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Start-up Company Donates Gift of Equity to UCLA Engineering

The school’s Institute for Technology Advancement was instrumental in getting the company up and running

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(L to R) Dwight Streit, director of ITA; Neven Karlovac, CEO of Holomic LLC; Dean Vijay K. Dhir; Professor Aydogan Ozcan; Les Lackman, deputy director of ITA

 By Matthew Chin

Holomic LLC, a start-up mobile microscopy  company, has given a gift of company equity to the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.  The company’s computational microscopy technologies were created at the school by Aydogan Ozcan, an associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, and his research group.  Those technologies were then accelerated for commercialization by the school’s Institute for Technology Advancement (ITA).

Ozcan’s research group has garnered a great deal of media attention and professional recognition in recent years for their work on lensless computational microscopy. Most recently, The Scientist declared the group's microscopy platform the top innovation of 2011, claiming the No. 1 spot in their Top 10 list.

Ozcan himself has been honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the National Health Institutes (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award as well as the Office of Naval Research and Army Research Office Young Investigator awards.

“We’re proud to see Holomic, yet another start-up company with innovative technologies developed here at UCLA Engineering, transition to its next phase through our ITA,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the school.  “I’d like to thank Holomic for this wonderful gift and wish them much success as they begin to bring their products to the marketplace.”

“For the past few years, my research group made some big leaps in developing lensless microscopy and expanding the number of applications that can benefit communities here in the United States and other industrialized countries, as well as  in resource-limited countries,” said Ozcan, also the founder of the company and a director. “Holomic has received great support from the school and ITA. We could not have gotten where we are without them and  I am very thankful for their support.”

The gift is 2% of the company’s equity.  Holomic is the third ITA-supported spin-off company  to give equity back to UCLA Engineering. The other two are WaveConnex, a maker of contact-less electronics connection technology, and, Easel Biotechnologies, which develops biofuels from recycled carbon dioxide.

Ozcan’s telemedicine microscopy platform captures images using a technology termed Lenseless Ultra-wide-field Cell Monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging (LUCAS). With this computational approach, the microscope can be miniaturized to the point where it fits on most cell phones, while remaining inexpensive enough for widespread use in developing countries.
Holomic is currently in the development stage and plans to introduce a product line of portable, cell phone or wireless based microscopes for a wide range of applications, including scientific research, point-of-care diagnostics, pathology labs, telemedicine and environmental monitoring. First product releases are planned for late 2012.

To find out more on Holomic LLC, visit the company’s Web site: http://holomic.com