Leaders & Innovators: Greg CaveyGreg Cavey is founder and lab manager at Launch MI Lab in Kalamazoo. Launch MI Lab is a laboratory for life science startups, located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center. It has more than 2,300 square feet of secure wet lab space and access to equipment, including mass spectrometry systems, centrifuges, autoclaves, flow cytometers, a variety of microscopes, incubator, lyophilizer, upright freezer, and standard lab supplies and tools. Under his leadership, the lab has helped companies such as Metabolic Solutions Development Co., which earlier this year published data on a new drug target it has identified for improving the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The company contracted with Launch MI Lab to help define the proteins involved and their mechanism of action. Cavey, a biochemist and experienced research investigator, founded Launch MI Lab after more than 20 years in proteomics, mass spectrometry, and lab management. Previously, he was a research investigator at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, where he established and directed the Laboratory of Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics for eight years. Earlier, he was a group leader in the Upjohn Co.’s Control Biotechnology Unit where he supervised a protein chemistry lab. Following Upjohn’s merger with Pharmacia, Cavey moved to human health discovery research where he established a proteomics operation that provided mass spectrometry support for biologists and protein chemists. Cavey currently provides mass spectrometry services and counsel for Southwest Michigan Innovation Center clients as well as for local, regional, and national research companies, universities, and colleges. He was named to the Association of Biomedical Resource Facilities Protein Sequencing Group to evaluate the use of mass spectrometry to determine the amino terminal sequence of proteins due to the growing popularity of mass spectrometry in biology and chemistry labs globally. Cavey received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University.
Leader & Innovator: Rich WestRICH WEST is founder and president of West Labs Scientific in Kalamazoo. Located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, West Labs Scientific performs cellular analysis for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as for research and academic institutions. A rapidly growing startup, the firm has expanded to add additional services, including flow cytometry, cellular analysis and imaging, veterinary hematology, and blood chemistry. In addition to developing West Labs Scientific, West has built relationships with Michigan colleges and universities and has served as a guest lecturer and host for interns from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Bridges to Baccalaureate program, the Michigan Shifting Gears program, and the Professional Science Master's program at Grand Valley State University. He visits middle and high schools throughout West Michigan, bringing a message that inspires and promotes careers in science. West’s early career was spent working in clinical flow cytometry at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. He then created and developed the stem cell engineering lab for the pediatric blood and bone marrow transplant team of De Vos Children’s Hospital, and fostered strong ties between the hospital, Michigan Community Blood Centers, and Calvin College. West then built and developed the flow cytometry core facility at the Van Andel Institute before becoming an entrepreneur. West is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists with his qualification in flow cytometry. He serves on the board of the Coopersville Area Public Schools and the Michigan Association of School Boards. West received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Central Michigan University. More at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders And Innovators: Rob DeWitRob DeWit is president and CEO of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center in Kalamazoo. The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a business incubator and accelerator for life science companies. The center celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and has about 75 percent of its lab space and nearly all of its office space occupied. The center initiated its Launch MI Lab, a fully equipped and staffed bioscience laboratory, in late 2012. Five companies have graduated from the center and moved on to become successful startups. Responsible for hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars added to the local economy, the center is expanding its offerings with a $600,000 Michigan Strategic Fund grant awarded in 2012. DeWit has 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry starting with the Upjohn Co. and serving the legacy companies in a variety of roles until retiring from Pfizer in 2008 as the R&D site lead in Kalamazoo. In addition to his continuous association with drug safety activities, DeWit led a complete preclinical laboratory in Japan for two years, participated in global acquisition team work, and represented safety interests for consumer health care, manufacturing quality assurance teams, and the animal health divisions of the various companies. He also aided research and leadership functions in the United Kingdom. DeWit started his career with Warner-Lambert/Parke Davis in Ann Arbor. He received his bachelor of science degree from Calvin College and his doctorate in toxicology from the University of Michigan. More at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders/bio_082013.asp