Monitoring Health & Wellness
Phagoflux envisions to impact the health science, diagnostics and wellness sector by providing leading edge sensor technology for AUTOPHAGY ACTIVITY monitoring. Autophagy (literally ‘self-eating’), is an intracellular bulk degradation pathway, indicative of the cell’s self-cleaning activity. Similar to a car that requires regular servicing, or a household that requires cleaning, cells need to self-clean, otherwise, toxic material builds up. Importantly, this leads to disease onset such as Alzheimer’s disease. Also Diabetes and cancer are diseases that are characterized by autophagy dysfunction. Measuring autophagy activity is however very challenging. Phagoflux aims to provide solutions for the quantification and monitoring of autophagy to be applied in the research & pharmaceutical/drug screening industry, the diagnostics (Alzheimer’s Disease & Neurodegeneration) and wellness arena. Wellness, since high autophagy favours longevity and healthy cells, thereby counteracting the molecular processes that drive aging. The Phagoflux team, with its founding members Prof Ben Loos, Prof Jannie Hofmeyr, Dr Andre Du Toit, Prof Willie Perold and Prof Pieter Fourie, is an interdisciplinary lineup of experts with a wealth of experience, knowhow and passion in the fields of life science, engineering, computational modelling and the clinic.
Meet the CEO:
Prof Ben Loos, CEO Phagoflux (PTY) LTD
Ben Loos is Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology at the University of Stellenbosch, where he holds a PI position, leading the Neuro Research Group. His work over the last 10 years has sought to better understand the role of autophagy activity, i.e. autophagic flux, in cell death onset in neurodegenerative disease and brain cancer, with a view to better quantify and control autophagy function, so as to govern cell death decision making. He has published in journals with high visibility and impact (71 papers, >9000 citations, Google Scholar h-index of 29). The work is anchored in strong collaborative activities with electric/electronic engineering and computational systems biology, which has led to the development an autophagy sensing device as well as virtual reality guided 3-dimensional precision analysis software tools. Since 2020, Ben is CEO and co-founder of the startup ‘Phagoflux’.