Photoswitch Biosciences was founded in 2010 to advance applications of designed-for-purpose, photo-activated ion channels. It became clear that new tools were needed to advance the research. The therapeutic mission has been separated so that Photoswitch Biosciences today can focus on providing advanced tools to the research community. 

Our mission is to provide best-in-class instrumentation to the industrial and academic research communities. Founded by scientists familiar with need for reliable instrumentation and advanced software, the user experience is at the core of our design.


Photoswitch Biosciences has assembled an experienced team of scientists, executives, and advisors with drug discovery and development expertise and a proven history of bringing new high-value cell-based assays and instrumentation to market.

Jay Trautman, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Co-founder. Experienced pharmaceutical research, and life science instrument development, executive. VP Discovery Research & Technology at Cytokinetics; VP/CEO at SEQ/Praelux (through acquisition by Amersham); Scientist at AT&T Bell Labs.

Andy Blatz, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Co-founder. Internationally recognized expert in ion channel physiology, drug discovery and life sciences instrument development. VP at Axon Instruments, Inc

Jonathan Ross, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Co-founder. Seasoned finance professional with more than twenty years experience in entrepreneurial business management, investment underwriting, venture capital, corporate finance and business development at Convexus Advisors, Babcock & Brown, GATX Capital, Cargill Financial Services and Piper Jaffray

Tom Lila, PhD

Senior Scientist

Experienced assay development scientist formerly with Arete Therapeutics, Cytokinetics and Microcide

Stephen S Smith, PhD

Business Development Manager

Former ion channel screener at Lexicon Pharmaceutical and Director of Client Services at ChanTest. Extensive experience deploying new platforms to market at Axon Instruments, Molecular Devices, Fluxion Biosciences and Essen Bioscience



Co-founder. Professor and Head of Division of Neurobiology, UC Berkeley; Member, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Director of UC Berkeley-LBNL Nanomedicine Development Center. Internationally recognized expert in ion channels and synaptic function. Co-inventor of photoswitched ion channels.


Co-founder.  Professor of Neurobiology; Member, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Associate Director, UC Berkeley Nanomedicine Center. Internationally recognized expert in ion channels and retinal physiology. Co-inventor of photoswitched ion channels.


Co-founder.  Janice Cutler Professor of Chemistry at NYU. Member, Center for Integrated Protein Science, Munich (CIPSM). Internationally recognized expert in chemical biology of ion channels and natural products. Co-inventor of photoswitched ion channels.

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