Vast Scientific - Boundless Informatics Solutions for Science


VAST Scientific principals and staff are the basis of our business. Confident and enthusiastic leadership are the cornerstones to collaborative success with our customers and partners. Our professional staff consists of Ph.D. level scientists with expertise in data science, bioinformatics, information architecture, and other related fields. We have tested experience and extensive knowledge in developing, delivering and optimizing software applications.

Michael Athanas, Ph.D.

Athanas’ unique application of the intersection of his skills and experience as a project manager, scientist, data analyst, software architect, developer, IT architect, and project & team manager has provided measurable benefit to many leading life science companies. At VAST, Athanas builds and extends his success as founding partner and President of The BioTeam at building a highly reputable, responsive, and professional team of industry experts.

As Director of Research and Development at ThermoFisher, Athanas led a group of scientists and developers exploring innovations for accelerating reproducibility and contextualization of scientific research. The skunk works research team collaborated with customers and developed rapid proof-of-concept solutions to guide internal product development strategy and direction. Projects include:

  • Laboratory Ontology - As instrumentation representative leader for the Allotrope Foundation, Athanas developed cross-industry ontologies based upon open W3C Semantic Web standards and industry best practices.

  • Semantic IoT - Demonstrate autonomous scientific instruments that orchestrate, optimize and self-monitor a laboratory environment.

  • Mneme Project - Realtime research information aggregation to deliver predictive and proactive contextual analytics to bridge information silos.

Athanas has an extended history of bringing successful software. Most notably, ThermoFisher Scientific’s SIEVE, a powerful label-free mass spectrometry analytics software for biomarker discovery and conformation. In addition, Athanas made several analytical tools freely available to the scientific community including RawMeat and ROC Station. At BioTeam, Athanas developed the scalable genomics analysis platform iNquiry which received 1st place Software Design Award from Apple.

Prior to the BioTeam, Athanas was Director of Scientific Consulting at Blackstone Computing, Athanas led a highly reputable team of scientists and developers focused upon enabling large-scale vendor neutral scientific computing solutions. He is the inventor (patent pending) of unique scalable data balancing algorithms that have provided core IP to Blackstone software products. As a Bioinformaticist at Cereon Genomics he collaborated in the transcriptional profiling team as well as created software infrastructures for high-throughput analysis including a scalable workflow engine based upon mobile agent technologies. Previous to Cereon, Athanas was a Research Scientist at Cornell University’s Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory exploring four-quark bound states produced in photon-photon interactions. At Cornell, he was Co-Architect of the Nile Project, a National Science Foundation project addressing large-scale databases and distributed computing in experimental elementary particle physics. Athanas received his Doctorate in Physics at the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.



  • Microbial Classification of Biological Sample by Mass Spectrometry – US2020234787A1

  • 3D Mass Spectrometry Predictive Classification - EP3584795A3

  • Decomposing Tandem Mass Spectra Generated by All-Ions - EP2775509B1

  • Use of mass spectral difference networks for determining charge state - US9159538B1

  • Methods and apparatus for decomposing tandem mass spectra generated by all-ions fragmentation - EP2775509B1

  • Use of mass spectral difference networks for determining charge state, adduction, neutral loss and polymerization - US9299547B2

  • Assays for Differentiating between Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Stroke in a Human Patient - US2012064558A1

  • Methods for Predicting Trisomy 21 in a Fetus - US2010216250A1

Advisory Board

Peter Athanas, Ph.D.

Peter Athanas is a CMC research scientist and an emeritus professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Peter directs the Configurable Computing Laboratory. His laboratory participates in diverse research projects related to reconfigurable computing, software radios, networking, and scientific computing. His research sponsors include NRO, NSA, DARPA, IARPA, ONR, AFRL, MDA, OSD and LTS. He is the author of over 130 publications and five patents. Peter received his BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toledo, his MS degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his Sc.M. degree in applied mathematics at Brown University, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Brown University. Peter has a TS-SCI government clearance. Peter’s complete CV is available here.

Lisa Durbeck, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Durbeck is a CMC director and a former research scientist and program manager for the federal government, where she managed a large portfolio of AI/ML research aimed at automating parts of GEOINT imagery analysis. She is currently a Use of or disclosure of proposal data is subject to the restriction on the title page of this document. PAGE 15 DNI-funded postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech, where her research, in collaboration with Peter, is focused on work directly related to this topic, namely, efficient and accurate community detection in complex graphs. This has given the CMC Team two years of R&D into the research problem area of this SBIR topic. Lisa is the author of over 30 publications and was awarded a US patent in computer architecture. Lisa received her BA in biology from Bryn Mawr College, as well as a BS equivalent in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley; her MS in Computer Science from the University of Utah; and her Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech. Lisa has a TS-SCI government clearance.