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December 2019 Newsletter

December 2019 Newsletter

2019 Brought Kinetic River 2 New SBIR Grants and 5 New Team Members

The Kinetic River team outside their newly expanded Silicon Valley lab space.

As 2019 draws to a close, Kinetic River celebrates two new SBIR grants, bringing our total NIH grant funding to date up to a total of $2.2M. The new SBIR grants support our work on the Colorado and Arno projects (read more below). This makes three Phase I and one Phase II SBIR grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at NIH. This year, we were also awarded a subcontract on an NSF grant in collaboration with the University of California, Davis. Our team, like our funding, is growing as 2020 approaches. With five additions to the team, our operations are expanding—and with our laboratory and office space doubling in Silicon Valley, our footprint has expanded too. Learn more about our new team members below, in addition to our 2019 summer interns and our new Advisory Board members. On the commercial side, Kinetic River has expanded its reach, launching a new distribution and service channel in Southern Europe.

New SBIR Grants

The Colorado Project

Our new Phase I grant is aimed at tackling the nuisance of autofluorescence in flow cytometry. The Colorado uses fluorescence lifetime measurements to distinguish cellular autofluorescence from the desired fluorescent signal. This is yet another application of the powerful technique of time-resolved fluorescence measurements in flow cytometry that is enabled by Kinetic River’s patented methods for direct time-domain measurements of fluorescence lifetime. Continuing our nomenclature, we’ve named this project after yet another beautiful river. If you’re interested in more details, reach out >

The Arno Project

Following up on our Phase I SBIR grant from NIH, Kinetic River now has a $1.5M Phase II grant to continue engineering a compensation-free flow cytometer. This method uses fluorescence lifetime as a second discriminating parameter as a means to greatly increase multiplexing capability—without causing significant spectral cross-talk. The goal of the Phase II project is to fully develop a 14-parameter (12 colors plus forward scatter and side scatter) instrument that is completely compensation-free. This will ultimately pave the way for further development of an ultra-high (30+) parameter instrument suitable for applications such as immunophenotyping. Explore the details in our press release >

New NSF Grant

Chosen as a subcontractor by UC Davis, Kinetic River is working with Professor James Chan, the Principal Investigator on the NSF grant, to develop a prototype second harmonic generation (SHG) flow cytometer to detect and identify stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes (SC-CMs) without the use of exogenous labels. A label-free method to purify SC-MCs will benefit stem cell-based treatments for patients with heart disease and will be useful for cardiac toxicity screening in drug development. Dr. Vacca and Kinetic River are proud to have been chosen to work on this very important project. Read the press release >

Kinetic River & Dr. Vacca Celebrate New Patents

Kinetic River was recently issued U.S. Patent No. 10,488,343, Methods and apparatuses for label-free particle analysis. This makes a total of eight issued patents for Kinetic River (seven in the U.S. and one in China). Additionally, Kinetic River has multiple U.S. and international patent allowances (with issuances to follow) as well as multiple U.S. and international patents pending.Our patents fall into four different families of intellectual property: (1) the Arno patent family (compensation-free flow cytometry); (2) the Danube family (fluorescence lifetime flow cytometry); (3) the Loire family (extremely high-throughput flow cytometry); and (4) the Yangtze family (label-free flow cytometry). Kinetic River founder Dr. Giacomo Vacca is now inventor or co-inventor on a total of 52 issued U.S. and international patents, as well as 18 pending as inventor or coinventor. See all patents issued to Dr. Vacca >

Expanding Kinetic River’s Operations, Footprint & Participation

New Additions to Our Team

Kinetic River welcomes the following professionals to our growing team.

Alan Chin, Ph.D. | Sr. Staff Scientist, Program Mgr.

Dr. Chin specializes in materials science, optics, nanotechnology, renewable energy, and ultrafast phenomena. He brings to Kinetic River a wealth of experience from his time at high-profile national labs (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the NASA Ames Research Center), as well as in industry. Dr. Chin is responsible for design, prototyping, and system engineering on our Phase II SBIR research program on a compensation-free flow cytometer (Arno) alongside overall coordination of the project.

Timothy Gray, M.S. | Manufacturing Engineer

Contributing his experience in product development for the photonics-based biotech and medical instrumentation industries, and leveraging his experience as a laser and optics engineer for BD Biosciences, Mr. Gray is now contracted by Kinetic River and spearheads our design documentation, labeling and regulatory compliance, and supply chain management.


Elijah Kashi, M.S. | Mechanical Engineer

Starting his position at Kinetic River in June, Mr. Kashi is in charge of our optical design, mechanical design, machining, prototyping, and manufacturing assembly. Since joining, he has played a crucial role in our product development, including helping to design and build a novel custom fluidics module for one of Kinetic River’s clients. Mr. Kashi thrives on motivating the team while maintaining meticulous attention to detail and solving problems creatively.

Haely Shah, M.S. | Algorithm Engineer

Leading Kinetic River’s algorithm operations, Ms. Shah, an experienced user of Python and LabVIEW, is developing algorithms for signal processing and analysis. This work is critical to the development of our product lines based on fluorescence lifetime flow cytometry. Kinetic River is also benefiting from her expertise in developing graphical user interfaces. Additionally, Ms. Shah helps us analyze the large volume of data produced by our flow cytometry hardware platforms.

Jinman Huang, Ph.D. | Sr. Staff Scientist

Dr. Huang brings an extensive industry R&D background and a focus on materials science, thin films, synthetic chemistry, and nanotechnology to our team. He will bring those skills to bear on Kinetic River’s reagent development and material characterization efforts. Dr. Huang also carries out prototyping activities and pitches in with data collection and analysis.

Summer 2019 Interns

Erica joined Kinetic River this past summer. She joined us in Vancouver for CYTO 2019, helping with setup and breakdown. She also helped staff the Kinetic River booth, speaking with customers, and providing administrative assistance.

Dario Vacca, a student at Seattle University, had spent two previous summers at Kinetic River. He returned last summer to help design a custom fluidic control system for one of Kinetic River’s clients.

Thank you to our interns for their assistance this past summer!

New Advisory Board Members

Kinetic River is pleased to add these new experts to its Advisory Board.

Richard McKay, Ph.D. | President & Founder of Full Spectrum Scientific
Bringing experience from academic and government research and industry R&D—including NIH, small startups, and GE Healthcare—Dr. McKay provides consulting and custom solutions to clients in the life sciences industry. Through his consulting services, he helps his clients gain scientific and commercial traction for their novel technologies.

Rosemary Coates, MBA | President of Blue Silk Consulting & Executive Director of the Reshoring Institute

For over 25 years, Ms. Coates has been a management consultant with nearly 80 clients worldwide. She specializes in global supply chain and operations management, sharing her knowledge both as an Amazon best-selling author and as a part-time instructor at UC Berkeley.

Alastair Hood, Ph.D. | CEO of Verdafero
Dr. Hood brings to Kinetic River his extensive expertise in international business strategy, new market entry, and product development. In his capacity as CEO of Verdafero Inc., Dr. Hood leads a team of business experts whose approach is to help clients save money, increase profits, and boost operational efficiencies through the use of their proprietary Utility Analytics Software Platforms.

Southern European Expansion

Not only did Kinetic River double its laboratory and office space in Silicon Valley this year, but we also entered into a distribution/support agreement with EMC2. With this partnership, we extend our reach to Italy and Southern Europe. Based in Milan and Rome, Italy, EMC2 is a leading flow cytometry service company that will act as Kinetic River’s sales and service arm in Italy, Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and more EU countries. Read about our new partnership >

Participation in Flow Cytometry Industry Events

Meet in Italy for Life Sciences 2019
October 16–18 | Trieste, Italy

This fall, Kinetic River participated in a biotech trade show in Italy, where we co-exhibited with our new European distributor, EMC2. The trade show draws attendees from all over Europe and is designed to create international opportunities and help the life sciences spheres—private and public—to interface with each other. Learn more >

2019 New England Cytometry Users Group Fall Meeting
October 17 | The Ragon Institute, Cambridge, MA

Also in October, Kinetic River paid a visit to the vibrant flow cytometry community in Boston and Cambridge, where we were a vendor at the New England Cytometry Users Group’s annual Fall meeting and trade show in Massachusetts. Learn more >

Chesapeake Cytometry Consortium Annual 2019 Fall Seminar
October 28 | Johns Hopkins University Montgomery Campus, Rockville, MD

Just last month, Kinetic River exhibited at this Washington DC-Bethesda-Baltimore area flow cytometry users group meeting and trade show. We were able to reconnect with our fellow cytometrists at NIH and the rest of the Chesapeake region. Learn more >


Cytometry Development Workshop 2019
November 14–17  |  La Jolla Shores Hotel, La Jolla, CA

The CDW is an event intended to bring together people directly involved in the development of novel technologies for cell analysis. Dr. Vacca is honored to have been invited to give a seminar on Kinetic River’s recent work in a talk entitled “Update on Time-Resolved Flow Cytometry.” The talk focused on Kinetic River’s instruments and applications using time-resolved flow applications, including Arno (compensation-free flow cytometry), Danube (the first commercially available fluorescence lifetime flow cytometer), and Tiber (a label-free metabolic profiling flow cytometer). Learn more >

NIH Flow Cytometry User Group Winter 2019 Meeting
December 12th | 2:00 pm
Lipsett Amphitheater, NIH Bethesda Campus, Bethesda, MD 

Dr. Vacca was invited to present on Kinetic River’s time-resolved flow cytometry technologies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. This event is free and open to the public. Dr. Vacca speaks at 2:00 PM and will give a talk entitled, “Innovative Time-Resolved Approaches To Flow Cytometry.” See the full agenda here >

CYTO 2019 Update

In Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Kinetic River exhibited at the 34th Congress of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry, from June 22–26. Dr. Vacca was selected once again to serve on the CYTO Program Committee, reviewing paper and poster abstracts for the conference. Appearing at the CYTO trade show, Kinetic River showcased three flow cytometer products at our booth:

  • the Potomac, completely customizable modular flow cytometer
  • the Danube, the only time-resolved flow cytometer on the market
  • the Arno, our compensation-free flow cytometer under development

Kinetic River also presented a poster at CYTO 2019. The poster was authored by K.P. Shevgaonkar, D. Vacca, H. Shah, E. Shain, R. McKay, and Dr. Vacca. The poster, “Benchmarking Compensation-Free Multiparameter Flow Cytometry,” highlighted the performance of the Arno compensation-free flow cytometer against a traditional cytometry analyzer. Performance was assessed using beads as well as a 4-color cell-based assay that stains leukocytes for CD3/CD4/CD8/CD45. The Arno system demonstrated comparable stability uniformity, sensitivity, dynamic range, and robustness compared to more mature, conventional cytometry instrumentation, while offering the benefits of fewer components, smaller footprint, and compensation-free operation.

Other Recent Events

Consultants’ Network of Silicon Valley 
Consulting in California: Understanding AB 5, and Keeping Your Independence
Dr. Vacca was invited to participate in a panel discussion during the November monthly meeting of the Consultants’ Network of Silicon Valley, an affinity group within IEEE. Held at SEMI in Milpitas, CA, the discussion provided attendees with an array of perspectives on the recently passed California State Assembly bill, AB-5, which impacts contractors and employees.

Learn more about the event >
Download the event’s full slide deck >
View the video recording >

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