Ryan Taft, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Scientific Research, Illumina Inc.
Children with rare genetic disorders often wait five to seven years in the U.S. and Europe before receiving a definitive diagnosis. That’s not acceptable to Ryan, an entrepreneurial scientist with a doctorate in genomics and computational biology. “My goal is to completely eliminate this diagnostic odyssey,” he says. Working with Illumina, he wants to make whole-genome sequencing the standard-of-care for every child who would benefit from it. Ryan has helped Illumina expand its iHope philanthropic program, which has already donated whole-genome sequencing services to more than 100 families in need of answers, and he’s active with multiple rare disease organizations worldwide. “I grew up here in San Diego, and it is strangely delightful to have moved back after many years away,” Ryan says. “I never would have thought San Diego would become one of the hottest spots on the planet for biotech, and that I would be a small part of it.”