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Genomics and systems biology pioneer Lee Hood, who will step down as ISB president in January. (Institute for Systems Biology Photo)

Seventeen years after founding the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), spurring the creation of systems biology as a field, genomics and biotechnology pioneer Lee Hood is stepping down as its president.

Hood will step down from the position in January, but will remain on ISB’s board of directors and at the head of the 30-person Hood Lab. He will also continue to serve as the senior vice president and chief science officer of the affiliated Providence St. Joseph Health system.

Hood will be replaced by well-known biotechnologist and immunotherapy researcher James Heath, who currently holds an endowed professorship at Caltech. He is also the director of the NanoSystems Biology Cancer Center, professor and co-director at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at UCLA, and a serial biotechnology entrepreneur.

James Heath will take over as ISB president in January. (Institute for Systems Biology Photo)

As president, Heath will be responsible for setting the direction for ISB’s research and education programs as well as efforts in launching spin out companies and otherwise commercializing the work done in its laboratories.

“I am extremely honored to assume the position of president of ISB,” Heath said in a press release. “It is also tremendously humbling to follow in Lee Hood’s footsteps. Lee is a giant of science, and he has changed the face of modern biology. Through scholarship, innovation, and an outstanding faculty, he has also built ISB into the world leader of systems biology. Almost every university now has a program in systems biology, but this was a field Lee started through ISB. Luckily, Lee has no thoughts of retiring! The partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health provides an exciting new set of biomedical opportunities and challenges for ISB, and I can’t wait to begin working with ISB faculty to help build an ISB for the future.”

Heath’s choice is a notable one given his focus on immunotherapy and cancer research, which historically hasn’t been a strong focus for the ISB. His appointment will likely strengthen the partnership between the ISB and Providence, which is aimed at developing tools related to patient health and clinical trials.

“In recruiting Jim Heath for this position, we knew that he would be an exceptional choice in furthering ISB’s quest to invent the future of biology and medicine,” Hood said in the release. “Jim is a visionary leader and he has been enormously effective in focusing his mastery in chemistry and engineering to the technological challenges of cancer. He has been one of ISB’s most significant collaborators and is a pioneer in developing some of the most innovative tools and technologies that are establishing the foundation of scientific wellness.”

Robert Nelsen. (Arch Venture Partners Photo)

Robert Nelsen, a prominent Seattle venture capitalist and a co-founder and managing partner of Arch Venture Partners, has moved to the Silicon Valley area.

Nelsen told GeekWire in an email that the move was for family reasons, and that it would not have an impact on the firm’s investing pace in the Pacific Northwest. Nelsen said he is maintaining his Seattle office and is actually looking at a new deal based in the city. Nelsen focuses on biotechnology and other life sciences investments.

Nelsen is one of Arch’s four co-founders, and focuses on biotechnology and other life sciences investments. Steven Gillis, managing partner of the firm’s Seattle office, remains in the city full-time and also focuses on life science investments.

François Locoh-Donou. (F5 Photo)

F5‘s new CEO François Locoh-Donou started at the company on Monday. He was announced as the (second) replacement for longtime CEO John McAdam in January after McAdam stepped back into the role following the unexpected resignation of his first successor.

F5 published a Q&A with Locoh-Donou as he gets acquainted with the company.

“F5 is an incredible platform for growth. We occupy a strategic position in front of more apps than any other company, and the world is only going to have more apps, in the hands of more people, in more places. Our ability to make all these apps go faster, smarter, safer is a winning combination,” he said in the piece.

Locoh-Donou also speaks in the piece about growing up in Togo in West Africa.

“My friends and I had access to technology, but we associated its invention entirely with the U.S. and Europe, not Africa, and certainly not with each other. So, I can’t pinpoint the moment, but my fascination for how things work ultimately made me question this childhood assumption. After all, ‘why couldn’t I invent?’” he said.

Tim Tasker. (EY Photo)

— Global professional services company Ernst and Young, known commonly as EY, announced Monday that Tim Tasker will take over as the new managing partner for its Seattle office.

Tasker succeeds Dan Smith, who has been with EY for 38 years. Smith will continue to work with an unnamed, Seattle-based technology client until he retires in 2018.

Tasker has been a partner in the Seattle office for over 27 years, and specializes in audit services for a range of companies. He has worked with major technology and life sciences companies throughout his career at EY, and has also served as the program director for the company’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition in the Pacific Northwest.

“It’s truly an exciting time to take on this role and to lead the firm’s Seattle practice. The entrepreneurial community and the financing environment are flourishing here, and the strength of our technology ecosystem is palpable. I look forward to leading our more than 600 professionals with purpose, vision and a deep commitment to exceptional client service,” Tasker said in a press release.

Phillip Riese. (Remitly Photo)

— Seattle-based financial technology startup Remitly announced that finance exec Phillip Riese is joining the company’s board of directors.

Riese was the president of American Express’ consumer card group for almost 20 years, and also has experience leading and advising numerous financial technology startups.

“With an astounding companywide dedication to helping millions of people keep the promises they make to provide financial support to their loved ones abroad, every member of the Remitly team changes peoples’ lives every day,” Riese said in a press release. “They do this by living up to their promise of making remittances really easy, really fast and really reliable, challenging every service promise of the billion-dollar incumbents. It’s no wonder the company is growing so rapidly, and no wonder I’m thrilled to be a part of their next chapter.”

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