Feles is unlocking the power of biology with an affordable desktop biolab.
Team members: Yixiao Jiang, John Min, Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Demetrios Kechris
From DNA testing to culinary experimentation, people have a lot of biology-related questions. Answering those questions is often difficult because biotech equipment is expensive and requires significant lab space. Students and citizen scientists need easy-to-use tools with multipurpose functionality that provide hands-on learning experiences.
“Biology has evolved to dramatically affect all of our lives over the past couple of decades, but even the most basic experiments and the equipment to do them are difficult to access for most people. We experienced these problems ourselves, and we want to change this reality.”
– Yixiao Jiang, Co-founder and CEO at Feles
Co-founders Yixiao Jiang and John Min connected in a biology program over similar experiences and a desire to simplify standard biolab tools. Feles — named for the Latin word for cat and inspired by the animal’s natural curiosity, elegance, and friendliness — was born out of an idea to make an affordable and portable biolab that provides most of the equipment found in a traditional lab.
The Feles One allows the public to explore biology using routine procedures done in professional biolabs around the world. Equipped with the six essential tools for molecular biology, the intuitive interface on the biolab enables users to extract DNA from surrounding organisms, test if vegetables are genetically modified, and identify species with DNA bar-coding. Testing kits and step-by-step instructions help first-time citizen scientists learn to use the machine and complete experiments.
With the Feles One, the team aims to start a biotech revolution like the home computer revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, allowing users to test everything from food and plants to their own DNA in their homes.
“The Feles One could help discover a new strain of bacteria that’s beneficial to home gardens, or a new edible fungus that can be used to replace meat products.”
– John Min, Co-founder and CTO of Feles
Working with educators, the Feles team is exploring how to bring the biolab to classrooms and integrate the Feles One into existing curricula.
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