Athens Lab Uses Bacteria To Fight Disease

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Producing bacteria that interact with DNA to cure disease, sounds like a job for a laboratory in one of the world's largest cities, but in fact this ground breaking technology is happening right here in Athens. 

Joseph Kittle is the founder of Molecular Technologies Laboratory: a technology development company that specializes in engineering bacteria to produce medicines. 
"MTL was formed here from a simple idea in that bacteria can be used to make useful proteins. A lot of our focus is on therapeutic proteins because those are high value and they help people," said Kittle.
One of the things this company does on a daily basis is take the bacteria in test tubes, extract the DNA and then engineer that DNA to produce proteins. Those proteins can be used in medicine to cure diseases.
Kittle founded the company only 5 months ago and already has a list of clients eager to work with his team. Kittle attributes part of his success to Ohio University and the Athens area and the hiring opportunities it provides.
"We're pulling in local talent to make this happen, in fact, it wouldn't happen without all this local talent," said Kittle.
Kittle says the other key to success is Ohio University's Innovation Center in Athens that has helped him expand and grow since day one.
"It also wouldn't happen without the support of the OU Innovation Center. Everything is set up here for a biotech business or iTech business to succeed," said Kittle.
OU's Innovation Center also works to put businesses, like Kittle's, on fast track to success.
"For us, we've got laboratory space which we were able to move into, bring our equipment in and very quickly set up a working lab. We were able to do in four days, something that in Texas when I was doing a startup, it took me four months. And something that took in California over a year to achieve," said Kittle.
Kittle is a native of Southeast Ohio who grew up in Glouster. 
When he's not working in his lab, he spends his time teaching as an assistant professor in OU's chemistry department.