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Venture Partner

Ian Peikon

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Life finds a way.

Biography

Ian is a molecular biologist, engineer, and entrepreneur. He has been involved in the formation and early company building of Lux portfolio companies including Kallyope as well as several other stealth Newcos.

Before joining Lux, Ian was the Head of Platform Biology & Technology at Kallyope, where he led a team of molecular biologists, neuroscientists, and data scientists in the discovery of new therapeutic targets that harness the gut-brain axis.

Prior, Ian worked on neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces at Duke University with Miguel Nicolelis, later completing his PhD at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he developed novel tools to map connectivity in the brain by leveraging high-throughput DNA sequencing.

Ian is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of a Lux-incubated stealth portfolio company.

 

What scientist or technologist has had the greatest impact on the world?

Santiago Ramón y Cajal. He was the first to posit, and demonstrate through beautiful illustrations of neurons viewed under a microscope, that the brain was made up of individual contiguous units. This discovery was foundational for all of modern neuroscience—a discovery that was all-the-more satisfying because he achieved it using a technique invented by his scientific adversary, Camillo Golg, who had believed the brain was a single continuous network.

What is the most exciting innovation of the past decade?

CRISPR-Cas based genetic tools.

What up-and-coming technology are you watching most closely right now?

There are three technologies that are headed for a collision that could unlock the next level of biological therapeutics. First, cryogenic electron microscopy is revolutionizing our ability to quickly determine the structure of proteins. Second, the ability to predict protein structures from primary AA sequence is becoming more feasible with growing structural datasets and new computational algorithms. And lastly, directed evolution is getting a boost from cheaper DNA synthesis and sequencing. At the intersection of these technologies, there is potential for precise protein design. Properly harnessed, this could be as transformative as the advent of recombinant DNA technology.

Key Facts

  • Co-founder and CSO at stealth Lux Newco

  • Avid Scuba Diver & Traveler

  • Favorite thing about smartphones: the ability to listen to "Car Talk" anytime, anywhere

Life finds a way. Ian Malcolm

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