As the founder and self-declared #girlboss of Kaitek Labs, Emilia Díaz is a synthetic biologist with an engineering background who at 22 founded the company supported by a $350K grant from the Chilean government for research and development. Following, she was named one of the 100 young bio-leaders of tomorrow by Global Biotech Revolution at 23.
As stated in Kaitek’s website, “We are Kaitek Labs. And we are transforming bacteria into computers.” Díaz has been on this journey since persisting with her idea to develop a rapid detection kit for red tide: a phenomenon that turns shellfish toxic to humans.
The bacterial sensor works with a simple color change to indicate the presence of shellfish toxin directly from the extract without expensive and complex instrumentation. This makes it useful for rapid point-of-care detection of toxins in coastal regions, where a large number of people depend on seafood.
What is this #girlboss up to now?
Currently, Díaz is finishing up the 4 month RebelBio programme in Cork, Ireland. There, they closed first sales in June with a major client in the UK. This client will be trialling their initial research kit. There is no limit on global reach for Kaitek Labs, as they have received interest from potential clients in Australia, South Africa, and the US to try this kit later this year.
During RebelBio’s most recent interview with Emilia, she said, “After Demo Day in London on July 26, we expect to raise enough to continue the tech development of the kit, so that it can evolve from a research version to a fully characterized laboratory version and ultimately to the field kit we have been dreaming of.”
Along with continuing this development, Kaitek wants to reach out to as many potential customers as possible to try out the initial version of the kit for feedback to improve upon the current version. They are on track to produce the most powerful tool for the industry, regulators, and the general common consumer for environmental toxin monitoring.
Make sure to check out Kaitek Labs website and read about founder Emilia Diaz on her personal website that she updates regularly. Additionally, RebelBio’s Demo Day information for London on July 26 can be found here.