Position: Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Endowed Chair in Systems Biology and Professor
Organization: Wayne State University
Research focus: Gene pathway analysis
Sorin Draghici, Ph.D., holds the Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Endowed Chair in Systems Biology, as well as appointments as full professor in Wayne State University’s Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, and the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
His research in the field of gene pathway analysis — a computational technology that can analyze disease samples and find the mechanisms of disease — was the foundation of the Plymouth-based biotech company Advaita Bioinformatics.
“We have had incredibly positive feedback from all our users about our software. Every single scientist who tried our tools was impressed by its ease of use and ability to discover things that cannot be seen with other types of analysis” Draghici said. “We are also very excited about our recent partnerships with LifeMap and Riken-Genesis. In particular, Riken-Genesis has become the exclusive distributor of the Advaita products in Japan.”
Last year, the company was the recipient of $2 million in research funding through the National Institutes of Health’s highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research Grant. Advaita employs several Ph.D.-level researchers from University Research Corridor schools, and has plans to hire more software developers as it grows the business in 2015.
A number of large U.S. research universities use Advaita’s technology, including Harvard, Columbia, University of Michigan, University of California and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The technology is also used abroad in France, the United Kingdom and other countries.