I-Corps Team Spotlight: Just For You Genetics

Your mom was right. What you eat does matter!

Elvina Kung (Haas EWMBA ’16) and Erika Gray (UCSF PharmD) see the impacts of chronic disease every day at San Francisco General Hospital where Kung is a trauma nurse and Gray, a pharmacist .

The pair teamed up for last summer’s National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (NSF iCorps) at Haas with the goal of “revolutionizing personal nutrition”. Through extensive customer discovery and direct industry research, they found that foods targeting genetic effects were virtually nonexistent.

This matters, because single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) are changes in a single DNA base pair. Although it sounds small, some SNPs can lead to bigger downstream changes such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.

“What you choose to eat can turn on and off SNPs, leading to very different health outcomes,” says Kung.

The two have selected some initial targets and created nutrition bars to optimize health for folks with particular SNPs.

“What you see as food, we see as preventive medicine,” quips Gray.

Check out their quick pitch at last month’s Food Entrepreneurship event, starting at minute 1:35 and ending around 4:09.