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Management Team

The Swift Biosciences team combines excellence in science with superior business skills to deliver first-in-class library preparation for next-generation sequencing. The considerable experience, expertise, and commitment of our exceptional leaders and colleagues enable us to extend our impact and achieve success.


Nathan Wood

President and Chief Executive Officer

Nathan has nearly 30 years of proven experience in the life sciences industry.  He has held leadership roles in sales, marketing, product development and management at several companies in the genomics and life sciences industries, including Life Technologies Corporation and QIAGEN Inc. Nathan served on BIOCOM’s Renewables Advisory Board. He has also served on the Board of Directors of GeneArt, Blue Heron, SB Biofuels and the College of Science at Oregon State University. 

Most recently, Wood served as president of SGI-DNA, a Synthetic Genomics Company that specializes in proprietary DNA technologies. Under his leadership, SGI-DNA grew quickly by effectively leveraging new products, software and marketing strategies. Additionally, Wood’s experience—across European and American multinational companies—spans strategic planning, financial performance measurement and global business strategy. Nathan earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Oregon State University. Nathan lives in Saline, MI and enjoys time with his wife Linda and raising their three children.

fiskeHaley Fiske

Chief Commercial Officer

Haley joined Swift in January 2016. He has 25+ years of industry experience steering commercial teams at market-leading companies, and has developed reagent businesses in both Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing markets. For the past five years, Haley has managed marketing and sequencing application-specific sales teams for Illumina, helping to drive growth rates greater than 25% with sales over $1B/year. He has held business roles at Applied Biosystems, Molecular Dynamics, Amersham-Pharmacia Biotech, and PerkinElmer. Haley is a retired semi-pro big wave surfer and can often be found in the waves near his home in Pacifica, CA.

marakovVladimir Makarov, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Vladimir co-founded Swift Biosciences in 2010 with a strong track record of developing novel research and diagnostic methods and tools. His experience spans more than 30 years in cutting edge molecular biology and life science research, with broad expertise in different fields of science including physics, molecular biology, genomics, and molecular diagnostics. Vladimir has authored more than 30 issued and pending patents and 60 scientific publications. He has co-founded two biotech start-ups, leading to development and commercialization of more than 10 different products in the research tools and diagnostics space. Vladimir received his PhD in Physics and Mathematics from St. Petersburg University (Russia) and has held senior scientist positions at both the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the Institute of Molecular Biology (Moscow).

James Militello

Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Jim joined Swift in June 2017, bringing nearly 30 years of experience in driving company growth. Previously he was CFO and Treasurer at Cayman Chemical, a global biochemical company, where he led all financial and strategic planning activities, as well as operations within multiple departments. He has held financial leadership positions at the National Archive Publishing Company, Thomson Gale, Voyager.net, PROQUEST, and Baxter Hyland Immuno Division. Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accountancy from Michigan State University, going on to become a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He lives in Saline, MI and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Candia Brown

Vice President, Global Marketing

Candia joined Swift in January 2017 and brings over 25 years of biotechnology experience, including product development, product management, and market development, to the Swift Management Team. Prior to joining Swift, Candia served as Director of Single-cell Genomics at Fluidigm Corporation, a microfluidics and mass cytometry technology manufacturer, where she was responsible for market research, strategic planning, life cycle management, and market development. She also previously directed the strategic marketing for DNA applications within Affymetrix, Inc., including cytogenetics and genotyping product lines, and held various positions during her tenure at Applied Biosystems, including product development, customer support, and product marketing for DNA sequencing and PCR-based applications. Candia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Integrative Human Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Candia resides in Redwood City, CA and enjoys soccer, community service and spending time with her daughter.

Laurie Kurihara, PhD

Vice President, Product Development

Laurie joined Swift in 2010, and has focused on management of research, development and intellectual property. She has guided development of Swift’s entire product portfolio, including the Adaptase™ module for Single-Cell Methylation Sequencing.  She has over 25 years’ experience in molecular genetics and genomics research. Laurie received her PhD from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow in Shirley Tilghman’s laboratory. Laurie joined the R&D group at ProNai Therapeutics and also did consulting for numerous startup opportunities and contract research organizations. Outside of the lab, Laurie is an avid 1970’s collector and enjoys spending time with her family and pugs in Ann Arbor, MI.

Vanessa Kelchner

Director, Operations

Vanessa joined Swift in 2010, taking on roles in R&D and driving establishment of key operational facilities and functions. In her leadership role, she established Swift’s manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance and supply chain functions to ensure high quality products are consistently delivered to researchers. Leveraging her experience in lab automation, she also drives the development of robotic scripts for Swift’s kits.

Her career spans over sixteen years in sequencing and genomics.  Prior to Swift she was part of the Applied Genomics team at Bristol-Myers Squibb and conducted Sanger sequencing and analysis of phage genomes at the University of Pittsburgh. Vanessa earned a Master’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Lehigh University, where her thesis work focused on PARP inhibitors and breast cancer.  Vanessa earned Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a multi-sport athlete, her favorite sporting quests involve skiing, fly fishing and distance running.