It’s time to put our CEO in the Spotlight: meet Katherine Clayton!

3 min readJun 23, 2021


Tell us about your journey, how did you accomplish being the Co-Founder and CEO of OmniVis?

I was working on my dissertation on a particular flow visualization method and applying it to biomedical problems. My PI’s, Drs. Steven Wereley and Tamara Kinzer-Ursem saw some of the work I was doing with DNA measurements and teamed up with Dr. Jacqueline Linnes to see how the technology could work for pathogen detection. The idea was exciting because I had worked on paper microfluidics for disease detection during my master’s thesis and wanted to pursue diagnostics after graduate school. Later my dissertation work was translated into a smartphone application and smartphone device with several, at the time, undergraduate students. One of those students, Andrew Witten, kept pushing to enter the work into different pitch and innovation competitions and we saw that this work could become a real business.

In 2017 Drs. Steven Wereley, Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, Jacqueline Linnes, and I took the plunge and formed the company. During my postdoc, I started to write grants for our products through SBIR mechanisms and won a grant to work for the company full time in 2018. Several years later, here we are.

You have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a BS/MS in Biomedical Engineering. You won multiple awards, grants, and scholarships. How did these help in starting your own company?

The academic degrees allowed me to learn skills that were necessary for the earliest stages of OmniVis’ product development. Biomedical engineering provided me with scientific knowledge and medical knowledge whereas mechanical engineering provided a skill set in fluid mechanics, optics, and design. Together, these skills allowed me to think critically about experimental design and building the product, which I would write into grant applications that helped fund our company’s R&D.

What do you personally like the most about OmniVis as a company?

I am clearly biased when it comes to this question because I like so much about it! Here are some things I personally love:

  • The team I get to work with
  • The customers and partners that we serve
  • The interesting science and engineering that’s always happening in the lab
  • Finding solutions to tricky problems within the market or policy
  • That our markets are so multifaceted and this allows for me to quickly learn, iterate, and apply new knowledge

How do you envision OmniVis to further grow?

I envision us to grow to:

  • Detect for other diseases in other spaces
  • Grow our diverse team to expand in many different disciplines and fields of expertise
  • Move to greater spaces and bigger labs
  • Grow our expectations for what we can accomplish — especially with helping lives

What do you like the most about your job?

I love that my work moves the OmniVis mission and vision further and that I have the opportunity to work with a team that also believes in the same goal. For reference on our vision and mission:

  • We envision a world where proactive disease detection advances the health of communities and cultivates a safer world for future generations.
  • Our mission is to create rapid detection technology that equips communities around the globe with the power and knowledge to protect their health.

Do you have any tips for people who want to start their own company?

  • Solve a problem you’re truly passionate about — because entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, so you better love what you’re working on
  • Find a group of like-minded founders for a support network
  • Stay honest and transparent
  • Make sure to take time for yourself — it’s easy to forget that when you’re chasing your dreams and building a company

Fun fact about yourself!

I did musical theatre for 5 years, so my hidden talent is my ability to sing ballads from different musicals.




👉 The power of the lab in the palm of your hand. | Designing devices to detect dangerous pathogens. | Rapid. Precise. Mobile.