Dr. Jack Gilbert
Founder, Principal Investigator
Dr. Jack Gilbert is a co-founder of BiomeSense and its principal investigator, bringing significant expertise in bioinformatics and data analysis. He is currently leading the team developing the startup’s analytics platform.
ln addition to his role at BiomeSense, Jack is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, where he leads one of only six labs in the world with robust tools for time-series microbiome data analysis.
Jack is a global leader in microbiome research, co-founding both the Earth Microbiome Project and American Gut Project. He has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on ecosystem ecology and is the founding editor-in-chief of mSystems, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.
Through the years, Jack has received numerous awards, most notably “50 Scientists Changing the World” (Business Insider). “Brilliant 10” (Popular Science), and “40 under 40” (Crain’s Chicago Business). Jack received his BSc from Kings College, University of London and his Ph.D. in Life and Environmental Science Food Microbiology from University of Nottingham/Unilever Colworth Laboratories.
Co-Founder & CEO
Kevin Honaker is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of BiomeSense, responsible for all aspects of company operations. Under his leadership, BiomeSense has grown from three co-founders and an idea to a funded company with a full team of engineers, paving the way for the first human trials of the biosensor and data platform in 2020.
Kevin is a skilled STEM commercialization leader with more than eight years’ experience in the health care space. Prior to joining BiomeSense, Kevin provided strategic and operational leadership as the Director of Operations for a seed-stage pharmacogenomics spinoff from the University of Chicago. He also served as the University’s first Tech Venture Fellow, evaluating early-stage life science technologies to find those most promising for funding. Kevin holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth.
Vice President of Engineering
Dylan Nichols leads product design and development at BiomeSense. He is an experienced biomedical engineer with over 7 years’ experience in product development encompassing a variety of disciplines, including microfluidics, medical devices, and the microbiome. Prior to joining BiomeSense, he helped support and launch Augmenix’s flagship implantable hydrogel product that saw them acquired by Boston Scientific in 2018. He also supported the development of a novel microfluidic point-of-care blood analyzer at Mass General Hospital. Dylan earned his MS from Illinois Tech and his BS in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University.
Dr. Rob Knight
Rob Knight, Ph.D., is a recognized global leader in microbiome research and a dynamic force behind several significant research initiatives. The Knight lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science. This includes the QIIME pipeline, an open-source bioinformatics and data analysis program that has been used by thousands of microbiome studies.
Rob, along with BiomeSense co-founder Jack Gilbert, also helped co-found the American Gut Project, one of the world’s largest crowdfunded and crowdsourced scientific research projects exploring links between the human gut and diet, health, lifestyle, exercise, and more.
Beyond these projects, Rob has authored or co-authored numerous articles, given a TED Talk viewed by almost 2 million people, and published multiple books to translate the science of the microbiome to a broad audience. Last fall, he received the NIH’s prestigious Pioneer Award to support his research into developing new approaches to enhance healthy microbiomes.
Dr. Charles Chiu
Co-Founder & CEO
Charles Chiu, MD, Ph.D., is a pioneer in using metagenomic analysis for diagnostic and clinical research. An infectious disease physician and microbiologist, he leads a translational research laboratory that has successfully identified and characterized emerging viral pathogens. Charles and his lab have also led the way in discovering new approaches to applying bioinformatics and genomic technologies for clinical and public health applications.
Charles currently leads the Precision Diagnosis of Acute Infectious Diseases study. Its goal is to make metagenomic next-generation sequencing for pathogen detection clinically available for the first time. Charles has been interviewed by several media outlets regarding the coronavirus, including a recent article for Time magazine.
Dr. Savas Tay
Dr. Savas Tay is a co-founder of BiomeSense where he supports product development. Savas is a systems biologist and bioengineer, and an expert in both microfluidic engineering and imaging. An accomplished researcher, Savas has had more than 40 papers published in such journals as Nature, Cell, and PNAS. He received the top European Union award for early-stage investigators, the ERC Starting Grant, in 2013 (1.5 million Euro). Savas is an Associate Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and holds a PhD in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona.
Lead Microfluidic Engineer
Dr. Navid Ghorashian is the lead microfluidic engineer at BiomeSense. He is an experienced researcher and engineer with a multidisciplinary background spanning neurobiology, stem cell biology, cancer, and microfluidic engineering. Navid’s experience prior to coming to BiomeSense includes developing microfluidic tools to study cancer cells, laser-guided automated screening platforms for neurobiology, and large-scale microfluidic screening platforms to understand complex stem cell signaling pathways. He has published 10 peer-reviewed publications and filed three patents during his career. Navid received his MSE and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.
Thao Dang is a bioengineer at BiomeSense, bringing more than three years’ experience using microfluidic devices to understand the human gut microbiome. Her previous work includes investigating how the gut microbiome influences the progression of neurological diseases by developing microfluidic platforms to study the gut-brain axis and how the microbiome influences drug metabolism. At BiomeSense, Thao uses her expertise to support all aspects of biosensor development. Thao holds a MAS degree in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Nikhil Boddu is the Mechatronics engineer at BiomeSense, providing expertise in electrical control system engineering. At BiomeSense, Nikhil uses his skills to provide support for the mechanical design and help develop required automation needs for the system. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo.