Author Archives: Emily Brooks

Hortense Dodo Presents at First Flight “Itineraries” March 21, 2023

Ingateygen is housed at First Flight Venture Center. First Flight hosts lunchtime programs, called “Itineraries” that offer a chance for members of the First Flight community and broader innovation ecosystem to learn about the work of early-stage science-focused companies, network and have some fun at the same time! An Itinerary is ‘a planned route or journey’ and this program gives companies often who are in residence at First Flight a forum in which to share where they are and where they plan to go.


Dr. Hortense Dodo, Co-Founder and President of Ingateygen, an AgTech startup at FFVCNC whose mission is to deliver allergen-free peanuts, says “North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park is a gold mine which can help accelerate the upward evolution of any company.” Ingateygen recently moved to the area because of the ecosystem at RTP and Dr. Dodo explains why “The sheer number of brilliant entrepreneurs, investors, leaders, academicians, Medical Doctors etc … creates a unique and vibrant ecosystem in which any motivated entrepreneur can thrive and be successful.”

From Karysoft at LinkedIn:

Announcing our inaugural workshop at #PAG31 conference, ‘Accelerating Innovations by Leveraging Startup Ecosystem in Agriculture.’ This exclusive event centers on Agri-startups revolutionizing agriculture with omics and molecular technologies. Our Founder/CEO Rajesh Perianayagam Ph.D. will lead the session.

Join us for an evening of groundbreaking insights with our distinguished speaker Dr. Hortense Dodo, Ph.D., Co-founder/President, IngateyGen LLC, paving the way to discover the future of allergen-reduced peanuts and the pivotal steps in their development at the workshop on January 16, 2024, from 6:20 pm to 8:30 pm in Pacific H-I (2nd Floor) at the Town and Country Resort, San Diego, California, USA.

From First Flight Venture Center at LinkedIn:

😀✈️What an amazing finish to our AgTech Propeller Demo Day, which wrapped up a 7-week pre-accelerator program. The First Flight team is still buzzing with excitement.

We heard from seven groundbreaking companies that shared their company pitches: Fafabiotic LLC, AcreShield Technologies, SOLCarb, Onda Vision Technologies, Inc., SCS Research, IngateyGen LLC, and Sable Fermentation.

A massive thank you to North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech), NCMEP, and NC IDEA for sponsoring these companies!

Yesterday, IngateyGen LLC President Hortense Dodo was invited to give a pitch as part of the NC Food Innovation Lab‘s Food-Tech Pitch Contest in Kannapolis, NC. Dr. Dodo gave an excellent pitch outlining IngateyGen’s flagship Allergen-Free Peanut project. Congratulations to all of the startup and early-stage food tech companies who participated in the event! Most of all, thank you Bill Aimutis and Celeste Brogdon for having us and thank you to the judges Thierry Duvanel, Mariliis Holm, Julie Emsing Mann, and Chris Thoen for your wonderful feedback and insights!

IngateyGen team members Hortense Dodo and Emily Brooks attended the 2nd annual Defense Technology Summit hosted by the Office of US Senator Thom Tillis, the Office of US Senator Ted Budd, Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC), North Carolina Military Business Center, and NC DEFTECH. Hortense was selected to give a 3-minute mini-brief about IngateyGen’s innovative dual-use technology through NC DEFTECH’s Technology, Innovation, Demonstration, and Experimentation (TIDE) Scouting Program. We are so thankful for the opportunity to pitch alongside so many incredible North Carolina-based entrepreneurs!

IngateyGen LLC derives its name from the Akan word, Ngatee, meaning peanut. The Akan language is spoken in what was previously the Ashanti Kingdom which ruled over much of West Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries and is currently spoken in parts of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin.

IngateyGen was co-founded by Dr. Hortense Dodo and Dr. Koffi Konan during their tenure at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU). At AAMU, the two made huge strides for lowering allergenicity of peanuts using RNAi to suppress production of peanut allergens. One day, following a presentation made on the progress of the allergen-free peanut research, a mother in the audience shared with Dr. Dodo that 6 months prior she had lost her son to peanut allergy. It was a very emotional interaction to say the least, but that day it became clear that the project needed to shift and evolve from academia toward industry for a chance to one day bring an allergen-free peanut to market. Thus, IngateyGen–literally meaning ‘peanut genetics’–was established to specifically work on improving just that.

In 2012, Dr. Dodo left AAMU and headed for Elizabeth City, North Carolina, followed by Dr. Konan a couple of years later, to perform peanut field trials as requested by USDA regulations.

In 2023, IngateyGen relocated to the First Flight Venture Center in the Research Triangle Park. Today, the name continues to reflect Dodo and Konan’s goals of improving peanut traits and eradicating the biggest challenges facing peanut as a crop using innovative molecular techniques.

We all know that roses are red and violets are blue, but did you know tomatoes are purple now too?! Last night the IngateyGen LLC team attended an incredible event hosted by the folks of Norfolk Healthy Produce and the Plant Molecular Biology Consortium at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBiotech).

‘The Purple Tomato: From Lab to Market’ event kicked off with a fantastic presentation from Professor Cathie Martin, introducing the purple tomato and its creation using synthetic biology. Not only does the purple tomato taste delicious and have an extended shelf life, but its rich with antioxidants thanks to high levels of anthocyanin production during fruit ripening! Such an exciting super fruit wasn’t meant to stay confined to an academic research environment, and Jessica Louie and Nathan Pumplin showed us how they were successful in navigating the hurdles along the path to commercializing the purple tomato.

hashtag#Biotechnology is the future of agriculture and it has already begun to change the way we tackle issues facing food security, human nutrition, climate, and more. It was very rewarding to see a biotech-enhanced food product garner such excitement and success first hand! Congratulations to all the people involved in making the hashtag#purpletomato a success!

(P.S. Let us know if you ever want to collaborate to make a purple peanut)

Congressman Wiley Nickel Visit

If we had a nickel for how many times IngateyGen has met with a member of congress since our relocation to First Flight Venture Center, we’d have two nickels! Today we had the pleasure of meeting Freshman United States Representative Wiley Nickel. Congressman Nickel represents North Carolina’s 13th District and he is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. As a previous small business owner himself, Nickel understands the importance of non-dilutive funding and early stage investors in the growth and success of a company!

During his tour, Congressman Nickel stopped by IngateyGen’s lab for a brief chat with Hortense Dodo about our technology. Here at IngateyGen LLC we are using hashtag#CRISPR gene editing technology to remove allergen proteins from peanuts to develop allergen-free peanut lines. Nickel was excited by how our technology will change the way his children experience school lunches.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awarded IngateyGen a TECP grant in the amount of $200,000 for Technology Enhancement and Commercialization Partnership with key players in the Peanut value chain. CONGRATS TO TEAM INGATEYGEN!