Dr. Sean J. Hart, Ph.D – President & Chief Executive Officer.
Sean Hart, Ph.D., is the President and Chief Executive Officer of LumaCyte, a revolutionary research, instrumentation and diagnostics company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA.
Dr. Hart and his team developed the technology behind LumaCyte’s label-free analysis and sorting platforms while working on systems for biowarfare defense at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), with funding from both NRL and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
LumaCyte’s technologies provide biopharmaceutical companies with a powerful new tool to detect changing cell phenotypes in drug candidates. The technology can also rapidly detect viral infection in mammalian cells which is useful for infectivity studies for viral vectors and live/attenuated vaccine development and production.
LumaCyte’s mission is to provide scientists and researchers with transformational research tools that accelerate biological and pharmaceutical discovery through a novel label-free approach to single cell analysis and sorting. Current state of the art high content analyzers and cell sorting instruments rely almost exclusively on antibody labels, and as such do not provide acceptable detection for many applications including cancer biology and early stage phenotypic drug discovery.
Specifically, both genetic and antibody labels are known to induce inflammatory cascades and other biochemical reactions in cells that can bias the instrumental response and mar the resulting conclusions. It has been suggested that this bias contributes to the high attrition rate of drug candidates in human clinical trials: a tremendous problem that results in substantial loss of time, capital investment, and most importantly human lives. In contrast, the use of a high content label-free system during preclinical screening may help better predict the clinical performance of a drug candidate.
LumaCyte's patented, label-free technologies help researchers gain a better understanding of disease, accelerate the development of therapies and discover cures for some of humankind’s most pressing heath concerns.
Dr. Hart has over 50 journal articles, numerous invited and contributed presentations, 4 patents issued / 4 pending, and has managed large research teams with million dollar budgets. Dr. Hart has extensive experience in a diverse range of research areas including spectroscopy, laser trapping and separation, optical engineering, chromatography, chemical and biochemical separation, statistical data analysis/calibration and artificial intelligence. Dr. Hart received his PhD in Chemistry from Tufts University in 1998.
Dr. Colin Hebert – Vice President, Biotechnology.
Since joining the innovative, fast-growing company in February 2015, he has focused on strengthening its core areas of expertise by directing the setup and maintenance of LumaCyte’s cell culture facilities, designing internal and external biological experiments and collaborating on the design and construction of analytical platforms.
Dr. Hebert earned a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland. In addition to his contributions to the label-free cell analysis platform developed by LumaCyte, he has also authored 10 publications.
“My freshman year of college I ran into a professor in the Biological Resources Engineering department who opened my eyes to the potential of designing and applying living systems to solve problems. I have been hooked ever since.”
As a bioengineer, Dr. Hebert has keen appreciation for the implications of LumaCyte’s innovative approach to single-cell analysis and is especially motivated by the technology’s potential to impact and improve society and people’s lives.
As a start-up, LumaCyte calls upon staff to introduce LumaCyte’s technology to scientists working across the entire spectrum of research settings – from small private labs to richly resourced biopharmaceutical companies to leading edge university research centers.
“The amount of time it takes to explain the technology varies, but once they get their head around it, scientists are generally excited about the idea of analyzing cells without labels and looking for intrinsic changes that might be difficult to see using other methods.“
Dr. Chris Field – Vice President, Software & Electronics
Shortly after joining the company, Dr. Field began developing LumaCyte's custom software applications for its analytical instruments, designing the electronics for the RadianceTM instrumentation, and overseeing implementation of the company's network and IT infrastructure.
He earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign after earning a B.S. in Chemistry and Computer Science from Drake University. He was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory. His accomplishments include: National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD); Jerome and Isabella Karle Distinguished Scholar Fellowship at Naval Research Laboratory; Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education (REE) Fellow at Stanford University; Tomas Hirschfeld Award for Inventiveness from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry & Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS); Lemelson-Illinois Prize for Innovation and Inventiveness Finalist from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was awarded patent US20140001280A1 for developing a Method and System for Generating Vapors of Liquid Solutions.
His specialized skills add important dimensions to LumaCyte’s products and services. Over the course of his career, he acquired expertise that is now influencing nearly every element of LumaCyte’s game-changing technologies. For example, his work on an integrated sensor testing system capable of simultaneous evaluation of up to 384 prototype micro-fabricated vapor sensors for trace explosives detection helped him understand the importance of hardware and software automation and parallel processing techniques. Similarly, the insights he gained while designing data acquisition software for academic and government laboratories has made end-user functionality and high throughput automated analysis central design concepts for all of LumaCyte’s products.
“I am most interested in the ability to innovate and quickly turn ideas into solutions. I am excited by the opportunity to design, build, and deploy products that push our understanding of the universe and force us to look differently at scientific problems. I want to build systems that empower scientists to gain insights and understanding not previously possible.”