Misti Ushio is CEO of TARA Biosystems, a New York biomedical startup. TARA develops miniature human hearts from stem cells, helping drug companies test new compounds without bothering actual human beings until late in the screening process. The heart-on-a-chip technology bathes heart tissue in a solution of a prospective drug, then observes for electrical, chemical, mechanical, structural, and biological (gene expression) reactions. TARA currently uses generic tissue but in the future it hopes to personalize the process, testing individual heart cells with certain drugs.
Eventually, Ushio says, drug companies may not need to test drugs on animals and humans--they will use artificially created cellular platforms, like TARA’s.
Previously, Ushio was a venture investor with Harris & Harris (now called 180 Degree Capital Corp.) and before that, a researcher at Merck. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University (BS, Chemical Engineering), Lehigh University (MS, Chemical Engineering) and University College London (PhD, Biochemical Engineering).