building blockchain

Growing Houston blockchain company expands C-suite

Houston-based Data Gumbo has a new C-level exec to lead its growing sales team. Courtesy of Data Gumbo

After expanding into the Asian market last month, a Houston blockchain startup has grown its C-suite with the addition of a chief commercial officer to lead its sales team.

Data Gumbo Corp. has brought Bill Arend onto its team. Arend brings over 20 years of experience in software sales from the likes of Workday, Oracle. and Microsoft. The new hire comes at a time when Data Gumbo continues to expand, and, in March, the company brought on Indonesia-based client, Air Drilling Associates Indonesia-based client, Air Drilling Associates, a drilling and project management service provider.

"The opportunity abounds for Data Gumbo to help industry leaders to streamline current processes, eliminate errors, reduce contract leakage and save on costs," says Andrew Bruce, CEO of Data Gumbo, in a news release.

"Arend has the proven track record to support our mission in helping industrial players realize greater efficiencies and the leadership skills to scale our growing team as we continue to garner commercial momentum."

Data Gumbo's GumboNet is a robust blockchain network that provides automated contract execution for industrial clients. Beginning in the energy industry, Data Gumbo has since expanded into water management and construction.

"I am excited to join the Data Gumbo team to serve the market," Arrend says in the release. "There is a huge opportunity to provide industrial global enterprises a solution that drives down operating expenses by automating smart contracts."

Since its inception in 2016, the company has raised over $9.3 million in equity funding and grown its clientbase. The company, based out of The Cannon, operates as a blockchain-as-a-service model to improve efficiency for its industrial clients.

"In today's business climate, company's must look at their processes critically to find ways to improve productivity and cost efficiencies," Arend continues in the release. "Data Gumbo is well positioned to aid in that digital transformation for forward-looking companies."

Bill Arend has been named Data Gumbo's chief commercial officer. Photo courtesy of Data Gumbo

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This UH engineer is hoping to make his mark on cancer detection. Photo via UH.edu

Early stage cancer is hard to detect, mostly because traditional diagnostic imaging cannot detect tumors smaller than a certain size. One Houston innovator is looking to change that.

Wei-Chuan Shih, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering, recently published his findings in IEEE Sensors journal. According to a news release from UH, the cells around cancer tumors are small — ~30-150nm in diameter — and complex, and the precise detection of these exosome-carried biomarkers with molecular specificity has been elusive, until now.

"This work demonstrates, for the first time, that the strong synergy of arrayed radiative coupling and substrate undercut can enable high-performance biosensing in the visible light spectrum where high-quality, low-cost silicon detectors are readily available for point-of-care application," says Shih in the release. "The result is a remarkable sensitivity improvement, with a refractive index sensitivity increase from 207 nm/RIU to 578 nm/RIU."

Wei-Chuan Shih is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering. Photo via UH.edu

What Shih has done is essentially restored the electric field around nanodisks, providing accessibility to an otherwise buried enhanced electric field. Nanodisks are antibody-functionalized artificial nanostructures which help capture exosomes with molecular specificity.

"We report radiatively coupled arrayed gold nanodisks on invisible substrate (AGNIS) as a label-free (no need for fluorescent labels), cost-effective, and high-performance platform for molecularly specific exosome biosensing. The AGNIS substrate has been fabricated by wafer-scale nanosphere lithography without the need for costly lithography," says Shih in the release.

This process speeds up screening of the surface proteins of exosomes for diagnostics and biomarker discovery. Current exosome profiling — which relies primarily on DNA sequencing technology, fluorescent techniques such as flow cytometry, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) — is labor-intensive and costly. Shih's goal is to amplify the signal by developing the label-free technique, lowering the cost and making diagnosis easier and equitable.

"By decorating the gold nanodisks surface with different antibodies (e.g., CD9, CD63, and CD81), label-free exosome profiling has shown increased expression of all three surface proteins in cancer-derived exosomes," said Shih. "The sensitivity for detecting exosomes is within 112-600 (exosomes/μL), which would be sufficient in many clinical applications."

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