Joe Betts-LaCroix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Jonathan Betts-LaCroix)
Jump to: navigation, search

Jonathan Betts-LaCroix, (né Jonathan Betts) better known as Joe Betts-LaCroix, is an American scientist and entrepreneur known for his discoveries in biophysics and for creating the world's smallest personal computer. He is working to optimize medical research priorities in the U.S.

Joe Betts-LaCroix
Joe Betts-LaCroix at TEDxSF 2011
Joe Betts-LaCroix at TEDxSF 2011
Born (1962-02-26) February 26, 1962 (age 54)
Alma mater Harvard College
Occupation Executive Director, Health Extension


Beginning in earth sciences at Harvard, Betts-LaCroix contributed to the field of long-term regulation of oxygen on Earth over multi-100 Million-year timespans, quantifying the effect of the burial efficiency of organic carbon as a feedback mechanism.[1]

At MIT, he designed and built an autonomous, robotic system that enables research into ocean circulation patterns and climate change, by operating untended for up to one year at sea on battery power and collecting hyper-pure water samples at predetermined intervals.[2]

In work at Caltech, Betts-LaCroix moved into biophysics, publishing a paper in Science that has been cited by more than 500 subsequent scientific works.[3] In this work, he, along with David Beratan and Jose Onuchic proved for the first time that electron-transfer rates in proteins are determined by the electron orbital interactions in the protein structure.[4]


In 2000, Betts-LaCroix cofounded OQO, a computer hardware and software OEM credited by the Guinness World Records as having created the world's smallest Windows PC.[5] This created a new category of mobile computing devices between PDAs and laptops, which were initially dubbed the "Ultra Personal Computer", and which subsequently became known as the "Netbook". The device won many awards for its innovation, aesthetics and functionality.[6][7][8][9][10]

After OQO, Betts-Lacroix was active in Silicon Valley as a lecturer and mentor for CEOs of start up companies.[11]

Biotechnology & biomedicine[edit]

Betts-LaCroix has participated in the Quantified Self movement since the beginning,[12] and has given numerous presentations on aspects of self experimentation and tracking, including experiments in the 28-Hour day.[13]

In 2010 he joined startup Halcyon Molecular to lead its automation efforts. [14] Halcyon, funded by, among others, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, attempted to sequence human DNA using electron microscopes. The underlying goal of Halcyon's work was to make meaningful progress in understanding human biology in order to improve medicine.[14]

Following the theme of improving medicine, Betts-LaCroix founded [Health Extension |] in 2012. [15] The efforts of the people working in Health Extension are motivated by recognizing that

  1. Most healthcare money treats age-related diseases;
  2. Aging is the single biggest risk factor for these diseases;
  3. But funding to address the biochemical processes of aging is less than 0.01% of healthcare spending—and correcting this missed opportunity to optimally assign medical research and translation priorities.[16]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]