Day Zero Diagnostics

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Day Zero Diagnostics

Antibiotic resistance is a global public health crisis. When a patient has a severe bacterial infection, the risk of mortality increases by the hour – yet diagnostics can take days to weeks.

Physicians “carpet bomb” the infection with strong, broad-spectrum antibiotics – but antibiotic resistance has made that approach less effective and more dangerous. Day Zero uses whole genome sequencing, machine learning and big data to identify a pathogen and call its resistance profile in hours. Rapid, targeted treatment means higher survival, faster recovery, and lower costs.


“Starting a company is confusing, especially for somebody like myself, who doesn’t have an entrepreneurial background. This is my first venture. It’s really helpful to have a place to figure that out.”

–Miriam Huntley, Co-Founder, Day Zero Diagnostics



INDUSTRY: Health & Science

FOUNDERS: Miriam Huntley, John Lee, Doug Kwon, Meliz Anahtar, Dougal MacLaurin

PROGRAMS & LABS: Life Lab, Venture Incubation Program, President’s Innovation Challenge

HARVARD SCHOOLS: Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Harvard School of Engineering, Harvard College



Embodying “disruptive technology,” Day Zero Diagnostics is on a mission to change a process that has not evolved since the days of Louis Pasteur. The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab at the Harvard Innovation Labs has given the team – a group of clinicians and scientists from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital – a spectrum of resources to accelerate development and time to market. “I’m not sure how we could have done it without the Life Lab,” says Miriam Huntley, the startup’s co-founder and CTO. “We need space to actually run our experiments – without the huge capital costs that come with that.”

Access to the right people has been as essential as dedicated space. “We met our lead investor for our seed round through the i-lab during their office hours,” Huntley says. “That was huge for allowing us move on to the next stage.”

“We all know the statistics,” Huntley adds. “We know that 90% of startups fail. And yet, maybe irrationally, it’s still something we’re trying to do. The camaraderie that we get from having that shared identity, and the sense of community where people genuinely want to see others succeed, have been so important.”



Day Zero recently closed an $8.6M Series A round, bringing their total funding to date to over $12M. Miriam Huntley was named one of Boston’s 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators. Day Zero was also selected as a Big Idea Finalist in Xconomy: Precision Tinkering of Cells, Genes & Microbes.



The presence of Louis Pasteur has dominated the medical industry in a manner similar to that of Newton in the world of science and physics, and DaVinci in art and engineering.

So when a someone sets their sights on improving a process invented by Pasteur that has long been the accepted use to diagnose disease, it’s time to take notice.

Day Zero Diagnostics is using a combination of genome sequencing and machine learning to try to detect disease days before it has normally been possible using the current techniques.

Miriam Huntley, one of Day Zero’s co-founders (along with Jong Lee, Dr. Doug Kwon, Dr. Dougal Maclaurin, and Dr. Melis Anahtar) is a graduate of MIT and has recently finished a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics from Harvard.

To learn more about what Miriam and Day Zero Diagnostics are working on, listen to this great Harvard Innovation Labs story.


To learn more about Day Zero, visit their website.