Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bioengineering Grad Student Wins Quick Pitch Competition for Entrepreneurs

Bioengineering Ph.D. student and cancer diagnostics pioneer Raj Krishnan won the “Best Pitch” award at the 3rd Annual Tech Coast Angel (TCA) Quick Pitch Competition.

Competition participants had a maximum of 2 minutes and 5 slides to sell their company story to the approximately 300 attendees, including potential investors.

“There were 3 prizes, Best Pitch, Best Content and Best Overall. We won the Best Pitch prize for the best presentation they had seen at the competition,” wrote Krishnan in an email. Krishnan is the founder of Biological Dynamics, an early stage startup with its sights set on the early cancer diagnosis market.

The technology behind Krishnan’s quick pitch may eventually lead to early stage cancer diagnostics through better ways to identify and separate secondary cancer biomarkers directly from blood, such as cell-free circulating high molecular weight DNA. For this research, Krishnan won the top prize at the 2009 Jacobs School Research Expo. Read more about the technology and Krishnan’s winning streak here.

“Winning the competition gives us the opportunity to get our name out there further, and gives us another award as recognition for our capabilities. We hope to use the competition as a way to attract further investment into our company so that we can begin development on our early cancer screening device,” wrote Krishnan.

At the Tech Coast Angels Quick Pitch event, the Best Content award went to ecoATM
which produces eCcycling stations for automated electronics recycling. The Best Overall award went to Radical Therapeutix, which is developing a new heart disease drug.

Facetime with Facebook

UC San Diego students and faculty got some quality “face time” with Facebook last Thursday. At a morning lecture in the Calit2 auditorium, Jeff Rothschild (photo, right), Facebook's vice president of technology, spoke about scaling, or how a growing company addresses technological and organizational challenges. Watch the video of Rothschild at:

Facebook’s Taner Halicioglu (photo, left) also came to campus. Halicioglu earned some of his computer science “street cred” here at the Jacobs School. He graduated from Revelle College in 1996, and joined Facebook as the company’s first outside hire, in 2004.

Below are a few more details from Halicioglu’s talk, as reported in Roxana Popescu’s “@ UCSD” story.

“He [Halicioglu] recalled how he ‘pretty much lived in the data center’ in his first months with the company and summarized some of the company’s core principals with playful alliterations. Simplicity is sublime. Abstraction is awesome. Data is delicious.”

Facebook representatives also participated in a series of technical meetings with UCSD faculty and students, hosted by Amin Vahdat, a professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Center for Networked Systems at the Jacobs School of Engineering.