Lei Wan is developing an app to help patients select the right diet to prevent diseases or to improve recovery. She received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University, studying the interaction between hormone and diet in prostate cancer prevention. After that, she conducted research on breast cancer therapeutics as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. She is a part-time research consultant in a healthcare company in Los Angeles.
Keigo Machida is an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He is developing improved methodology for biomarker-guided, repurposed, FDA-approved drug therapy for liver cancer. Liver cancer incidence increases while many other cancer incidence decreases. Liver cancer patients have circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood. By testing genetic mutations and messenger RNA levels of CTCs and various drug response rates, the best available therapy can be selected for each patient. Keigo holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo School of Medicine.
Lawrence Lein received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Brown University. He went to Japan and obtained his Ph.D. in medicine from Keio University. He found his passion in venture business and got involved in the startup scene in Japan. He plans to launch his venture in the Los Angeles area focusing on finding potential cures for consumers and patients. Lawrence is extremely grateful to all his previous and current mentors for their guidance and support. He looks to utilize all the knowledge he has learned about basic science, stem cells, business fundamentals and leadership skills to build a steady startup.
Deborah Won is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cal State LA, with a research focus on neurorehabilitation technology, ranging from peripheral nerve stimulation to mobile apps integrated with wireless EMG sensors. The aim of her lab’s latest research is to develop a fitness system on a mobile platform to encourage and facilitate exercise for individuals who use wheelchairs. The app, Mobile Fitness on Wheels, features multiplayer functionality and three exergaming activities driven by body-worn wireless sensors and tailored for cardiovascular workouts in wheelchairs. Deborah is joined by team members Dhruval Vairya, Amit Pal, Brian Lee and James Velasco.
Melissa Chandra is an entrepreneur interested in delivering effective and efficient manufacturing processes. Melissa is currently leading qualification projects in an aerospace composite manufacturing company. She holds a B.S. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.Bt., a professional science master’s degree in biotechnology, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Cherie Park is the founder of Bounce Wellness, which is developing and commercializing a delicious plant-based collagen peptide beverage. She is a direct-to-consumer entrepreneur at the Mothership Lab incubator. She received a B.S. from Cornell University.
Chung-Han Lee is currently a medical device consultant providing regulatory, clinical and commercialization strategies to startup companies looking to introduce innovative medical devices to global markets. Before becoming a consultant, he served as an associate reviewer for premarket submission of medical devices at the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration. During his tenure there, he also provided the association’s regulatory consultation to industry. He received his M.S. in biomedical engineering from National Taiwan University. He is an M.S. candidate in regulatory science at the University of Southern California and graduated in May 2019.
Rajib Schubert is CEO of Genestamp, which is involved in virus-based biologics delivery. Genestamp’s patented technology safely targets immune-dodging, non-replicative viruses to desired cell types in specific locations in the body as part of a process to to defeat cancer and prevent recurrence.
Aimee Flores is a scientist conducting research in the metabolism of stem cells and cancer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Aimee co-developed a small molecule for accelerating hair growth and a novel in situ metabolic activity assay. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.S. in molecular and experimental pathology from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
Marcin Kortylewski is an associate professor in the Department of Immuno-Oncology at City of Hope Cancer Center. Since 2010, his laboratory has focused on molecular mechanisms of cancer resistance to treatment. Marcin is an inventor of a novel cancer immunotherapy using targeted oligonucleotide delivery to the tumor microenvironment to inhibit or knock down STAT3 protein, a master brake of immune cell activity. He recently co-founded iSTAT Therapeutics Inc., a company that plans to bring the first oligonucleotide STAT3 inhibitor to clinical testing in cancer immunotherapy in 2020. He is joined by team members Daniel Rossi and Alvin Zhang.
Mickey Pentecost is launching Diadem Biotherapeutics to engineer and produce stem-cell-derived extracellular vesicles as first-in-class biologics for regenerative pulmonary medicine. Previously, he served as principal scientist and then director of research and development for an ophthalmic-focused regenerative medicine company. He received a B.S. in engineering from the Cooper Union in New York City and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mickey is excited to be in the Cal State LA BioStart Bioscience Entrepreneurs Boot Camp, the center of a vibrant biotech entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Gazelle Rastegar is a co-founder of OvoStem and is joined by teammate Valentina Sanghez, Ph.D., who currently works at LA BioMed. Valentina brings her expertise in induced pluripotent stem cells to OvoStem. Gazelle brings two decades in the healthcare industry in business development, sales and marketing. Gazelle started her career at Agensys, a startup biotech acquired by Astellas. After obtaining her M.B.A. from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, she joined Johnson & Johnson. Most recently, Gazelle served as the vice president of strategic alliances in a venture-backed healthcare technology company, where she structured and executed sales partnerships. Together at OvoStem, Gazelle and Valentina plan to bring innovative solutions into the fertility marketplace using stem cell technology.
Andrew Hausrath is interested in developing bacteriophage-based diagnostics and therapeutics to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. He is a staff scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and previously served as a faculty member at the University of Arizona in chemistry/biochemistry and applied mathematics. Andrew holds undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oregon.
Jennifer Lang is co-founder of EarthBox and is joined by teammate Chantle Edillor, who is also a co-founder. EarthBox is a next-generation sandbox that incorporates soil rich in environmental microbes to provide a source of beneficial microbial exposure. In today’s world, we are living sterile lives and our health is suffering. Children who grow up on farms and are exposed to a rich source of environmental microbes have a lower incidence of allergies and immune diseases. The EarthBox brings the environment to you so that your children can play in a microbially enriched environment that doesn’t require leaving the vicinity of your own home.
Charles Park is the co-founder of BabyLook, and he received his academic degree from the University of California, Berkeley. BabyLook’s mission is to unite family members using advanced technology. The company is working to translate babies’ feelings and health, and communicating the information to parents and other caregivers, by means of accurate wearable sensors and machine learning technology. The goal is to bring peace of mind to first-time mothers who are inexperienced in child-rearing practices.
Melanie Yen is an assistant professor of chemistry at California State University, Channel Islands. She is part of the Team Molecular Artificial Retina project, which is investigating the potential of its product as a treatment to reverse vision loss in patients with advanced eye diseases. The team is composed of chemists, biologists and ophthalmologists at the California Institute of Technology (where the molecule was designed), the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Cal State Channel Islands.
Leon Aburime is a biotech entrepreneur looking to use combinatorial therapies to help alleviate symptoms of inflammation and fibrosis using varied drug delivery methods.
Tri Vu is a research scientist at Caltech working on mouse genetics. He uses molecular biology techniques to uncover the roles of protein degradation in human diseases. Tri is exploring ways to bring scientific discoveries in skin and hair care to consumers. Tri holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Caltech.
Dr. Shuting Sun is a medicinal chemist focusing on multifunctional phosphonate based drug actives and imaging probes. She received her PhD at the University of Southern California. Dr. Sun cofounded BioVinc in 2013 where she is Chief Scientist and COO. She also works as co-PI and co-investigator on several NIH grants, focusing on the development of bone-targeted therapeutics and diagnostics. Her work has led to critical research findings in the fields of bone metabolism, dental abnormalities and cochlear abnormalities, which is accelerating BioVinc to achieve its goal to develop innovative new diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents for bone related diseases.
Walter Stewart is the founder and CEO of Stewart Solutions, LLC. The startup company is in the beginning stages of developing consumables for long-term space exploration. He has a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Masters in Business Administration from Governors State University.
Jim Sonner is the founder and CEO of BraneQuest, which is developing antiepileptic drugs to treat seizures that are not responsive to today’s medications, i.e. medically refractory seizures. His years of research on anesthetic mechanisms is informing his development of antiepileptic drugs since all anesthetics suppress seizures. Dr. Sonner received his MD from Harvard Medical School and has studied at a number of other institutions, including Harvey Mudd College in LA County, Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Oxford University, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Francisco, where he is still a professor.
Amir Shaerzadeh and his team partner Negin Saberi represent an inspired group of young professionals from diverse backgrounds such as public health, psychology, engineering, computer science, financial planning, law, marketing, graphic design, and photography, to name a few. We are focused on developing a unique wellness app designed for today’s modern and fast-paced society aimed at teaching users to manage stress, enhance mental focus, and improve emotional well-being, and the overall health holistically.
Mehmet is the team leader of Carbon Thumbprint, a team out of Medical and Engineering Schools of USC building an affordable and easy-to-use breathing monitor for premature neaonates enabled by nanotechnology.
Suzi Sanchez received her Ph.D. in Genetics, Molecular, and Cellular Biology from the Keck School of Medicine in 2014. Prior to this, she obtained a master’s degree in biology from California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She has performed research in the areas of mammalian cell epigenetics and eukaryotic cell genetics, as well as worked at an international biotechnology start-up company. Suzi is passionate about veterinary science and would like to develop medical devices for sick and injured companion and service animals.
Jordan Molina acquired his B.A. in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. Since then he has developed a professional background as Account Executive at Apex Life Sciences, Inc., responsible for the growth and management of staffing partnerships within the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical industries. Under Dr. Amelia Russo-Neustadt, Jordan is working towards his M.S. Biology degree at Cal State LA studying the safety and efficacy of herbal supplements for chronic and acute inflammatory conditions. His goal is to develop the wealth of herbs found in traditional medical practices into safe, affordable, and clinically-supported treatments for modern healthcare.
Sunil Mangalassary is an associate professor of Food Science and Technology in the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at Cal State LA. He received his Ph.D. in Food Technology from Clemson University, South Carolina. His entrepreneurial project focuses on the development of antimicrobial food packaging polymers and suitable food fermentation technologies to enhance the microbiological safety of food products.
Jessie Ma and her teammate Helen Ma are passionate about improving cancer patients recovery, cancer research and treatment via blockchain on Ethereum. Jessie received her Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from University of Michigan and currently is a postdoc at UCLA working on cancer immunotherapy. She has deep knowledge in exercise physiology, tumor immunology and metabolic disorders. Helen is the co-founder and CEO of Ji Informatics L.L.C. She is also a senior associate at the blockchain technology platform Enzo Foundation. Helen discovers team member’s talents and connect them at the intersection of consulting, software development and data analysis.
Junjun Liu is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Melbourne, Australia. One of his research group’s interests is to develop innovative detection methods for food safety testing. Dr. Liu is joined by team members Andrew Chen, Jason Yang, and Michael Garrett.
Connor Kunihiro and his team partner Shirleen Simargi are graduate students at Cal Poly Pomona, where they study the role of obesity and diabetes in the prevention and treatment of microbial infections. The goal of their early-stage startup, “It’s Just A Phage”, is to develop novel bacteriophage-based drugs and vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
Amber Kaplan is an immunologist focused on how the immune system functions during infection, autoimmunity, and cancer. She was a Regents’ Scholar at UCSB, where she earned a B.A. in biology from the College of Creative Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in immunology from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and she completed her postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA. Amber has recently focused on the biotech industry to add to her academic background. She was the immunologist at a small startup, taking a drug from concept through preclinical stages. She currently works as an investment analyst for venture capital in biotechnology and healthcare technology.
Sanjay J Chauhan is the founder and director of N & S Neurology Center, Inc. He is looking to find simple but effective ways to discover new uses and indications for old, forgotten treatments, since this can have immediate applications in a clinical setting. Also, he is discovering new agents that show promise in lab studies, and he intends to put them into clinical trial as soon as possible. His focus is on neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Sanjay J Chauhan holds MBBS degree for South Gujarat University, India and MD degree from Southern Illinois School of Medicine and has been board certified in Neurology by ABPN since 2005. Sanjay J Chauhan is currently in active clinical practice and has previously participated in basic stem cell research at UC Merced from 2015-2017.
Skylar is an incoming sophomore at Loyola Marymount University and is majoring in entrepreneurship and minoring in philosophy. She has programmed 2 iPhone apps on the App Store, has a tech blog, and has been featured on a few tech podcasts. Currently, Skylar is working on her new biotechnology startup called Galaxa Fit to help cure obesity.
Ben Bakondi co-developed a novel CRISPR-based gene editing strategy to treat inherited retinal disease as a postdoc in Cedars-Sinai’s Regenerative Medicine Institute. Pre-clinical studies are underway to demonstrate long-term safety and efficacy. Dr. Bakondi holds a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology from UVM College of Medicine and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Columbia University.
Jongseung Yoon is an assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He received a Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT, and B.S. degree in Polymer Science from Seoul National University, respectively. His team at USC is developing VCSEL-based flexible optoelectronic sensors for wearable and personalized diagnostics.
Argus Sun is developing vascular connective tissue constructs for pharmaceutical testing. He has a B.S. in Biology with specialization in Business from UCLA. He also has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering also from UCLA. In addition, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. His team includes Angus Hsu, an Anderson MBA graduate with whom he worked with on a tech startup.
Jonathan Saboury is an undergraduate at CSULA who works in an organic chemistry lab under Dr. Gutierrez and is collaborating with Dr. Xu to develop novel efflux pump inhibitors to combat multi drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria. He is also co-founding a company with two colleagues for computer-aided drug design services through optimizing currently available software to run on specialized hardware as well as their own software.
Helen Poldsam is the co-founder and CEO of Brainion Therapeutics, the next generation platform for the Central Nervous System therapeutics. Helen holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from Harvard University.
Shabnam Mohandessi is the cofounder and Director of Assay Development of SELFA Inc. which is developing a label-free, multiplex, and ultrasensitive sample-to-answer biosensor for early detection of infectious diseases and cancers from bodily fluids. Shabnam holds a B.S. in Chemistry, M.S. in Organic Chemistry, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry. She was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at UCLA Medical School before joining SELFA. She is joined by team members, CEO Ira Deyhimy and Director of Technology Kaveh Shoorideh.
Lina is seeking for opportunities in the field of development of Nutriceutics & Pharmaceutics following her recent departure from Astellas Pharma. She is currently a principal consultant in bioassay development & testing, providing immunochemistry, cell biology and in vitro pharmacology services to biotech/ pharma/ food companies. She is a seasoned drug discovery/development scientist with versatile experiences in developing both small molecule- and protein/antibody-based drugs. Lina obtained a M.S. in medical microbiology & immunology, a M.S. in biochemistry, and a MD from Tongji medical university in China.
Fan Liu is developing computational models and databases for neoantigen based cancer immunotherapy. Fan holds a B.S. in chemistry from Zhejiang University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech. He is a staff scientist at Caltech.
Eva Min Yi Lee, with a B.S. in Botany from UC Riverside and a B.A. in International Business and Management from Cal Poly Pomona, is an entrepreneur in the medical cosmetics (cosmeceutical) industry. She has 2 years of research experience at UC Riverside in the Department of Plant Science. Her team includes partners Dr. Mina Hsiung and Lori Price.
Vazgen Khankaldyyan has acquired preclinical research expertise in cancer research through the interactions with multidisciplinary professionals at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope. Vazgen’s current interest is to connect with regional bioscience professionals and to orchestrate and strategize combinational therapeutics: drugs, biologics and devices, in order to discover the best efficacious therapeutics for personalized medicine. Vazgen received B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCSB.
Cathy Yan Jin is the leader of a team that is developing high quality affordable sensors and services that measure small molecule components, those naturally abundant in foods and beverages, simultaneously at low cost. Cathy holds a B.S. degree in polymer science from Fudan Unverisity and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UCLA. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA working on cancer immunotherapy. Cathy is joined by partners Richard W. Sportsman of UCLA and John R. Sportsman.
Nzola has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California Irvine. Her research foundation is in photomedicine, biomedical imaging, and basic and translational cancer research. She also has certifications in Laser/Electro-Optics and Immunohistotechnology. She recently completed a postdoctoral appointment at the University of California San Diego, in the department of Pathology, where she performed research on targeted therapeutics against pancreatic cancers. She plans to start a venture to further pursue development of therapeutics against pancreatic cancers.
Dr. Neil Bodie founded Paradigm Immunotherapeutics Inc. in 2014, where he is currently president and CEO. Paradigm is developing disruptive technology for highly infectious agents, such as Ebola and novel treatments for immune mediated diseases. Dr. Bodie has been researching the causes and treatments for autoimmune diseases and viral induced immune mediated diseases since 1997, and is also the lead inventor of seven issued U.S. patents and multiple U.S. and World/PCT patent applications.
Nasim Bahadorani holds a master’s degree in biomedical science from Midwestern University and a doctorate in public health from Loma Linda University. Nasim teaches public health courses at Cal State Northridge. She has developed a health promotion business that focuses on lifestyle medicine with evidence-based programs, and is expanding her public health research with use of biotechnology for measurement of health outcome variables.
Dr. Yong Ba is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal State LA. His research group’s interest is to develop intellectual properties of biomedical materials including free radical labeled anticancer drugs, controlled release hydrogels, beta-cyclodextrin based drug delivery molecular carriers, biocompatible nanoparticles, and spin labeled and functionally valued antifreeze proteins. His research team is raising funds to start entrepreneurial endeavor. He is joined by undergraduate student Adiel Perez.
Young-Kwon Hong is an associate professor of surgery at Keck School of Medicine of USC. He is developing improved methodology for endothelial cell culture and creating cell lines. Hong holds a B.S. in agricultural chemistry from Korea University and a Ph.D. in microbiology from UC Davis.
Xin Wen is developing antifreeze polypeptides as a preservative for temperature sensitive protein-based therapeutics or consumer products. Wen holds a B.S. in chemistry from Nanjing University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from the University of Rochester. She is a Cal State LA professor and her team members, Rebecca Vargas and Tania Garcia, are Cal State LA students.
Steven Flanagan is developing improved Flavivirus vaccines. Flanagan holds a B.S. in biology from Caltech and a Ph.D. in biology from UC San Diego.
Robert Gellibolian is the founder of CellectGen, which is developing a saliva collection and processing device for point-of-care diagnoses and screenings for diseases. Gellibolian holds a B.S.in biochemistry from UCLA and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University. He is joined by partner Adam Markaryan, co-founder and senior scientist at CellectGen.
Qijin (Kevin) Xu is the founder and CEO of Xcell Unity Biotech Co., focusing on cancer detection, imaging and therapy, including immunotherapy. Xu holds a B.S. in geology and chemistry from Peking University, M.S. in protein chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Michigan. He is joined by partners Yingduan Cheng, Zheng (Alex) Fu, Chunying Song, and Weidong Xiong.
Preet Chaudhary is co-founding a company focusing on cancer treatment. Chaudhary earned a MD from Delhi University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Paul Bryson is co-founding a company with USC Professor Pin Wang, focusing on cancer treatment. Bryson holds an A.B. in biology from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University.
John Chi is the founder and CEO of Synova Life Sciences. Synova is commercializing a device to harvest stem cells from adipose tissue for use as a regenerative therapy for joints. Chi holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Biotechnology from Cal State LA.
Gayle Boxx is the founder, president and CEO of Aukera, Inc. Aukera has developed manufacturing and packaging technologies for the vault nanoparticle that make it an affordable and effective nanodelivery platform. Boxx holds a B.S. in biology from CSU Chico, a M.S. in microbiology from Cal State Long Beach, and a Ph.D. in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics from UCLA. She is joined by team member Jan Mrazek, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Aukera.
Evgeny Bondarenko is a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA interested in starting a company to create convolutional neural networks for the analysis of histological preparations in neuroscience research. Bondarenko holds a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Newcastle and a Ph.D. in human physiology from the University of Newcastle. He is joined by team member Marcos Otero-Garcia, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher.
Arnold Suwarnasarn is an entrepreneur interested in 3D printing and connected preventative health through in-home sensor screening and neuroscience. Suwarnasarn holds a B.A. in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a Ph.D. in bioengineering from UCLA, and a MBA from USC.