Nazneen Aziz’s Biography

Nazneen Aziz, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur and an expert in the implementation of genomics into clinical practice. Dr. Aziz is Executive Director at Kaiser Permanente Research Bank, plus is Research Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and a Professor in the Department of Child Health at University of Arizona College of Medicine. She is on the steering committee and is chair of the nomination committee for the Board of Advisors at Arizona State University’s Health Futures Council, on the Board of Directors for Arizona Biosciences Organization (AZBio), and on the Board of Overseers at Marine Biological Laboratories/University of Chicago. Dr. Aziz was named by the Arizona Republic as one of 15 People Worth Watching in 2015 and by the Arizona Business Magazine as 2014 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. In her previous roles, Dr. Aziz was the Senior Vice President and Chief Research Officer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital where she directed the strategic direction and growth of research at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and had overall executive management responsibilities for developing, coordinating, and stimulating research at the Phoenix Children’s Research Institute. Before joining PCH, Dr. Aziz was the Director of Molecular Medicine at the College of American Pathologists (CAP). In this role, she was responsible for guiding genomic strategies and projects at CAP. During her tenure at CAP, she directed the development of the first set of standards and proficiency tests for clinical laboratories for the use of next-generation sequencing in genomic medicine. Dr. Aziz also co-authored the extensively cited recent publication of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics guidelines for interpretation of sequence variants. In her prior positions, Dr. Aziz served as Vice President of Research and Development at Interleukin Genetics; Vice President of External Research at Point Therapeutics; and Director of Translational Research at Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. In her industry career, she focused on personalized medicine, biomarkers, genetic tests, and development of drugs for cancer and diabetes. Prior to joining the biotechnology industry, Dr. Aziz was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, where she discovered and characterized the function of a new gene implicated in the development defects of recessive polycystic kidney disease. Dr. Aziz received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where her doctoral research resulted in the discovery that sequence motifs in the 5’ untranslated regions of mRNAs can regulate their translation. She received her MS in biochemistry at MIT and her BA (Honors) in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College. She has several issued and pending patents. Her publications have been cited extensively in the medical and scientific literature and she has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences.