Investigative Researcher, Science and Technology Consultant, Consulting Assistant Professor
K-RITH (KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV); Strategic Business Insights (SBI); Stanford University; TED
Frederick Balagadde: Bio-lab on a microchip View talk on TED.com »
K-RITH Investigator, Dr. Frederick Balagaddé will establish a bioengineering research program that will leverage the power of microfluidics to multiply the output of clinical and laboratory technologists. Using specially designed microfluidic chips, technologists will be able to perform hundreds and thousands of diagnostics tests (or experimental measurements) simultaneously.
05/01/2008 – present
This project seeks to leverage microfluidics technology in the creation of low-cost disease diagnostics solutions for the Third World.
Dr. Frederick Balagadde is an Assistant Investigator at K-RITH—the new Africa site of Howard Hughes Medical Institute—located in Durban, South Africa. At K-RITH (short for KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV), Dr. Balagadde heads an independent, bioengineering research program aimed at leveraging the power of microfluidics large scale integration (MLSI) to multiply the output of clinical and laboratory scientists. Using specially designed microfluidic chips, the bioengineering program at K-RITH is working on low-cost, sample-in-answer-out diagnostic tools and high-throughput research platforms to address HIV and TB pathogenesis. This in turn will enable scientists to perform hundreds and thousands of diagnostics tests (or experimental measurements) simultaneously at low cost—a strategic initiative aimed at bridging the health resource gap in the developing world. As part of this vision, in December 2009, he was one of 20 individuals selected to comprise the inaugural class of the TED Senior Fellowship program. TED (or Technology Entertainment and Design) is a global network of the some of the world’s most innovative minds, determined to amplify the power of other ‘visionaries-in-the-making’ through its fellowship program. Prior to this, he worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a research scientist in the Engineering Technologies Division from 2007 to 2010. In July of 2010 he joined Stanford University as a consulting assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and embarked on an entrepreneurial odyssey involving the development of microfluidics technology towards low-cost disease diagnostic devices for the Developing World. He received his PhD in Applied Physics in 2007 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) located in Pasadena, California. In 2005, he developed the microchemostat–the first implementation of a microfluidic chip that cultures live bacterial cells in perpetuity. This seminal work, which was published in the Journal Science and featured on National Public Radio–a syndicated news network of 900 public radio stations in the United States–enabled discoveries about biological circuits that eluded detection in conventional settings. Dr. Balagadde also has experience in business intelligence gained through broad-based consulting roles at Strategic Business Insights (SBI)—an international consulting firm based in Menlo Park, California.