About Paw Print Genetics

The Friendly Scientists

Our Mission:

Paw Print Genetics® is dedicated to achieving optimal canine genetic health by providing outstanding resources for dog owners, breeders, trainers, and veterinarians for pets, show dogs and working dogs.

Our Vision:

To raise the standard in canine genetic diagnostic testing, carrier screening, and customer support, and to educate our clients and the community on the importance of optimal canine genetic health.

Our Lab:

Staffed by expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians, the lab at Paw Print Genetics is equipped with the latest technology for the testing and analysis of canine genetic diseases. Once your tests are completed, you will receive a clinical report with results, interpretations and recommendations, in addition to a Canine Genetic Health Certificate. Our staff is also available to provide you with genetic counseling and consultation about our services, your report, or additional information to help with your breeding program or buying a new puppy.

Our Team

Lisa G Shaffer, PhD, FACMG Founder & CEO

Lisa Shaffer is the Founder and CEO of Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc.® (DBA Paw Print Genetics). Prior to Paw Print Genetics, she was the co-Founder, President and CEO of Signature Genomic Laboratories. Dr. Shaffer received her BS in Biology from Washington State University, Pullman in 1984 and her PhD in Human Genetics from the Medical College of Virginia, Richmond in 1990. She was a tenured Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine until she moved to Spokane in 2002 and was a Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, Spokane from 2002-2008. Dr. Shaffer has authored over 300 medical publications, almost two dozen book chapters, and four books in various aspects of clinical genetics. Dr. Shaffer is a board certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics.

Dr. Shaffer is passionate about her three children, helping startup companies and 80s rock music. She and her husband have four dogs, five miniature horses and one goat.

Blake Ballif, PhD Director of Operations

Blake Ballif currently serves as the Director of Operations for Paw Print Genetics. From March 2004 until July 2012, Dr. Ballif was the Director of Research and Development at Signature Genomic Laboratories where he had oversight for genomic microarray diagnostic content, designs and performance, among other product development including array analysis software. He received his BS in Molecular Biology from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT in 1995, his MS in Molecular Biology from BYU in 1997, and his PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX in 2003. Dr. Ballif is passionate about research into the molecular basis of genetic disease and has authored over 90 scientific publications in various aspects of clinical genetics and molecular diagnostics.

Blake loves to travel, cycle, hike, and play basketball, but above all he enjoys spending time with his wife and six amazing children.

Kyle Sundin, MS Assistant Director of Development and Lab Operations

Kyle Sundin is the Assistant Director of Development and Lab Operations for Paw Print Genetics. From March 2004 until July 2012, Mr. Sundin held various positions at Signature Genomic Laboratories including Senior Analyst, Laboratory Supervisor, Laboratory Manager and Manager of Assay Validation and Implementation. He received his BS in Zoology from Washington State University, Pullman in 1999 and his MS in Genetics and Cell Biology from WSU in 2002. Early in his career, Mr. Sundin performed genomic research on Oncorhynchus mykiss and Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, the common species of rainbow trout and Chinook salmon.

Kyle is an avid football fan! He enjoys a good action flick, reading in the evenings and is a bit of a tech/Apple junkie. His main passion is his family; having three children that keep him busy!

Helen F Smith-Flores, PhD
Associate Laboratory Director and Technical R&D Director

Helen is currently the Associate Laboratory Director at Paw Print Genetics.  Prior to Paw Print Genetics, she taught biology at Gonzaga University for three years.  She received her BA in Genetics from Rutgers University followed by a PhD in Genetics from University of Arizona.  At Paw Print Genetics, she works on developing new tests, improving current tests, and enjoys talking about genetics with clients.

Helen enjoys playing softball, salsa dancing with her husband, and wrangling three children.

Christina Ramirez, PhD, DVM, DACVP
Medical Director and Technical Director

Christina J Ramirez currently serves as the Medical Director for Paw Print Genetics. Dr. Ramirez has a strong passion for canine genetic health and combines her genetics, veterinary, and pathology backgrounds to further understand and prevent inherited disease in dogs. In 2013 she completed her residency in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Colorado College followed by a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in conjunction with the University of Washington, Seattle and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University, Pullman.

An avid marathon runner, Christina is often running the trails of the inland northwest. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her two dogs and cat.

Casey Carl, DVM Associate Medical Director

Casey Carl, DVM is a 2008 graduate of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After beginning his career in clinical practice, Dr. Carl changed gears in 2013 when he joined Paw Print Genetics as Associate Medical Director.
Troubled by the inherited diseases he once diagnosed in the veterinary hospital, Dr. Carl has a passion for educating pet owners, breeders, and other veterinarians about the power and possibilities of genetic health testing in small animals.

In his spare time, Dr. Carl enjoys hiking, biking, running, playing guitar, listening to podcasts, and spending time with his wife, son, and their furry companions.

Robert Westra, MS, DVM
Associate Medical Director and Veterinary Market Development Director

Robert Westra came aboard Paw Print Genetics as the Veterinary Market Development Director. This position marries his love of science, veterinary medicine, and education. Before obtaining his veterinary degree from Washington State University in 2008, Dr. Westra finished a three-year position in Africa working in environmental management and science education through the United States Peace Corps. He continued to work in wildlife biology for another 7 years where his job locations stretched from the Bering Sea to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. After transitioning into veterinary medicine, he focused on general practice and emergency medicine. He has a strong interest in animal welfare and science education.

Rob enjoys travel, climbing in the cascades and spoiling his pit-bull terrier.

Daniela Flores, MS Veterinary Genetics Specialist

Daniela Flores currently serves as the Veterinary Genetics Specialist for Paw Print Genetics. Daniela received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Concordia College at Moorhead, MN in 2013 and her Master of Science in Genetics and Genomics from Iowa State University in 2019. As a graduate student, Daniela was dedicated to science communication and enjoyed teaching biology classes and engaging in public outreach.

Daniela spends all her free time with her five dogs. They enjoy training and competing in sports like rally, agility, obedience, conformation, field, dock diving, and nosework, both locally and at the national level. Originally from Minnesota, Daniela and her dogs are avid Vikings football and Wild hockey fans.

Catherine D Kashork, MHA Site Director

Catherine Kashork serves as the Site Director of Paw Print Genetics. Catherine has over 25 years of experience in the laboratory industry mainly focused on Human Genetics. Prior to joining the PPG team, she has served as a Program Manager with Providence St Joseph Health, Vice President of Operations at Signature Genomic Laboratories and Laboratory Manager of Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine. Catherine received her BS in Biology from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory NC (1993), a post-graduate Certificate in Cytogenetics from the UT Health Sciences Center in Houston TX (1995), and a Masters in Health Care Administration from the University of Providence in Great Falls MT in 2019. Catherine holds an ASCP Certification in Cytogenetics.

Catherine is passionate about her family and enjoys spending free time with her husband, 2 children and three dogs.

Lyvia Hill Finance Controller / HR Specialist

Lyvia is the Finance Controller and HR Specialist for Paw Print Genetics. In college, she majored in Accounting and Finance. She oversees the day to day finances of the company, including vendor relations. She has a passion for numbers and enjoys helping people.

Lyvia also enjoys Zumba and is a huge Track and Field fan. She enjoys scrapbooking, and arts and crafts. She is also a fan of reptiles and has a bearded dragon. Most of all, she loves and enjoys spending time with her husband, their 3 children and 3 grandchildren.