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Our Story

EMPIRI, Inc was established in 2018 in the Texas Medical Center by Dr. Kyuson Yun with a vision to build a first-in-class cancer diagnostic instrument that will revolutionize cancer care and drug development.  

Dr. Yun's first-hand experience watching her father pass away with metastatic cancer with only palliative care left her feeling frustrated with modern cancer care and a need to change how we diagnose and treat each cancer patient.  She developed a novel 3D culture system to retain the integrity of the cancer ecosystem in each patient tumor. This innovative method accurately and empirically determines treatment responses to a combination or individual drugs, allowing identification of optimal treatments for each patient tumor.


EMPIRI's long-term goal is to replace or complement current cancer diagnostic tests with data-driven, realtime treatment response predictions. Toward this goal, EMPIRI is building a self-standing, automated, live tissue handler that precisely and reproducibly performs EMPIRI's proprietary treatment sensitivity assay. EMPIRI is also forming selective partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and academic investigators involved in clinical trials in the Texas Medical Center area by offering correlative study services.


Kyuson Yun, PhD


Kyuson is a co-founder of EMPIRI and a world-renowned expert in cancer biology, including cancer stem cells, in vivo cancer modeling, and genetics/genomics. She received her B.S. and Ph.D. from Caltech in Biology and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF.  She held independent faculty positions since 2006 at The Jackson Laboratory, Houston Methodist Research Institute and Weill Cornell Medical College. She holds three patents, including the methodology for ex vivo tumor slice culture.  Dr. Yun is an American Cancer Society Research Scholar and serves as a Scientific Advisory Council member for the American Brain Tumor Association and an Editorial Board member for Nature Scientific Reports. 


Dave Gallup, MS

Founder and Chief Operating Officer

David is a co-founder of EMPIRI with over three decades of experience in engineering and business management.  He received his B.S. from Caltech and M.S. from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering.  He holds 8 patents from five different industries, including two in the biomedical field. David founded EMLab P&K in 1997, which was later acquired by TestAmerica. He now serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Empiri Inc. and also leads the engineering team in building Empiri's new cancer diagnostic instrument. 

Linus Ho MD, PhD

Chief Medical Officer

Linus joined Empiri as the Chief Medical Officer in September 2019. Prior to joining the company, Linus worked for over 20 years in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he was an active clinician researcher. Linus established multiple clinical trials and also served as the vice-chairman of the institutional review board. Linus received a B.A. in zoology and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MD/PhD in cancer biology from Stanford University. He also completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology/medical oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and post-doctoral research training at Harvard Medical School before becoming an instructor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and eventually moving to MD Anderson.

Advisory Board


Dr. Kopetz is currently Deputy Chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Program Leader of the GI Program of the Cancer Center Support Grant at UTMDACC and for the Colorectal Cancer Moonshot program. He serves as chair of the Colon Cancer Task Force, and is Vice-Chair for Colon Cancer in the NSABP/RTG/GOG (NRG) Cooperative Group. Scott has developed a translational and clinical trial program in BRAF-mutated colorectal cancer, which has resulted in addition of combination therapy with a BRAF inhibitor to the current treatment guidelines.  He also co-lead the clinical trial resulting in the FDA-approval of nivolumab and ipilimumab for mismatch repair-deficient tumors.  

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