(760) 298-2355 info@etaluma.com
About Us
Our Lumascopes focus on: quality images, versatility, compact design and ease of use.
Our Approach

Microscopy Simplified

Etaluma, Inc. is a privately held Life Sciences company focused on bringing high resolution, lower priced fluorescence microscopes to more markets and a wider range of users. Etaluma’s LS Microscopes (Lumascopes) constitute a dramatic new concept in digital fluorescence microscopy that combines high resolution; power, control and image capture via USB connection directly to a computer; and greater versatility, including the capability for time-lapse and live videos.

Providing true next-gen microscopy, the compact, inverted design allows imaging in a wide range of labware and settings, including live cell imaging in incubators, hoods, and other challenging locations.

Working Together


Etaluma’s diverse team of engineers and scientists continue to develop and implement its powerful core technologies in additional cost-effective formats, including those with multiple levels of automation and customization for integration into other instrumentation.

Etaluma is also establishing a range of OEM arrangements with other companies involving its optical components, microscopy systems, private-label LS Microscopes and accessories. Custom designs are also possible by Etaluma’s experienced Engineering team.

Meet Our Staff

Management Team

Chris Shumate, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Chris has spent over 30 years in the development, application, and marketing of analytical equipment with the majority of that time concentrated in biotechnology applications. He has held key technology and management positions at several start-up and more established companies such as Hamilton, Sagian, Aurora Biosciences, and Cytokinetics. Prior to co-founding Etaluma, he co-founded Blueshift Biotechnologies, which was acquired by MDS Analytical Technologies in 2008. He also co-founded CytoPrint, which was acquired by Atto Biosciences, now part of BD Biosciences. He has a large breadth of knowledge of the industry and the requirements of successful instrumentation. He has over 40 publications and presentations and holds 14 patents. Education: B.A. Chemistry, 1984, Washington University; Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, 1989, Washington State University.

Robert (Kenji) Levin

Chief Technology Officer- Emeritus

Robert has over 30 years of engineering experience with industrial and scientific instruments. He has contributed to and directed a wide variety of projects including automated cooking equipment, printer controls, combinatorial chemistry sorting systems, slurry dispensing machines, automated microscopes, and gas chromatographs. In the 1990s Robert worked in Japan for five years in the hard disk manufacturing industry and became fluent in Japanese. He holds a patent for a parallel liquid dispensing system and a patent for a tire changing machine. Education: B.S. Physics, 1991 San Diego State University.

Christina Smith

Director of Sales

Christina has over 30 years in the sales and management of clinical and research tools for life sciences.  She has worked for a variety of instrumentation and automation providers from start-ups to Danaher.  Christina brings the technical and account management skills required to support the Etaluma technology offering.

Frank Ryan

Chief Financial Officer

Frank handles all aspects of corporate risk management and finance. He is also a visiting professor of finance at SDSU and teaches The Global Financial Environment course in the MBA for Executives program. After obtaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Frank gained the bulk of his applied financial experience from Eastman Kodak as a financial planner. At Kodak, he analyzed dividend policy and quarterly performance for its Asian, African, and Australian regions, and developed annual financial goals for these divisions. He worked on an award-winning inventory reduction team, international transfer price changes, and implementing performance plans for international managers. Following his time at Kodak, he marketed financial systems and software services for businesses in the Seattle area. Frank then returned to academia to obtain his Masters in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Eric Weiner

Chief Technology Officer

Eric has over 17 years of experience in instrumentation for scientific and industrial products, spanning the bridge between science and engineering. He has worked in the disciplines of microscopy, optics, capacitive and temperature sensor design and construction, image acquisition/analysis, electronics, TGA/TMA, IT management, and others. As the product manager for the Nexus Biosystems Crystal Farm (an automated incubator/imager for protein crystallization), he was involved in design, manufacture, QC, support, and service. His education includes a BA in Environmental Chemistry and a MS in Chemistry, both from UC San Diego.

Ausra Vabaliene


Ausra joined Etaluma Inc. team in 2011. She is an industrial engineer turned accountant. She handles accounting, shipping, purchasing, and part of customer service. Ausra has worked as an R&D manager for an apparel manufacturer and serves as a treasurer for several non-profits. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania and an Accounting Certificate.

Brian Rasnow, Ph.D.

Board Member and Co-Founder

Dr. Brian Rasnow is a lecturer in physics at California State University Channel Islands and a mentor, inventor, and consultant. For 10 years he was a Principal Scientist in Research & Automation Technologies at Amgen Inc., where his group automated drug discovery, pioneered new technologies, and developed novel biodetection platforms. His systems tested tens of millions of pharmaceutical candidates and significantly contributed to several clinical trials, earning him Amgen’s “Excellence in Science and Engineering” award in 2007. Dr. Rasnow studied neuroethology and physics at Caltech, where he received a Ph.D. in physics in 1994. There he established a successful research program on weakly electric fish and proposed the first plausible model of how these animals might perceive objects with their electric sense. Dr. Rasnow’s diversity is perhaps his strongest asset. He is an amateur astronomer and photographer, competent in electronics and programming, an organic farmer growing ~100 varieties of fruit trees, and he mentors students from Caltech and other universities on numerous international development projects for the poor in Central America. His inventions range from a novel method for threshing pearl millet (being developed in Africa) to biochemistry assays and electro-optical detectors.

Walter (Lane) Niles, Ph.D.

Board Member and Co-Founder

Dr. Niles has over 30 years experience in basic scientific research and in the development of biomedical technologies. His inventions include computer-based real time localization of single presynaptic transmitter release sites for positioning focal extracellular recording electrodes, a quantitative FRET microscope for measuring nanometer-scale distances between membranes, a piezoelectric subnanoliter liquid dispenser optimized for volume and drop trajectory control, an automated laboratory for production and screening of target biosensor cell lines, and a microfluidic clinical immunodiagnostic platform with a time to result of under 5 minutes. He has held positions leading research and research and development teams at Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Aurora Biosciences, Genoptix, Biosite Diagnostics, and Aurora Discovery, and been a consultant for Abbott Laboratories, BD Biosciences, Eli Lilly and Co., and several engineering companies seeking entry to the life sciences. Education: B.S., California Institute of Technology; Ph. D., University of Wisconsin — Madison; Postdoctoral, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Meet Our Staff

Scientific Advisory Board

Alex Zambon, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Alex Zambon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Keck Graduate Institute, Claremont CA. He is a systems biologist with over twenty years experience in live cell imaging, molecular pharmacology, and systems biology. His laboratory focuses on the transcriptional circuits that drive cell fate decisions in cardiac progenitor cells. Alex received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. His post-doctoral training was in Genomics at the Gladstone Institutes/University of California, San Francisco.

Randy Engler

Senior Advisor

Randy Engler is Director of Sales, Novozymes Biopharma and has 30 years experience in the development and commercialization of products into the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries. Business development, sales and marketing experience includes positions at Baxter, Thermo Fisher, Genzyme and a number of start-up companies involved in biological research tools, unique drug delivery and biologic manufacturing technologies.

Mike Sjasstad, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Mike Sjaastad, Ph.D., is Director of Development and Strategy at Biosero. He is responsible for corporate and marketing strategies, product planning and partner relations.  He also helped to form the Biosero Strategic Advisory board and serves as a board member. Before joining Biosero, Mike was an independent consultant providing corporate and marketing strategy, technology prospecting and product positioning for small companies and startups. Clients include: Biotek, Notable Labs, IntelliCyt Corporation, Etaluma Biosciences and PhenoVista Bioscience. He has a track record of strategic positions at well-known biotech instrumentation companies, including Business Development at Molecular Devices and IntelliCyt. Mike has a strong scientific background and led the cell biology and drug discovery screening department at Hyseq Pharmaceuticals.   Mike earned a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a doctorate in cell physiology from University of California, Berkeley and participated in post-doctoral training at Stanford University.

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