Harnessing the vast, unseen world of microbes to improve business performance and make our lives better.

The microbiome around us is the most complex,
untapped dataset on Earth.

The microbiome is the trillions of interacting bacteria, fungi, algae and viruses that inhabit every inch of our world: our bodies, our stuff, our homes, and our cities. We make decisions every day based on the visible world around us. Yet much of our lives is shaped by what we cannot see.

Decoding the microbiome

With Phylagen’s technology and our proprietary databases it is possible to monitor, map and manage microbiomes. We combine bioinformatic analytics with scalable, high performance computing to determine and interpret complex genetic signatures and provide a powerful new decision-making tool for businesses.

Revealing the microbiome

The cost of DNA sequencing has dropped over 100,000 fold in the past decade. Phylagen generates terabytes of valuable microbiome sequence data under fast turnaround times at affordable cost, and leverages the data from this unseen universe by rapidly generating complex genetic profiles of entire microbial communities.

Optimizing microbiomes of a Fortune 50 customer

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The above network depicts over 54 million DNA sequences and 30 billion base pairs from a customer deployment. Using advanced bioinformatics, microbiome data and metadata was analyzed, classified and clustered, revealing hidden correlations and genetic information to improve business performance.

Our Team

Peter Karlen
Peter KarlenCEO and Board of Directors
Pete is an experienced early stage company builder focused on commercializing breakthrough biotech and cleantech platforms. He has experience in general management, business development, corporate development, R&D program management, strategy, and operations.

From 2010 to 2016, Pete held a variety of leadership roles at TerraVia (NASDAQ: TVIA; formerly Solazyme), an industrial biotech company that manufactures designer oils, including Vice President of Strategy. Pete played an integral role in raising over $600M of investment capital, led the development and launch of a novel animal nutrition ingredient, and drove TerraVia’s re-positioning as a food and specialty ingredients company.

Earlier in his career, Pete was a Vice President at EarthWater Global (now Geovesi), a water exploration and development company; a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group; and the Director of Development at StreetSquash, a start up urban youth enrichment program, where he led a $10M Capital Campaign to build a youth center in Harlem.

Pete holds an AB in History from Harvard, where he was Captain of the squash team and an All-American, and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School. Pete serves on the Board of Directors of InSITE, a graduate student fellowship program fostering entrepreneurship.

Dr. Harrison Dillon
Dr. Harrison DillonChairman of the Board and Co-Founder

Dr. Dillon is a pioneer and thought leader in industrial biotechnology. He has spent his career at the forefront of emerging biotechnology trends, first as a researcher during the height of the human genome project, then as a patent attorney, and primarily as an entrepreneur. His experience as an entrepreneur has spanned all phases, from garage startup through IPO and beyond, and many roles, from executive to in-house counsel to bench scientist. He is an inventor on over 50 patents and patent applications, and has authored articles in scientific, business, and legal journals.

Prior to Phylagen, Dr. Dillon co-founded Solazyme (NASDAQ:SZYM), an industrial biotechnology company that manufactures designer, renewable oils. He served as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer and President from 2003 to 2013. Dr. Dillon was also an associate at the law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew, and managed the biotechnology patent portfolio of the University of Utah in the University’s Technology Transfer Office.

Dr. Dillon received a Ph.D. in Genetics from University of Utah, a J.D. from Duke University School of Law, and a B.S. in Biology from Emory University.

Dr. Jessica Green
Dr. Jessica GreenCTO, Co-Founder, Board of Directors

Dr. Jessica Green is an Alec and Kay Keith Professor at the University of Oregon, where she is founding director of the Biology and Built Environment Center (BioBE), and external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. She uses interdisciplinary approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, mathematics, informatics, and computer science to understand and model complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment.

She is internationally recognized for her research in microbiome science and technology, with highly cited articles in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is frequently quoted in business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NPR. She has received numerous awards including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship.

Jessica received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from University of California Berkeley, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Magna Cum Laude from UCLA.

Marc Yasuda
Marc YasudaChief Revenue Officer

Marc is a seasoned and passionate software and technology entrepreneur and loves solving big problems with great people. For 5 years as SVP of Sales at Bizo, a b2b marketing software startup, he built and ran the sales organization at Bizo, helping to grow the company to $50 million in revenue and an acquisition by LinkedIn in 2014. At LinkedIn, Marc led key initiatives to integrate the two teams and go-to-market strategies. These included global leadership roles in Sales Enablement and Product Consulting to train and uplevel the skillset, knowledge and process of the sales organization, and launch new products to the field and market in a scalable, repeatable way.

Prior to Bizo, Marc had a non-linear path to eventually becoming a technology startup exec. After graduating from Dartmouth, his professional experiences include selling advertising for The New Yorker, leading brand management at Nestle/PowerBar, running a media business, working at a local bookstore, and teaching tennis to kids.

Marc loves spending time with his two daughters, staying active without getting injured, and is grateful that his wife said yes and hasn’t changed her mind.

Dr. James Meadow
Dr. James MeadowData Scientist

Dr. James Meadow is an expert in the combined fields of microbial ecology, scientific programming, and data visualization, and uses multivariate statistical computing to develop methods for analyzing, communicating, and visualizing complex microbiome data. Most recently he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Biology and the Built Environment Center, at the University of Oregon, where he helped pioneer the field of indoor microbial ecology, as well as develop methods to investigate the human microbiome for forensic applications.

His research in microbiome forensics and built environment microbiology has received international attention in scientific and popular press, including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Time, Newsweek, Scientific American, and Wired.

He received his PhD from Montana State University in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, and a BS in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana. His dissertation research was focused on geothermal soil ecology in Yellowstone National Park, bioinformatics, and multivariate statistics.

Adam Altrichter
Adam AltrichterMicrobiome Scientist
Adam Altrichter is a data scientist and molecular ecologist with extensive experience in microbiome research. His work has included characterizing spatial patterns of Antarctic microbes, classifying gut bacteria in pharma clinical trial patients, and shaping indoor microbial communities with sustainable building design and operation. He has been a member of trailblazing academic labs at the University of Oregon and the Bay Area microbiome startup Second Genome.

Adam is an end-to-end microbiome scientist with expertise in data generation through data analysis. In the wet lab he has devised methods for next-generation sequencing applications with a specialization for low biomass and extreme environments. In the dry lab Adam has developed scalable machine learning and bioinformatic pipelines for disentangling complex microbial communities and designed analysis products for researchers, executives and public audiences.

Adam Altrichter received a M.S. in Biological Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Creighton University.

Dave Bagshaw
Dave BagshawBoard of Directors

Dave Bagshaw is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with expertise in leading companies through periods of aggressive growth. Bagshaw is known for his success as the CEO of Shutterfly, and he has also served as VP of Marketing at Silicon Graphics and Senior VP at @Home Networks and Excite@Home. His first entrepreurial experience was in clean energy as a co-founder of solar thermal company Pacific Sun, Inc.

Bagshaw holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering as well as an M.B.A., all from Stanford University. Dave is on the board of directors of a number of early stage start-ups.

Dr. Jonathan Eisen
Dr. Jonathan EisenScientific Advisor, UC Davis

Dr. Jonathan Eisen is a Professor at the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis and holds appointments in the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Eisen’s research focuses on communities of microbes. His overarching research goal is to create a “Field Guide to Microbes” – such as exists for birds or trees. He is widely known as a leading authority on studies of microbes based on DNA sequencing, is an author on more than 300 papers on this topic, and is one of the most highly cited researchers in the field.

His research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). Most of his work involves the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing methods to characterize microbes and then the use and development of computational methods to analyze this type of data. In particular, his computational work has focused on phylogenomics, the integration of evolutionary analysis with genome analysis. Currently he is using sequencing and phylogenomic methods to study microbes directly in their natural habitats (i.e., without culturing). The main habitats he studies currently are microbiomes of plants, animals and the built environment.

Prior to moving to UC Davis he was on the faculty of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Maryland. He earned his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, and his AB in Biology from Harvard College. Dr. Eisen was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2012.

Dr. Christina Warinner
Dr. Christina WarinnerScientific Advisor, Max Planck Insitutes
Dr. Christina Warrinner is an Associate Professor of Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, a Visiting Associate Professor at the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis at the Technical University of Denmark, and a Research Affiliate in the Molecular Research Group at the University of Zurich. She also holds the title of Presidential Research Professor and is an adjunct professor of Periodontics at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Dentistry.

Dr. Warrinner is a biomolecular archeologist who uses tissue samples from ancient skeletons and mummies to research how humans have evolved to adapt to changing environments over the last 10,000 years.  Through this research she pioneered the field of generating low biomass microbiome samples using high-throughput metagenomics and metaproteomics approaches, and she co-built and co-directed one of the world’s most state-of- the-art clean room DNA analysis facilities focused on ancient microbiome work at the University of Oklahoma.   Her research has been featured in Science, Cell, Nature Genetics, Nature Reviews Microbiology, the Los Angeles Times, the New Scientist, CNN, and Fox News, and Discover Magazine included her research in its top 100 stories of 2014.

Dr. Warrinner is a 2016 CARTA Fellow, a 2014 Kavli Foundation Fellow (US National Academy of Sciences) and a 2012 TED Fellow; her TED Talks have been viewed more than 1,5000,000 times.  Her research has been featured in several short documentaries, including Archaeology of the Invisible (Illumina), Ancestral Microbiomes (Illumina), and a film played at the 2011-2012 UZH Mummy Exhibition. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University, and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Eric Berlow
Dr. Eric BerlowScientific Advisor, Rakuten, Inc.
Dr. Eric Berlow is the Co-Founder and President of Vibrant Data, Inc., which was acquired by Rakuten, Inc., where he now serves as Head of Science for its Slice Technologies division.  He is an ecologist, network scientist, and data scientist who is internationally recognized for his research on ecological complexity – with articles in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that have received ISI’s Most Highly Cited Papers awards.  His two talks on TED.com on finding hidden patterns in complex data have together received over 2 million views.  Prior to Vibrant Data, Eric was the founding director of the University of California’s first science institute inside Yosemite National Park, which focused on guiding data-driven decisions for protecting natural ecosystems.

Eric has received numerous awards including a TED Senior Fellowship, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and GE’s “Architects of Innovation” award. He was named one of the Top 100 Creatives Changing the World by Origin Magazine. Dr. Berlow holds a B.A. in Biology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Oregon State University.

Dr. Rich Williams
Dr. Rich WilliamsScientific Advisor, Rakuten, Inc.
Dr. Rich Williams is currently a senior data scientist at Slice Technologies, a division of Rakuten, Inc., where he is developing analytical methods and visualization techniques for large-scale, high dimensional data.  Dr. Williams is both an accomplished software engineer and computer scientist and a highly published complex systems scientist with a career spanning commercial and academic environments.  His previous positions include Data Scientist at Vibrant Data, Inc. (acquired by Rakuten, Inc.), Senior Software Engineer and Data Scientist at Quid, Inc., and Founder of the Computational Ecology and Environmental Science group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK.  He has also conducted research at numerous universities including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz.

Dr. Williams’ research has focused on understanding ecosystems as complex networks and complex dynamical systems by using tools and techniques that connect ecology and computer science.  He has published over 50 papers, including highly cited work in Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His broad scientific interests have also led to publications in conservation biology, earth systems modeling, physical oceanography and fluid dynamics, and his work in computer science has led to publications in data semantics, data integration and visualization techniques.  Dr. Williams holds a BS and MS in ocean engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Peter Rumsey
Peter RumseyScientific Advisor, Founder Point Energy Innovations

Peter is the Founder of Point Energy Innovations and is internationally recognized for his innovation and leadership in the sustainability and energy efficiency fields. He has designed more LEED Platinum, Zero Energy and radiant cooled buildings than any other engineer in the United States. Peter is an ASHRAE Fellow, Senior Fellow of Rocky Mountain Institute and a professor at Stanford University. In 2012, the Association of Energy Engineers awarded him the International Renewable Energy Innovator of the Year. In 2013 he was honored by ASHRAE with the Engineering Award of Excellence, only awarded 4 times in ASHRAE’s 100-year history.

In The News

White House Announces Microbiome Initiative

Jessica Green was among a small group of experts assembled recently by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss the status of microbiome research. The event coincided with the launch of the National Microbiome Initiative, a call to action to advance microbiome science. The Obama administration announced steps to advance understanding of microbiomes and their influence on human health, climate change, food security and national security. Green joined a consortium of scientists in co-authorizing papers in Science magazine and mBio calling for new research tools to unlock the secrets of Earth’s microbial communities.
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Wherever You Go, Your Personal Cloud Of Microbes Follows

Remember Pig-Pen? The little kid from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts cartoons who walked around in a cloud of dirt? Well, the human body does spew a cloud, but instead of dirt it contains millions of microorganisms. “It turns out that that kid is all of us,” says lead researcher James Meadow. “It’s just a microscopic cloud that’s really hard to see.” Each of us carries around millions of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi and viruses — on the inner and outer surfaces of our bodies. Most of them aren’t dangerous. In fact, growing evidence indicates that they help us in lots of ways.
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Designing a Hospital to Better Fight Infection

Every building appears to have its own unique microbiome, depending on how it is built and operated, who uses it and what they do there, said University of Oregon microbiologist Jessica Green, who helped pioneer the field. “We know microbes in buildings are relevant to human health,” she said. In hospitals, for example, the air that many patients breathe, recycled through heating and air-conditioning systems, concentrates human-related bacteria and potential pathogens, compared with patient rooms with open windows where outdoor air can circulate, according to Dr. Green’s 2012 study of Providence Milwaukie Hospital in Portland.
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Mobile phones carry owners’ bacterial ‘fingerprint’

More than 80% of the common bacteria that make up our personal bacterial “fingerprints” end up on their screens, a study suggests.  “We are ultimately interested in the possibility of using personal effects as a non-invasive way to monitor our health and our contact with the surrounding environment. We share more than an emotional connection with our phones – they carry our personal microbiome”, said lead researcher Dr James Meadow.
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At PhylagenTM we are problem solvers.

Our team has pioneered new microbiome sampling and analysis methods that we have used in both widely cited, peer-reviewed journals as well as in confidential deployments inside customer facilities. We have extensive collective experience at partnering with small and large companies to increase key performance metrics.

We file patents on our technology and use trade secret methodologies to protect our investment in big data analytics and high quality biological toolkits built to serve customers.

Contact us to discuss our services at bizdev@phylagen.com

We are innovators dedicated to solving global scale challenges with nanosize microbes.
We are serial entrepreneurs, microbiome pioneers, big data scientists, and elite researchers.

Join us!

 

Send your CV to jobs@phylagen.com