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.

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.

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 14 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.