Meet our Staff
Glenn Kawasaki, PhD, MBA, JD
Chief Executive Officer and President
Dr. Kawasaki is a Seattle entrepreneur with 35 years in the biotech industry. He was the first scientist at ZymoGenetics as a Ph.D. geneticist, and was also a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kawasaki is the inventor of ribosome display and founded Aptein, Inc. for cell-free engineering of proteins and peptides. He is founder and president of Catch Inc., developing diagnostics tests for homocysteine, as well as founder and director of Sound Pharmaceuticals, a hearing loss company with a drug candidate in clinical trials. In 2005, he joined Accium BioSciences and helped progress its new business unit, DirectAMS, in 2011. He has served as CEO and President since 2013.
Dr. Jason Giacomo, Ph.D.
Director of AMS Operations
Dr. Giacomo joined DirectAMS in early 2016 to serve as the Director of AMS Operations and oversee the management, maintenance, and improvement of our two AMS instruments. He has been operating and maintaining AMS systems since 2008 and has a number of peer-reviewed publications in the field of AMS. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Davis and has worked on a broad range of projects from imaging atoms on surfaces using scanning tunneling microscopy to galactic cluster observations at the Palomar Observatory.
Dr. Giacomo received brief but comprehensive AMS training at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich before designing a new laboratory and installing the BioMICADAS™ AMS instrument in Davis, California. There he successfully operated and maintained the instrument for eight years. He also created a new radiocarbon processing lab and designed new equipment and procedures for high-throughput AMS analysis of natural carbon samples. He has experience in the preparation and AMS analysis of samples originating from archaeological, forensic, and biofuel projects. Dr. Giacomo brings this experience to DirectAMS to ensure the continued on-time performance, accuracy and scientific integrity for which we are known.
James C. Chatters, Ph.D.
Dr. James Chatters is a recognized expert in the human and environmental prehistory of western North America. A broad-spectrum paleoscientist, he has over 45 years of research experience in archaeology, palynology, and paleontology. His intimate understanding of radiocarbon sample selection, treatment, and interpretation is integral to the services provided by DirectAMS.
Dr. Chatters received his Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Washington in 1982. His work has been published in Science, American Antiquity, Quaternary Research, World Archaeology, Journal of World Prehistory, Journal of Archaeological Science, Canadian Journal of Archaeology, and elsewhere. His current research focuses on Pleistocene mammals, and the bioarchaeology of America’s first peoples, including recent discoveries in the Northwestern US and Mexico. He is best known for his work on Kennewick Man.
Janet C. Niessner, MSc, RPA
Director of Archaeological Services
Janet brings over 10 years of archaeological field experience from various projects all over the world to DirectAMS. As Director of Archaeological Services, Janet employs this expertise to sample selection, as well as research and development of sample processing techniques. Since joining DirectAMS in 2014, Janet has refined and launched our bone, cellulose, parchment, and keratin extraction protocols.
Hailing originally from Chicago, Janet earned her B.A. in Archaeology from George Washington University in D.C. in 2007. Janet later received a Master of Science degree in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology from Cranfield University, the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, in 2014.
Watch out for Janet whizzing around the Uplake neighborhoods on her bike, or sipping a full-bodied red wine at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Alyssa M. (Puffer) Tate, MS
Director of Laboratory Operations
Alyssa Tate supervises all laboratory operations at DirectAMS. She is responsible for sample receipt and processing, as well as purchasing, equipment maintenance and measurement logistics. Alyssa has graphitized thousands of samples, since entering the field of accelerator mass spectrometry in 2011. She also assisted in establishing the DirectAMS labs, and serves as the resident “carbonate processing” expert. Alyssa stays mobile, splitting her time between the processing laboratory in Bothell and the AMS laboratory in Seattle.
Hailing originally from Nebraska, Alyssa received Bachelors of Science in both Psychology and Animal Science from Iowa State University in 2002. She eventually landed in Washington to earn a Master of Science degree in Experimental Psychology from Central Washington University in 2010. Alyssa conducted research with callitrichid monkeys, chimpanzees and preschool-age humans, before joining the DirectAMS team.
When she’s not on the move, Alyssa can be found knitting with a cat in her lap, baking for the next staff birthday celebration or enjoying a fabulous meal at one of the countless Seattle eateries.
Zach is the primary organic sample pre-treatment guru for DirectAMS, and is also responsible for sample receiving. He is an expert at handling even the most minute of samples, having treated thousands of samples since joining DirectAMS in 2015. Zach actually returned to the draw of AMS research, gaining valuable experience in the biotech division from 2010-2011.
A native of Seattle, Zach earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Washington in 1997. He has also provided educational support for English language learners in Japan, and served as a data analyst in the tech field.
When Zach isn’t surrounded by the whir of the fume hood, he enjoys defending his goal against rival soccer teams in several indoor leagues.
Ugo Zoppi, Ph.D. (1965-2016)
Director, AMS Laboratory
Dr. Ugo Zoppi, Ph.D. was a renowned expert in the AMS field, with over 18 years of radiocarbon dating expertise. He served as Director of our AMS facility since its inception in 2006, measuring more than 70,000 samples before his untimely death in March 2016. Ugo was an integral part of the small DirectAMS team, and will be greatly missed. He brought an extraordinary professionalism and playfulness to his work here at DirectAMS.
A native of Switzerland, Dr. Zoppi participated in research at three different world-class AMS facilities (Zurich, Tokyo and Sydney). He obtained his Ph.D. in 1993 from the Nuclear Physics and Astronomy Department, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich in the lab of Prof. Dr. W. Wölfli and Dr. M. Suter. His Ph.D. thesis was titled, "Isobar suppression in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry."
When he wasn't in the laboratory, Dr. Zoppi was hiking in the nearby Cascade Mountains, or completing a puzzle game in record time.