A nanodiamond is forever. At least, in terms of fluorescent signal, they are. Fluorescent nanodiamonds never photobleach or blink. They are tiny fluorescent sources of steady and permanent near infrared light that can be leveraged to detect targets deep in tissue.

Bikanta’s nanodiamonds are superior optical probes for:

✓ Brightness

✓ Signal Stability

✓ Customizability (to target specific diseases)

✓ Biocompatibility (no toxicity)

Imaging Instrumentation

Bikanta is also designing novel imaging scanners and microscopes to improve detection capabilities. Nanodiamonds are exquisitely sensitive to magnetic fields.  This sensitivity can be used to reduce background noise more than 100-fold over current methods and to improve visualization deeper into the body. Already, Bikanta’s technology has been used to visualize lymph nodes that were invisible in conventional imaging, the first step to early metastatic node detection.

Nanodiamonds truly are our best friends.

The Team

Ambika Bumb, PhD

Bikanta’s founder and CEO Ambika Bumb graduated from Georgia Tech and obtained her doctorate from Oxford while on the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute where she developed Bikanta’s nanodiamond-based technologies. She has received numerous scholarships and awards for excellence in engineering and was profiled early in her career in Nature as a successful young scientist on the fast-track. Her endeavors in the areas of nanomedicine and diagnostics have led to multiple patents and many publications.

Terry Sachlos, PhD

A serial inventor with 8 patents, Oxford alumni Terry Sachlos previously co-founded TEOX Ltd which developed customizable bone grafts. As CSO of TEOX, Terry was instrumental in winning the Oxford University Business Competition and raising first-round funding for TEOX. He continued with postdocs at MIT, Harvard and McMaster University. His findings have led to a clinical trial to repurpose thioridazine as an agent able to selectively target cancer stem cells present in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients.

Li Zhuo, PhD

An accomplished product development professional, Li Zhuo has a long track record of new technology development in the fields of architectural coatings and medical diagnostics that he is now enthusiastically applying towards Bikanta’s innovations. Li started his focus on polymer colloids with early academic research and continued his graduate training in both surface chemistry and polymer engineering. After graduating from Lehigh University Emulsion Polymers Institute, he accumulated over 20 years of industrial experience in latex and nanoparticle synthesis, surface modification and characterization at BASF and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Min Wang, PhD

With 15 years of experience in biochemistry, microbiology, material science and nanotechnology, Min Wang joined the Bikanta team to accelerate nanodiamond technology development.  She was previously a Senior Research Engineer at Pharmaco-Kinesis Corporation (PKC) working on point-of-care diagnostics and biosensor functionalization chemistry.  Her training as a postdoc at UC Davis, as an American Heart Association fellow at UC Denver, and as a PhD student at Arizona State University is where she developed her expertise in bioconjugation, bioanalytical chemistry and assay development for diagnostics.

Roger York, PhD

Roger York brings to Bikanta experience building instrumentation to analyze biological questions. His background is in optics, surface science, reaction-diffusion processes, and electron transfer, supported by degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering. His PhD training was at UC Berkeley under Gabor Somorjai and he went on to post-docs under George Whitesides at Harvard and Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson at MIT, all seminal and pioneering scientists. He built MIT’s first sum frequency generation spectrometer and has been a consultant for several startups. He is now leading Bikanta’s optical imaging instrumentation development.

Joyce Wahba

A Chemical Biology major at UC Berkeley who is passionate about medicine and finding practical solutions to current health epidemics, Joyce’s interests are in synthesizing novel chemical tools to investigate biological systems. Her academic endeavors have included research on Multiple Sclerosis at Osaka University in Japan where she received 1st place in the program and studying stem cell differentiation into oligodendrocytes in the David Schaffer Lab. In her free time, Joyce enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and Alta Bates Hospital.

Jeanne Virca

Jeanne Virca is a life sciences professional with deep proficiency in sales and business development.  She has over 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry leading sales teams for such tools providers as GE Healthcare, Perkin Elmer, iGEN and business development teams licensing technology in the medical device materials market place with DSM Biomedical.  Her strengths include a passion for new technologies and a creative approach to problem solving.

Board of Advisors

Peter Dobson, PhD

Bikanta’s Board of Advisors is being led by Professor Peter Dobson, Principal Fellow at University of Warwick’s Manufacturing Group. As Director of Oxford’s Begbroke Science Park from 2002-2013, he was involved in the initial stages of many (>25) start-up companies. He has himself spun-off multiple companies including Oxonica, Oxford Biosensors, and Oxford NanoSystems, published over 180 papers and 30 patents, and been the Strategic Advisor on Nanotechnology to the UK Research Councils.

Ileane Rosenthal, MBA

Harvard MBA and finance executive Ileane Rosenthal, has been the Co-Founder of the International Biomedical Research Alliance, President of Churchill Partners, and Executive Vice President of Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIMFA). She brings strengths in strategic business development, client relationship management, marketing, funding, and program growth to Bikanta’s Board of Advisors.

William Annett, MBA

Five time CEO and currently that of Oncocyte, William Annett’s expansive diagnostics industry experience includes CEO at BioFX Laboratories (sold to a large life sciences company), founding and leading prenatal diagnostics Corra Life Sciences, and significant management positions at Genentech and Accenture. At Genentech, he led large operational projects with a $150 million budget and >400 team members and supported all development pipeline products and >200 clinical trials. As Managing Director at Accenture, he founded, built, and headed West Coast Life Sciences practice with sales, marketing, and delivery responsibilities for the entire territory.

Nalini Murdter, PhD, MBA

A 25 year veteran in biotech, Dr. Nalini Murdter has worked in the early stages to establish global businesses across life sciences and diagnostics markets. Currently Managing Director at JSR Micro, her previous roles have included Chief Business Officer at San Diego Blood Bank and NanoString Technologies and senior management positions at Agilent Technologies and Adeza Biomedical in Marketing, Acquisitions, Alliances, Venture, and Business Development. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Lymphedema Network, was previously an American Cancer Society Fellow, and a Senior Research Fellow at California Institute of Technology.

Dean Ho, PhD

Professor Dean Ho currently holds a position in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine and Division of Advanced Prosthodontics, Biomaterials, and Hospital Dentistry while also being the Co-Director of the Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology at UCLA. Highly recognized with many awards and high impact publications, Dr. Ho’s research has been in nanomedicine and on the development of nanodiamond complexes for clinically translatable applications, particularly for cancer therapy and wound healing. He was previously an Associate Professor Northwestern University.

Previous Team Members

Vishesh Jain

A recent Magna Cum Laude graduate from Brown University, Vishesh Jain has a passion for personalized medicine and interdisciplinary research. His scholarly and research experience at Brown and Stanford has included work in the fields of neuroscience, cardiology, synthetic biology, statistics, and computer science.  His research at NASA Ames Research Center led to the winning of the Gold Medal and Top 16 at the iGEM World Championship.  Along with his academic endeavors, Vishesh is dedicated to improving patient care and has volunteered at Rhode Island and the Stanford Hospitals.

Recent News

CareerGirls Feature Dr. Bumb

CareerGirls.org is a free, noncommercial, online platform which showcases video clips of diverse women role models sharing career and educational advice to inspire young girls to expand their horizons, improve their academic performance, and dream big about their...

read more

Bikanta’s work has been published on the covers of leading journals and as featured spotlights:

In the Press