An electrical engineer who previously designed blood-glucose monitoring systems for Abbott, Gordon Sanghera has helped put Oxford Nanopore at the forefront of a revolution in DNA sequencing.
Starting with the 2014 rollout of the company's handheld MinION device, which allows users to sequence DNA and RNA in real time, he has overseen the launch of a portfolio of game-changing tools that are currently used by thousands of researchers in medicine, epidemiology, environmental science, forensics, and genomics. In 2017, Sanghera introduced the benchtop GridION, with five times the capacity of the MinION. Also in 2017, it launched the powerful PromethION, capable of sequencing a whole human genome for less than $1,000. All three devices leverage Oxford's proprietary nanopore technology, drawing long strands of DNA through hundreds of nanoscale holes in a special membrane and reading the sequence in real time by detecting the unique electrical signature of each DNA letter (A, T, C, G).
Later this year, Oxford, which in 2018 raised $140 million from investors, plans to release the low-cost SmidgeION, which will plug into a smartphone and let an average user at home diagnose a flu, measure telomere length as an indicator of aging, and more.