Zahra Mehdizadeh Kashi, PhD
Founder and CEO

Zahra Mehdizadeh Kashi, PhD, HCLDZahra Mehdizadeh Kashi, PhD, HCLD, is a board-certified molecular immunohematologist with nearly 25 years of experience in clinical laboratories, biologics, and pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kashi also has extensive leadership training, having completed more than 1,000 hours in areas such as clinical development and trial protocols, quality system auditing, GMP development and process, project management, inspection, regulatory agencies, strategic planning and business development. Dr. Kashi is a highly-sought clinical laboratory consultant, with dozens of peer-reviewed publications and abstracts, as well as numerous invited presentations. Over the years, Dr. Kashi has been a consultant for many Northwest and western state laboratories including LABS Inc., Fanno Creek Clinic, Portland Family Practice, Pediatric Associates of the Northwest, the Portland Clinic, VRL Laboratories, Portland Pain and Spine Clinic and the American Red Cross.

She is active in the American Society of Histocompatibility & Immunogenics where she is an inspector, and a liaison for the Relationship Testing Standards Program, and previously was a commissioner. She is currently an inspector for the College of American Pathologists and an expert witness on genetic identity. In addition, Dr. Kashi has served as a clinical assistant professor in the department of pathology/CLS at Oregon Health & Science University and has also held a number of other education and research positions at local universities, hospitals, and corporations. Dr. Kashi holds a doctorate degree in molecular immunohematology from Portland State University. She completed her doctoral thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Heinrich at Oregon Health Sciences University. She also completed the Michigan Ross Executive Program at the University of Michigan in 2005.

Dena Balbach
Chief Operating Officer

Dena Balbach is the Chief Operating Officer at Kashi Clinical Laboratories. She received her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) with a Specialization in Strategic Innovation from Colorado State University. Over the past 22 years Dena has worked in the laboratory testing field. She joined Kashi in 2018 and works across the business units to improve performance, including Kashi Toxicology, Kashi Health and Kashi Transplant. As the COO, her core focus is to align the people and processes within the organization with the strategic business objectives. This focus aligns the scientific excellence and business minds within Kashi to form high performing teams. These teams continue the culture that believes in the strength of the people within the organization are the key factor to why Kashi is the laboratory of choice for hospitals, physicians and patients around the world.

Andrea DeBarber, Ph.D.
LC-MS/MS Method Development and Validation Specialist

Andrea DeBarber, Ph.D., has a wealth of experience in LC-MS/MS method development and validation, and is playing a major role in the implementation of high-quality LC-MS/MS methods at Kashi Toxicology. Dr. DeBarber is a research assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where she was recruited 10 years ago as associate director of the OHSU Bioanalytical Shared Resource Facility. In 2008, Dr. DeBarber was also appointed director of a mass spectrometry facility at Portland State University and, in 2012 she became section head of the CAP-CLIA certified Sterol Diagnostic Laboratory at OHSU, part of the Lipid-Atherosclerosis Laboratory. Foundation grants and National Institutes of Health K-award funding have allowed Dr. DeBarber to establish an independent research program at OHSU, where her focus is site-specific derivatization chemistries coupled with LC-MS/MS techniques to provide improved diagnostic and screening tests for genetic disorders of sterol and bile acid synthesis. Dr. DeBarber has been invited to speak about her bioanalysis research at numerous national and international meetings, holds three patent applications, and has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles.

Jenefer J. DeKoning, Ph.D.
Scientific Director

Jenefer J. DeKoning, Ph.D.Jenefer J. DeKoning, Ph.D., is Scientific Director of the Research and Development division of Kashi Clinical Laboratories. Dr. DeKoning began her career conducting research in T-cell development in the Department of Immunology at The Scripps Research Institute. Additionally she served as a staff scientist in the Oregon Health & Science University’s Transgenic Core Facility. Prior to joining Kashi, Dr. DeKoning was at Washington State University in Vancouver for nearly 10 years in the Department of Biological Sciences, designing approaches and methodology in genetic mapping and honing her skills and interest in Next Generation Sequencing. As Scientific Director, Dr. DeKoning is responsible for the successful development and implementation of innovative genetic testing. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications, posters, and presentations.

Corie Edwards, ND
Staff Physician

Dr. Corie Edwards graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and received a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine with honors in research from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland. In the past, she has worked in private practice offering primary care, nutritional counseling, weight loss, pain management, and vitamin injections. Currently she is adjunct faculty at the National University of Natural Medicine were she teaches genetics through their undergraduate program. Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, Dr. Edwards has a deep appreciation for the Pacific Northwest, its natural beauty, culture, and creative atmosphere. In her professional life, she takes an interest in functional medicine with a focus on the role genetics plays in health. Outside of work, she loves her role as a mother and wife, as well as spending time with friends and family.

Angela Knapp, ND
Staff Physician

Dr Angela Knapp developed a love of genetics when she learned about Darwin and the Galapagos in grade school. This love of genetics has been woven through her education during her undergraduate studies in environmental science at Colorado College and her doctoral degree at the National University of Natural Medicine. Dr Knapp developed a strong interest in utilizing genetic medicine to optimize health and detoxification during her clinical rounds in Environmental medicine. Besides supporting practitioners in the use of genetic testing for maximal health, Dr Knapp treats developmentally different children using an individualized, biomedical approach. She has a strong desire to prevent diagnostic overshadowing and allow each child to reach their maximum potential. When she is not working, she is enjoying time with her husband, two children and dog.

Russell Martin
HLA Division Laboratory Supervisor

Russell Martin graduated Magna cum Laude from the Honors College of Arizona State University in 2004 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. During his college career, he worked for four years in a University laboratory in the field of avian endocrinology. He began working at Kashi Clinical Laboratories, Inc., in 2006, where, over the course of 11 years, he has authored several papers and numerous abstracts in the fields of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. He is currently the supervisor of the laboratory’s HLA department, where he performs molecular HLA typing and molecular pathology testing. In his spare time, he enjoys learning and teaching martial arts at a local school.