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VOL. 130 | NO. 129 | Monday, July 6, 2015

I Choose Memphis: Isaac Rodriguez

Special to The Daily News

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

“I Choose Memphis” spotlights Memphians who are passionate about calling this community home. New Memphis Institute provides the profiles.

RODRIGUEZ

Name: Dr. Isaac Rodriguez

Job title and company: Co-Founder & CEO/CSO, SweetBio Inc. (www.sweetbiotech.com)

Length of time living in Memphis: Almost two years

Life history: My family is of Puerto Rican decent and I grew up in Fredericksburg, Va., with my sister, Kayla. At the age of 7, I earned my black belt in taekwondo, making me one of the youngest black belts in America. In 2003, I was selected as a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, which awarded a scholarship for my B.S. (University of Virginia, 2007), M.S. and Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University, 2010 & 2013) degrees, all in biomedical engineering. After graduating, I accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Memphis in the Tissue Template Engineering and Regeneration Laboratory directed by Dr. Gary Bowlin. While at the U of M, I co-invented a biomaterial with applications in oral surgery and wound healing utilizing medical grade honey, which led me to co-found my biotech startup company, SweetBio – a current participant in the local ZeroTo510 Medical Device startup accelerator hosted by Bioworks.

What current local initiative excites you most? I admire the young professional movement and the ease of getting involved. Organizations and programs that I participate in, such as New Memphis Institute’s Embark, Mayor Luttrell’s Young Professional Council, Grizzlies Team Up Mentoring, Crescent Club’s Young Executives and Memphis Urban League, are uniting the city’s YPs to invest in the future of Memphis.

What is your favorite local festival? I really enjoyed Burger Fest in Midtown. Sampling burgers from local restaurants and other teams was a great experience with friends while listening to live music.

What do you like most about your job? It’s exciting being part of a startup, particularly a medical device one in a medical device town. We have received overwhelming support/expertise from our ZeroTo510 program family, U of M, UT School of Dentistry, and overall community. I love how genuinely interested everyone is in our success and how willing they are to help us succeed.

What is your favorite local restaurant? One of my favorites is Rafa’s Mexican Grill in East Memphis. It’s a family-owned business with amazing food, portions, prices and service. They also now serve breakfast, which I’m looking forward to trying soon.

What do you find surprising about Memphis? I moved to Memphis sight unseen, not knowing what to expect. I was surprised to find that Memphis has something for everyone: outdoor trails, heavy community involvement, diverse nightlife, Broadway plays, concerts, nationally recognized festivals, great sports (Go Grizz!) and more!

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 28 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 25 98 716
BUSINESS LICENSES 4 26 302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0