Ryan Fukushima is the chief operating officer of Tempus, which provides genomic sequencing to improve cancer treatment.
The work is personal. Fukushima’s mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer as he was approached about job in 2015. She died in 2017.
“I went through that as a family member, ironically at the time, and the idea struck a chord with me,” he told Blue Sky. “How I could apply what I’d learned as an engineer and solve a data problem was something I couldn’t pass up.”
He was an entrepreneur-in-residence and vice president at venture capital fund Lightbank, founded by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, for two years before they tapped him for Tempus. Prior to that, he was a senior associate at Hyde Park Venture Partners.
The California native was a software engineer, designing and implementing back end systems for Cisco and VMware before coming to Chicago in 2013 and connected with the operating role at Tempus, which has 300 employees, is a perfect fit.
“When I heard about the opportunity with Eric, I had to go for it,” Fukushima told Blue Sky. “It’s basically one of the largest sort of new areas of innovation that will likely occur within the next 10 years — the notion of applying data to medicine.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from California Polytechnic University and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.