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Previous Tech Talks (2024)

February 22, 2024

"Failure Analysis and the Scientific Method"

  • Hosted by Evan Brown, Principal Engineer at Exponent

About the Tech Talk: Evan is a Principal Engineer consultant at Exponent, having worked there for 12 years since graduating with his Ph.D. in Materials Science from Caltech. His areas of expertise include Consumer Electronics failure analysis, typically used in support of product development. This Thursday, join Dr. Evan Brown in a discussion about how his training in the scientific method at Caltech has informed his approach to consulting in high technology industries. Even the most complex products benefit from a back-to-basics approach in technical problem solving. 

February 15, 2024

Next Generation Drug Discovery: Proximity-Based Therapeutics"

  • Hosted by Ryan Potts, Scientific Vice President and Head of the Induced Proximity Platform at Amgen, Inc.

About the Tech Talk: Ryan Potts obtained his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from UT Southwestern in 2007. In 2008 he was awarded the Sara and Frank McKnight junior faculty position at UT Southwestern Medical Center and appointed as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physiology, Pharmacology, and Biochemistry in 2011. In 2016 his lab moved to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital where he was an Associate Member in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. In 2020, he moved to Amgen as Executive Director of Research and Head of the Induced Proximity Platform that is focused on empowering multi-specific, induced proximity therapeutic modalities through bold, creative science to expand the druggable genome and reimaging the future of drug discovery. In 2021, he took over leadership of Amgen's Postdoctoral Fellows Program aimed at training the next generation of industry scientists. In recognition to his important contributions at Amgen, he was promoted to Scientific Vice President in 2023.

February 8, 2024

"BMS Science: Targeted Protein Degradation and Drugging the 'Un-Druggable'."

  • Hosted by Eric Welin, Senior Scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb

About the Tech Talk: Learn about Eric's journey through graduate school and his postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech in preparation of becoming a professor and research group leader. From there, he will be discussing his brief time as an assistant professor, before focusing on the work he does in the medicinal chemistry group at Bristol Myers Squibb in San Diego.

February 1, 2024

"Building Science Based Companies"

  • Hosted by Ajay Kshatriya, Partner at Wilson Hill Venture

About the Tech Talk: Mr Ajay Kshatriya's career mission is to build science-based companies. Currently, Ajay is a Partner at Wilson Hill Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, where he invests in science-based startups emerging from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In addition to leading the life science investments, he serves as the Executive Chairman of Barrier Biosciences, a biotech creating new category of medicines using AI and spatial biology, and as a Board Director of Tera AI, a software company activating superhuman reasoning from the complex physical world. Previously, Ajay founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Biota, the pioneer in environmental genomics, that was acquired by the industrial biotech leader, Novozymes (NZYM). In 8 years, Biota scaled the microbiome data platform from Professor Rob Knight to a genomics diagnostics business that created $400M in economic value and saved 1.2B gallons of water for 20+ industrial companies. Prior to founding Biota, Ajay was an associate in a $100M seed fund spun out from Mohr Davidow Ventures, XSeed Capital, that formed companies from science innovations emerging from Stanford and Berkeley. Ajay began his career at the world-leading biotechnology pioneer Genentech, where he held various positions in product operations, including two product core teams in early stage oncology. Ajay was an active member and leader within YPO, a global organization for CEOs. He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, an M.S. in engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas School of Business. Ajay resides in San Diego with his wife Krista and two children.

January 25, 2024

"Embracing Failure (and Confident Iteration) as a Startup"

  • Hosted by Aneesh Acharya, Chief Commercial Office at Molecular Instruments

About the Tech Talk: Molecular Instrument's Chief Commercial Officer, Aneesh Acharya, brings experience as a commercial lead in the health technology sector and management consultant in the life sciences sector. His technical background includes developing the technologies for HCR™ flow cytometry and HCR™ microRNA-FISH. Aneesh received a BS in Biomedical Engineering summa cum laude from Boston University and a PhD in Bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology.

January 18, 2024

"Unexpected Challenges in Biotech Startup R&D"

  • Hosted by Marie Rippen, CEO/COO, and Danielle Chan, Project Manager, at Lab Launch

About the Tech Talk: Marie Rippen is the CEO/COO of Lab Launch, a lab space and services provider for early stage biotech companies. She received her PhD in Genetics, Molecular, and Cell Biology from the University of Southern California and her B.S. from California State University, Long Beach. She was a recipient of the Catalyst Award in 2017. As a Project and Facilities Manager at Lab Launch, Danielle is a proactive professional with a background in biochemistry and biophysics, with 6 years in plasmid design engineering and optimization for TCR T-Cells in cancer research. Danielle's educational journey includes graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a prior stint at Bystroff Labs, where she focused on the design of GFP-based biosensors targeting Dengue. In her current capacity as Project Manager, she takes on the responsibility of overseeing a laboratory facility in Los Angeles, where she manages laboratory maintenance, project coordination, and incident response. In their Tech Talk, they will be addressing the idea that starting a biotech company comes with many difficulties. However, unexpected hurdles can stall a startup's progress the most. From the perspective of a biotech incubator, Marie Rippen and Danielle Chan will share some of the unexpected challenges they have seen companies face and overcome, sometimes to yield incredible success