Key Personnel

MarkMark K. Slifka, Ph.D.
President and CSO

Dr. Slifka earned his PhD at the UCLA School of Medicine and currently holds a joint faculty position as a Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Oregon Health & Science University and Senior Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in addition to his role as President and CSO of Najít Technologies, Inc.  Dr. Slifka has published >80 research articles and reviews, including papers in prestigious biomedical journals such as Immunity, Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine. He has been quoted in >200 news articles including leading newspapers such as USA Today and the Washington Post. Dr. Slifka has served on academic review panels for the National Institutes of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health, Austrian Fund, Israel Science Foundation, Israel National Institute for Health Policy & Health Services, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  This service as well as the close association with academic research institutions has played an important role in the early success of Najít Technologies by providing critical opportunities for advanced research collaborations.  Dr. Slifka sets expansive goals for NTI’s vaccine development pipeline, identifying significant target pathogens and engaging a talented group of partners to advance these important vaccine programs.

IanIan J. Amanna, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Research

Dr. Amanna received his PhD from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the OHSU Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) in Beaverton, OR. Dr. Amanna was originally recruited to Najít Technologies as Director of Research in 2007, and in 2010 he was promoted to Associate Vice President for Research. His broad scientific background includes investigations into gene therapy, primary immune deficiencies, and the duration of immunity following vaccination. His publication on the duration of vaccine-induced immunity published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Amanna et al. NEJM 2007; 1903-15) was ranked by the Amedeo Medical Literature Service as one of the top 10 most influential papers published in 2007 ( Dr. Amanna oversees the operations at NTI’s research and development laboratories, in addition to management of outside contract research activities in support of NTI’s vaccine development programs.

SamSamantha Harmon, B.A., M.B.A.
Head of Accounting & Administration

Samantha Harmon graduated from Lafayette College with a degree in Business/Economics and received her MBA from Portland State University.  Mrs. Harmon’s accounting background includes working at Platt Electric as a Senior Accountant, where she was instrumental in implementing a new branch budgeting program and created an automated daily branch cash reconciliation program for 100 branch locations, as well as transitioning the organization from a paper based company to a paperless environment. Mrs. Harmon’s role at NTI includes grant management, accounts and payroll, and human resources.

Shelley PhotoShelley Klassen, CPA, CMA
Vantage Accounting LLC

Shelley Klassen received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kentucky.  She earned both her CPA and CMA credentials more than 13 years ago and has been serving clients through her business, Vantage Accounting LLC, for over ten years.  Shelley serves as an outsourced Controller to a variety of companies with a focus on biotech, software and online marketplaces.  She enjoys working with companies that are small but sophisticated enough to understand the value of accurate, timely financial statements and analysis.  Prior to starting her own business, she spent five years in public accounting performing similar types of outsourced Controller functions and financial auditing.

Larry Johnson PhotoLarry Johnson, BS, MS
Quality Assurance Officer
BioFinity Consulting, LLC

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Whitman College and his Master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Larry Johnson later developed and led the Regulatory Affairs department at Amgen, Inc., serving as the company’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Head from 1983-1989.  In that role, he was responsible for designing and implementing regulatory development strategies for the company’s first five products.  Prior to joining Amgen Inc., Mr. Johnson served in various management positions with the US Centers for Disease Control, Abbott Scientific Products Division, and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation.  Since 1989, Mr. Johnson has operated a regulatory affairs consultative practice based in the Portland, Oregon area.  In this capacity, he has provided drug development and regulatory advice to more than 60 companies located in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan and representing a wide range of products and developmental challenges.  In his nearly 40 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Johnson has had primary responsibility for the development, implementation, and management of regulatory strategies for biotechnology products including human therapeutic agents (drugs and biologics), animal drugs, recombinant vaccines, diagnostic products, blood products, and laboratory reagents. He has generated, filed, and prosecuted regulatory applications ranging from initial pre-IND documentation to marketing applications in the U.S. and elsewhere, and he has been responsible for Quality Control/Quality Assurance efforts in a variety of drug development and manufacturing environments.  Mr. Johnson has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) from 2009-2012 and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Oregon Biotechnology Incubator.