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.

Randy Rankin
Randy RankinVP and GM, Supply Chain Solutions
Randy Rankin is a professional with a broad range of experiences – with significant experience over the past 20 years in Supply Chain Risk Management and Corporate Social Responsibility. During this period, Randy has been involved in the development of industry standard methodologies for consideration of supply chain social compliance; establishment of performance standards for firms providing social compliance auditing services; and development of company perspectives on supply chain risk management issues.

From 2008 to 2016, Randy was the Vice President of CSR Services at Bureau Veritas, a global testing, inspection and conformity firm. At Bureau Veritas, Randy was responsible for all elements of the CSR services business and the development and deployment of supply chain risk management solutions for international consumer products companies.

Prior to 2008, Randy was the founder and CEO of Global Social Compliance – a leading independent social audit firm with offices in the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Randy started his professional career with Price Waterhouse, where he was admitted to partnership in 1996.

Randy holds a BS in Accounting from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.  Away from the office, Randy is very involved in his son’s endeavors as a nationally ranked race car driver.

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.

Dr. Roxana Hickey
Dr. Roxana HickeyData Scientist
Dr. Roxana Hickey is a computational microbial ecologist with broad expertise in microbiology, bioinformatics, genomics, multivariate statistics, and data visualization. Most recently she was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, where she investigated the microbial relationships between humans and the built environment. Before that, she spent nine years researching the vaginal microbiome and women’s health.

Roxana is passionate about science outreach and communication. Her research has been featured on Science Friday and the Period podcast, and she has delivered public webinars, lectures, and workshops to a wide range of audiences.

She received her Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Idaho. Her dissertation research focused on the diversity and dynamics of the vaginal microbiome throughout a woman’s lifespan.

Dr. Allison Schwartz
Dr. Allison SchwartzSenior Research Associate
Dr. Allison Schwartz is a molecular biologist and microbiologist interested in how microbes interact with people, plants, and the environment. Allison’s scientific expertise includes comparative genomic, transcriptomic, and metagenomic analysis of microbes and plants, as well as a broad array of wet-lab molecular biology techniques.

Allison’s research has spanned the spectrum of bacterial-plant interactions, from growth promoting symbionts to disease-causing pathogens. Allison was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which supported her dissertation work on the molecular strategies used by bacterial pathogens to increase the susceptibility of their plant hosts.

Allison received her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.S. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA.

Josh Moser
Josh MoserBusiness Development Analyst
Josh is a business development analyst, focused primarily on go-to-market efforts and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Phylagen, Josh worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse where he executed structured finance transactions for large corporate clients spanning numerous industries and financial sponsors. While at CS, he developed his skills in financial modeling, transaction execution, and bathroom napping.

Josh has also previously held various intern positions, including a capital markets internship at BBAM, one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing firms, and a research analyst internship at the Brattle Group, a global economic consulting firm.

Josh graduated from Amherst College with degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies as well as a decorated career in intramural basketball. Additionally, he was captain of the Amherst Golf Team and even managed to win a tournament individually, though his friends like to remind him that it was overwhelmingly due to poor play by the rest of the field. Outside of the office, Josh enjoys golfing, skiing, hiking, trying new restaurants, and reading.

Dr. Neal Grantham
Dr. Neal GranthamData Scientist

Dr. Neal Grantham is a data scientist and machine learning practitioner who specializes in the fields of spatial statistics, hierarchical Bayesian models, high-dimensional inference, and deep neural networks. He has extensive experience assembling reproducible data science pipelines with Python and R that transform raw, high-throughput sequencing data into informative visualizations and statistical analyses.

Neal’s research has primarily focused on the use of dust-associated microbial communities to geolocate objects with high precision across the United States and the globe. Related work has led to the development of a novel statistical model for the analysis of microbial abundance data from designed experiments. In his years as a research statistician, Neal has collaborated closely with microbial ecologists, horticulturists, marine biologists, EPA atmospheric scientists, and NASA aerospace engineers.

Neal received his Ph.D. in Statistics from North Carolina State University in 2017 and his B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Statistics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2012.

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.

Dr. Katherine Pollard
Dr. Katherine PollardScientific Advisor, UCSF and the Gladstone Institutes
Dr. Katherine Pollard is a Professor at UCSF and Director at the Gladstone Institutes, where she leads an innovation hub focused on emerging technologies and informatics. She has published extensively in many areas of genomic research and bioinformatics, and her research group has contributed a large number of widely-used, open-source software projects in comparative genomics and metagenomics.

Dr. Pollard has previously worked at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis on research that spanned from developing computationally intensive statistical methods for analysis of microarray data with applications in cancer biology to sequencing the chimp genome, which she leveraged to identify the fastest evolving regions in the human genome.

Dr. Pollard earned her PhD in Biostatistics from UC Berkeley, is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and was selected as a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.
Jordan Peccia
Jordan PecciaScientific Advisor, Yale University
Dr. Jordan Peccia is Professor of Environmental Engineering at Yale University in New Haven, CT.

The Peccia lab uniquely integrated physical aerosol processes with molecular biology-based tools to understand the dynamics and sources of biological aerosols in and out of buildings. He is recognized as a leader in the study of building microbiomes with contributions on how building design, operation, and occupancy impact human exposure to microbes, and for revealing important associations between building microbial diversity and asthma.

Peccia served on the 2017 National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine study on “Microbiomes of the Build Environment”. He is associate editor for the journal Indoor Air and a member of the board of directors for the American Association for Aerosol Research. He is chair of the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Microbiology of the Built Environment and was inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering in 2017. Peccia is recipient of the major graduate mentoring and engineering teaching awards at Yale University.

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