Gary Pestano, Ph.D. is a leader in development of molecular tests of use in liquid biopsies. He currently is the Chief Development Officer at Biodesix and serves as the NYS Laboratory Director of the company’s CLEP/CLIA/ISO13485-certified laboratory in Colorado.
His experiences in assay and product development of high complexity molecular diagnostics tests in oncology and virology includes genomic and proteomic technologies. Prior to joining Biodesix in 2012, Dr. Pestano led multidisciplinary teams in the development of multiplexed tissue and cell-based diagnostic assays, cancer vaccines and scientific modeling software. He has held senior positions in Discovery, Development, Pharma Services, and global Project Leadership at Ventana, a member of the Roche Group. Dr. Pestano is the co-inventor on multiple national and international patents including for novel devices and detection systems for nucleic acid, cell and tissue diagnostics. Dr. Pestano has led the development and performance optimization of several lab tests including the highly-sensitive and rapid GeneStrat® test for circulating nucleic acids. He has also fostered many collaborations at leading academic centers, academic/industry consortia, and in the biotechnology industry as a part of new product development. Dr. Pestano continues to collaborate extensively in the field of liquid biopsy with a recent focus on measurement harmonization for diagnostic tests including for TMB, ctDNA and SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Pestano received his Ph.D. training in Cell and Molecular Biology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York and conducted his post-doctoral training in cancer immunology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Pestano has additionally participated in executive training at the Colorado Biosciences Institute, London Business School, Harvard Business School, and in technical leadership training at MIT.
Dr. Pestano’s achievements include national fellowship awards from the Fogarty International, ASM, NIH, NIGMS and NSF. His academic training included as a visiting scientist at Makerere University (Uganda) and Boston University. Dr. Pestano is passionate about mentoring early career scientists in their development via employment and internship programs, and in collaboration with the Board of Education of the American Society for Microbiology and ABRCMS.