The 2016 Leaders in Health Care Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Medical Technology

Winner: Harlan Robins, Adaptive Biotechnologies

Harlan Robins
Cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer, Adaptive Biotechnologies, Seattle

Harlan Robins is solving scientific puzzles to improve the way the health care industry diagnoses, monitors and treats diseases around the globe. His company, Adaptive Biotechnologies, has pioneered a patented immunosequencing technology that leverages next-generation sequencing to profile T-cell and B-cell receptors of the adaptive immune system.

Adaptive Biotechnologies is bringing the accuracy and sensitivity of its platform into laboratories around the world to drive groundbreaking research in immune-mediated diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious disease.

The most challenging aspect of Robins’ job is not having enough time in the day. “It really goes without saying that health care in general is a stressful field,” he says. “Whether you are a scientist or a physician, there is never enough time in the day to do what needs to be done. On top of that, getting people to believe in a new approach, which once seemed impossible but is now a reality, adds a whole new level of complexity. It’s 120 percent all the time — there are no defined work hours.”

Robins is inspired by being able to “translate the science from our research platform to help inform diagnostics and therapeutics that can actually help people.” 

Related Content


There are many benefits to workplace wellness programs, ranging from improved employee health, to controlled healthcare costs, to easier recruitment and retention of employees. 


Within the critical world of health care, what happens when the patient is the hospital building? How do Healthcare Facility Directors & Construction Managers make needed changes to their aging buildings, while ensuring no downtime or loss of comfort to their patients?

Dr. Paul Ramsey begins most weekday mornings by rowing on Lake Union. On weekends, he’s likely to do bike rides of 50 or 100 miles. These rituals — daily journeys, if you will — have helped prepare him for a 40-year-plus career in medicine and administration.

In a partnership with the Washington Health Alliance (WHA), Seattle Business magazine this year selected one category from the WHA’s annual Community Checkup ranking of health care organizations and looked at the overall performance of the medical groups serving commercially insured patients.