Peter Kimball ’03, a self-identified geek with a master’s degree in security informatics and a master’s degree in computer science, was working at his brother-in-law’s algorithmic stock trading firm when Kimball’s five-year-old nephew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
That would get the family going and change the direction of Kimball’s career.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce the insulin that regulates glucose and enables cells to produce energy. Kimball’s brother-in-law, Bryan Mazlish, was closely involved with controlling his son’s blood sugar levels and was surprised by the primitive state of dosing technology. He decided there had to be a better way. The creation of a mission became a family mission led by Mazlish. This included his wife (Kimball’s sister), a doctor with years of experience dealing with her own diabetes. Kimball’s father, who has a PhD in electrical engineering; and Kimball himself.
Read about other alumni who are making an impact on their professions and communities around the world.
Further alumni profiles
Through trial, innovation and reverse engineering, Mazlish and his wife were able to better and more easily monitor their son’s blood glucose all night. Monitoring is an extremely important job that required them to go to their son every few hours. That changed – Mazlish and his family crew developed a continuous blood glucose meter that worked remotely.
Mazlish co-founded Bigfoot Biomedical, a Silicon Valley company developing a next-generation automated dispensing system, and Kimball is a Bigfoot employee.
This year the company expects to commercialize its first system with an intelligent insulin pen cap designed to simplify dosing. The cap is connected to an arm-worn continuous glucose monitor and the monitor sends real-time glucose information to the cap for automatic and precise dosing.
Kimball is an all-rounder at Bigfoot. “I pretty much jump around and help wherever I can to keep things, develop, and move forward,” said Kimball, attributing his flexibility to his liberal arts education. He studied computer science and art.
He was a software developer, product safety engineer, and now a firmware developer. Firmware is software that runs on an embedded device, such as the smart pen cap.
When he goes to work, Kimball is always motivated. As he watched his sister, then his nephew, deal with diabetes, he understood the distressing and relentless nature of the disease.
“It doesn’t let up. You have to manage it every day. There is no remission from it; It doesn’t come in waves, ”he said. “I know we can develop technologies that make this less stressful and easier for those with diabetes. And that’s a really good driving force. “