KGI Assistant Professor and Cardea Bio CSO Kiana Aran Receives National Science Foundation CAREER Award to Support Biosensor Development

Feb. 24, 2021 13:00 UTC

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dr. Kiana Aran, cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cardea Bio Inc., with the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. With this $549,509 grant, awarded to Dr. Aran through her faculty position at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), she aims to develop a single-molecule high-speed nano-electronic platform to better understand the function of CRISPR-associated enzymes.

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Dr. Kiana Aran, cofounder and Chief Science Officer of Cardea Bio. (Photo: Business Wire)

Dr. Kiana Aran, cofounder and Chief Science Officer of Cardea Bio. (Photo: Business Wire)

The NSF CAREER award recognizes promising early-career scientists who “have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization,” according to the NSF website. With her award, Dr. Aran will focus on integrating CRISPR with single-molecule graphene field effect transistors (gFETs) to study how these molecules interact.

“Our goal is to provide a tool to better understand the biology of CRISPR-Cas enzymes and the impact of CRISPR-Cas mutagenesis, as well as genetic variation on these enzymes’ function,” Dr. Aran said.

The outcome of this project will help define the electronic signatures produced by CRISPR enzymes to better understand the parameters affecting their function as they interact with nucleic acid sequences, which has applications in several industries, from agriculture to diagnostics.

“Too often, new academic discoveries and innovations gets stuck at the lab bench or in research papers. At Cardea, we are proud of our close partnership with KGI that allows Dr. Aran to fully express her huge talent. Seeing academia-style innovation integrate seamlessly with our commercial gFET platform is amazing for everybody involved,” said Michael Heltzen CEO of Cardea Bio.

In addition to her CSO role at Cardea Bio, Dr. Aran is assistant professor of medical diagnostics and therapeutics at KGI. KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, where KGI has become a recognized leader in merging biotechnology and healthcare education with commercial research.

To follow Dr. Aran’s academic efforts please visit

About Cardea Bio

Cardea is linking computers to the LIVE molecular signals running biology. Its multi omics technology consists of a Tech+Bio Infrastructure (hardware, software and wetware) and Chipsets manufactured with proprietary Graphene-based Biology-gated Transistors, or Cardean Transistors™ for short.

Cardean Transistors™ leverage graphene, a nanomaterial that is biocompatible and a near perfect conductor due to only being one atom thick, in contrast to the common semiconductor material silicon. Cardea thereby gains a signal resolution high enough to listen into the live molecular signals and that way replaces optical and static measurements with interactive live-streams of multi-omics signal analysis.

Cardea is on a long-term mission they call “Linking up to Life” to empower its “Powered by Cardea” partners with Tech+Bio solutions that will enable them to make significant positive impacts on the world via innovative applications, that are Linking up to Life. For more information about Cardea Bio Inc. visit

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2048283. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Source: Cardea Bio Inc.

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Dr. Kiana Aran, cofounder and Chief Science Officer of Cardea Bio. (Photo: Business Wire)

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