Oct. 24, 2016

'NutriPhone' startup joins Cornell's McGovern incubator

McGovern center VitaMe
Dave Burbank/Cornell University
Li Jiang, front left, and Dakota O'Dell, front, examine a web page in the new laboratory space for VitaMe Technologies, as the director of the McGovern Center Lou Walcer, back left, looks on with Saurabh Mehta, associate professor of global health, epidemiology and nutrition in the College of Human Ecology, and David Erickson, the Sibley College Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Put healthful eating in the palm of your hand: VitaMe Technologies – the Cornell startup group that makes NutriPhone for personal nutrition testing – on Oct. 1 joined the university’s Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences.

“Most people understand the importance of adequate nutrition, but many of us are deficient in key micronutrients. That’s because there’s no simple way to check our levels,” said Li Jiang, Ph.D. ’14, chief executive officer of VitaMe Technologies. “Now, with NutriPhone, there’s a way for people to easily monitor their nutrition levels, to actively manage their diet and exercise based on reliable, scientific data.”

Through the McGovern Center, the company is focusing on getting to the market, he said.

With a drop of blood, NutriPhone – using a test cartridge, a reader and a smartphone app – can analyze a person's biomarkers in minutes and provide reliable health data on nutrition deficiencies. The VitaMe group has developed proprietary technology to detect and quantify vitamins as well as micronutrients. The NutriPhone uses unique test strips, specialized optics and custom algorithms to quantify the number of micronutrient-related biomarkers in your body.

This product development stems from similar work done in the laboratory of David Erickson, the Sibley College Professor in Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in collaboration with Dr. Saurabh Mehta, associate professor of global health, epidemiology and nutrition in the College of Human Ecology. Erickson serves as the company’s chairman, and Mehta will serve as a board member.

Dakota O’Dell, Ph.D. ’16, VitaMe’s chief technology officer and one of the inventors of NutriPhone, explains how the McGovern Center can help this new company.

“Joining the McGovern Center is a very good opportunity for us, as we get access to expert entrepreneurs, qualified mentors and a wide array of Cornell services,” he said. “Our technology was born out of research labs here at Cornell, and as a tech startup, it’s crucial for us to maintain close working relationships with Cornell researchers in order to remain at the forefront of personalized health.”