Ixcela Leadership Team
Dr. Erika Angle
Meet Biochemist Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle, the force behind Ixcela. Erika serves as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Ixcela. She is a graduate of M.I.T. and received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine.
“I’ve been working on and testing ways to improve my own personal internal fitness and well-being for over a decade. I founded Ixcela to create better and more effective natural, science-backed interventions and make them readily available to everyone.”
Dr. Wayne Matson
Dr. Wayne Matson is Co-Founder of Ixcela and serves as its Chief Scientist. He has been at the center of the field of metabolomics for 30 years. He holds a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and is considered a “father of modern metabolomics.”
Dr. Matson founded ESA Biosciences, Inc., one of the first Massachusetts-based biotech start-ups, in 1968. At ESA, he developed the leading global test for childhood lead poisoning, as well as tests for iron deficiency, separations research, and various novel diagnostics. He holds over 100 patents.
“One of the reasons I founded Ixcela was to bring years and years of research and technology out of the lab and into real, actionable diagnostics and therapeutics that can help to create better health for all.
The “Metabolomic Network” is complex and still not fully defined by any one technology. However, there exist biomarkers reflecting metabolomic/genomic interactions and by testing and analyzing your gut microbiome/metabolome we can gain insight into what therapeutic actions can be taken to reduce chronic disease risk and create and maintain overall better wellness. That’s been my scientific passion and life’s work.”
Ixchel or Ix Chel (Mayan) is the name of the goddess of healing and medicine in ancient Mayan culture.
Ixcela: The Internal Fitness™ Company Summary
Ixcela: The Internal Fitness™ Company is a hard science based company that helps individuals improve their internal fitness. For a variety of lifestyle related reasons, the body’s internal biochemistry can be moved from a healthy balanced state to a state that can lead to chronic disease. These chronic conditions include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and diabetes. Additionally, poor internal fitness may cause less severe, but more common health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and leaky gut.
The Ixcela approach is focused on restoring internal fitness by a sophisticated test which identifies key small molecules associated with the gut microbiome that are out of balance, and an individualized therapy which restores these molecules to their proper levels through a personalized program which includes proprietary supplements specifically targeted at improving gut microbiome health.
Ixcela has developed a pin-prick blood test which looks at the levels of 12 unique small molecule metabolites shown through experimentation, peer reviewed literature and clinical studies to be associated with gut microbiome health. Analysis of the blood spot is performed by proprietary technology including the Electrochemical Array (CoulArray) invented by our co-founder Wayne Matson. Ixcela is also developing unique supplements to help regulate the specific biomarkers that are not at optimal levels. Thus, Ixcela provides a comprehensive approach to a) determining gut microbiome dysbiosis and b) providing actionable solutions to restoring proper gut microbiome health and ultimately improving internal fitness.
The Ixcela leadership team brings together proven successful entrepreneurial experience including multiple exits with world-class science. Our Pinnacle award winning CEO Erika Angle, Ph.D. (Biochemistry) partners with our Chief Scientist Wayne Matson, Ph.D., founder of ESA, Inc., who is the inventor of the Electrochemical array (CoulArray) and the hand-held lead blood test used extensively to monitor childhood lead levels, amongst many others.
Our board currently includes: Colin Angle, CEO, Chairman, Co-Founder of iRobot; a manufacturer of consumer and military robots; Heiner Dreismann, former CEO of Roche Molecular Systems, Nick Soloway, Patent Attorney of Hayes Soloway, Erika Angle, and Wayne Matson.
Elizabeth Villar, Ph.D., Research Scientist
Elizabeth is a chemist who received her Ph.D. from Boston University, where she studied computational methods for assessing small molecule interactions with proteins. Her doctoral work focused on the class of compounds known as “macrocycles,” and their role in drug discovery. Elizabeth’s research on the interaction of natural product macrocycles with their protein targets lead to the development of a series of guidelines for synthetic macrocycle inhibitor design.
At Ixcela, Elizabeth works on the methodology for extraction, identification, and analysis of metabolites from blood samples, especially with regard to ensuring precision and accuracy of the process. She is also involved in the accretion and organization of current research publications concerning the microbiome and related metabolites, with efforts towards communicating developments in this new and important area of science to those outside of the field.
Before her Ph.D. studies, she also worked in the field of materials chemistry at BASF.
Srikant Sarangi, Ph.D., Director of Data Science & Engineering
Srikant is a biomedical engineer who joined Ixcela in 2016 following his graduation from Boston University. His background is in the field of medical device development, data analytics, biophysics, and protein characterization. At Ixcela, Srikant is responsible for developing data automation applications, providing mathematical and statistical analysis support, and setting up the IT infrastructure.
Srikant's doctoral work involved developing an optical methodology for early detection of Alzheimer's disease pathology.
Prior to graduate school, Srikant worked in pharmaceutical drug discovery (AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline).
Suzanne Hammer, Office Manager - Executive Assistant
Suzanne handles scheduling, meeting support and office administration, and keeps things running smoothly from day to day.
Before joining Ixcela, Suzanne worked in digital publishing—leading customer service and assisting with production and website testing for a medical publishing portal. In addition, she has been indispensable in supporting several business owners in various capacities and industries throughout the last few years.
Suzanne received her B.A. in English from Gordon College and spent a year studying English Literature at the University of Oxford, Wycliffe Hall.
Samantha Matson, Director of Research, Co-founder
Samantha Matson studied biology and chemistry at LIU.
She began her love of science as a 4 year old when her father would bring her to his lab on weekends. She officially began working in the research field in 1988, when she was offered an internship with Naval Blood Research studying artificial blood, hypothermia and oxygen transport and osmosis in red blood cells.
When she completed her internship she took a position in the field of breast cancer research where she was an associate scientist developing a blood test for monitoring breast cancer patients in remission.
Samantha went on to do research under prominent scientists at Harvard University and Mass General Hospital in the field of heart muscle. She managed the labs and investigated the biochemistry and histology of electrical current on muscle cells and proteins and antibodies associated with muscle contraction and relaxation.
She has also worked as a clinical technician and research assistant at the Mayo Clinic in the Biochemical Genetics-Inborn Errors labs.
Samantha spent the last 14 years of her research career focusing on the biochemistry, histology and metabolomics of neurodegenerative diseases (HD, ALS, AD and cognitive disorders), gut function and heart-related disorders.
At Ixcela, Samantha manages the day-to-day workings of the laboratory, has scientific input on long range research projects, test development and ongoing collaborative projects with Universities, Hospitals and NASA.
Peg Pietras, Research Scientist
Peg Pietras joined Ixcela in 2013 following her association as a Science Associate in the Systems Biochemistry Laboratory of Dr. Wayne Matson at the Bedford VA Medical Center. Her work contributed to a Parkinson’s Disease study to determine the in vivo effects of the antioxidant CoQ10 in improving the health status of PD patients.
Prior to joining the Matson lab, Peg had honed and developed her skills as a laboratory professional for over 20 years. First, as a Research Associate with Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Boston’s Children’s Hospital in the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine (1992-2001). Under the direction of principal investigators, Don C. Wiley and Stephen C. Harrison, the focus was on structure determination of immune complexes such as MHC Class I and MHC Class II molecules and viral envelope proteins involved in cell binding.
Peg’s work at Howard Hughes Medical Institute then led to a position as Associate Scientist with Abbott BioResearch Center in Worcester, MA (2001-2010) in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. While there, Peg began work on late stage characterizations and structure studies of the anti-TNF antibody now marketed as Humira. Her work led to the structure determination of this immune complex. Later work was directed toward assay development for exploratory small molecule agonists of GPCR targets having disease relevance for Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Pain.
As a Research Scientist at Ixcela, Peg’s efforts have advanced the discovery of proprietary gut metabolites currently under investigation as oral therapies to alleviate diseases caused by dysbiosis.
Ixcela Board of Directors
Heiner Dreismann, Ph.D.
Dr. Dreismann, is a seasoned executive with more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, and is regarded as a pioneer in the early adoption of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, one of the most ubiquitous technologies in molecular biology and genetics research today. He had a successful career at the Roche Group from 1985 to 2006 where he held several senior positions, including President and CEO, Roche Molecular Systems, Head of Global Business Development, Roche Diagnostics and Member of Roche's Global Diagnostic Executive Committee. Dr. Dreismann currently serves on the boards of several public and private health care companies. He earned a master of science degree in biology and his doctor of philosophy degree in microbiology/molecular biology (summa cum laude) from Westfaelische Wilhelms University (The University of Munster) in Germany
Colin Angle guides the strategic direction of iRobot. One of the world’s leading authorities on mobile robots, Angle is an industry pioneer with more than two decades of experience. Under his leadership, iRobot is at the forefront of the growing robot industry, delivering home cleaning and military robots that are making a difference.
Nick Soloway, Esq.
Mr. Soloway received his SB from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1962 and his LLB from Boston College Law School, on a full tuition scholarship, in 1965. While attending law school, Mr. Soloway taught undergraduate college level courses in inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry, and a graduate course in instrumental analysis at Boston College.
Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle — CEO and Co-Founder
Erika Ebbel Angle received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2012 from Boston University School of Medicine. She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2002 Erika founded Science from Scientists, an award winning National nonprofit focused on improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) attitudes and aptitudes for children aged 9-13.
Erika currently serves on the Massachusetts STEM Council Legislator Education Work Group and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education STEM Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.
In 2014 the Boston Business Journal selected her as one of the “40 Under 40″ business and civic leaders who are making a major impact in their respective fields in the Boston area. Her accomplishments have also been recognized in 2015 by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Award for Emerging Executive. In 2013 the Boston Chamber of Commerce selected her as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Leaders” in Boston. Selected by L’Oreal Paris as a 2007 Woman of Worth for her work with Science from Scientists, Erika has been featured on Lifetime TV and Nova Science Now on “The Secret Lives of Scientists and Engineers.”
Erika served as a Commissioner for the MA Commission on the Status of Women. Erika was Miss Massachusetts 2004 in the Miss America Scholarship program.
Outside of work, Erika enjoys SCUBA diving, skiing and, a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, continues her lifelong passion for classical piano. She is married to Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.
Wayne R. Matson Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Co-founder.
Wayne Matson studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a B.S. in Chemistry (1964) and Ph.D. (1968) in Analytical Chemistry.
From 1968-1970 at the University of Michigan as Research Associate and then Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, he studied the sources, distribution and human effects of toxic metals. From this work it became obvious that lead in particular was a clear and present danger to children.
In 1970 he co-founded ESA, Inc. with overall responsibility for technology and programs to address this problem. He invented devices for field testing of childhood lead poisoning and nutritional deficiency, provided liaison and testimony with congressional committees for funding and led the analytical effort in the first national CDC study conclusively demonstrating the extent of elevated lead levels.
In the 1980’s he focused on the problem of chronic and neurological diseases, inventing systems and concepts for simultaneous analysis of over a thousand critical biochemicals (an area of research now called Metabolomics). On the sale of his company in 2005 he returned to Academia studying the metabolome of thousands of subjects for predictive diagnostics, individual specification of therapy and development of interventions. From this work it became obvious that there were biochemical risk factors for a number of chronic diseases and conditions that should be monitored and controlled.
He co-founded Ixcela to apply techniques in Metabolomics, Genomics and Proteomics to clinical problems of early detection of disease or disease risk, evaluation of therapies and development of risk preventive measures on a population wide basis.
He has over a hundred peer reviewed publications and US/foreign patents in the areas of instrumentation, statistical concepts, diagnostics and therapy development. His professional goal is disease prevention—one of the small classes of social problems that has technology solutions.
IXCELA’S INNOVATIVE SCIENCE
The Ixcela story
Ixcela was co-founded by Dr’s Erika Ebbel Angle and Wayne Matson with a group of outstanding scientists (see the biographies of our amazing co-workers). All of us had developed technologies and methods for the study of a range of diseases for diagnosis, predictive diagnostic risk factors and specification of therapy (personalized medicine).
After deep analysis of the complex biochemical profiles for over 1000 compounds in several thousand subjects, it became clear to us that the microbiome (the some 6-10,000 species in the gut – second largest organ in the body) was a critical part of the biochemical web distinguishing normal from disease subjects. Understanding these webs could also allow the prediction of therapeutic response. Additionally, the biochemistry of the microbiome had direct links to the function of other organs including the brain.
This led us beyond the ideas of diagnosis and therapy to the concept of promoting biochemical wellness (“internal fitness”) through measurement and control of the microbiome with specific, personalized intervention based on testing.
Ixcela and the “Omic web”
The basic scientific concepts behind Ixcela are:
- Biochemical wellness or “internal fitness” is based on optimum operation of the “Omic web” which consists of the:
- interaction of the Genome (30,000 some genes)
- Transcriptome and Proteome (some 100,000+ RNAs and Proteins)
- Metabolome (some 10,000s of small signaling and process molecules)
- Microbiome (some 6-10,000 species).
- That the composition of the competitive species in the Microbiome is genetically determined initially, but offers the easiest and most significant part of the Omic web for intervention.
- That the Omic web is “holographic” and can be well if not completely described by measuring a small subset of critical metabolites
Ixcela’s innovative technology was developed to allow for the measurement of this critical subset of metabolites from just a small drop of blood on a piece of special filter paper. The process:
- Using an Ixcela Internal Fitness™ Test kit, a small drop of blood from a finger stick is placed on a filter paper pad.
- The kit is closed and the blood is rapidly dried to stabilize critical compounds.
- On receipt the exact amount of blood is determined using proprietary Ixcela technology.
- The 12 key metabolites of interest are then extracted from the blood on the filter paper.
- The metabolites are then analyzed using a liquid chromatography (LC) technique employing Electro chemical Array Detection (ECA) originally invented by Dr. Matson, which he modified for the Ixcela test for greater sensitivity (a few thousandths of a trillionth of a gram).
- A small amount of the extracted sample is archived for possible evaluation of any individual specific abnormalities.
- A report is generated from the analysis of the 12 key metabolites and evaluated against what is considered to be a normal, healthy range of levels
- To promote and facilitate internal fitness by the process of easy measurement of an individual’s biochemical state of several key metabolites
- To make appropriate suggestions of dietary or life-style changes
- To make appropriate personalized suggestions of supplements when needed
- Re-measure the individual’s profile periodically to monitor the beneficial effects of the changes, with the goal of improved internal fitness leading to overall better health and well-being