving market dynamics of laboratory medicine, radiology and diagnostic integration.

Hospitals and Laboratories

Dan Kauke

Director of Customer Operations

Dan has over 10 years of healthcare experience in areas ranging from pharmaceutical clinical trial management to diagnostic laboratory operations. With a wealth of experience working directly with clinicians and laboratories, Dan is focused on simplifying and improving genetic test ordering logistics for physicians, genetic counselors and their patients.

In Dan's previous role as Marketing Manager for a leading academic genetic testing laboratory, Dan directed marketing and business development operations including leading an organization-wide rebranding effort and overseeing the sales and client relations for the lab. Dan earned his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College, and his MBA from Emory University's Goizueta Business School with a focus in marketing and strategy.

Cheryl Hess, MS, CGC

Account Manager

Hess is a board-certified genetic counselor with deep expertise in patient care and a background leading local and national utilization management initiatives. Currently co-chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Test Utilization Subcommittee, Hess joins NextGxDx from Detroit Medical Center University Laboratories, where she managed testing utilization.

Previously, Hess worked as a clinical counselor at Wayne State University Physician Group’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, and in the Department of Medical Genetics at Henry Ford Health System. She earned a Master of Science in Genetics from Case Western Reserve University and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

Health Plans

Walker Morrow

Director of Payer Account Management

Drawing on leadership roles in healthcare and technology, Walker brings over 16 years of relevant experience to NextGxDx. Today, Walker focuses on driving value for customers of the company's payer-focused products and services.

Most recently with Change Healthcare (formerly known as Emdeon), the nation's largest financial and administrative healthcare network, Walker was responsible for a portfolio of strategic partners that consisted of the top clients to the company. Prior to this, Walker worked with ReadyPoint Health, launching a technology product that was quickly adopted by Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Henry Ford Health System, and other notable healthcare institutions.