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Springtime at Zansors: Progress, Renewal and Excitement

 Dr. Abhijit Dasgupta

Dr. Abhijit Dasgupta

Spring is in the air!!! Spring is a time for opening closets and boxes, airing out the house and renewing actions and activities as we thaw out from the cold winter. Zansors is no different. We’d like to open our doors and windows and let you in to see what we’ve been up to as a company and the exciting places we’re going in 2016.

Let me start with a re-introduction. Zansors is a biotechnology, sensor and mobile app company based in the DC metro area, who wants to help you Know Yourself. We are involved in several R & D projects with collaborators both locally and nationally, sponsored in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to create the usable, relevant, reliable and accurate tools (not toys) that will help you, your loved ones, and your caregivers learn about you.

Know YourselfTM

This is us, our mission. To help you know yourself. This is why we’re passionate about building the best, reliable and accurate sensor platforms and apps for health and wellness. Today, we live in an “on demand” world where everything, from banking to communication to information, is at our fingertips on our smartphones and pads. We ask, why can’t information about how we’re doing be in the same “on demand” world? Why can’t you instantly know if you’re dehydrated after a run (especially in the muggy East Coast summers), or whether you really achieved a good night’s sleep, or if you’re holding on to stress after a hard day at work, or if you are truly relaxed before you go to sleep. Our bodies are amazing, and like all of nature gives us signals if only we’re willing to listen. Our sensors and apps are your listening device, your portal into how you’re doing. Monitoring breathing, sweat, temperature, heart rate and even components in your skin and blood can provide great insight into your current state, available to you at the touch of a Zansors button. To find out more about how Zansors can help you know yourself, please watch this brief movie.

 Image by randy ohc

Image by randy ohc

As a company we are inspired by management guru Jim Collins’ concept of BHAGs, or big-hairy-audacious-goals. Our BHAGs are motivated by our brand ethos of Know Yourself, and are aimed at enabling positive change for individuals, society and humanity as a whole. For example, our sensors can be used for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), for children in the poorest parts of the world where they can enable accurate screening of pneumonia, for water testing in homes and communities, for detecting silent heart attacks in women, and for improving the lives of cancer survivors. The common theme here is that we want to produce sensors and apps that empower the individual, the family, and the community. The story of Flint, Michigan is fresh in our minds, and the impact on families there could have greatly reduced if families had access to do-it-yourself water biosensors.

Tools, not toys

Zansors is entering a world where wearables and sensors have become commonplace, but not reliable. A quick Google search can reveal problems with consumer wearables even with as simple a task as counting steps, let alone trying to figure out someone’s sleep. These products are used for a few months, are not reliable or accurate, and soon are consigned to the kitchen drawer. To our way of thinking, these are not useful products; they are toys.

Zansors’ mission of helping you Know Yourself means we will provide you with reliable, accurate, useful products, i.e., products you can depend and rely on as a portal into yourself. As we go through R&D and manufacturing, we’re always driven to build the best evidence-backed products we can. We want to create tools, not toys. This is our map. At every step of our process, we reflect to ensure that we follow this map and create the best possible evidence-driven tools for you. How do we do this?

  • Superheroes in lab coats in Zansors Labs: We have a superhero team of bioengineers, data scientists, information architects, software programmers, hardware designers and design experts. They work at their desks and on their benches solving hard problems in healthcare that translate into products you will use.

  • Superheroes building the future: We want to create tools that are futuristic, ahead of our time, and perhaps beyond what you’ve thought possible, or which solve a very hard problem like a BHAG.

  • Superheroes prove their tools, not just make tall claims: Our tools have already gone through some clinical testing against current gold standards. Many of our tools have been supported by the NIH SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs, where they have undergone peer review. We use good study design, statistical thinking, and modern algorithms to ensure that our tools are backed by strong evidence, and we’re willing to show you the data. We will share the “beef” with the scientific community through conferences, journals and scientific reports.

  • Clinical testing rules!: Tools should be safe, useful and reliable. Many of our tools will need to be tested in a clinical setting. In fact, we want our tools to be in Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved studies, where our tools are required to be safe and effective before being tested on patients and animals. This allows us to assure you that what you get from Zansors is of high quality, safe and effective.

Highlights from 2015

The Zansors scientific and production teams worked hard in 2015 to conceptualize, design and build high quality products that you will soon see. Here are some highlights for the year

  • Met President Obama to talk about innovation! Yes, that President Obama! The White House invited Zansors Co-Founder and Chief Data Science Officer Dr. Abhijit Dasgupta to attend the highly rated Hardball TV program and talk about small business needs in trade with Asia, and aspects of intellectual property, patents and copyright as it pertains to small businesses and trade. President Obama kept referring to our very own Abhijit as “the good doctor”.

  • Completed an IRB-approved clinical study: Wearable tools made by Zansors went through our first IRB-approved clinical study on patients. We were lucky to collaborate with the University of Michigan to recruit patients and apply our products to test against gold-standard healthcare technologies.

  • Winning grants for our sensor and app innovations: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the world’s premiere organizations supporting innovative research and development in medicine and healthcare technologies. NIH offers research grants to small businesses that are awarded after careful scientific peer review and vetting of commercialization plans. We have been fortunate to be awarded several small business research grants over the year that have helped us advance our technologies, allowed us to maintain our focus on BHAGs and our mission to create tools to Know Yourself, and ensure strong evidence-based products.

Excitement for 2016

Here is a peek at what you can expect from Zansors this year!!

  • Bring real products: Yes, Zansors is about Research and Development (R&D) and innovation. We have made good progress towards bringing you the tools and products you can use in your own home to Know Yourself. We will be introducing our first product later this year. Stay tuned!

  • New team members: We have maintained a core group of superhero team members for a few years, but are always on the lookout for great talent to help us on our mission. Among others, we are lucky to have added Nicole Stout, DPT, CLT_LANA as our Vice President of Medical Affairs. Nicole brings an amazing career and experience as a former clinical researcher at Walter Reed Hospital, cancer rehabilitation researcher, and a well-known expert in telemedicine. She’s emblematic of the type of multi-talented individuals that make up this company, driving it to deliver products and tools that will make a difference to the consumer, patient, healthcare professional.

  • More partnerships: We have built strong partnerships with academic departments and medical centers that support our mission and help with our R&D. We will continue to work with world-class organizations like the University of Michigan, George Washington University, George Mason University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the coming months, we will also be announcing exciting collaborative partnerships with several not-for-profit organizations and large corporations. We also look to expand our partnerships to other Federal agencies beyond successful existing relationships with the NIH and the National Cancer Institute.

As Zansors gears up to show you what's possible to Know Yourself, creating tools that will change the way you view your health and well-being, stay tuned to this channel. We'd love to have you along for the ride!

About the author

Dr. Abhijit Dasgupta is Co-Founder and Chief Data Science Officer of Zansors, LLC. 

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