How a Life-long Fascination with Bacteria Led to a Startup

Columbus is home to world-renowned research institutions. These powerhouses excel in all areas of scientific discovery, from basic to applied science to spinning out and commercializing breakthrough therapies.

Scientists who deliver ground-breaking academic work and also wear an entrepreneur’s hat, bring a unique and special perspective to the discussion of “what does it really take?

Dr. Lauren O. Bakaletz and Dr. Heather Allen bring that unique perspective to this Inventors Edition of Founder’s Story. Dr. Bakaletz is behind the science powering Clarametyx, a platform that disarms bacteria, and Dr. Allen, is working with Rev1 on QC Eye, a handheld tool/AI solution to identify substances, including fake pharmaceuticals.

In this Q&A-based discussion, these scientists tell it like it really is:

  • How a life-long fascination with bacteria led to a startup.
  • Inventors: Why do they do what they do?
  • Academia or entrepreneurship, it isn’t an either/or.
  • How a scientist who started in academic chemistry ended up making tools.
  • Patenting, the double-edged sword.
  • How difficult is it really to protect intellectual property, and does it matter?
  • Which is better, founding a startup or licensing technology.
  • Being both a mentor and mentee.


Lauren O. Bakaletz, Ph.D., Tillie E. Coleman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research, Vice President for Basic Sciences Research, Director, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and College of Medicine Distinguished Professor, Departments of Pediatrics & Otolaryngology, The Ohio State University, and Heather Allen, Dow Professor, Ohio State Distinguished Scholar.

Lauren O. Bakaletz, Ph.D. is a College of Medicine Distinguished Professor, Departments of Pediatrics & Otolaryngology, The Ohio State University, and serves as Director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. She and her team study the molecular mechanisms that underlie polymicrobial infections of the respiratory tract, including otitis media, sinusitis, exacerbations of COPD and CF.

Dr. Heather Allen is a Dow Professor of Chemistry and Ohio State Distinguished Scholar. During her 20 year career at OSU, she has specialized in instrument development, laser spectroscopy, marine aerosols, and water surfaces. Her work has led to more than a hundred publications spanning areas of atmospheric chemistry to basic science to cancer detection. She is currently working with Rev1 on “QC Eye” – a new start up. QC Eye is a hand held tool that brings together artificial intelligence with tool design to identify substances such as gluten, drugs, and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.