Clinical Leadership

Kenneth Ward, M.D.

Founder, Laboratory Director, Medical Geneticist

Dr. Ward established University of Utah’s DNA Diagnostic Testing Laboratory in 1988 in connection with his research into the genetics of birth defects and obstetrical problems. He is a board certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist with specialized training and certification in perinatology. He is one of the few OB/GYN physicians in the country who is also board certified in Clinical Genetics and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Ward completed his undergraduate and medical school degrees at the University of Florida. He completed a residency in OB/GYN at George Washington University in 1987, followed by a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Medical Genetics at the University of Utah. Dr. Ward has been investigator in the Eccles Program in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics. Prior to devoting his full-time efforts to genetic research, Dr. Ward was Professor and Department Chair of the OB/GYN department at a major State University Hospital and Medical School. He currently heads research at a major biotech company and oversees all laboratory testing procedures at Taueret Laboratories.

Lesa Nelson

Founder, Chief Operations Officer

Ms. Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah and has worked in the field of human genetic research for the past 26 years, with the last 19 years being in senior management positions. She was the Vice President of Clinical Operations for Axial, Biotech, Inc. (a company focused on developing and commercializing genetic tests and treatment solutions for spinal disorders) and is an active member of the American Association of Human Genetics (ASHG), the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and the Association of Molecular Pathologists (AMP). Ms. Nelson is an author or co-author of over 40 peer reviewed human genetics related articles and scientific papers published in various medical periodicals (including American Journal of Human Genetics, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nature Genetics and Spine). She is a named inventor in three US patents and five published US patent applications, all of which are directed to inventions relating to the diagnosis and prognosis of human genetic conditions. Ms. Nelson directs all operational activities of Taueret laboratories and serves as the laboratory Technical Supervisor.

Justine Coppinger, M.S.

Director of Clinical Affairs, Genetic Counselor

Ms. Coppinger is a Board Certified Genetic Counselor with over 20 years experience in clinical and diagnostic laboratory settings. Ms. Coppinger brings expertise in clinical diagnostic laboratory marketing, test development & reporting, genetics service model development & implementation, medical liaison to providers and patients, and original research including over a dozen abstracts resulting in scientific posters or platform presentations, and over 15 peer-reviewed publications. She has extensive experience in establishing and growing rigorous genetics services models of highest integrity in start-up diagnostic testing laboratories.  Ms. Coppinger recently served as manager, Scientific Affairs-Genetic Services at the Asuragen Clinical Laboratory.  Prior to that post, she served as the Lead Clinical Laboratory Liaison at Signature Genomics for over 7 years.  Signature Genomics was the first clinical diagnostic laboratory to introduce miroarray testing. Ms. Coppinger’s Responsibilities included development & implementation of genetics services model, project leader for various patient education marketing initiatives, project leader for Six Sigma & Kaizen events, in addition to being the clinical laboratory liaison for healthcare providers and patients. Ms. Coppinger oversees the clinical affairs and genetic counselor teams for Taueret Laboratories and assists in directing new discovery and development initiatives.

Rakesh Chettier

Director of Bioinformatics

Mr.Chettier is specialized in Bioinformatics and Statistical Genetics with over 12 years of industry experience and a strong track record of scientific publications and issued patents. Mr. Chettier holds a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. Previously, Mr. Chettier has worked in proteomics field  providing the scientific community protein-protein interactome of Plasmodium falciparum (Nature) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and also be a part of a team that created Hynet™ - the largest human protein-protein interactome. For the last 10 years,  Mr.Chettier has been involved in human genetic research. He was extensively involved in developing, validating and implementing ScoliScore®, a prognostic genetic test for scoliosis. Currently, he is involved in the development of the diagnostic DNA based test in women's health especially endometriosis and preeclampsia.  He has published over 15 peer reviewed articles and has authored over 20 scientific abstracts at national scientific meetings. He is also listed as inventor/co-inventor on five patents.

Business Leadership 

Allen Ward, MBA

President

Mr. Ward is a graduate from the University of Utah – David Eccles School of Business and has over 5 years of experience in managing, owning and leading private genomic laboratories. Previously at Affiliated Genetics, Mr. Ward directed all marketing and business development activities for clinical work and commercial projects. He has worked with many early stage start up organizations and has founded businesses in the biotech, marketing, and real estate spaces. Mr. Ward oversees the laboratory clinical and business teams to ensure the quality of services provided and the satisfaction of our clients.

Jeff Ward

Vice President of  Operations

Mr. Ward has over 30 years experience in managing, operating and owning various small and medium-sized businesses.  Previously at Affiliated Genetics, he grew the company from a small local laboratory focused on human identity to a national reference lab featuring a diversified state of the art genetic test menu. Previously at EmerGen, Inc., Mr. Ward ran the biologic sample collection division. During his tenure at EmerGen, he worked closely with the Family Studies Division and the researchers implementing a sample-tracking system, computerizing the sample inventory, and tracking a library of tens of thousands of samples. Mr. Ward is responsible for day-to-day business operations of Taueret Laboratories.

Linda Gould

Vice President of  Business Affairs

Ms. Gould had a 21 year tenure at Hanesbrands, Inc. (HBI) and Sara Lee (SLE), where she was the Director of Inventory Management and Sales Support. Before that Ms. Gould worked at Gulf Oil and then Chevron in Information Technology and End User Support. Her specialty is in sales forecasting, implementation of computer solutions for business problems, and business organization/management. She received her degree in Computer Science from the University of Florida. Ms. Gould works closely with clients of Taueret Laboratories on logistics and operations matters and manages internal systems and controls to ensure accuracy and efficientcy of operations.

Tom Holm

Vice President of Business Development

Mr. Holm is a graduate from the University of Utah and has over 30 years of education, research and business experience in the fields of molecular biology and molecular genetics. Previously at Perkin-Elmer and Celera Genomics, Mr. Holm focused on the development of businesses that utilize genomics discovery to drive the development of novel DNA testing products. While at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and later at GenMark, Inc., Mr. Holm was an early pioneer in mapping the human and cattle genomes and development of commercial DNA-based identification programs. Mr. Holm participated in creating the first DNA-based livestock testing company and he has over 20 years experience in managing businesses that utilize genomics and DNA-based testing to enhance livestock breeding, production and management. Mr. Holm manages new test development and client on-boarding and support for Taueret Laboratories.

Shane Rowley

Director of Finance and Human Relations

Mr. Rowley received his Masters of Accountancy from the University of Utah and directs the financial and human resource functions of Taueret Laboratories. Mr. Rowley joined the company after working as a Senior Tax Associate at Tanner, LLC where he specialized in merger and acquisition transactions, large multi-state partnerships & corporations, and high net-worth individuals. Before that, Mr. Rowley worked at Intermountain Water, Inc. as a Financial Controller and Marketing Manager overseeing business plan development and financial reporting. He currently serves as a Liaison for the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants and has been a lifelong volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Rowley brings an extensive background in tax law, mergers and acquisitions, marketing, recruitment, and business optimization.

Ken Neff

Director of Information Technology

Mr. Neff has nearly 20 years of experience in Information Technology.  He has assisted multiple tech-dependent startup companies to grow by leveraging cutting edge technologies.  Technically adept in diverse systems, he specializes in architecture, implementation, and management of operational and business support IT initiatives.  Mr. Neff provides leadership and development to the IT team and oversees all technology functions and endeavors of Taueret Laboratories.  His team provides innovative, forward thinking solutions to achieve business goals and aspirations.