Get to know the Ozgene team

  • Dr Frank Koentgen
    Chairman & CEO >

    FrankFrank is a successful entrepreneur, scientist, and international biotechnology leader with more than 25 years experience in Research and Development in molecular genetics. He is Co-founder and CEO of Ozgene. He successfully runs the company in a very efficient and lean, yet comfortable manner, wearing the traditional Aussie outfit of board shorts and t-shirt, coupled with German Birkenstocks.

    Even though he looks like a surfing enthusiast, his life accomplishments tell a different story. He received his PhD from the University of Freiburg, Germany in affiliation with the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Immunobiology and Roche Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland). His work there culminated in the establishment of the world’s first successful C57BL/6 knockout mouse.

    He then went on to complete postdoctoral research at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology (RIMB) located in Nutley, New Jersey, USA. After completing his initial postdoctoral research, Frank was awarded a German DFG research fellowship and moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His research at the WEHI resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious scientific journals and multiple patents granted worldwide.

    Frank is very passionate about applying Lean thinking in research environments. He has studied Toyota and many other Lean practitioners in Japan, as part of the Shingo Study Tour, and he was recently appointed a Shingo Executive Advisory Board member. Within his own research organisation, Ozgene’s unique style of lean transformation drives the company’s new leadership mindset as the very basis for all of its scientific endeavours:

    “to advance humanity – inspire curiosity”

  • Dr Gabi Suess
    Chief Scientific Officer >

    Dr Suess is one of Ozgene's Co-founders and is our Chief Scientific officer. Gabi is mostly involved with Ozgene’s intensive Research & Development programs. These efforts result in establishing novel technologies to develop and investigate genetically modified mouse models.

    Gabi received her PhD from the University of Basel, Switzerland. She has held research appointments at Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel, the Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, in Freiburg, Germany and at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia.

    Gabi is an immunologist by training and has been involved in the generation and analysis of genetically modified mouse models for over 25 years.

  • Eddie Noonan
    Chief Business Development Officer >

    Eddie joined Ozgene in 2002 and is responsible for developing new business opportunities for Ozgene in both international and domestic markets. As the Chief Business Development Officer, Eddie is our go-to guy. He makes sure Ozgene runs like a well-oiled machine. He also establishes strategic alliances, pursues new targets in the market place, and travels the world promoting Ozgene. He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders and excels at it.

    Previous to his work with Ozgene, Eddie worked for In Vitro Technologies and Rio Tinto in Australia, and Tyndall National Institute in Ireland. He has a Master of Engineering Management, Science and Engineering from Curtin University in Perth. In his spare time, you can find Eddie obsessing over Rugby.

  • Dr Roger Askew
    Sr Scientific Director (North America) >

    Roger joined the Ozgene team in May 2015 as our Sr Scientific Director in North America. He is based in Boston, MA. Roger comes to us with twenty years of industry experience developing and phenotyping genetically engineered models (GEMs) in collaborative support of the Therapeutic Areas (TAs) at three pharmaceutical companies.

    Roger received his PhD from Wesleyan University, Dept of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and spent his post-doctoral days at the University of Cincinnati Medical School in the laboratories or Drs Jerry Lingrel and Thomas Doetschman where he developed the gene-targeted “Tag-and-Echage" strategy for knocking in subtle mutations, including point mutations, into the mouse genome.

    boston mouse

    Roger’s Pharma career started at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where he established the gene targeting core and managed the Molecular Genetics Department supporting all Wyeth TAs. Next Roger joined Merck & co., where he managed outsourced GEM development and phenotyping supporting the Diabetes, and Bone & Endocrinology pipelines. Most recently, he established Biogen’s GEM Center supporting Neurology, Immunology, and Tissue Injury and Fibrosis TAs.

    Roger is an integral part of our Strategic Partnering team and enthusiastically engages with scientists from all areas. Please feel free to contact him to plan a hike in the high Sierras or to brainstorm genetically engineered models and the characterization/phenotyping of your GEMs of interest.

  • John Dixon
    Sr Scientific Director (Europe) >

    John has been with us since 2011 and heads up our European Scientific Sales from his Ozgene outpost in Berlin, Germany. He is a very knowledgable scientist and can help with any questions that our potential and present clients come up with. John's expertise doesn't end with mouse models; he is also well versed with Geneoz VMS. He spends much of his day communicating with and meeting new people.

    John spent the first seven years of his scientific career in Prof Sir Martin Evans’ embryonic stem cell lab at Cambridge University. He then helped set up Paradigm Therapeutics, a spin-out company from the Evans lab, where he was responsible for Molecular Biology and the Transgenic Pipeline. Paradigm grew to approximately 120 staff before being acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical of Japan in 2007. John was the first commercial client of Geneoz VMS, which he introduced to the transgenic unit he oversaw while managing the Genetic Technologies group for Takeda in Singapore.

    If you are located in Europe and working in within medical research, then you will probably encounter John at some point along the way. He is always up for a chat and can help you with any of your mouse model or vivarium management needs.

  • Dr Jonathan Gauntlett
    Staff Scientist >

    Jonathan is instrumental in guiding our team on projects from start to finish. Prior to joining Ozgene Jonathan worked at Ondek Ltd in their Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Group, where he worked on the construction of genetic systems. His main focus involved vector design and gene knockouts and knock-ins for the manipulation of Helicobacter pylori for human applications.

    Jonathan gained his PhD at the University of Otago and undertook his post-doc research at Massey University, New Zealand, where he isolated, purified and biochemically characterised bacterial membrane proteins, cloned vectors, and created knockout strains.

    At Ozgene, Jonathan provides our clients with exceptional project design and construction expertise. He is responsible for client project assessments and vector design. He also analyses and reviews internal scientific processes with a view of continuously improving them.

    Even though Jonathan comes to Perth from New Zealand, he has embraced Perth weather and routinely cycles to work on his push bike. We commend him for his environmental ways and the important work he does for us (of course!).

  • Maarit Patrick
    Executive Strategic Partnering >

    Maarit joined Ozgene in 2003 as a Personal Assistant to Dr Koentgen and was quickly promoted to Marketing and Sales Coordinator. She is now an Executive in our Strategic Partnering team, liaising with clients to create solutions for their needs. Over the years, Maarit has expanded Ozgene's clientele to Finland, Sweden, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Argentina. Maarit also coordinates Ozgene's marketing activities and has played an integral part in developing Ozgene's IT tools for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management.

    Maarit holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from her home country, Finland. She majored in international business and has worked for multinational companies, such as Nokia Networks in Finland and Dow Chemical Company in Germany. She is currently studying towards Master of Commerce (Marketing) at Curtin University in Perth.

    If you enquire about Ozgene’s services, it is very likely that you will have the pleasure of speaking with Maarit. If you do, be sure to ask her about her ice climbing adventures as she used to be an avid ice climber when she lived in Finland.

  • Jacqui Watts
    Scientific Client Liaison >

    Jacqui became an Ozgene team member in 2002 as a Laboratory Assistant. Throughout her time at Ozgene she has been promoted to several different roles and currently holds the title of Scientific Client Liaison. She maintains contact with clients throughout the entire process from vector construction through to shipping the final product. She is also dabbling in some sales duties as well. You will definitely hear from Jacqui if you contract Ozgene’s services.

    Jacqui has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science specialising in Molecular Genetics. She has an excellent knowledge base of everything that Ozgene does. If you have a question, she will most likely be able to answer it or find the person who can.

    Between work and mothering three children, two being twins, Jacqui is one very busy person!

  • Charley Worrall
    Culture Coach >

    Charley joined Ozgene as a Culture Coach in July 2014. The Culture Coach’s job (which is a bit different from the “usual” HR job) is to “grow the company by growing the people”. Charley’s aim is to nurture a working environment, which enhances respect for the human system. It is an instrument to instill confidence and trust within each team member, and to encourage the team to improve themselves and the company, even if that means a failure or two along the way… because as we all know, failure is also a fantastic tool to learn from.

    Before starting at Ozgene, Charley completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Double Major in Psychology from the University of Western Australia. After graduating she visited Mongolia as a volunteer psychologist, working with local social workers and other volunteers on topics such as stress management for nurses in an oncology hospital, and improving the emotional connections between carers and young children in orphanages in the capital Ulaanbaatar.

    Currently Charley is studying for her Masters in Human Resource Management from Edith Cowan University, Perth. In her spare time you can find her experimenting and testing her culinary skills (proving that the English CAN cook) and looking for new places to take her 10-year-old West Highland Terrier, Dougal, for walks.

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Frank's Lean talks

  • Shingo Institute, Logan, UT, USA
  • MBA Program, University of Utah, USA
  • OC Tanner, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • Ophir-Spiricon, Logan, UT, USA
  • ELITechGroup, Logan, UT, USA
  • Sebel Furniture, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia
  • AME Business Excellence, Perth, WA, Australia

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Frank's papers

Proven Track Record

The team at Ozgene has over two decades of experience creating customised knockout and knock-in mice for pivotal medical research globally. Over 350 scientific publications are based on research using Ozgene mice.

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Global Client Base

Ozgene generates genetically customised mice for researchers around the world. Ozgene mice can be found in 31 different countries on 5 continents from small academic institutions to multinational pharmaceutical companies.

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Lean Management

Ozgene is applying Lean Management principles to deliver the highest quality services and shortest lead times to our customers. The implementation of Lean Culture has already seen an improvement in our processes and timelines.

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