Engineering alumnus launches company for early cancer detection

Srikar Raman
Srikar Raman

The early diagnosis of cancer offers the best chance for successful treatment. When cancer care is delayed or inaccessible, there is a lower chance of survival, an increase of problems related to treatment and higher costs of care.

To help those with cancer, Srikar Raman, who received his PhD in mechanical engineering from UIC in 2010, launched the health care company Tvaster Genkalp in 2021.

“We have invented a technology to detect liver cancer at an early stage using epigenetics, and we have filed for a patent as well,” said Raman, the co-founder and CEO of the India-based company. “We are in the field of cancer diagnostics. We are involved in mostly genetics and epigenetics, which is for molecular diagnostics.”

Tvaster Genkalp offers molecular diagnostic solutions for cancer by focusing on the identification of genetic and epigenetic modifications, enabling oncologists to make informed decisions.

“The best way to address cancer is with efficient diagnostic methods through which you can detect it at a relatively earlier stage than what it is being done now,” Raman said.

Before launching his own company, Raman gained a passion for research as a PhD student working under the direction of UIC Distinguished Professor Alexander Yarin in the Multiscale Mechanics and Nanotechnology Laboratory at UIC.

As Yarin’s first PhD student at UIC, Raman was researching nanofibers related to biomedical applications and the release of drugs through nanofibers.

“Professor Yarin, the way he thinks is absolutely amazing. It was a wonderful experience working in his lab and I learned a lot from him. He instilled in me the interest to do research. I always tell him that I wouldn’t have gone into research without him,” he said

While Raman has been away from UIC for nearly 15 years, he still thinks about Yarin and how he can potentially work with him again.

He believes that his company’s strength in the applied part of the research and Yarin’s strength in theory will advance science in both fields.

“I want to collaborate with Professor Yarin in some way or another. Once I have something more substantial, I will approach him and he can theorize some mathematical equations that he will just pull out of thin air and then make a theory out of it,” he joked.

— Written by David Staudacher

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