Molecular Testing Labs announces Barbara Zehentner, PhD as Chief Operating Officer

Published On: August 23, 2023By Categories: Company News/Press/Partnerships, Uncategorized


Vancouver, WA: 

Molecular Testing Labs, a mission-driven, innovative health sciences company specializing in clinical diagnostics, welcomes Barbara Zehentner, PhD, MBA, HCLD as their Chief Operating Officer. As a scientist and clinical operations executive, Dr. Zehentner has been combining technical genomics and diagnostics expertise with business scaling experience for more than 25 years. Familiar with startups and large public companies alike and having touched all facets of laboratory operations, she is joining the company during a period of rapid growth to lead transformational change in streamlining day-to-day operations and increasing capacity to meet larger volumes from across the country. 

“I could not be more excited and honored to join Molecular Testing Labs as Chief Operating Officer,” said Barbara Zehentner, new Chief Operating Officer of Molecular Testing Labs. “MTL has the unique and groundbreaking opportunity to bring state-of-the art diagnostic testing results to more patients while lowering healthcare inequities and costs.” 

After completing her engineering education in Germany, Dr. Zehentner pursued her PhD in molecular biology while also working for Roche Diagnostics. Subsequently, she accepted a scientist role at Corixa Corporation (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline during her tenure) in Seattle, WA where she developed, validated, and implemented complex RT-PCR assays for clinical trials for four years. 

Wanting to remain in a regulated space while getting closer to customers who advance patient care—including medical providers, hospital systems, and pharmaceutical companies—she joined the Seattle-based clinical laboratory HematoLogics, where she grew the business to US-wide reach while significantly expanding their diagnostic test offerings. In her most recent role—at Adaptive Biotechnologies—Dr. Zehentner oversaw and scaled multi-level production, high-throughput facilities for next-generation sequencing. 

“We are fortunate to have Barbara joining our company to lead operations through the next stage of growth and innovation,” said Eric Strafel, Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Testing Labs. “She has extensive experience in running high-throughput laboratory operations, which will help us increase the speed, accuracy, and responsiveness of our operations and better support our growing customer base.” 


 About Barbara Zehentner: 

Dr. Barbara Zehentner is an executive leader with over 25 years of molecular diagnostics, clinical laboratory, biotech, and biopharma experience. She is passionate about best clinical science for patients as well as best leadership practices for her teams. Her career has been driven by implementing cutting-edge technologies to improve the quality of patient care through advancements in diagnostics and therapeutic discovery.  

Dr. Zehentner earned her master’s and engineering degree in Biotechnology were received from the University of Applied Sciences (FH) in Weihenstephan, Germany, and her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University RWTH in Aachen, Germany. She has been certified as a high-complexity clinical laboratory director (HCLD) through the American Board of Bioanalysis in Molecular Diagnostics since 2008. In 2020, she received her MBA through a Western Governors University program for working professionals. 

Dr. Zehentner previously worked for Boehringer Mannheim (Germany), Hoffmann-La Roche (Switzerland), and Roche Diagnostics (Germany), as well as for Corixa Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline (Seattle, WA). During her 17-year leadership tenure at HematoLogics (Seattle, WA) serving as laboratory director as well as managing partner for the organization, she established and grew clinical laboratory operations offering comprehensive molecular analysis, FISH, and cytogenetic testing services to complement flow cytometric analysis for diagnosing and monitoring hematopoietic malignancies. 

To continue her executive leadership journey, Dr. Zehentner joined Adaptive Biotechnologies (Seattle, WA) in 2021 as Vice President of Molecular Laboratory Operations to oversee and scale a multi-level production team and high-throughput processing facilities for next-generation sequencing (NGS). There, she streamlined processes to cut operational expenses while forging a common culture that allowed the biotech company to grow exponentially quarter over quarter. 


About Molecular Testing Labs: 

Molecular Testing Labs is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington. Molecular Testing Labs’ leaders are visionary in their approach to precision laboratory diagnostics and are committed to increasing accessibility and affordability of diagnostic testing via cutting-edge research and development, advanced logistics, and proprietary technology systems. They provide laboratory solutions through collaborative partnerships with payors, private healthcare institutions, universities, commercial partners, and public health organizations. 

Molecular Testing Labs is a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited, state-of-the-art reference laboratory that is passionate about bridging the gap and building bonds between the large communities that have access to diagnostics and the smaller underserved communities that deserve that same access. Molecular Testing Labs is pioneering distribution and specimen collection methods that open access to medical testing where geographic, financial, and stigma barriers create gaps in the delivery of healthcare. 

About the Author: Brad Trusso