Hydrostasis makes a wearable sensor that can be used by athletes to track hydration levels. Photo courtesy of Hydrostasis.

Hydrostasis makes a wearable sensor that can be used by athletes to track hydration levels. Photo courtesy of Hydrostasis.

Four years ago, Debbie Chen founded Hydrostasis to solve the problem around hydration monitoring. Chen has many roles in life including being a parent, founder, scientist and Muay Thai fighter.

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Debbie Chen, Founder and CEO, Hydrostasis

She faced the personal struggle of hydrating properly for her sport, leading her to build a personalized real-time hydration monitoring system for athletes. The La Jolla-based company is one of the handful of Asian-founded technology startups in the region.

Hydration Monitoring
Hydrostasis’s mission is to make real-time hydration monitoring the standard point-of-care for hospitals including out-patient monitoring for geriatrics, pediatrics, and nephrology.
It uses proprietary algorithms and its Personal Hydration IndexTM to track their hydration levels. In particular, their devices use a light-based sensor to gain hydration information from muscle tissue.
By developing a personalized hydration monitoring system that provides individuals the freedom to sustain and evolve their bodies and minds, Hydrostasis equips people with a unique performance edge, said Chen.
“There is an immediate need for real-time hydration monitoring. Data-driven technologies in sports performance ,as well as risk-management and injury prevention, are very much front-of-mind in the sports sector,” she said.

Helping Adults
Hydrostasis initially targeted collegiate sports teams to monitor athletes’ hydration level, it has since pivoted to the older adult market due to the pandemic. Dehydration is one of the top reasons for ER visits for older adults, said Chen.
Earlier this year, it was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its “tissue hydration monitor.” In the last decade, all-female invented patents constituted only about 4% of issued patents.
The company is running pilots to study at-risk populations including athletes, older adults, patients with chronic kidney disease and patients with chronic heart failure. It plans to enter the commercialization once their technology is clinically validated.

Advocating for Diversity
Chen has served as an entrepreneur in residence at UC San Diego, a scientist at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and research scientist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. She also advocates for underrepresented company founders and women leaders.
Chen said accelerator programs such as the REC Innovation Lab and Connect All at the Jacobs Center, are examples of programs with minority leaders, servicing under-represented founders.