About Us

Novel therapeutics for complex diseases

Octant is scaling drug discovery to navigate the complexity of human disease

What we do

Octant is a therapeutics company building drugs that match the complexity of human diseases.

We are building drugs with novel mechanisms of actions guided by massive datasets in engineered human cells that unlock insights between genetics, chemistry, biochemical function, and disease phenotypes. Our platform uses synthetic biology, high throughput multiplexed assays, synthetic chemistry, and computation to engineer and interrogate drugs, proteins, and signaling pathways at unprecedented scales.

Our Story

Setting a course for a new type of biotech

Despite the proliferation of genomic data, clinical data, and new biological technologies, many of the most pressing diseases in society are proving intractable with the current approaches. In many disease areas, we have more information than we dreamed we’d ever had, and we still have no idea where to start-- what exactly to drug in the first place? Some conditions present as one disease, when they’re actually a multitude of different diseases. In many diseases, we know a particular gene is involved in the disease, but have no idea which molecular mechanism will “fix” it.

Octant envisions a new approach to tackle these problems. We believe that recent advances in synthetic biology enable a new type of biotechnology. For example, we can today engineer cells to compute biological information at far greater accuracy and throughput than computational simulation. We set out on a journey to map the biochemical mechanisms that link genetics and chemical features to the disease. Because, ultimately, it’s the biochemical mechanisms that we drug.

Since then, we’ve been busy building a different type of company- of and by technologists- for patients.

We focus on complex but genetically validated diseases that society is falling behind on. We’ve set out to tackle very hard problems in multi-factorial diseases. Because if we don’t do it, who will?

Mission and Values

Next generation approaches to target complex diseases

We're a therapeutics company integrating and scaling new technologies.

We’re building an antedisciplinary movement to chart new approaches to drug discovery. Whether you’re a scientist, an engineer, or in operations, we’re working together to build a new type of company. It’s a challenging but fun journey.

We work on seriously hard problems. We have fun doing it.

We’re hacking the most complicated systems on the planet. It’s hard. We keep our sense of humor about it (if there’s a way to make something a company competition, lookout).

We use unconventional approaches to tackle challenges others aren’t tackling. If we won’t do it, who will?

From gene sequencing, to synthesis, to editing, to automation, to compute, society is equipped with technologies we couldn’t have dreamed of ten years ago. Why do what everybody else is doing when there’s so much more to be done?

Innovators at heart, we support each other to be bold and take risks.

We’re mixing and remixing technologies to decode and target disease. We’re straight with each other, kind to each other, and stretching each other towards the next breakthrough.

We’re on a mission to chart a new type of drug discovery. Join us.

These are early days of the next age of drug discovery. Come invent the future with us.

Board of directors

Sri Kosuri

Cofounder & CEO

Sri is a biologist that has helped build technologies, labs, and companies in synthetic biology, functional genomics, and bioinformatics over the last 20 years. He is passionate about developing more rational ways to understand and engineer biology.

Sri is a co-founder at Octant and an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, where his lab has worked on building large-scale ways of empirically exploring questions in protein biochemistry, human genetic variation, gene regulation, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and functional genomics.

Sri previously worked at the Wyss Institute and Harvard, where he built numerous technologies in gene synthesis, DNA information storage, gene editing, and large-scale multiplexed assays. He helped build Gen9, a gene synthesis company, as a member of the SAB and was the first employee of Joule Unlimited, an engineered algal biofuel company. He is a Searle Scholar (2015), NIH New Innovator (2014), and received his ScD in Biological Engineering at MIT and BS in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley.

Sri is originally from New Jersey, by way of Philadelphia and Kansas, and was born in North Carolina. He enjoys eating, getting outdoors, and traveling with his wife and two children.

More papers…

Sri Kosuri

Cofounder & CEO

Ramsey Homsany

(he/him)
Cofounder & President

Ramsey has spent his career building high-performance teams and technology companies. Before Octant, he was an executive at Dropbox, where he had roles leading Dropbox's communications, public policy & government affairs, human resources, legal, and trust & security teams. During that time Dropbox raised $1+ billion in capital, grew to more than 500 million users, and was the fastest SAAS company in history to reach $1 billion in revenue run rate. Prior to Dropbox, Ramsey was a Vice President at Google, where he managed Google's commercial legal groups and negotiated some of the internet industry's largest partnerships.    

Before that, Ramsey was a technology attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also done pro bono work representing indigent clients seeking political asylum. Ramsey received a B.S. in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University and a J.D. from NYU.

Ramsey is a Board member at the Rutgers College of Engineering, and Represent.us, a grassroots political reform organization.

Ramsey grew up in Athens, Greece and Sparta, NJ. He enjoys hiking, camping, cooking over fire, punk music, and wandering through neighborhood art galleries.

Ramsey Homsany

Cofounder & President

Jason Kelly

CEO — Ginkgo Bioworks

Dr. Jason Kelly is the co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, the leading horizontal platform for cell programming. Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo is a synthetic biology company that enables customers across industries to program cells as easily as we can program computers. Ginkgo supports the development of applications ranging from vaccine manufacturing and new pharmaceutical modalities to fragrances, sustainable dyes, and biosynthetic cannabinoids, as well as pandemic response and biosecurity tools including K12 pooled testing for COVID-19. Ginkgo is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker $DNA. Prior to Ginkgo, Jason received B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology and a PhD in Biological Engineering all from MIT.

Jason Kelly

CEO — Ginkgo Bioworks

Jorge Conde

General Partner — a16z

Jorge Conde is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz where he leads investments at the cross section of biology, computer science and engineering.

Prior to joining a16z, Jorge served as Chief Strategy Officer for Syros (NASDAQ: SYRS), which is advancing a new wave of medicines that control expression of disease-driving genes to treat cancer and other diseases. He previously served as the company's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Product Officer, leading the platform strategy for Syros' novel gene regulation technology. Jorge also cofounded Knome, a human genome interpretation company acquired by Tute Genomics in 2015. Earlier in his career, Jorge worked in marketing and operations at MedImmune and as a biotechnology investment banker at Morgan Stanley.

Jorge holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MS from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and a BA in Biology from Johns Hopkins University.

Jorge was named one of the top 35 young innovators in the world by the MIT Technology Review and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He previously served on the board of the Museum of Science, Boston.

Jorge serves on the board of the following Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies: Asimov, Camp4, EQRx, Komodo Health, Octant Bio, Tmunity, and twoXAR.

Jorge Conde

General Partner — a16z

Mark Murcko

Founder and Board Member, Relay Therapeutics & Founding CSO and Board Member, Dewpoint Therapeutics

Mark Murcko was an early leader in structure-based drug design and has directly contributed to nine marketed drugs spanning HIV, HCV, cystic fibrosis, and glaucoma. He is a Founder, Board member, and was the interim CSO at Relay Therapeutics. More recently he was the founding CSO and remains a board member and advisor to Dewpoint Therapeutics.  In addition, Mark is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, and has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and corporate boards of directors for a diverse range of organizations.  Mark was chief technology officer and chair of the SAB of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and was responsible for the identification, validation and implementation of disruptive technologies across R&D. Mark is a co-inventor of the HCV protease inhibitor Incivek (telaprevir), as well as Agenerase (amprenavir) and Lexiva (fosamprenavir), Vertex’s two marketed drugs for the treatment of HIV. In addition, he guided the early efforts of Vertex’s cystic fibrosis program that has produced four marketed drugs.

Prior to Vertex, Mark worked at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, where he helped discover multiple clinical candidates, including Dorzolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor for the treatment of glaucoma which was commercialized in two approved drugs, Trusopt and Cosopt.  Trusopt was the first medicine in history to come from a structure-based drug design program.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the GRC and the Board of Advisors of the Boston Museum of Science.  He is a co-inventor on more than 50 issued patents and has co-authored more than 85 scientific articles. Mark holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University.



Mark Murcko

Founder and Board Member, Relay Therapeutics & Founding CSO and Board Member, Dewpoint Therapeutics

Our team of Octonauts

We're a group of scientists and builders driven to find new therapeutics for complex diseases.

Alan Su

Alan is research associate focused on furthering Octant’s deep mutational scanning capabilities.

Alan obtained his B.S. from Duke University where he double-majored in Biophysics and Quantitative Economics. At Duke, he worked in Charlie Gersbach’s lab harnessing CRISPR-Cas9-based epigenetic editors to study force-modulated transcriptional regulation mechanisms directing how cells respond to distinct mechanical niches within the body. For his undergraduate thesis, he developed fluorescent reporter systems to measure enhancer activity within single cells using high-resolution microscopy and flow cytometry.

Alan grew up in Shanghai, China and Detroit, MI. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with friends, playing soccer, eating great food, and watching Arrested Development.

Alan Su

Albert Kim

Albert utilizes different automation technologies to ensure quality data generation from many of Octant’s scientific processes. This includes integrating specific assays onto automation, onboarding tools for efficient execution, and supporting an environment for seamless research operations.

Albert has had several different experiences at different biotechs after graduating with his B.S. in Biochemistry and Philosophy from Wisconsin-Madison. He started off as an Associate Scientist at Abbott Laboratories but moved to California where he was a part of Transcriptic (now Strateos) and most recently insitro.

In his free time, Albert enjoys watching the NBA and trying out different banana bread recipes.

Albert Kim

Bryan Jiang

Bryan joined Octant as a Research Associate and will assist in running and optimizing Octant's technology. He recently received his B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics from UCLA. There, he took part in a virology lab where he focused on characterizing genetic and genomic relationships between bacteriophages infecting separate host genera.

In his free time Bryan enjoys trying new foods, learning about languages, hiking, and programming.

Bryan Jiang

Carter Barger

Carter is a molecular biologist with a background in molecular diagnostics, assay development, and genetic engineering of mammalian cells. 

He received his M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from Rush University Medical Center and completed his clinical training at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is an ASCP certified molecular biologist and worked as a clinical laboratory scientist in molecular diagnostics at the University of Illinois Medical Center and the Denver VA Medical Center. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center then completed his postdoctoral training at UCSF. He worked as a scientist at Guardant Health before joining Octant in 2021.

Outside of the lab, Carter enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and dog.  

Papers

FOXM1: A Multifunctional Oncoprotein and Emerging Therapeutic Target in Ovarian Cancer.

Liu C, Barger CJ, Karpf AR. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jun 19;13(12):3065. 

Co-regulation and function of FOXM1/RHNO1 bidirectional genes in cancer. Barger CJ, Chee L, Albahrani M, Munoz-Trujillo C, Boghean L, Branick C, Odunsi K, Drapkin R, Zou L, Karpf AR. Elife. 2021 Apr 23;10:e55070. 

Pan-Cancer Analyses Reveal Genomic Features of FOXM1 Overexpression in Cancer. Barger CJ, Branick C, Chee L, Karpf AR. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Feb 21;11(2):251.

Genetic determinants of FOXM1 overexpression in epithelial ovarian cancer and functional contribution to cell cycle progression. Barger CJ, Zhang W, Hillman J, Stablewski AB, Higgins MJ, Vanderhyden BC, Odunsi K, Karpf AR. Oncotarget. 2015 Sep 29;6(29):27613-27. 

Extended list of papers

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gHskM6sAAAAJ&hl=en

Carter Barger

Conor Howard

Conor is a protein biochemist and molecular biologist by training. He is currently employing Octant's multiplex capabilities toward the optimizing and scaling of our Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) approach, with the goal of harnessing this technology as a tool for rational genetics- and structure-driven drug design.

Conor received his PhD from the University of California, San Francisco in the lab of Adam Frost. There he worked on the biochemical and structural determinants of Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC). Prior to this he did his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, where he worked under Liam Holt studying the evolutionary plasticity of kinase specificity and poly-glutamine repeat expansions in yeast. Before graduate school Conor also spent some time at the University of Copenhagen in Rune Linding's lab studying the proteomic effects of cancer therapies. Conor thrives working at the intersection of many disciplines and is fascinated with how biology emerged in the universe. He believes mechanistic dissection of molecules in the context of mutational plasticity can help tackle some of the most complex problems in biology and disease.

Outside of work you'll find Conor traveling, skiing, scouting new breweries, playing tennis, experimenting with hot sauce recipes, and exploring unusual agave spirits.

Papers

Ribosome-associated quality control and CAT tailing. Howard CJ, Frost A (2021). Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Phosphoregulation of phase separation by the SARS-CoV-2 N Protein suggests a biophysical basis for its dual functions. Carlson CR*, Asfaha JB*, Ghent CM*, Howard CJ, Hartooni N, Safari M, Frankel AD, Morgan DO (2020). Molecular Cell.

Rapid deployment of SARS-CoV-2 testing: The CLIAHUB. Crawford ED, et al. (2020). PLoS Pathogens.

Vms1p is a release factor for the Ribosome-associated Quality control Complex. Rendon OZ*, Fredrickson EK*, Howard CJ*, Vranken JV, Fogarty S, Tolley ND, Kalia R, Osuna BA, Shen PS, Hill CP, Frost A, Rutter J (2018). Nature Communications.

Intrinsic cooperativity potentiates parallel cis-regulatory evolution. Sorrells TR, Johnson AN, Howard CJ, Britton CS, Fowler KR, Feigerle, JT, Weil PA, Johnson AD (2018). eLife.

CDKL family kinases have evolved distinct structural features and ciliary function. Canning P, Park K, Goncalves J, Li C, Howard CJ, Sharpe TD, Holt LJ, Pelletier L, Bullock AN, Leroux MR (2018). Cell Reports.

In vitro analysis of RQC activities provides insights into the mechanism and function of CAT tailing. Osuna BA, Howard CJ, Subheksha KC, Frost AS, Weinberg DE (2017). eLife.

Ancestral resurrection reveals evolutionary mechanisms of kinase plasticity. Howard CJ*, Hanson-Smith V*, Kennedy KJ, Miller CJ, Lou HJ, Johnson AD, Turk BE, Holt LJ (2014). eLife.

Conor Howard

Curt Fischer

Curt is a chemical engineer with a background in analytical biochemistry and metabolic engineering.  He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at MIT, completed post-doctoral studies at UC Berkeley, and was an early employee at Ginkgo Bioworks for several years.  After returning to the west coast in 2014, he led Stanford ChEM-H's Metabolic Chemistry Analysis Center, before joining Octant in 2020.  

After hours you will find hanging out with this family, at home. After the pandemic ends, troubles will melt like lemon drops and sometimes Curt might get high above the chimney tops, or at least farther away from his house.

Papers

Fischer, C. R., Peterson, A. A., & Tester, J. W. (2011). Production of C3 hydrocarbons from biomass via hydrothermal carboxylate reforming. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 50(8), 4420-4424.

Nett, R. S., Guan, X., Smith, K., Faust, A. M., Sattely, E. S., & Fischer, C. R. (2018). D2O Labeling to measure active biosynthesis of natural products in medicinal plants. AIChE journal, 64(12), 4319-4330.

Gittens, A., Kottalam, J., Yang, J., Ringenburg, M.F., Chhugani, J., Racah, E., Singh, M., Yao, Y., Fischer, C., Ruebel, O. and Bowen, B., 2016, May. A multi-platform evaluation of the randomized CX low-rank matrix factorization in Spark. In 2016 IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium Workshops (IPDPSW) (pp. 1403-1412). IEEE.

Curt Fischer

Diane Dickel


Diane is a genomicist who leads Octant’s Deep Mutational Scanning team.  She is passionate about elucidating the genetic contributors to human disease and harnessing this information to improve treatments.

Diane was previously a Staff Scientist (Principal Investigator) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she co-led a research group that used genomics technologies and in vivo genome engineering in mice to understand the functions of noncoding DNA sequences in development, disease, and evolution.  She received her PhD in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington, where she was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship, and her BA in Biology from the University of Chicago.  She has co-authored 50+ publications/preprints to date on mammalian gene expression regulation, human genetics, genomics technologies, and plant biology.

Diane is an avid reader who enjoys hiking, bicycling, and playing board games with her family.

Diane Dickel

Dominic Ky

Dom is a platform runner at Octant’s Multiplexed Assay Platform team. His experience in Biotechnology stems from a variety of local companies and organizations including Bayer, Zymergen, Biotech Partners, and Laney’s Biomanufacturing Program. He is especially passionate about developing new systems to improve workflows and processes.  

Dom formerly worked as a college counselor at the YMCA Teen Center where he supported hundreds of students with applying and enrolling into higher education. He hopes to further diversify the STEM world by fostering opportunities geared towards underrepresented youth.

Outside of the lab, Dom enjoys long walks, catching the sunset, and adventuring with friends.

Dominic Ky

Dora Barbosa

Dora is a molecular and cell biologist who uses Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) technology to study rare diseases with the goal of improving patient lives.Dora received her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley (GO BEARS!) where she fell in love with pathology. Most recently, Dora managed the Bivona Lab at the University of California, San Francisco, where she utilized patient biopsies to establish 3D lung cancer organoids to study tumor evolution and treatment resistance.

When Dora is not deep in tissue culture or looking at her cells under a microscope, she likes taking her puppy on adventures. Pote is a silly 1.5yro labradoodle who happily takes up most of her free time. Dora also enjoys attending sporting events and may be slightly obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

Dora Barbosa Rabago1,2,3, Collin M. Blakely1,2, Franziska Haderk1,2,3, Trever G. Bivona1,2,3. Profiling Sensitivity to Targeted Therapies in EGFR-Mutant NSCLC Patient-Derived Organoids

Dora Barbosa

Drake West

Drake is a Research Associate at Octant.

Prior to Octant, Drake established a laboratory program and served as lab manager at Alibi Ale Works, Lake Tahoe. He also interned at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, where he investigated different drugs candidates for difficult-to-treat melanomas.

Drake received his B.S. in Biomedical Microbiology and Biology from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. There, he established four different research projects, including bioelectromagnetism via magnetotactic bacteria and acetaminophen metabolite toxicity in aquatic systems.

In his free time, Drake enjoys playing outside, writing music, and trying new things!

Papers

Mukherjee, N., Skees, J., Todd, K.J. et al. MCL1 inhibitors S63845/MIK665 plus Navitoclax synergistically kill difficult-to-treat melanoma cells. Cell Death Dis 11, 443 (2020).

Drake West

Eric Jones

(he/him)

Eric is a molecular biologist with a background in synthetic biology and functional genomics. He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at UCLA in the lab of Sriram Kosuri. His graduate work focused on constructing a massively parallel reporter assay for mapping olfactory receptor-odorant interactions and performing a deep mutational scan of the Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptor. Outside of the lab you can find him playing basketball, sailing, or going to shows.

Papers

J. S. Bloom, L. Sathe, C. Munugala, E. M. Jones, M. Gasperini, N. B. Lubock, F. Yarza, E. M. Thompson, K. M. Kovary, J. Park, D. Marquette, S. Kay, M. Lucas, T. Love, A. Sina Booeshaghi, O. F. Brandenberg, L. Guo, J. Boocock, M. Hochman, S. W. Simpkins, I. Lin, N. LaPierre, D. Hong, Y. Zhang, G. Oland, B. J. Choe, S. Chandrasekaran, E. E. Hilt, M. J. Butte, R. Damoiseaux, C. Kravit, A. R. Cooper, Y. Yin, L. Pachter, O. B. Garner, J. Flint, E. Eskin, C. Luo, S. Kosuri, L. Kruglyak, V. A. Arboleda, Massively scaled-up testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA via next-generation sequencing of pooled and barcoded nasal and saliva samples. Nat Biomed Eng. 5, 657–665 (2021).

E. M. Jones*, R. Jajoo*, D. Cancilla, N. B. Lubock, J. Wang, M. Satyadi, R. Cheung, C. de March, J. S. Bloom, H. Matsunami, S. Kosuri, A Scalable, Multiplexed Assay for Decoding GPCR-Ligand Interactions with RNA Sequencing. Cell Syst. 8, 254-260.e6 (2019).

Jones EM*, Lubock NB*, Venkatakrishnan AJ, Wang J, Tseng AM, Paggi JM, Latorraca NR, Cancilla D, Satyadi M, Davis JE, Babu MM, Dror RO, Kosuri S. 2020. Structural and functional characterization of G protein–coupled receptors with deep mutational scanning. Elife 9:e54895.

Joshua S. Bloom, Eric M. Jones, Molly Gasperini, Nathan B. Lubock, Laila Sathe, Chetan Munugala, A. Sina Booeshaghi, et al. 2020. “Swab-Seq: A High-Throughput Platform for Massively Scaled up SARS-CoV-2 Testing.” medRxiv.

Jessica E. Davis, Kimberly D. Insigne, Eric M. Jones, Quinn A. Hastings, W. Clifford Boldridge, and Sriram Kosuri. 2020. “Dissection of c-AMP Response Element Architecture by Using Genomic and Episomal Massively Parallel Reporter Assays.” Cell Systems 11 (1): 75–85.

R. Cheung, K. D. Insigne, D. Yao, C. P. Burghard, J. Wang, Y.-H. E. Hsiao, E. M. Jones, D. B. Goodman, X. Xiao, S. Kosuri, A Multiplexed Assay for Exon Recognition Reveals that an Unappreciated Fraction of Rare Genetic Variants Cause Large-Effect Splicing Disruptions. Mol. Cell. 73, 183-194.e8 (2019).

Structure-based design of functional amyloid materials. Li D, Jones EM, Sawaya MR, Furukawa H, Luo F, Ivanova M, Sievers SA, Wang W, Yaghi OM, Liu C, Eisenberg DS. J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Dec 31;136(52):18044-51. doi: 10.1021/ja509648u. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


Eric Jones

Erin Thompson

(she/her)

Erin is a protein biochemist/biophysicist with a background in developing high-throughput screening platforms.

Before joining Octant, she completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry & Chemical Biology at UCSF in Jaime Fraser’s lab. Her thesis work broadly focused on the functional characterization of enzyme conformational states using deep mutational scanning, in vitro kinetics, and structural techniques.

Outside of the lab, Erin loves to get outside to bike, run, hike, and backpack.

Papers

Swab-Seq: A high-throughput platform for massively scaled up SARS-CoV-2 testing. Joshua S. Bloom Eric M. Jones, Molly Gasperini, Nathan B. Lubock, Fauna Yarza, Erin M. Thompson, Kyle M. Kovary, Jimin Park, Myles Hochman,. medrxiv. 2020.

Erin Thompson

Gabrielle Bostwick

Gabrielle manages the lab and facilities at Octant. She got her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Florida, researching the molecular basis of learning, memory, and behavior in Octopus neural circuits. 

Gabrielle’s lab management experience comes from building molecular biology labs on boats ranging from small personal sailboats to mega-yachts, to cargo ships. She has always enjoyed facilitating and conducting innovative research at the cutting-edge of new frontiers, so Octant is a natural fit for her.

Outside of the lab, Gabrielle enjoys hiking and cooking with her family. She also enjoys volunteering as a scientific advisor for the Ocean Genome Atlas Project nonprofit organization. 

Publications

Winters, G. C., Polese, G., Di Cosmo, A., & Moroz, L. L. (2020). Mapping of neuropeptide Y expression in Octopus brains. Journal of morphology, 281(7), 790–801.

Yoshida, M. A., Ogura, A., Ikeo, K., Shigeno, S., Moritaki, T., Winters, G. C., Kohn, A. B., & Moroz, L. L. (2015). Molecular Evidence for Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution of Complex Brains of Cephalopod Molluscs: Insights from Visual Systems. Int

Gabrielle Bostwick

Galen Loving

Galen is an organic chemist who designs high-throughput robotic chemistry pipelines. He earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at MIT, completed post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He worked as a chemist at Stemcentrx and at Carmot Therapeutics, before joining Octant in 2020.

In his free time he enjoys sailing and going for bike rides with his kids.

Papers

Activation and Retention: MR Probe for Detection of Acute Thrombosis. Loving GS, Caravan P (2014) Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 53 (4), pp 1140-1143

Redox-Activated Manganese-Based MR Contrast Agent. Loving GS, Mukherjee S, Caravan P (2013) J Am Chem Soc. 135 (12), pp 4620-4623.

Monitoring protein interactions and dynamics with solvatochromic fluorophores. Loving GS, Sainlos M, Imperiali B (2010) Trends in Biotechnology 28 (2) pp 73-83.

Galen Loving

Helen Song

Helen is a member of the SynBio Apprentice Fall '21 cohort.

Prior to joining Octant, Helen obtained her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Johns Hopkins University. She conducted research as an undergraduate in Dr. Thomas Lloyd’s lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she explored the role of the autophagy pathway in the pathogenesis of familial ALS.

In her spare time, Helen enjoys playing video games, embroidering silly designs, and exploring the great outdoors.

Helen Song

Henry Chan

Henry is a structural and molecular biologist. As a scientist, Henry develops technologies to enable the rapid development of synthetic biology tools at Octant.

Henry received his PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA, where he studied the molecular architecture and structure of the telomerase enzyme. Prior to graduate school, he was the 2nd hire at Inhibrx, where he helped start the lab and develop antibodies and antibody generation techniques.

Henry received his B.S. and M.S. at UCSD in molecular biology where he did research in protein engineering and evolution, and bioinformatics. Outside of work his hobbies include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, sailing, and rock climbing.

Papers

Structure of Tetrahymena telomerase reveals previously unknown subunits, functions, and interactions. Jiang J, Chan H, Cash DD, Miracco EJ, Loo RRO, ...Feigon J. Science. 2015. (6260).

Progress in Human and Tetrahymena Telomerase Structure Determination. Chan H, Wang Y, Feigon J, Ann Rev. of Biophysics. 2017. 46, 199-225.

The p-type ATPase superfamily. Chan H, Babayan V, Blyumin E, Gandhi C, ...Saier M.H., Jou. Mol. Micro. Bio. 2010 19(1-2), 5-104.

More…

Henry Chan

Idriss Njike

Idriss is a seeker of truth, solutions, joy, peace, and forever happiness on the ops team. Born and raised in Douala, Cameroon, he transitioned to the U.S to pursue his education. From the year round tropical sun of Cameroon, he first landed in the frigid arctic temperatures of Minnesota where he graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with a Bachelor's in Business Administration and Marketing. Longing for more gelid temperatures, he moved to Syracuse University where he completed a Master of Science in Finance. His hobbies are working out, adventurous road trips and he hates long walks on the beach.

Idriss Njike

Jakob Madsen

Jakob is an intern in the compute group wrangling Deep Mutational Scanning data.Once he hands in his thesis, Jakob will graduate with an MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of Copenhagen. Previously, he has charted the mutational seas of glucagon, its receptor, the melanocortin 4 receptor, and their role in obesity in thousands of British people.

When not in front of his laptop, Jakob plans to experience all the things he cannot do in Denmark: redwoods, Costco, and sea otters.

Papers:

Lindquist, P., Madsen, J. S., Bräuner-Osborne, H., Rosenkilde, M. M., & Hauser, A. S. (2021). Mutational Landscape of the Proglucagon-Derived Peptides. Frontiers in endocrinology, 12, 698511. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2021.698511van der Velden, W., Lindquist, P., Madsen, J. S., Stassen, R., Wewer Albrechtsen, N. J., Holst, J. J., Hauser, A. S., & Rosenkilde, M. M. (2021). Molecular and in vivo phenotyping of missense variants of the human glucagon receptor. The Journal of biological chemistry, 101413. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101413

Jakob Madsen

Janet Kim

Janet is an Executive Assistant (EA). Prior to Octant, she was an EA at Dropbox for 7 years supporting over 40+ managers, VPs, and C-level executives, including the CEO & COO, during this time. She also has extensive experience in hospitality and restaurant management, as well as event planning, dating as far back as 2002.

Janet is originally from Los Angeles. She enjoys crossing things off a to-do list, making things look pretty, and catching Pokémon (on Pokémon Go) with her two kids.

Janet Kim

Jeff Tang

Jeff has a background in biophysics and cell biology and has worked in areas related to microscopy and sequencing. At Octant he’s helping to further push the performance and scale of the company’s core platform technology. Jeff received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley where he studied nucleocytoplasmic transport and then investigated how yeast respond to nutrient deprivation during a postdoc at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

Prior to joining Octant, he was a scientist at Zymergen.

Besides tackling exciting problems in biology, Jeff enjoys hiking and playing ultimate frisbee, and he’s also an instructor at the Berkeley Kendo Club.

Papers

β-Oxidation and autophagy are critical energy providers during acute glucose depletion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Weber CA, Sekar K, Tang JH, Warmer P, Sauer U, Weis K. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jun 2;117(22):12239-12248.

A glucose-starvation response regulates the diffusion of macromolecules. Joyner RP, Tang JH, Helenius J, Dultz E, Brune C, Holt LJ, Huet S, Müller DJ, Weis K. Elife. 2016 Mar 22;5:e09376.

Natively unfolded FG repeats stabilize the structure of the nuclear pore complex. Onischenko E, Tang JH, Andersen KR, Knockenhauer KE, Vallotton P, Derrer CP, Kralt A, Mugler CF, Chan LY, Schwartz TU, Weis K. Cell. 2017 Nov 2;171(4):904-917.

Importin-β modulates the permeability of the nuclear pore complex in a Ran-dependent manner. Lowe AR, Tang JH, Yassif J, Graf M, Huang WY, Groves JT, Weis K, Liphardt JT. Elife. 2015 Mar 6;4:e04052.

Scaffold nucleoporins Nup188 and Nup192 share structural and functional properties with nuclear transport receptors. Andersen KR, Onischenko E, Tang JH, Kumar P, Chen JZ, Ulrich A, Liphardt JT, Weis K, Schwartz TU. Elife. 2013 Jun 11;2:e00745.

Jeff Tang

Jennifer Fredlund

(she/her)

An enthusiastic experimentalist and leader, Jennifer joins Octant as a Scientist on the Synthetic Biology team.

Jennifer spent the past 5 years at Zymergen, where she had the opportunity to contribute both scientifically and as a team leader. She initially worked on developing high-throughput methods for genetic engineering of microbes using robotics. She then moved to the Automation team, where she led the Automation Applications team and was part of the core Automation leadership team. This work involved people management, building light but effective processes around cross-team communication, prioritizing work requests from all of the R&D and Ops lab departments across Zymergen, and creating tools for the team such as career ladders and team goals. Prior to Zymergen, Jennifer worked briefly at Molecular Devices, where she supported their high content imaging system (IXM). Jennifer did her postdoc work at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, in the lab of Jost Enninga, where she worked on better understanding host factors involved in Salmonella infection of the human gut. She did her PhD work at UCSD with Kit Pogliano, using imaging and biochemical techniques to study sporulation in Bacillus subtilis

In her free time, Jennifer is an avid rock climber. Her favorite places to climb are Red Rock, NV and Siurana, Spain, where she and her husband have spent many vacations. More recently, she has spent less time climbing and more time with her daughter, Hazel, who was born in May 2020 and is super fun to get to know as she can express more and more each day.

Jennifer Fredlund

Jessica Lao

Jessica is a geneticist and molecular biologist with a background in platform development and rare disease therapeutics. She earned her PhD in Genetics at UC Davis studying the molecular mechanism of DNA double-strand break repair in the lab of Neil Hunter. She then returned home to the Bay Area to undertake her postdoctoral study. At UCSF in David Toczyski’s lab, she studied how the DNA Damage Response surveillance machinery regulate cellular metabolism in response to DNA damage. Since then, she has worked on discovering and developing therapeutics for rare diseases across several drug modalities. From small molecule screening at Perlara to protein engineering for enzyme replacement therapies at Codexis and more recently developing nucleic acid therapeutics at Ultragenyx. She is excited to continue her passion for rare at Octant.

When she’s not in the lab, Jessica enjoys trying out new recipes, exploring new places, and spending time with her playful cat.

Jessica Lao

Jimin Park

(he/him)

Jimin is a synthetic and systems biologist with a background in developing high-throughput functional assays to explore bacterial gene regulation.

Prior to joining Octant, he finished his PhD in Systems biology at Columbia University with Harris Wang. His thesis work focused on mapping sequence function relationships of bacterial sigma factors using saturation mutagenesis and dissecting regulatory mechanisms of cis-regulatory sequences in high-throughput with promoter libraries.

Outside the lab he enjoys playing boardgames, finding new hobbies to fall into, eating and drinking.

Papers

Swab-Seq: A high-throughput platform for massively scaled up SARS-CoV-2 testing. Joshua S. Bloom Eric M. Jones, Molly Gasperini, Nathan B. Lubock, Fauna Yarza, Erin M. Thompson, Kyle M. Kovary, Jimin Park, Myles Hochman,. medrxiv. 2020.

Jimin Park

Johan Enquist

Johan has spent the last 7 years in biotech working with metabolic disease and weight loss. As an employee of Carmot Therapeutics Johan spearheaded the in vivo pharmacology effort, establishing all in vivo models necessary to push an in house project from inception to Phase 1 clinical trials.

Johan spent his early education getting an MSc in cell and molecular pharmacology at Lund University (1999), with a focus on intracellular movements of GPCRs. Johan followed up his MSc with a PhD from Lund University (2007) extending his studies from his undergraduate degree in GPCR pharmacology - exploring several families of GPCRs. During his postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF (2007-2013) Johan applied his findings from his MSc and PhD to animal models of addiction and tolerance, learning crucial methodology in physiological and behavioral readouts in rodent models, drug delivery and survival surgery techniques.

Along the way Johan has taught medical and biomedical students (lecture series), trained research students, technical staff and scientists, and managed technical staff and scientists in cross functional research teams in both academia and biotech.

Johan Enquist

Jonathan Asfaha

Jonathan is a biochemist and molecular biologist with a background in cell cycle regulation and biotherapeutic discovery. He is currently deploying Octant’s high-throughput and multiplex technologies to understand the pharmacology of the small molecules we discover. 

He received his BA from Berkeley in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF with David O. Morgan. His thesis focused on understanding how Cyclin-dependent kinases regulate transcription through multisite phosphorylation mechanisms. 

Outside of the lab, Jonathan enjoys cooking for friends and hunting for new bottles at local wineries and importers. 

Selected Publications

Asfaha JB, Örd M, Carlson CR, Faustova I, Loog M, Morgan DO. Multisite phosphorylation by Cdk1 initiates delayed negative feedback to control mitotic transcription. Curr Biol. 2021. 

Carlson CR*, Asfaha JB*, Ghent CM*, Howard CJ, Hartooni N, Safari M, Frankel AD, Morgan DO. Phosphoregulation of Phase Separation by the SARS-CoV-2 N Protein Suggests a Biophysical Basis for its Dual Functions. Mol Cell. 2020. *Equal Contribution

Rosen LE, Klebba JE, Asfaha JB, Ghent CM, Campbell MG, Cheng Y, Morgan DO. Cohesin cleavage by separase is enhanced by a substrate motif distinct from the cleavage site. Nat Commun. 2019

De La Rosa VY, Asfaha J, Fasullo M, Loguinov A, Li P, Moore LE, Rothman N, Nakamura J, Swenberg JA, Scelo G, Zhang L, Smith MT, Vulpe CD. High-Throughput Functional Genomics Identifies Modulators of TCE Metabolite Genotoxicity and Candidate Susceptibility Genes. Toxicol Sci. 2017 


Jonathan Asfaha

Jordan Gewing-Mullins

Jordan is a member of the SynBio Apprentice Fall '21 cohort. She will graduate with a B.A. in molecular biology from Scripps College May 2021.

As an undergraduate she worked in a protein engineering lab to create better luciferases for use in in vivo multicomponent bioluminescence imaging (BLI). She also worked on computational projects, like analyzing structures of unannotated small open reading frame (sm-ORF) encoded proteins en masse and using Rosetta to predict beneficial mutations to introduce into luciferases for BLI applications.

Outside of science her interests include environmentalism, stand-up comedy, and serenading her dog (to no avail) on the piano.

Jordan Gewing-Mullins

Josh Bloom

Josh is a geneticist and computational biologist. He is interested in understanding the genetic basis of complex traits. He develops technology and computational methods to better understand the relationship between genetic variation and trait variation in populations with a primary focus on yeast genetics. His recent work involves high-throughput variant engineering with CRISPR/Cas9 to identify causal genetic variants as well as the development of new experimental and computational methods to comprehensively identify the heritable genetic factors underlying gene expression differences and other complex traits in very large populations. After studying Neuroscience at UCLA as an undergraduate, Josh earned his PhD in Molecular Biology from Princeton with a certificate in quantitative and computational biology.

Papers

Genetics of trans-regulatory variation in gene expression. Albert FW*, Bloom JS*, Siegel J, Day L, Kruglyak L. eLife. 2018. 7:e35471.

Highly parallel genome variant engineering with CRISPR–Cas9. Sadhu MJ*, Bloom JS*, Day L, Siegel JJ, Kosuri S, Kruglyak L. Nature Genetics. 2018. 50(4):510-14.

Finding the sources of missing heritability in a yeast cross. Bloom JS*, Ehrenreich IM, Loo WT, Lite TLV, Kruglyak L. Nature. 2013. 494 (7436):234-39.

More

Josh Bloom

Justin Greene

Justin is a member of the SynBio Apprentice Fall '21 cohort. Prior to joining Octant, Justin attended Johns Hopkins University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During his undergraduate career, Justin worked in the Davis Lab in the Bloomberg School of Public Health where he explored the relationship between single-cell bacterial growth and stress in murine and microfluidic systems. Justin also founded Agara Bio, a student-led community wet-lab at Johns Hopkins University, and received the Emerging Leader Award for Undergraduates.

Outside of the lab, Justin enjoys playing the guitar and (more recently) getting absolutely pitted.

Justin Greene

Leon Chan

Leon is a molecular geneticist. He builds platforms to engineer biology and designs the sensors that read out the cellular response to the chemical world.

Leon did his post doctoral work in Karsten Weis's lab at UC Berkeley where he developed tools to measure the dynamics of the transcriptome and applied these tools to uncover the relationship between how proteins are made and how long the transcriptome persists in the cell. Prior to this, he did his doctoral work in Angelika Amon's lab at MIT where he elucidated how cells translate spatial information into chemical signals in the context of mitotic checkpoints. It was also at MIT where in Drew Endy's lab Leon helped to construct the first designed synthetic genome and organism.

Leon rock climbs, enjoys mixing up cocktails and wrangling his cats.

Papers

Non-invasive measurement of mRNA decay reveals translation initiation as the major determinant of mRNA stability. Chan LY, Mugler CF, Heinrich S, Vallotton P, Weis K. elife. 2018. 7;7.

Spindle position is coordinated with cell-cycle progression through establishment of mitotic exit-activating and -inhibitory zones. Chan LY, Amon A. Mol Cell. 2010, 13;39(3):444-54.

Refactoring bacteriophage T7. Chan LY, Kosuri S, Endy D. Mol Syst Biol. 2005. 1:2005.0018.

More…

Leon Chan

Lizvette Ayala-Valdez

Lizvette joined Octant as a Research Associate. She currently helps operate Octant’s sequencing pipeline. Lizvette received her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences from CSU Sacramento. There, she was part of a molecular ecology lab where she focused on looking at how changes in gene expression affect individual and population differentiation in marine organisms.

Prior to Octant, Lizvette worked as a Molecular Biology RA where she screened for genetic mutations in multiple cell lines using Next Generation Sequencing.

Outside of the lab, you can find Lizvette chilling with her 2 cats & 1 dog, traveling, or just taking a nap.

Lizvette Ayala-Valdez

Maris Kealoha Kamalu

Maris is a member of the SynBio Apprentice Fall '21 cohort.

A graduate of Pomona College, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology this past June. During her time as an undergraduate, Maris performed research through the UW Department of Genome Sciences in the lab of Samuel I. Miller where she studied the evolution of the Cystic Fibrosis gut microbiome and at the UCSD Center for AIDS Research in the lab of Davey Smith where her work focused on screening for drug resistance mutations in HIV sourced from different anatomical tissues.

When not in the lab, Maris enjoys playing the guitar, cooking, and going to the beach with friends.

Maris Kealoha Kamalu

Meghan Ginley Arthurs

She/Her

An energetic and motivated leader, Meghan Ginley Arthurs is a member of the Octant Operations team.

Meghan comes to Octant with a diverse background in business, government, public policy, and communications. She possess a keen understanding of strategic operations with entrepreneurial attitude. Most recently, Meghan served as the Operations Manager for Genentech Roche’s Global Product Development (PD) Informatics team. At Genentech Roche, she was responsible for the redesign and implementation of PD Informatics operating model and managed a $180M informatics portfolio. Prior to that, Meghan served as the Assistant Director for the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California (USC). There she oversaw operations, marketing and brand management, as well as external and donor relations.

Meghan holds a master’s degree from the USC Marshall School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Politics from the University of San Francisco.

In her free time, Meghan enjoys adventures anywhere near or on the ocean with her husband and dog, loves college and professional football, and dreams to someday be a balloon carrier in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Meghan Ginley Arthurs

Michael Davidson

Michael previously worked as a microbiologist in R&D for Roche Molecular Systems for 12 years. He worked on various assays, including the Cobas MPX & DPX system, as well as the HPV genotype test for women. He received a B.A. in Microbiology, with a minor in chemistry, at the University of Florida. Michael took a break from science to start his own food truck/catering business known as the GrilledCheezGuy in the Bay Area. His business lasted for 10 years and had two store locations & a brand that even made it on television! Now Michael has become a member of the Octant Operations team. Outside of the lab, Michael enjoys camping, fishing, being a foodie, and traveling the world.

Michael Davidson

Michelle Wong

(she/her)

Before joining Octant, Michelle advised the asset management industry as an attorney at a large global law firm and worked in sales, training and marketing at Johnson & Johnson.  She was shortlisted by Chambers in 2019 as a “Future Leader” for her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

In addition to her law degree from Northwestern, Michelle received her MBA from Drexel University and a B.S. in health studies from Georgetown University.  She serves on the regional alumni club boards for Georgetown University and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Michelle enjoys food and sailing in the San Francisco Bay and further afield.

Michelle Wong

Morgan MacKenzie

Morgan joined the team as an Octant Apprentice and is now a Research Associate on the SynBio team.

Morgan received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Santa Clara University. There she worked in a surface spectroscopy lab where she studied peptoid adsorption to lipid membranes for important implications in development of new antibacterial drugs. She also worked as an intern at ProNovus Bioscience, expressing and purifying a particular membrane protein transporter and characterizing its function.

In her free time Morgan enjoys reading, hitting the slopes in Tahoe, and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Morgan MacKenzie

Naomi Handly

(she/her)

Naomi is a quantitative cell biologist by training. At Octant she's had her fingers in a few different areas including recruiting, establishing the SBA program, building Octant HQ, demonstrating Octant's multiplexed platform technology, building cell engineering, and more.

Naomi received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego under Roy Wollman quantifying how cells communicate with one another to determine their position in relation to a wound. She's passionate about bringing science to the public through effective scientific communication and meaningful technological advances.

Outside of work you'll find Naomi spending time with her family and two dogs, hiking, running, and playing the piano.

Papers

Wound induced Ca2+ wave propagates through a simple Release and Diffusion mechanism. Mol. Biol. Cell. Handly LN, Wollman R. 2017. 28:1457-66.

Signal Transduction at the Single-Cell Level: Approaches to Study the Dynamic Nature of Signaling Networks. Handly LN, Yao J, Wollman R, J. Mol. Biol. 2016, 428: 3669-82.  

Paracrine communication maximizes cellular response fidelity in wound signaling. Handly LN; Pilko, A, Wollman R. eLife. 2015, 4:e09652.

Naomi Handly

Nate Lubock

Nathan Lubock is a computational biologist interested in deriving insights from large-scale experiments. Before joining Octant, he completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at UCLA under Sriram Kosuri. There he developed computational tools to understand and improve methods for multiplexed gene synthesis and GPCR-ligand interaction screens. In his free time, Nathan spends too much money on wine.

Papers

A systematic comparison of error correction enzymes by next-generation sequencing. Lubock NB, Zhang D, Sidore AM, Church GM, KosuriS . Nucleic acids research 45 (15), 9206-17.

Multiplexed gene synthesis in emulsions for exploring protein functional landscapes. Plesa C, Sidore AM, Lubock NB, Zhang D, Kosuri S. Science 359 (6373), 343-47.  

A Scalable, Multiplexed Assay for Decoding Receptor-Ligand Interactions. Jones EM, Jajoo R, Cancilla D, Lubock NB, Wang J, Satyadi M, Cheung R, March CD, Matsunami J, Kosuri S. bioRxiv, 358739.

Structural and functional characterization of G protein–coupled receptors with deep mutational scanning, EM Jones*, NB Lubock*, …, S Kosuri. eLife, 2020

A scalable, multiplexed assay for decoding GPCR-ligand interactions with RNA sequencing, EM Jones, R Jajoo, D Cancilla, NB Lubock, …, S Kosuri. Cell systems, 2020

Massively scaled-up testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA via next-generation sequencing of pooled and barcoded nasal and saliva samples, JS Bloom, L Sathe, C Munugala, EM Jones, M Gasperini, NB Lubock, …, VA Arboleda. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2021

More...

Nate Lubock

Nathan Abell

Nathan is a computational geneticist and a member of the Octant Compute team. He works on the design and statistical interpretation of multiplexed, high-throughput functional assays of human genetic variation. His other research interests include statistical human genetics, RNA-mediated post-transcriptional gene regulation and applied machine learning in molecular biology. He obtained his PhD in Genetics and MS in Statistics from Stanford University, and his BS in Molecular Biology and BA in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin. In a past life, he contributed to empirical studies in comparative constitutional design and participated in/coached high school debate for many years.

Nathan Abell

Nicholas Larus-Stone

Nicholas is a software engineer at Octant. He works on scaling Octant’s platform technologies and improving software best practices.

Nicholas’ undergraduate thesis under Margo Seltzer and Cynthia Rudin focused on scaling interpretable machine learning methods. His Master’s work under Pietro Lio and Jim Haseloff involved building metabolic models of cell-free systems. More recently, Nicholas spent a few years working at BenevolentAI as a software engineer focused on target identification and machine learning infrastructure.

Nicholas enjoys running, hiking, playing squash, reading, cooking, and, most importantly, eating.

Papers and Links

Elaine Angelino, Nicholas Larus-Stone, Daniel Alabi, Margo Seltzer, and Cynthia Rudin. Learning Certifiably Optimal Rule Lists for Categorical Data. JMLR, 2018.

https://github.com/corels/corels

Nicholas Larus-Stone

Ramsey Homsany

(he/him)
Cofounder & President

Ramsey has spent his career building high-performance teams and technology companies. Before Octant, he was an executive at Dropbox, where he had roles leading Dropbox's communications, public policy & government affairs, human resources, legal, and trust & security teams. During that time Dropbox raised $1+ billion in capital, grew to more than 500 million users, and was the fastest SAAS company in history to reach $1 billion in revenue run rate. Prior to Dropbox, Ramsey was a Vice President at Google, where he managed Google's commercial legal groups and negotiated some of the internet industry's largest partnerships.    

Before that, Ramsey was a technology attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also done pro bono work representing indigent clients seeking political asylum. Ramsey received a B.S. in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University and a J.D. from NYU.

Ramsey is a Board member at the Rutgers College of Engineering, and Represent.us, a grassroots political reform organization.

Ramsey grew up in Athens, Greece and Sparta, NJ. He enjoys hiking, camping, cooking over fire, punk music, and wandering through neighborhood art galleries.

Ramsey Homsany

Rick Artis

Chief Scientific Officer

Rick was previously SVP Chemistry at Annexon Biosciences where he led the efforts on small molecule classical complement inhibitors that resulted in the nomination of ANX1502 as a development candidate. He has served as SVP, Research at Elan Pharmaceuticals and VP, Lead Generation at Plexxikon, and held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech and Syntex. He has been responsible for efforts from target validation & screening to early development, has had discovery-to-clinic experience in several therapeutic areas, including neurodegenerative & metabolic diseases and oncology. He has led efforts at the forefront of fragment-based drug discovery and is a co-inventor of the first drug derived from these approaches (vemurafenib; approved in 2011 for the treatment of metastatic melanoma). He has co-authored over 45 papers, been recognized as a co-inventor on 45 issued US patents and made direct contributions to seven molecules that have reached various stages of clinical development (two that have received marketing approval). He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.


Rick Artis

Roy Luo

Roy is a software engineer at Octant, working on building tools and infrastructure to empower scientists.

Roy received a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and worked in the Tech industry for a number of years. Previous to Octant he discovered the Biotech world while working at Zymergen, and hasn’t looked back since.

In his spare time, Roy enjoys playing pool, making art, and doting on his pet lungfish.

Papers:

Luo, Roy; Valenzano, Richard; Li, Yi; Beck, J. Christopher; McIlraith, Sheila. "Using Metric
Temporal Logic to Specify Scheduling Problems." Proceedings, Fifteenth International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (2016).

Roy Luo

Sarah Tarver

Sarah is a cell biologist with a background in high throughput screening.

She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from University of Maryland Baltimore County. Sarah has worked in various industry labs over the years. She got her start at Precision Antibody, making custom monoclonal antibodies for customers. She then went to DNA Electronics, where she supported the development of a machine to rapidly diagnose sepsis. After that, Sarah returned to the Bay Area where she is originally from and worked at Marin Biologic Laboratories- a contract research organization- performing various cell-based assays for clients.

Before coming to Octant she worked at Carmot Therapeutics where she ran high throughput drug screening assays and developed cell-based assays to further characterize screening hits.

Outside of the lab, Sarah enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, playing video games, and binge watching shows with her two cats.

Sarah Tarver

Scott Simpkins

He/Him

Scott is a computational biologist passionate about developing usable tools for analyzing new types of high-throughput, biological data. He completed his PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in the lab of Dr. Chad Myers at the University of Minnesota, where his thesis work focused on the design and analysis of high-throughput, chemical-genetic interaction screens in yeast.

Outside of the lab, Scott enjoys international travel, playing the bass, cooking, and drinking non-IPA craft beer.

Papers

Using BEAN-counter to quantify genetic interactions from multiplexed barcode sequencing experiments. Simpkins SW, Deshpande R, Nelson J, Li SC, Piotrowski JS, Ward HN, Yashiroda Y, Osada H, Yoshida M, Boone C, Myers CL. Nat. Protoc. 14, 415–440 (2019).

Predicting bioprocess targets of chemical compounds through integration of chemical-genetic and genetic interactions. Simpkins SW, Nelson J, Deshpande R, Li SC, Piotrowski JS, Wilson EH, Gebre AA, Safizadeh H, Okamoto R, Yoshimura M, Costanzo M, Yashiroda Y, Ohya Y, Osada H, Yoshida M, Boone C, Myers CL. PLOS Comp. Biol. 14, e1006532 (2018).

Functional annotation of chemical libraries across diverse biological processes. *Piotrowski JS, *Li SC, *Deshpande R, *Simpkins SW, Nelson J, Yashiroda Y, Barber JM, Safizadeh H, Wilson E, Okada H, Gebre AA, Kubo K, Torres NP, LeBlanc MA, Andrusiak K, Okamoto R, Yoshimura M, DeRango-Adem E, van Leeuwen J, Shirahige K, Baryshnikova A, Brown GW, Hirano H, Costanzo M, Andrews B, Ohya Y, Osada H, Yoshida M, Myers CL, Boone C. Nat. Chem. Biol. 13, 982–993 (2017).

Scott Simpkins

Sri Kosuri

Cofounder & CEO

Sri is a biologist that has helped build technologies, labs, and companies in synthetic biology, functional genomics, and bioinformatics over the last 20 years. He is passionate about developing more rational ways to understand and engineer biology.

Sri is a co-founder at Octant and an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, where his lab has worked on building large-scale ways of empirically exploring questions in protein biochemistry, human genetic variation, gene regulation, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and functional genomics.

Sri previously worked at the Wyss Institute and Harvard, where he built numerous technologies in gene synthesis, DNA information storage, gene editing, and large-scale multiplexed assays. He helped build Gen9, a gene synthesis company, as a member of the SAB and was the first employee of Joule Unlimited, an engineered algal biofuel company. He is a Searle Scholar (2015), NIH New Innovator (2014), and received his ScD in Biological Engineering at MIT and BS in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley.

Sri is originally from New Jersey, by way of Philadelphia and Kansas, and was born in North Carolina. He enjoys eating, getting outdoors, and traveling with his wife and two children.

More papers…

Sri Kosuri

Stacie Kim

(she/her)

Stacie is a Scientist in the Chemistry group with a background in chemical biology, metabolomics and (bio)synthesis.

She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Sattely. Her thesis work focused on medicinal plant natural product biosynthesis and engineering, accomplished with metabolite analysis of plant extracts and enzymatic assays by LC-qToF and metabolic engineering approaches for yield optimization.

Outside of the lab, Stacie enjoys traveling, cooking, and perhaps the combination of the two: trying out different cuisines.

Papers

Kim S. S. & Sattely E. S. Dirigent Proteins Guide Asymmetric Heterocoupling for the Synthesis of Complex Natural Product Analogues. (2021) J Am Chem Soc. 143 (13), pp 5011-5021. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c13164.

Schultz B. J., Kim S., Lau W., & Sattely E. S. Total Biosynthesis for Milligram-Scale Production of Etoposide Intermediates in a Plant Chassis. (2019) J Am Chem Soc. 141 (49), pp 19231-19235. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b10717.

Stacie Kim

Tao Zheng

Tao Zheng is our medicinal chemist. She received her PhD in organic chemistry from Michigan State University in 2006 and spent two years at UC Davis as a postdoctoral fellow. She returned to China to begin her career in process chemistry and custom organic synthesis. In 2016, she brought her talents back to the United States, working for Nanosyn, Inc in Santa Clara CA for five years before finally becoming an Octanaut in September of 2021.

She enjoys watching movies, cooking, and spending quality time with her cat, Pinky.

Tao Zheng

Theo Tarver

Theo is a biologist in the Platform group with experience in assay development and the study of cancer therapies. He received a B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Biochemistry, at the University of San Francisco. At Roche Molecular Systems, he participated in the research and development of medical diagnostic assays for targets such as HIV and genetic mutations implicated in lung cancer. Then, at UCSF under Dr. Catherine Smith, he researched mechanisms of response and resistance to targeted drug therapy for acute myeloid leukemia. Outside of the lab, Theo enjoys golfing, hiking, and following his Bay Area sports teams.

Publications

Smith, C.C., Viny, A.D., Massi, E., Kandoth, C., Socci, N.D., Rapaport, F., Najm, M., Medina-Martinez, J.S.,Papaemmanuil, E. Tarver, T.C., Hsu, H.H., Le, M.H., West, B., Bollag, G., Taylor, B.S., Levine. R.L., & Shah, N.P. Recurrent Mutations in Cyclin D3 Confer Clinical Resistance to FLT3 Inhibitors in Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Clinical Cancer Research (2021) 27 (14), 14, 4003-4011

Tarver, T., Hill, J. Rahmat, L., Perl, A., Bahceci, E., Mori, K., & Smith, C C. Gilteritinib is a clinically active FLT3 inhibitor with broad activity against FLT3 kinase domain mutations. Blood Adv (2020) 4 (3): 514–524.

Smith, C. C., Paguirigan, A., Jeschke, G. R., Lin, K. C., Massi, E., Tarver, T., Chin, C. S., Asthana, S., Olshen, A., Travers, K. J., Wang, S., Levis, M. J., Perl, A. E., Radich, J. P., & Shah, N. P. (2017). Heterogeneous resistance to quizartinib in acute myeloid leukemia revealed by single-cell analysis. Blood (2017), 130 (1), 48–58.

Theo Tarver

Yannah J.U. Melle

Yannah is passionate about people and developing solutions to improve human health. She is a member of the Octant Compute team and uses cheminformatics to support Octant technologies. Yannah received her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE). As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Glotzer Group at the University of Michigan and the Keiser Lab at UCSF, as well as held an internship position at Sutro Biopharma. In the Glotzer Group, Yannah studied nucleation pathways of the self-assembly process of crystal structures. In the Keiser Lab, she worked on projects to identify melanoma by classifying histopathology images and investigated ligand-based drug discovery. Yannah needs a lot of sun and loves to experience different cultures and share her own.

Yannah J.U. Melle

Zach Casey

Zach recently started at Octant as a Research Associate working on high-throughput chemical assembly and screening. He graduated from James Madison University with a B.S. in Biotechnology in 2021. While at JMU, Zach was a research assistant in the lab of George Vidal where he studied the effect of integrin beta-3 deficiency on the morphology of cortical neurons in the developing mouse brain.

Outside of the lab, Zach enjoys, hiking, playing board games, and slaying monsters in Dungeons and Dragons.

Zach Casey

Scientific Advisory Board

Charles Zuker

Professor — Columbia University

Charles S. Zuker is an American molecular geneticist and neurobiologist of Chilean descent. His lab, in collaboration with Nick Ryba at the NIH, have transformed our understanding of cell signaling and mammalian taste. Zuker is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Janelia Research Campus. Zuker is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. After more than 20 years at the University of California, San Diego, he began his appointment at Columbia University in 2009.

Charles Zuker

Professor — Columbia University

Vijay Pande

General Partner — a16z

Vijay Pande, PhD, is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he focuses on investments in biopharma and healthcare. As the founding investor of a16z’s Bio Fund, Vijay leads the firm’s investments at the cross section of biology and computer science, including applications in computation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in healthcare; digital therapeutics; diagnostics; and other novel transformative scientific advances applied to industry that take bio beyond healthcare. Op-eds by Vijay defining trends and issues in this emerging space have been published by The New York Times, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University.

Previously, Vijay was the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Structural Biology and of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he led a team of researchers pioneering computational methods and their application to medicine and biology (resulting in over 300 publications, two patents, and two novel drug candidates). Vijay was also concurrently the director of the Biophysics program at Stanford, where he led a team of more than 50 faculty members and propelled the program to the top in the country.

During his time at Stanford, Vijay co-founded Globavir Biosciences, where he translated his research advances into a successful startup that aimed to discover cures for Dengue Fever and Ebola. Vijay also founded the Folding@Home Distributed Computing Project for disease research, which pushed the boundaries of computer science techniques (distributed systems, machine learning, and exotic computer architectures) into biology and medicine, in both research as well as the development of new therapeutics.

Vijay holds a BA in Physics from Princeton University and a PhD in Physics from MIT. He has been awarded the DeLano Prize in Computation; a Guinness World Record for Folding@Home; the American Chemical Society Thomas Kuhn Paradigm Shift Award; and was selected for MIT TR10. In his teens, Vijay was the first employee at video game startup Naughty Dog Software, maker of Crash Bandicoot.

Vijay Pande

General Partner — a16z

Hosea Nelson

Professor of Chemistry — CalTech

After studying at City College of San Francisco, Hosea obtained a B.S. in Chemistry from University of California Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 2012 under the mentorship of Brian Stoltz. After postdoctoral training at University of California Berkeley with Dean Toste, Hosea joined the UCLA faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor. In 2021 he moved his group to Caltech where they currently focus on developing enabling technologies for the biomedical sciences. More specifically they utilize cutting-edge electron microscopy methods to identify new bioactive small molecules and main group metal catalysis to prepare complex molecules through novel chemical reactions.

Hosea Nelson

Professor of Chemistry — CalTech

Debora Marks

Professor of Systems Biology — Harvard and Associate Member, Broad Institute

Debora is a mathematician and computational biologist with a track record of using novel algorithms and statistics to successfully address unsolved biological problems. She has a passion for interpreting genetic variation in a way that impacts biomedical applications. During her PhD, she quantified the potential pan-genomic scope of microRNA targeting and combinatorial regulation of protein expression and co-discovered the first microRNA in a virus. As a postdoc she and her colleagues cracked the classic, unsolved problem of ab initio 3D structure prediction of proteins using a maximum entropy probability model for evolutionary sequences. She has developed this approach to determine functional interactions, biomolecular structures, including the 3D structure of RNA and RNA-protein complexes and the conformational ensembles of apparently disordered proteins. Her new lab at Harvard is interested in developing methods in deep learning to address a wide range of biological challenges including predicting the effects of genetic variation and sequence design for biosynthetic applications.

Debora Marks

Professor of Systems Biology — Harvard and Associate Member, Broad Institute

Mark Murcko

Founder and Board Member, Relay Therapeutics & Founding CSO and Board Member, Dewpoint Therapeutics

Mark Murcko was an early leader in structure-based drug design and has directly contributed to nine marketed drugs spanning HIV, HCV, cystic fibrosis, and glaucoma. He is a Founder, Board member, and was the interim CSO at Relay Therapeutics. More recently he was the founding CSO and remains a board member and advisor to Dewpoint Therapeutics.  In addition, Mark is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, and has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and corporate boards of directors for a diverse range of organizations.  Mark was chief technology officer and chair of the SAB of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and was responsible for the identification, validation and implementation of disruptive technologies across R&D. Mark is a co-inventor of the HCV protease inhibitor Incivek (telaprevir), as well as Agenerase (amprenavir) and Lexiva (fosamprenavir), Vertex’s two marketed drugs for the treatment of HIV. In addition, he guided the early efforts of Vertex’s cystic fibrosis program that has produced four marketed drugs.

Prior to Vertex, Mark worked at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, where he helped discover multiple clinical candidates, including Dorzolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor for the treatment of glaucoma which was commercialized in two approved drugs, Trusopt and Cosopt.  Trusopt was the first medicine in history to come from a structure-based drug design program.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the GRC and the Board of Advisors of the Boston Museum of Science.  He is a co-inventor on more than 50 issued patents and has co-authored more than 85 scientific articles. Mark holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University.



Mark Murcko

Founder and Board Member, Relay Therapeutics & Founding CSO and Board Member, Dewpoint Therapeutics

Feng Zhang

Core Institute Member - Broad Institute

Feng Zhang is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as well as an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, and a professor at MIT, with joint appointments in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering. Zhang is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Zhang is a molecular biologist developing and applying novel molecular technologies for studying the brain. Zhang pioneered the development of genome editing tools for use in eukaryotic cells – including human cells – from natural microbial CRISPR-Cas9 systems. He and his team have adapted multiple other CRISPR systems for use as genome engineering tools, including RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas13 systems and CRISPR-associated transposon systems, which can be used for gene insertion.

Zhang leverages CRISPR and other methods to study the genetics and epigenetics of human diseases, especially complex disorders, such as psychiatric and neurological diseases that are caused by multiple genetic and environmental risk factors and are difficult to model using conventional methods. His lab’s tools, which he has made widely available, are also being used in the fields of immunology, clinical medicine, and cancer biology, among others. His long-term goal is to develop novel therapeutic strategies for disease treatment.

Zhang is a recipient of many awards including the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Tang Prize, the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the Lemelson-MIT Prize, and the Keio Medical Science Prize. He has also received technology innovation awards from the Paul G. Allen Family, McKnight, New York Stem Cell, and Damon Runyon foundations. Zhang is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Zhang received his A.B. in chemistry and physics from Harvard College and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University.

Feng Zhang

Core Institute Member - Broad Institute

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