First Microfluidics Lab Opens in South America

Projects & Participants

As a Biophysics PhD candidate at the University of California, San Francisco, Zac Apte is also the CEO of EvolveMol, the biotech company with which he applied to Start-Up Chile. After having arrived to Chile in July of 2011, he has been working meticulously on producing microfluidic devices which, currently, is not being done anywhere else in South America.

He has partnered with the Fundación Ciencia para la Vida (Science for Life Foundation) who has given him and his three Chilean coworkers space for their lab. Zach comments that it’s “something like the Gladstone institute at UCSF, with a combination of biotech companies, academic professors, grad students and incubator space. All in all, the place has a lively feeling, and reminds me a lot of UCSF.” Not to mention he is working with Pablo Valenzuela, one of the pioneers of the field of biotechnology who, like Zac, also boasts a post-doctoral degree from UCSF.

According to Stanford, “applications of microfluidics are among the greatest engineering challenges of the century and include drug discovery efforts, typing of single nucleotide polymorphisms for genetically-based drug prescription, fundamental genetics research, and proteomics.” Zac adds that, as part of Start-Up Chile, “we’re actually the first microfluidics lab that I’m aware of in Chile, and the first microfluidics company in South America. I feel like Start-Up Chile has offered us the opportunity to do something that’s not being done down here, which means that Start-Up Chile is opening doors and creating a new, modern economy.”