Meet the CEO
This article was written by Ken Tate, nominating Dr. Scott Vu for the NC State University Department of Computer Science Hall of Fame.
Dr. Scott Vu, CEO and Co-founder of RiboWiz Scientific, has a track record of surpassing expectations.
When Vu was four years old, his family was smuggled out of Vietnam on a boat – escaping the country as refugees. At the age of 15, Vu began his collegiate education at NC State University where he would triple major with honors in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering. During a time when most teenagers would be in high school, Vu was serving as a teaching assistant and lab instructor for a C++ and Java programming classes, performing undergraduate research, and tutoring other engineering students at NC State.
It was during his undergrad years that he began working on a project with his mentor, Dr. Donald Blitzer, and hoped to develop a biophysical model that would improve the time and costs associated with genetic manipulations in bacteria. Vu’s undergraduate project grew into a PhD dissertation as Vu pursued a doctorate in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill and, ultimately a company with a promising and disruptive technology.
In graduate school, Vu learned myriad life science techniques he needed to test the model in vivo, conducting the necessary experiments in the labs at NC State. Incorporating techniques from computer science, biophysics, molecular biology and microbiology, Vu was ultimately able to not only fine-tune his model, but to use the model to “optimize” genes in bacteria so that they would produce many desired proteins quickly and accurately.
With additional training and guidance from Dr. Mladen Vouk, Vu leveraged his research to co-found RiboWiz Scientific, an NC State spin-out company working to simulate and modulate novel protein synthesis mechanisms to maximize protein production for different biotechnology industries. Through its patent-pending and proprietary RiboScan™ software, that Vu designed, RiboWiz helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies operate more efficiently, saving them time and money. RiboWiz’s mission is to help clients successfully produce high-value, difficult-to-make recombinant proteins, e.g. biologics, vaccines, antibodies, enzymes, pesticides, for new treatments of cancer, AIDS, diabetes and other diseases and also for the advancement of agriculture and biotechnology. Vu believes that RiboWiz’s disruptive and enabling technology will help lower the cost of medicine and other products by making proteins easier and faster to produce.
Vu and his achievements stress the growing impact computing has across all disciplines, and how a person armed with the incredible combination of technical knowledge and passion can make a difference in the world in a socially relevant way. Vu and RiboWiz have the potential to create extremely positive change that could impact humanity on a grand scale.
Note: you can read more about Dr. Vu, and how his research led to the creation of RiboWiz, here.