Kári Stefánsson, M.D., Dr. Med. founded deCODE in August 1996. Dr. Stefánsson was previously a professor of Neurology, Neuropathology and Neuroscience at Harvard University and Director of Neuropathology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1983 to 1993, he held faculty positions in Neurology, Neuropathology and Neurosciences at the University of Chicago. Dr. Stefánsson received his M.D. and Dr. Med. from the University of Iceland and is board-certified in neurology and neuropathology in the United States. Dr. Stefansson is recognized as a leading figure in human genetics. He has shaped deCODE’s scientific approach and been actively engaged in leading its gene discovery work, serving as senior author on most of the company’s publications in major scientific journals.
Deputy CEO and Compliance Officer
Tanya Zharov has been the deputy CEO and Compliance Officer of deCODE genetics from January 2016. Tanya was the General Counsel and Compliance Officer of the Icelandic securities firm Virding 2014-2015 after a merger with Audur Capital. In 2008 she joined Audur Capital an Icelandic securities firm as founding partner, General Counsel and Compliance Officer. From 1999-2007 Tanya was VP, Corporate Governance and Administration at deCODE genetics and served as the company’s Corporate Secretary from 1999. During her tenure Tanya led the legal work of the first IPO by an Icelandic company in the US, she was responsible for the company´s SEC filings and was Compliance Officer. Prior to that Tanya was a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers specializing in international tax and corporate law.
Tanya finished her law degree, Cand. Juris, from the University of Iceland. She is a European Patent Attorney.
Tanya has served on several boards in the public and private sector.
Vice President of Research
Unnur received her Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in biology from the University of Iceland, and completed a PhD degree in genetics at the University of British Columbia in 1997. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Experimental Hemato-Oncology and Gene Therapy Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal, and joined deCODE in 2000. Since 2003 she has led deCODE’s population genetics genetic work and is actively involved in wide range of genetic studies involving cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammatory and neurological diseases and cancers. From 2010 Unnur has been Vice President of Research at deCODE.
C. AUGUSTINE KONG, Ph.D.
Vice President of Statistics
C. Augustine Kong, Ph.D., has led deCODE’s statistics team since 1996. Prior to joining deCODE, he served on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Dr. Kong received his Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1986.
Head of Clinical Sequencing
Patrick is a Medical Doctor (MD) specializing in Epidemiology and Public Health and graduated from the University of Toulouse in France in 2002. He also completed a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Paris in 2000. He joined deCODE´s Department of Statistics in 2002 and has contributed to genetic discoveries in various conditions. He is currently leading the Clinical Sequencing effort at deCODE.
Head of Cardiovascular
Hilma received her medical degree from the University of Iceland in 2000. She completed her internal medicine training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and her clinical cardiology training at Emory University in Atlanta. She then pursued research training in cardiovascular genetics at deCODE in Iceland. Hilma has been on faculty at deCODE since 2008 and currently leads the company´s cardiovascular effort. She is actively involved in a wide range of cardiovascular research, including lipids and atherosclerosis, conduction and arrhythmias, congenital heart disesae and heart failure. Hilma also completed training in clinical echocardiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 2014, and is actively involved with patient care at Landspitalinn, the National University Hospital.
Gísli received his Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Mathematics from the University of Iceland in 1986 and completed a PhD degree in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991. During the years 1991 to 2000 he worked at the Mathematics Institute at Stockholm University, first as a post-doctoral fellow (forskarassistent) and later as an assistant professor (lektor).
Head of Oncology
Þórunn received her Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in biology from the University of Iceland and completed a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology and immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1990. She subsequently went to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore where she was a postdoctoral fellow 1990-1992, Instructor of Medicine 1992-1994 and Assistant Professor of Medicine 1994-1998. After returning to Iceland, Þórunn was a Visiting Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Iceland until she joined Iceland Genomics Corporation, where she served the role of Chief Operating Officer. In 2006, Þórunn moved to deCODE genetics and became the Head of Division of Oncology. Þórunn´s research interests focus on the link between genetic variation and cancer predisposition, progression and treatment outcomes.
Head of CNS
Hreinn Stefánsson, PhD, joined deCODE genetics in 1996 and has led the CNS division since 2000. He received his PhD in biochemistry from Lund University, Sweden and a BSc in biology from University of Iceland. Hreinn has published several articles on the genetics of common/complex diseases including Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. Together with his colleagues and collaborators he has contributed to better understanding of the impact conferred by neuropsychiatric copy number variants (CNVs) on psychiatric disorders and cognition.
Head of Infectious and Inflammatory diseases
Ingileif received her Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in biology from the University of Iceland in 1975 and completed a PhD degree in immunology at the University of Stockholm in 1991. She joined the department of immunology at Landspitali, the National University Hospital of Iceland in 1984, focusing her research on neonatal immunology and vaccination strategies. Ingileif joined deCODE in 2005 and leads the gene discovery work on asthma and various autoimmune and infectious diseases, including tuberculosis. She is also responsible for the ethics approvals of deCODE’s research projects. Ingileif is professor of immunology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland.
Jóhann Hjartarson has been the General Counsel of deCODE genetics since 1998 and served as Chief Compliance Officer 2013-2016. Prior to joining deCODE, Jóhann was a professional chessplayer and has held the title of International Grandmaster since 1985. He has served on boards of directors of several publicly traded companies in Iceland in recent years. Jóhann holds a law degree (cand. juris) from the law faculty of the University of Iceland. He is a member of the Icelandic Bar Association and a European Patent Attorney.
Head of Anthropology
Agnar completed his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Anthropology at the University of Iceland in 1992 and 1995, respectively. He then obtained a second Master’s degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 1996 and a D.Phil. (PhD) degree in the same subject from the University of Oxford in 2001. Agnar joined deCODE in 2000. His research focusses on understanding how the evolutionary forces of mutation, migration, drift and natural selection have shaped the gene pool of Icelanders and other populations – in the context of the quest for knowledge about the basis and magnitude of phenotypic differences between humans.
VP Applied Statistics
Daníel received his Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in applied mathematics from the University of Iceland, and completed a PhD degree in Statistics at Duke University in 2002. He has focused on statistical methodology developent in addition to working on the genetics of several diseases and traits, such as pigmentation and atrial fibrillation. Daniel joined deCODE in 1998 and currently leads the Statistics group at deCODE.