This Professor's Innovation Brings Biomedical Testing to Your Mobile Phone

May 26, 2016
Aydogan Ozcan, right, at the PRISM awards in 2014

by Eleanor Greene

Back in 2010, Dr. Aydogan Ozcan’s innovation, LUCAS by Holomic LLC, was chosen by LAUNCH advisors as one of the standout health innovations. The innovation was a miniaturized microscope and sensor that attaches to a cell phone and allows for the detection of parasites and bacteria in blood and water in remote locations. Just being a telemedicine company at the time was cutting-edge, and this invention took it even further.

Fast forward to 2016, Dr. Ozcan and Holomic’s innovation has been deployed in more than 10 countries. Dr. Ozcan is a professor at UCLA, where he became faculty in 2007 and was recently named an HHMI Professor by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is also the associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute. What inspires this inventor and professor? He says curiosity and making a difference is the core of what drives him, and adds “As an educator, I am dedicated to training our next generations of STEM-related workforce in the best possible ways, so that they can be the future leaders of their fields and help the world solve its next generation of grand challenges.”

1. You were involved in LAUNCH's Health cycle in 2010. What progress have you made on your innovation since LAUNCH?

AO: Since participating in LAUNCH Health cycle, Holomic has received several sources of funding, in the form of private investments, federal funding and business contracts. Since then we have launched three products into market and started to generate revenues. These products are being used in more than 10 countries worldwide.

2. How has Holomic made an impact on the world, or what impact are you excited about it having?

AO: Our products are mobile-phone-based diagnostic test readers, and they will help to bring cost-effective biomedical testing and diagnostics to remote locations, whether it is undeserved populations in developed countries or resource limited settings and developing countries. Outside the U.S., our devices can be used to read and quantify various diagnostic tests that have got CE mark, meaning they are approved to sell in Europe. As a recognition of our impact and technology, Holomic has recently been named as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

3. LAUNCH is all about connecting unexpected partners. Have you connected with any partners to get your innovation to where it is today?

AO: In fact, we met with one of our co-founders, Gilbert Hakim, through the LAUNCH council, and this has opened up various new opportunities for our company and helped us to take it to the next level of impact and success. 

4. What are you looking forward to the most in Holomic's future?

AO: We are working hard to expand our market size and sales, to increase the widespread use of our technologies for impacting and improving healthcare globally.