Non-biodegradeable, petroleum-derived, polyacrylic acid is used in everything from detergents to industrial fluids. Lygos, an alumni spinoff company that creates environmentally friendly chemicals through synthetic biology, has formed a partnership with NanoChem Solutions to produce an alternative: polyaspartate polymers. Together they will develop a process to make aspartic acid, the raw material for the polymers, from sugar via fermentation.
Check out an interview with PhD alumnus and Bolt Threads Co-Founder David Breslauer on the Business For Good podcast!
Congratulations to three bioengineering alumni named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Joshua Yang (MTM 2016) and Robert Chen (BS 2013) were named in Healthcare: Yang for his work on developing non-invasive tools to measure kidney injuries through startup company Nephrosant, and Chen for designing therapies for undernourished children, using links between certain gut bacteria and stunted growth. Joshua Nixon (BS 2016) and co-founder were named in the Social Impact list for founding Prime Roots, a company developing plant-based meat and seafood alternatives.
PhD alumni Lily Peng (2012) and Kate Rosenbluth (2009) have been named to the 2020 Fortune Magazine “40 Under 40”, an annual list of 40 young professionals of exceptional talent and influence in their fields. Peng, now Product Manager at Google Health, aims to bring health care to the masses through the use of artificial intelligence. She has personally designed algorithms including the firm’s diabetes-related eye disease detection program. Rosenbluth, Founder and CEO of Cala Health, has designed an FDA-cleared wrist device that eases hand tremors for the 7 million Americans who suffer from essential tremors.
Congratulations Professor Sanjay Kumar, named to the 2020 class of Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Kumar was recognized for his “distinguished contributions to the field of bioengineering, particularly the development of biomaterial and single-cell technologies to investigate mechanobiological signaling in health and disease.”
PROVEN, the world’s first microbial biofertilizer for cereal crops, has been named one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2020 by Time Magazine. Developed by PivotBio, a BioE spinout company founded by Karsten Temme, PhD 2010, the product replaces synthetic solutions with nitrogen-fixing microbes, which capture nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that plants can use.
Congratulations to Associate Professor Moriel Vandsburger, the first holder of our new Timothy and Karen Guertin Chair in Bioengineering. Timothy Guertin (B.S. alum, EECS) is the former Chief Executive Officer of Varian Medical Systems, a member of the Board of Directors at Teradyne Inc., and Chair of the Global Access to Cancer Care foundation, which works to expand the availability of modern cancer care in developing countries. The Guertins are passionate supporters of biomedical research and global access to quality healthcare, and have endowed this faculty chair to provide additional support to an early career professor pursuing promising research.
On Tuesday the first rapid, at-home COVID-19 test was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The test, made by BioE-founded company Lucira, uses their loop mediated amplification reaction process, a molecular nucleic acid amplification technology, in a battery-powered standalone unit. Rather than detecting antibodies, their test is designed to detect whether an individual is shedding the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The company was developing this technology for an at-home influenza test before rapidly pivoting to address COVID-19. Lucira is led by Debkishore Mitra (PhD 2013), who founded the company with John Waldeisen (PhD 2012).
BioE spinout company Eko won the Best Hospital Diagnostics category at the 2020 UCSF Digital Health Awards digital stethoscope and ECG.