Factsheet

Developer:
Amplyus
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harvard Launch Lab)

Founding date:
July 9, 2013

Website:
minipcr.com

Press / Business Contact:
team@minipcr.com

Social:
twitter.com/miniPCR
facebook.com/miniPCR
LinkedIn

Address:
1770 Massachusetts Avenue
Suite 167
Cambridge, MA 02140
USA

Phone:
+1 (781) 990-8PCR

Description

We live in a DNA world. Our society relies on DNA science to develop lifesaving medicines, improve crops, and solve crimes. Yet most of us never see or touch DNA technologies because they are "the stuff of scientists". It's time to break down barriers to DNA discovery and experimentation. We've created the miniPCR DNA Discovery System to make DNA science accessible and exciting for everyone, everywhere.

History

Origins

miniPCR was founded by Ezequiel (Zeke) Alvarez Saavedra and Sebastian Kraves in 2013. We grew up on the same street in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we both shared the dream of becoming DNA scientists. Real DNA analysis tools were out of reach, so we learned DNA science mostly from lectures and textbooks. After getting PhDs at MIT (Zeke, Genetics) and Harvard (Sebastian, Neurobiology) we realized that we could create new tools to give everyone access to DNA analysis. We hope that our work will help open the doors of DNA science and discovery for more people.

Making DNA science for everyone, everywhere

At the heart of DNA analsyis are the techniques of PCR and gel electrophoresis. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) can make millions of copies of any specific piece of DNA. Scientists and doctors use PCR every day, to detect pathogens in blood (e.g., Ebola, HIV, malaria, Zika), to read and interpret personal genetic information, to modify and genetically engineer crops, to identify people, and more. The equipment they use can be hard to operate and costs several thousands of dollars. We have created the DNA Discovery System, a portable DNA lab that costs less than $1,000 and is easy to operate through your phone or computer. We have now delivered hundreds of miniPCR DNA Discovery Systems to researchers, educators, and DNA enthusiasts around the globe.

Today

miniPCR is now being used to accelerate cutting-edge research, to diagnose Ebola, to assess food safety, to teach essential biotechnology in schools, and to analyze DNA aboard the International Space Station, among other places. Our Harvard-based team is constantly working to further expand access to biology where it's needed. Together we are opening the world of DNA science and discovery to more people in new places. Most recently we've co-created the Genes in Space student competition, to instill the love of science and engineering in the next generation.


Videos

Meet the miniPCR team: Democratizing DNA science YouTube

TED Talk: The era of personal DNA technology YouTube

Introducing the miniPCR machine YouTube

First DNA amplification in space YouTube

How does PCR work? YouTube

blueGel Electrophoresis System YouTube


Images

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Zeke and Sebastian photo by John Wilcox for Boston Herald. There are far more images available for miniPCR, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!


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Awards & Recognition

  • "Amplyus selected as a 2014 MassChallenge Finalist." - Boston MA, June 2014

Selected Articles

  • "miniPCR announces first DNA amplification in space."
    - miniPCR, PRNewswire
  • "This Harvard startup is sending its DNA machine to space."
    - Olivia Vanni, Bostinno
  • "Cutting Edge: Local inventors changing the way we analyze DNA."
    - Mike Wankum, WCVB Boston Channel 5 (ABC Station)
  • "miniPCR: Enabling the era of personal DNA"
    - Zeke Alvarez Saavedra and Sebastian Kraves, O'Reilly Biocoder
  • "New Tools Deliver Medical Diagnoses, Fast, Cheap and in the Field."
    - Jeanne Whalen, The Wall Street Journal
  • "PCR heads into the field."
    - Vivien Marx, Nature Methods
  • "PCR in Space."
    - , GenomeWeb
  • "The miniPCR brings DNA testing to the masses."
    - Janelle Nanos, BetaBoston
  • "Super-Powerful Kit Offers DIY DNA Analysis at Home or in School."
    - Vashti Hallissey, PSFK
  • "This Boston Kickstarter Lets You Read Your Own DNA."
    - Elise Harmon, BostInno
  • "miniPCR Brings DNA Experiments to the Classroom."
    - Jasmine Bailey, Mashable
  • "Amplyus Launches Kickstarter to Move MiniPCR into Full Production."
    - Madeleine Johnson, GenomeWeb
  • "PCR for everyone, everywhere."
    - Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra and Sebastian Kraves, O'Reilly BioCoder
  • "Device opens DNA testing to masses."
    - Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald
  • "Nothing mini about this machine."
    - Alia Qatarneh, Harvard Life Science Outreach
  • "MassBioEd, Amplyus and New England BioLabs help bring PCR technology to High Schools."
    - MassBioEd, MassBioEd Newsroom
  • "Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech Students Use miniPCR Machines to connect Engineering and Biology, Engage Students."
    - Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, MassBioHQ Features

miniPCR: A DNA Discovery System for Everyone.
DNA curious? Open up the world of DNA discovery. To you and to every school, lab, and hospital around the globe. kickstarter.com.


Team

Sebastian Kraves, PhD
Co-founder
Sebastian is a molecular neurobiologist trained at Harvard. Before founding Amplyus, he spent more than six years with the Boston Consulting Group addressing high-impact problems in healthcare, such as how to make biomedical technology accessible in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a neuroscientist, Sebastian has published widely cited work on neural circuits, optogenetics, and the genetic regulation of behavior. Sebastian holds a PhD in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School.

Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra, PhD
Co-founder
Zeke is a geneticist trained at MIT and Stanford. His work has been cited thousands of times and profiled in The New York Times, National Public Radio and the BBC. He has worked alongside two Nobel laureates and is also an inventor of gene-detection technologies. Zeke obtained his PhD in Biology from MIT. In his spare time, he digs soil in search of new species (one so far!) and enjoys woodworking.

Contact

Inquiries
team@minipcr.com

Twitter
twitter.com/miniPCR

Facebook
facebook.com/miniPCR

Web
minipcr.com

Also by miniPCR: Genes in Space
genesinspace.org


presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks