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Cyclotron Road Announces Newest Cohort of Entrepreneurial Fellows

Fellows will embed for two years at Berkeley Lab developing new commercial solutions to the world’s most pressing scientific challenges

2021 Cyclotron Road fellows: (top row) Antonio Baclig, Kezi Cheng, Jae Cho, Pete Christensen, Sam Green, Aaron Hall; (bottom row) Ben Jenett, Fatma Kaplan, David Mackanic, Ahmet Ozcan, Jimmy Rojas, Karl Cameron Schiller. (Courtesy of Cyclotron Road)

2021 Cyclotron Road fellows: (top row) Antonio Baclig, Kezi Cheng, Jae Cho, Pete Christensen, Sam Green, Aaron Hall; (bottom row) Ben Jenett, Fatma Kaplan, David Mackanic, Ahmet Ozcan, Karl Cameron Schiller. (Courtesy of Cyclotron Road)

This month 11 scientists and engineers will join the prestigious two-year fellowship program at Cyclotron Road based at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley.

Selected from a record pool of 300 applicants, these 11 individuals will make up Cohort 2021 of Cyclotron Road. As part of their two-year fellowship they will work to bring to market innovative, research-driven products to improve the sustainability and scalability of modern energy systems. The projects, listed below, include development of low-cost energy storage, nontoxic agricultural pest management and next-generation plastics designed for longevity and infinite recyclability.

“This year’s cohort is made up of incredibly talented, passionate people solving many of today’s most important problems,” says Cyclotron Road Division Director Rachel Slaybaugh, who also serves as associate professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley. “Our fellows work across a wide range of industrial sectors with global impact. Their early-stage companies consistently leverage the resources provided by the program to accomplish really impressive stuff, both in terms of scientific success like breaking records and business successes like raising the funding they need to succeed.”

Since the program’s inception in 2015, Cyclotron Road fellows have collaborated with more than 70 Berkeley Lab scientists and their professional networks in jump-starting hard-tech ventures.

Cyclotron Road alumni and their organizations have now hired more than 330 employees and secured more than $315 million in follow-on funding to launch commercial technologies across major industries.

This year’s Cyclotron Road fellows and their startups include:

  • Antonio Baclig: Inlyte Energy’s battery made from iron and table salt could be a game changer for affordable storage of renewables on the grid.
  • David Mackanic: Anthro Energy is pioneering flexible batteries that are safe and tough enough to put in watch straps and aircraft walls.
  • Jae Cho: Enertia Microsystems is commercializing a fused silica gyroscope that matches the performance of state-of-the-art gyroscopes at one-hundredth the cost and the size.
  • Kezi Cheng and Pete Christensen: FLO Materials is commercializing a new class of infinitely recyclable polymers to enable the transition to a more waste-free system.
  • Aaron Hall: Intropic Materials is developing high-performance plastics that last exactly as long as they are needed.
  • Ben Jenett: Metavoxel Technologies’ scalable, low-cost manufacturing process makes materials with controllable properties, enabling lightweight, adaptive structures and systems that do more with less.
  • Fatma Kaplan and Karl Cameron Schiller: Pheronym is an agricultural biotechnology company developing nontoxic solutions for pest management through innovative pheromone applications.
  • Sam Green and Ahmet Ozcan: Semiotic AI’s mission is to build a secure negotiation protocol to automate digital transactions and trading in decentralized markets.

Berkeley Lab is the first of the nation’s national laboratories to implement a creative fellow-embedded entrepreneurial program. Cyclotron Road works in close partnership with Activate, an independent nonprofit that provides specialized entrepreneurship training and a curriculum designed to help innovators bring their research to market. Cyclotron Road is also supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office as one of three Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs.

Other partners include the California Energy Commission, additional DOE offices, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and a number of philanthropies and industry partners.

More information about Cohort 2021, and additional information about the fellowship program, can be found on the Cyclotron Road website.

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Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.