From Academics to Entrepreneurship: How Tech is Revolutionizing the Diagnostics Landscape

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Joshua Yang, Co-founder & CEO of Glyphic Biotechnologies and Co-founder of NephroSant, sat down with me to explore the applications of next-generation protein sequencing for biomedical research and clinical medicine, his journey from academia to entrepreneurship, and much more.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: We hear a lot about genomic testing, all of the impact that’s going to have on disease detection early on and cancer sequencing and all sorts of things. With that, it does come to mind, this idea of stem cell development and the creation of human cells. Tell us about why protein sequencing is different than that? Why do we want to do protein sequencing instead of just expanding on genomic sequencing and the whole genome if we can create human cells and tissues and organs that way?

A: That is an excellent question and right now, genomics (DNA) is so widespread and well-known that even the common public is aware of it. People know about 23andme and the ability to get your DNA analyzed to figure out your health risk, your traits, but that’s exactly what I think DNA is, in some ways, limited to. DNA is essentially the same throughout your entire life. The sequence doesn’t really change. If you do 23andme, you only have to do it once. You never need to do it again because your sequence remains the same. It sort of provides a static indicator in your life. You have this set of DNA and it can tell you that you’re at risk for this or you are likely to have this feature or this trait. It can never actually tell you that you’re going to get this disease or you look like you have this disease, or even this medication looks like it’s making your disease better. Those are things that the DNA won’t tell you because it doesn’t change.

Proteins and the ability to understand the proteins better by sequencing them; proteins are dynamic; proteins are constantly changing in your body. Which proteins are present, how many of each protein there is, and if those proteins are modified in any way impacts the function that they have in your body. These are all things that protein sequencing would be able to tell you. You can really have a dynamic indicator of your health by looking at the proteins. It’s certainly not going to replace genomics or DNA analysis. I think those applications you mentioned, are very important applications. I really do think of these as complementary technologies that will advance human health on two separate fronts.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Joshua Yang, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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