CEO and Founder Voxa

Dr. Christopher Own creates tools that deliver improved understanding of materials and biological systems at the sub-micrometer scale, to provide foundational elements that catalyze the next generation of technologies and discoveries.

Chris has more than two decades’ experience in scientific instrumentation with a focus in electron microscopy (EM) and analytical chemistry. He has founded three profitable companies and worked with multiple startup companies commercializing novel charged-particle based nanoscale imaging and characterization technologies. Trained at Northwestern University with funding from the prestigious Fannie and John Hertz Foundation fellowship, his technical career spans thin films research, electron crystallography, materials characterization, biological imaging/informatics, and spaceflight instrumentation. Chris has published in broad areas with over 50 publications, book chapters, and patents.

Chris was on the design team that produced the world’s first aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) at Nion company. It imaged individual atoms and impurities in sheet molecules like graphene and boron nitrene for the first time, which was reported on the cover of Nature magazine in 2010. He transitioned to the life sciences to help drive novel personalized medicine, leading a team to build the first EM-based gene sequencer at Silicon Valley startup Halcyon Molecular.

Chris’s current teams work to commercialize novel automated nanoscale imaging systems and related technologies, and have sent the first EM into space. Voxa’s deep technology portfolio of imaging and automation technologies pushes the envelope of microscopy, from petascale human brain maps at the synaptic level to the world’s first portable electron microscopes, bringing powerful analog capabilities into the digital and cloud-based present and future. Voxa systems have impact in broad fields, ranging from agriculture, ocean research, energy, exploration, and the biological sciences including to help unlock secrets of cellular organization and interaction. Voxa works with and serves with leading institutions including Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Chulalongkorn University, and the US government.

The tiny Mochii electron microscope will serve on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the backbone of research services at the ISS National Laboratory, where it will identify microscopic crew and space vehicle mission threats, serve as a platform for exploration beyond low Earth orbit including to Moon and Mars, and support novel microgravity research, engineering education, and technology development for the benefit of humanity.

Chris lives in Seattle with his wife and two children and enjoys road cycling, competitive eSports, and violin.