Computational Biology Kicks Off Irvine's 'Igniting Technology' Series

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

April 12, 2006 -- A partnership entered into several years ago by two UCI researchers in then-unrelated disciplines is paying dividends now. Biologist G. Wesley Hatfield and computer scientist Rick Lathrop collaborated on research that was subsequently patented, licensed and spun off into a startup company called CODA Genomics Inc. CODA Genomics, which resided until last month in Calit2’s Computational Biology lab, has moved into new headquarters in Laguna Hills, Calif.

Last Thursday night at UCI’s Calit2 Building, Hatfield and Lathrop shared their success story with Orange County entrepreneurs and investors at the first “Igniting Technology” seminar event. Co-sponsored by Calit2 and intellectual property law firm Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, Igniting Technology is a four-part speaker series that examines UCI research and showcases the ways it can have broader applications in the business community.


G. Wesley Hatfield
Wes Hatfield
Rick Lathrop
Rick Lathrop

Moderated by Knobbe Martens’ partner James Hill, M.D., the event included an overview of the research that uses the power of computation to build synthetic genes for pharmaceutical and biomedical research. In addition to Hatfield, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics; and Lathrop, professor of computer science-computing; speakers included Bob Molinari, CODA Genomics’ CEO; and V. J. “Raj” Rajadhyaksha, senior director for business development at Paramount Biosciences LLC, who until recently was the associate director of UCI’s Office of Technology Alliances.


Igniting Technology panel of experts
Raj, Lathrop, Molinari and Hatfield
answer audience questions.
Liza Larsen Zicker

IGB student Liza Larsen Zicker
explains her poster

Jonathan Gruber
Jonathan Gruber shares his poster with a guest

Before the discussion began, guests networked in the Calit2 Atrium over hors d’oeuvres and examined posters presented by graduate students from UCI’s Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics. Some toured the Computational Biology lab in the building. During the presentation, Hatfield and Lathrop discussed their research, Molinari talked about his role at CODA Genomics and Rajadhyaksha discussed the process of technology transfer. The event concluded with the four panelists answering questions from the audience.

The next Igniting Technology event, scheduled for Thursday, June 8, will feature UCI’s Institute for Transportation Studies and its prototype for a “personal travel assistant.”


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