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A BLAST* from the Past, Present, and into the Future

It’s been said that the Human Genome Project (HGP) has provided a draft of biology’s Rosetta Stone, while computational molecular biology is providing the tools to interpret it. A few decades before the HGP began in 1980, the first database was created shortly after the Insulin protein was sequenced. It was clear that a database of biological sequences was necessary. This, in part, gave birth to the field of bioinformatics, which today, one could characterize as “the application of information technology to store, organize, retrieve, and analyze vast amount of biological data which is available in the form of sequences and structures of proteins”. That is, the building blocks of organisms and nucleic acids — the information carrier. With biochemical techniques fueling the molecular revolution in biology, the 21st century is faced with the challenge of deciphering and converting the multitude of sequence data using computational methods to infer biological function and identify useful information. What might this all mean? Please join us in conversation as we explore these topics from various perspectives.

About the Moderator:

Sunil Maulik_500x500Sunil Maulik, PhD
, has over twenty-five years of experience in Silicon Valley. He teaches workshops on product design for long-term behavior change in the technology and healthcare industries. He is a mentor and advisor to over 50 startups. He has helped start five companies (two IPOs, two acquisitions, one spectacular failure!) Sunil is a director and advisor at The Innovation Center Denmark, and at Designit, a Danish design services firm with offices in 13 countries. Sunil has guest-lectured at the Stanford d-school, U.C. Berkeley, and at the University of Amsterdam (THNQ.) Sunil founded and ran GeneEd, the first e-learning company for the life-sciences (acquired by Campbell Alliance.) Sunil is currently invested in ModuleQ, KptnCook, BrainAid and People Power Co. He has held management positions at Pangea Systems, Tripos (NASDAQ:TRPS), Hoffmann-La Roche (NYSE: ROCHE), Oxford Molecular (LSE: OXMOL), and IntelliGenetics.

Sunil’s thesis research on mathematical methods for 3-D image reconstruction of self-assembling biological macromolecular assemblies was published on the cover of the scientific journal Nature. His book “Molecular Biotechnology” (J. Wiley & Sons) sold over 4000 copies and was used in four university courses. He holds patents in fields as diverse as gene sequence pattern-matching, e-learning and e-mail analytics. Sunil worked with the Nobel-prize winners Maurice Wilkins and Aaron Klug as an undergraduate, and Sir Tom Blundell and Donald Caspar as graduate student. He has degrees in Physics, Biology, X-ray Crystallography and Biophysics. Sunil’s research on antibody engineering helped contribute to two therapeutic monoclonal antibodies receiving clinical approval. He has been a recipient (along with John Teeter and Gene Wang) of a $1.45MM ARPA-E SBIR; and with Banny Banerjee of the Stanford d-school, a GE “Ecomagination” award.

Sunil participates in several non-profit ventures dedicated to health and wellness in sustainable communities, including the Pacific AIDS Education Center and Project Ahimsa. He is enthralled by the opportunity to help extend wellness across the globe by bringing the power of informatics to everyday users.

About the Panelists:

Chris FullerChris Fuller, PhD leads the informatics and software efforts at Caribou Biosciences and has a background managing diverse teams in developing instrumentation, medical devices, and microfluidic systems. He has held research and leadership positions in consulting, startup, and established company environments, including leading the development of the CellKey instrument for MDS Sciex from its inception through to product launch. Chris is an inventor of numerous patents and patent applications. He received his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of California, San Francisco.

Darren LevaDarren Leva is an entrepreneur and sales expert focusing on the intersection of biological data and software. Darren has worked in numerous commercial roles in biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies. As the Founder and CEO of a software company, IntroMaps, Darren built the company to profitability and later sold it. Currently, Darren is an Account Manager with Seven Bridges Genomics, where he focuses on building customer relationships, driving revenue and advancing precision medicine. Before his career, Darren attended Oregon State University, obtaining a BS in Microbiology and the Keck Graduate Institute for a Master of Bioscience degree. Darren is most known for his creative problem solving, authenticity, and no-nonsense style of management and execution. He is passionate about the intersection of life science, software, patient outcomes and closing deals.

David KuraguntlaDavid Kuraguntla was preparing to begin a surgical residency when he was confronted with the need for the GraftWorx device. While researching a possible solution, he invented the GraftWorx technology and currently leads the company as Co-founder and CEO. GraftWorx is developing a series of “smart” devices to treat patients who need dialysis or suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Their sensor-enabled wearables and stents can connect to smartphones and alert surgeons before a problem becomes clinically evident. These alerts then benefit the patient, payer, and provider by avoiding costly, debilitating outcomes. Leveraging their technology and proprietary cloud software to change lives, GraftWorx is turning the Internet of Things into the Internet of the Body.

David attended West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on a Health Professions Scholarship from the United States Air Force. In addition, he worked at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where he developed a novel live-cell confocal microscopy technique to study the dopamine transporter function, kinase pathways, and drug interactions. As a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, David performed physical organic synthesis on propellane and its derivatives.

Brian WilfleyBrian Wilfley, PhD has 30 years of experience leading development efforts for medical device and instrumentation companies. He has held senior scientific and managerial positions with Resonex, Inc., Park Scientific, Inc., Signature Bioscience, Inc., and NexRay, Inc. combining a broad theoretical background with a highly developed experimental sense, Brian has experience across the full range of challenges encountered in developing complex measurement-based products. His experience ranges from magnetism to x-rays, and includes a broad array of applications including biotech instrumentation, medical imaging, and optical inspection.

Brian is a co-inventor of eleven issued patents and has authored a number of technical papers. He received his AB in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD in Physics from the University of California at San Diego.

*Basic Local Alignment Search Tool

This DNA image by www.peccoud.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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