DNA – From Crops to Cancer, Ancestry to Aging

Date: Thursday, September 21, 2017
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Morrison & Foerster 755 Page Mill Road Palo Alto, CA 94304



In 2003, the Human Genome Project declared success in sequencing the first complete human genome, ushering in a new era of pioneering medical research and unlocking the secret code to life for all living things. Aside from realizing that we as a species are slightly less genetically complex than corn (but with a solid lead on your average flatworm) what have we actually learned? How much does genetics matter? Was that really worth $2.7 Billion? The short answer is yes or at least probably.

As the cost of sequencing plummets, applications are surging. This increasing utilization has driven market growth in big data analysis, cloud storage, and other IT-driven industries in addition to the boom of genetic-based diagnostics and disease-specific therapeutics.

While many of these technologies show tremendous promise for improving the quality of life for people across the planet, delivering better food in spite of variable climate conditions, or ensuring that the right drug goes to the right patient…advancing technologies also carry ethical, biological, and environmental consequences that must be examined.

Join ACG Silicon Valley as this panel dives into many of the applications and advantages of genetic approaches to current problems across a variety of industries, and discuss some of the potential risks and dangers within these technologies.


Our Distinguished Panel


Todd Meyerrose, PhD

Interim CTO & Head of Product
Genome Medical, Inc.

Todd is currently working as interim CTO and Head of Product at Genome Medical Inc., a nationwide medical practice and genetic counseling network delivering genome-centered patient care and physician education services.

Since 2015, Todd has been a VP at P4G Capital, where he is focused on small cap and lower mid-market buyouts within the healthcare, technology, aerospace/defense, and business services sectors. He has previously been on the founding team of several startups in the biotechnology and healthcare space including Lexent Bio, a genetic-based cancer diagnostic, and PathDrugomics, a computational drug discovery company.

Todd is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University where he lectures on commercialization and business strategy for healthcare companies through the GSB and School of Medicine. He completed his post-doctoral work in the Jaenisch lab at the Whitehead Institute, received a Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and holds a B.S. from the University of Kentucky.


Amanda Cashin, PhD

Co-Founder & Head of Illumina Accelerator
Illumina, Inc.

Amanda Cashin, PhD, is Head of the Illumina Accelerator and is helping launch the vehicle in Mission Bay, San Francisco. Illumina Accelerator is the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry.

Previously, Amanda was Senior Vice President of Life Science at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments.

Amanda earned a PhD in Chemical Biology from the California Institute of Technology and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Organic Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her scientific expertise and peer-reviewed publications are in the fields of biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, pharmacology, electrophysiology, and neuroscience.


Reece Hart, PhD

Chief Technology Officer
Genome Medical, Inc.

Reece is CTO at Genome Medical, Inc. a nationwide medical practice and efficient genomic services network providing high quality genomic medicine consultations and genetic counseling services, bridging the gap between genome technology and medical practice by serving both physicians and patients to move us toward a more genome-centered healthcare system.

Prior to Genome, Reece was a Research and Engineering Fellow at Invitae, a genetic information company specializing in genetic diagnostics for hereditary disorders.

Reece is an entrepreneurial scientist committed to empowering people with access to accurate and meaningful health information. His primary interest is in building a health and genome information ecosystem that enables individuals to maximize the value of their health information for themselves, their families, and causes they support.


Kyle Kurpinski, PhD

Partner, Exploration Team

Kyle is a Partner with Tencent’s Exploration Team, and works to identify and evaluate potential strategic investments and business development opportunities with an emphasis on early stage investing in startup companies building novel core technologies to help improve people’s lives. Responsibilities include deal sourcing, technical analysis, general due diligence, and portfolio management.

Kyle holds a joint Ph.D. in bioengineering from UC Berkeley/UCSF with an emphasis on stem cell technologies and tissue engineering. His career encompasses scientific, academic, and industry perspectives, with a primary focus on bringing new medical technologies to market.

Kyle’s goal is to excel in business and entrepreneurship by applying his creativity, problem solving skills and analytical mindset to help advance products that improve human lives.

Kyle has extensive experience in mammalian cell culture and molecular biology with additional work in micro/nanofabrication, mechanobiology, and polymer science. He is broadly interested in scientific, entrepreneurial, and commercial aspects of medtech and biotech.


Jamie Bacher, PhD

Boost Biomes

Jamie is Co-Founder at Boost Biomes, a startup company addressing food security by developing novel biopesticides. The first product in development will address urgent needs for high-value specialty crops, where the current best practice includes toxic chemicals that are being regulated out of use; the total opportunity in the US easily exceeds $1B. The company generates new products using advanced, proprietary technology to understand and engineer microbial communities in the soil. Fungal pests destroy enough food every year to feed 600 million people; Boost technology will ultimately benefit global food supply with a product line that addresses pests in large-acreage row crops.

Over the last decade, Jamie as been at several companies at the forefront of generating renewable resources and sustainability, including leading biofuel startup Sapphire Energy; and Total, the fifth largest energy company, co-directing their $100M biofuels
partnership with Amyris.

Jamie carried out post-doctoral work at Maxygen, Inc. and at the Scripps Research Institute. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Molecular Biology, and a BSc in Biology from McGill University.