Alumni working at the Scripps Research Institute are conducting a study to improve the real-time surveillance of contagious respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 using data from smartwatches and activity trackers. Through the app-based DETECT study, Katie Baca-Motes (MBA ’09 and Director of the All of Us research project), Royan Kamyar (MBA ’10, physician and CEO and founder of Owaves app) and project manager and incoming MBA FlexWeekend student Lauren Ariniello, along with their colleagues, are crowdsourcing anonymized data across the United States.
“By evaluating individual changes to heart rate, sleep and activity patterns, as well as logged respiratory symptoms and diagnostics test results, the Scripps’ team hopes to complement traditional public health surveillance methods, potentially leading to earlier detection and containment of current and future outbreaks in various geographical locations,” said Baca-Motes.
Rady Alumni Board president Josh Kuss is the Senior Director of Commercial Strategy at Illumina and the commercial lead for the company’s San Diego Emergency Management Team. The team has been working since March “defining and implementing the strategies for how we keep Illumina’s employees safe, while ensuring supply to our customers, many of which are on the front line of SARS-COV-2/COVID19 research, tracing, and treatment. We tackled how to transition to work from home, and are now in the process of determining a sound return to work strategy,” said Kuss.
Krithi Bindal (MBA ’17) is the founder and president of Aroga Biosciences, a regulatory writing biopharma firm which has been donating their scientific expertise to peer-review pre-print literature related to COVID-19 research.
“We are in a period of information overload,” said Bindal. “Misinformation about COVID-19, especially information lacking scientific rigor, can lead to significant risk to the public. I feel it is our duty as scientists to ensure effective communication and to help delineate scientific factual results from fiction. After all, our job as scientists is to find the truth.”
“The name of our company Aroga is based on the sanskrit term ‘arogya”, which means free of disease. We hope to continue to contribute to freeing the world of disease as we help to develop treatments for ailing patients. As we navigate these challenging times, our mission is unchanged and is stronger than ever.”
Richard Castle (FlexWeekend MBA ’13), the co-founder and president of Cloudbeds, a hospitality management software, launched the #HospitalityHelps initiative. The online platform facilitates connections between hotel properties that want to make their beds available to healthcare agencies, organizations or individuals who need them. Within a few days, the more than 1.2 million beds had been pledged at HospitalityHelps.org.
Jaden Risner and Clay Treska (FlexWeekend MBA ’19) founded Family Proud an app to help patients and their caregivers and loved ones manage their care, while they were students at the Rady School. In Spring 2020, the Family Proud platform was updated to include resources and support for those affected by COVID-19.
Snehanshu Tiwari, Vishnu Sharon R. and Sakshi Sharma (MSBA ’18) contacted Professor Ken Wilbur to offer their help reviewing resumes, preparing for interviews or make introductions for current MSBA students graduating this summer. When Professor Wilbur shared this update on LinkedIn, even more alumni offered to help!
Steve Prestrelski (FlexWeekend MBA ’06) is the founder and chief scientific officer of Xeris Pharmaceuticals, which is offering its GVOKE Pre-Filled Syringe—an injectable treatment for diabetes patients who experience severe hypoglycemia—for $0 copay through May 31st.
The team at Indigo Marketing Agency, founded by Claire Akin (MBA ’10). prepared a list of tips for working from home. “Indigo Marketing Agency is a company run almost completely virtually by mothers of young children,” said Akin. “We saw so many of our clients struggling to adapt, so we wanted to offer our tips and tricks for working at home (even with small children) … I believe that we are helping our team members support their families and spend time with their children. It’s the best of both worlds and it provides a highly fulfilling lifestyle!”
Sean Haggerty (FlexWeekend MBA ’17), founder of Protector Brewery, made curbside pickup and delivery available, in addition to offering the brewery’s supply of filtered water available to those in need. Protector Brewery has pledged to donate $1 from each order to Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization supporting veterans impacted by COVID-19.
Sara Jones (Flex Weekend ’13) is the CEO of Plum Blossom Creations. She is offering free workshops on The Big Four of Mental Toughness. “As an Unbeatable Mind student, I learned first-hand the power of the Big 4 of Mental Toughness in my fight against Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I used the Big 4 to feed my Courage Wolf, stare down my fears and thrive through the health crisis that threatened my life.”
Roche Diagnostics North America, of which Matt Sause (FlexWeekend MBA ’06) is president and CEO, developed the first available commercial test kit for the novel coronavirus, which was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.
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