Student leaders comprised of postdocs and grad students from eleven academic institutions. This is a grass roots level effort to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and promote communication and collaboration amongst universities. The group provides valuable insight to news and events going on within the universities.
Sebastian Aguirre is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Microbiology in Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focuses on the understanding of the strategies used by different human viruses to evade the host immune system. His work provides crucial information for the rational design of vaccines and antiviral therapies to control those pathogens. He holds a BS in Biotechnology and obtained his PhD degree in Biochemistry at University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he worked in close collaboration with local Biotech Companies on the development of vaccine prototypes for Hepatitis A virus, using a reverse genetic approach. Sebastian is also founder of SeeScience, a bioscience-media venture that generates didactic scientific content solutions, using 3D-animation and graphic design.
Isabel is a Research Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with Prof. Adrian Krainer. Her work focuses on the application of antisense technology to overcome the effects of disease-associated genetic mutations. She holds a BS in Biology and Human Genetics from the University of the Republic, Uruguay, and a PhD from the University of Toronto, Canada in Molecular and Medical Genetics. During her Postdoctoral Research with Prof. Krainer, she studied the mechanism of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, a quality control step during gene expression that eliminates transcripts that harbor mutations that lead to premature termination codons. Currently, she and Prof. Krainer have co-founded a startup company whose mission is to develop drugs using antisense technology to treat cancer and genetic diseases.
Michael is a PhD candidate in Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College where he studies hematopoietic malignancies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Prior to his graduate work Michael spent three years working at two different biotechnology companies in Arizona and Texas. Michael also serves as a business consultant to the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club at Weill Cornell.
Robin is currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University Medical Center. He is a co-founder/director of the lipidomics core facility in the Department of Pathology and is actively involved in collaborative work with numerous research groups in lipid research. His own research focuses on characterizing changes in brain lipid metabolism in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease. Robin is interested in learning more about the start-up environment in NYC and is very keen to start his own entrepreneurial venture in the future.
Ilse Daehn is an Assistant Professor in the department of Medicine in Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research has provided a fundamental paradigm shift in our current understanding of chronic kidney disease development and is currently seeking biomarkers of disease progression in the Institute of Personalized Medicine. Ilse holds a degree in Biotechnology (Honors) from Flinders University of South Australia. She performed a research placement at the Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, Madrid before starting her Doctorate studies at Flinders University of SA, and was awarded her PhD in 2007. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Cancer Research UK, in London and came to NYC to pursue a second postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Sinai. Ilse is a member of the Postdoc Advisory Committee and former co-chair of the Postdoc Executive Committee at Mount Sinai. Ilse has completed the Fundamentals of the Bioscience Industry Program, Stonybrook Manhattan in 2012, and “From Idea to Ipo” - The Technology Venture Course at The NYAS in 2011.
Ilse is currently working on a project for the development of a new Biotech Startup Incubator in East Harlem www.kiiln.org
Alessia is a postdoctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Molecular Vertebrate Embryology at The Rockefeller University. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic stem cell differentiation. Alessia holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences/Neuroscience from Weill Cornell Medical College and a B.Sc.+M.Sc. in Medical Biotechnology (summa cum laude) from the University of Bologna (Italy). While at Cornell, Alessia worked as an intern at the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, reviewing novel technologies and assessing potential markets for invention commercialization. In addition, she has been involved in various science outreach, mentorship, and communication programs based in NYC. Alessia has been the recipient of several awards, including merit and travel awards and a prestigious pre-doctoral fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. When not busy with science, Alessia spends her time researching and evaluating biotech/pharma/healthcare companies for investment recommendations, experimenting with graphic design, and boxing.
Dr. Zeynep Dereli is a research fellow in Biomedical Engineering Dept. at City College of New York/CUNY. She is most interested in developing novel technologies to design anti-cancer agents. She knows that cancer cells interact with their surrounding normal tissues (microenvironment) and it is vital to take the microenvironment into account to target cancer cells. She designed a microfluidic device and a cell culturing technology, which provides 3D microenvironment for tumor cells and tissues. Using her device, she can test anti-cancer drugs to understand the mechanism of apoptosis in cancer cells. Her BSc degree is in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bogazici University, Istanbul. She has MS degree from Biomedical Engineering at Bogazici University and CCNY. She has three publications related to her research fields. She has long hours of clean room experience at CNF (Cornell Nanoscale Facility) and CCNF (City College Nanoscale Facility). Her heart pounds when she comes across with new ideas and designs.
Gwen Effgen received her B.A. in physics from the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Barnard College in May 2010 and enrolled in the M.S. leading to Ph.D. program in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science at Columbia University September 2010. Gwen received her M.S. in biomedical engineering in May 2011, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the same department. Gwen has been a member of the Neurotrauma & Repair Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Barclay Morrison III since June 2009. Her research interests include development of in vitro models of traumatic brain injury to determine the pathobiology of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and blast-induced traumatic brain injury. At Columbia University, Gwen founded and is president of the Society of Women Engineers Graduate Student Group (GradSWE). She has served as secretary for the Biomedical Engineering graduate student group (2011-12), co-host for the Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit 2013, NYC Tech Connect Entrepreneurial Scientist Advisory Board member (2012-present), and presenter at the Society of Women Engineers WE'12 national conference.
Prior to moving to New York City, Ilaria received her MS in Medical Biotechnology and her PhD in Molecular Pathology from the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy. Her PhD thesis was on the role of the tumor suppressor Menin in regulating DNA damage. Ilaria is currently a Research Associate at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the department of Cell Biology. Her research focuses on the signaling pathways that regulate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and the initiation of breast cancer. In addition, Ilaria is working as an intern with the Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise and Commercialization pursuing an interest in licensing of novel scientific discoveries.
John D. Finan is a post-doc in the Neurotrauma and Repair laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University and a graduate of Columbia Business School’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. He is currently developing a novel therapeutic for swelling of the brain after traumatic brain injury and a high throughput drug discovery platform, also focused on traumatic brain injury. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and his BE in Mechanical Engineering from University College Dublin. In Summer 2006, he worked at Motorola’s Research and Development unit, where he built a prototype of a mobile phone application that monitored the status of patients with mood disorders by analyzing their tone of voice.
Vittoria Flamini is currently an Industry Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Her research focuses on defining computational methods and mathematical models to study the mechanical behavior of aortic tissue and its role in aortic valve dynamics. Her work provides new strategies for the design of medical devices and innovative, digital environments for testing medical devices’ effectiveness.
She holds a Masterʼs degree in Medical Engineering from Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. Vittoria has been the recipient of several awards, including the IMechE Republic of Ireland Young Engineers Research Paper in 2012.
Vitoria is keen to learn more about the blooming start-up environment in NYC and is strongly interested in the emerging technologies that will enable the translation of biomechanical engineering research into medical practice.
Ken obtained a B.A. in Economics and Pre-med at Franklin & Marshall College. He completed a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in 2012, and expects to finish an MBA program at the Johnson Graduate School of Management of Cornell University in 2013.
Vanessa Hubbard-Lucey is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU School of Medicine in the laboratory of Ken Cadwell studying the inflammatory response in the context of autophagy. Vanessa holds a PhD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a BS from Fordham University. Prior to obtaining her PhD she worked as a Research Technician at MSKCC. She is head of NYU’s Postdoctoral Council, and plays an active role in the National Postdoctoral Association. Currently, Vanessa studies the role of autophagy genes after bone marrow transplantation with the emphasis on translating novel autophagy-regulated pathways to mitigate inflammatory diseases.
Sarah Kishinevsky earned a B.A. at Columbia College, Columbia University in Economics-Mathematics and is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College. Prior to becoming a doctoral candidate, Sarah worked as an investment banker in the financial services industry sector. Sarah is a co-founder of the Weill Cornell Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. The EVCC unites scientists in the tri-institutional area interested in the life sciences industry. Sarah is also a Technical Advisor to the Big Red Venture Fund, a venture capital fund affiliated with the Cornell Business School. Currently, Sarah works in the laboratory of Lorenz Studer, MD, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute. In the laboratory, Sarah differentiates induced pluripotent stem cells originally reprogrammed from patient skin fibroblasts. She uses this induced pluripotent stem cell technology to study the midbrain dopamine neurons that degenerate in Parkinson's disease.
Mariko has worked within the New York City’s academic research community since 2003. After obtaining a B.S. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, she took on a research associate position at Columbia University, where she studied RNA viruses such as the Hepatitis C virus and the West Nile virus.
She continued to build on her experience working with infectious diseases in the Microbiology laboratory of Ian Mohr, Ph.D. at New York University’s School of Medicine. In a collaborative effort with the labs of Moses Chao, Ph.D. and Angus Wilson, Ph.D., her doctorate thesis work helped uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying HSV-1 latent infections within the peripheral nervous system.
Mariko is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology lead by Robert Darnell, M.D., Ph.D. at The Rockefeller University. Combining a unique method, HITS-CLIP, and comparative bioinformatics analysis, Mariko wants to elucidate transcriptome-wide insights into RNA regulation and its impairment in human diseases.
With her strong dedication to scientific research and eternal love affair with New York City, Mariko represents the ground zero in efforts to develop the city as the next major hub of biotech/biomedical innovation in the world.
Frederico is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College. His current research focus on understanding how experiential (trial and error) learning and instructed knowledge are combined to optimize human decisions. Prior to moving to the U.S. and joining Weill Cornell, Frederico received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering at University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Nicole grew up in both England and Massachusetts and attended high school in the latter. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2002 and moved back to Boston to work as a lab technician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Harvard Medical School) studying prostate cancer. Crossing the river, she then worked as an RA at Ore Pharmaceuticals (FKA Gene Logic, Inc.), a Millennium Pharmaceuticals spin-off that attempted to reposition failed compounds. In 2006 she entered the PhD program at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute. She performed a genome-wide siRNA screen in order to find novel proteins required for mammalian autophagy and in 2011, received her PhD from University College London. Nicole now works as a postdoctoral fellow in the Neurology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine investigating autophagy in neurons and its role in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. She is Co-chair of the MSSM Postdoc Executive Committee and serves on the Postdoc Advisory Committee.
Katherine Murnen received her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College. Following that she teched for two years in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Calvi in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. She then went on to work on her PhD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology graduate program. Recently finishing her thesis there, in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Chen, she moved on to study the role of a kinesin in cell-cell fusion. She is about to start a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Fine where she will be studying glioblastoma.
Mutaz Musa is a 5th year MD/MBA candidate at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and Graduate School of Business. He has worked at Columbia's Department of Biomedical Informatics building prognostic computational models of chronic kidney disease. He is founding member of DIA Health, an integrated health monitoring and management system. Mutaz is a passionate educator and is a student instructor and examiner at Columbia's medical school. He is founder of Qiurio, an open learning platform focused on performance analysis in medical education. Mutaz is a Sudanese-Canadian; he was raised in Kuwait, and moved to Toronto, Canada to study biology and chemistry (BSc) and neuroscience (MSc).
An is a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Columbia University. Her current research focuses on bone cell biomechanics with the ultimate goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for bone loss disorders, such as osteoporosis. She has been fortunate enough to have been recognized and funded by several institutions and programs, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med Into Grad Initiative, American Foundation for Aging Research, and Palm OS. Outside of the lab, An has gained experience in large firms, start-ups, and venture capital funds, including the New York City Investment Fund, University City Science Center and Celera Genomics. In pursuing her passion in translating technologies from bench to bedside, An has received master's degrees in medicine and mechanical engineering from Stanford University and bachelor's degrees in finance and bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Maria Luisa Pineda is from Colombia and graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor of Science and a minor in Mathematics. She is the first recipient of the Goizueta Minority Science Scholarship and was a NIH fellow with the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC U*STAR) Award. Maria recently received her PhD from the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as an Arnold and Mabel Beckman graduate student and a William Randolph Hearst foundation scholar. She decided to combine science and business together with her critical-thinking and interpersonal skills in her new ventures. To deepen her knowledge of the angel funding process, Maria consulted for a long island venture capital firm, Canrock Ventures LLC and the fourth largest angel network, Golden Seeds, LLC. Maria has recently started a lean bioinformatics start-up company as the Co-founder and CEO.
Michelle was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and received her MS in Biophysics from the University of Barcelona, Spain. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Umrao Monani’s lab at the Motor Neuron Center of Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Her research focuses on the pediatric neuromuscular disorder Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). She is currently investigating the role of Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein specifically in skeletal muscle development, repair and maintenance.
Meagan Robles-Harris obtained her B.S at Carnegie Mellon University in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and M.S. at City College of New York in Biomedical Engineering. While attending CCNY, she began her career in Regulatory Affairs initially working in consumer and pharmaceutical products at Reckitt Benckiser and ultimately transitioning into orthopaedic medical devices and instruments at Stryker Spine. Meagan is currently pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at City College and conducting her thesis research in the orthopaedics lab at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Meagan’s research focuses on tendon injury and the effect of post-operative therapeutics on tendon healing and repair response.
Joel got his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Luther College (Decorah, IA) in 2008, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He has served on the board for the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club at Weill Cornell and as procedural partner for Club BioMed, a biomedical investment group. Joel is doing his dissertation research in the laboratory of Gavril Pasternak, M.D., Ph.D. at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He has developed a radiochemical technique that provides quantitative pharmacological data for small portions of a target protein. Among many potential applications, this technique is being used to study how a novel protein target can be used to reduce doses of prescription pain killers.
Dov Shamir is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience and Physiology at the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU's School of Medicine. Dov is doing his thesis work in Dr. Einar Sigurdsson's Laboratory where he is studying the mechanisms of tau immunotherapies for Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. He is currently co-president of the NYU Biotechnology Association (NYUBA); a university wide organization devoted to educating graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in new and emerging biomedical technologies, different career paths with a science degree, and to garner an entrepreneur/innovative atmosphere within the university.
Keisha graduated from SUNY, Plattsburgh with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Vern Schramm. At Albert Einstein College of Medicine she founded the Entrepreneurship and Biotechnology Club which seeks to increase awareness as well as, present opportunities for its members in the entrepreneurial field, especially as it relates to Biotechnology. Keisha also benefits from industry experience as an intern at Pfizer as well as consulting experience with NYU Consulting Group. Keisha's research focuses on the binding energetics of transition-state analogues to a bacterial enzyme involved in bacterial cell-to-cell communication. Inhibition of this enzyme represents a novel, essentially resistance-free approach to development of anti-infective.
Nick Veomett graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Biochemistry, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. In his second year of graduate school, Nick founded the Weill Cornell Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, which unites scientists in the tri-institutional area interested in entrepreneurship in the life sciences industry. He is also a Technical Adviser to the Big Red Venture Fund, a venture capital fund affiliated with the Cornell Business School, and the Financial Partner in Club Biomed, a student and faculty investment club with equities in the biopharma sector. Currently, Nick works in the laboratory of David Scheinberg, M.D. Ph.D., at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Nick's research is focused on translating a novel antibody therapy for leukemia into a clinical candidate.
Wenjuan Wang is a Postdoc Research Fellow at the Cancer Institute of NYU Langone Medical Center. Her research focuses on studying T cell activation mechanism, with the aim to modulate T cell activity pharmacologically to either increase T-cell sensitivity in patients with immune deficiency (cancer or HIV) or decrease sensitivity in patients with autoimmune diseases (MS, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis). She got her PhD in Peking University, China, where she worked on developing protein sensors and microarrays. Wenjuan is very interested in biotech venture, and she had worked as a biotechnology venture intern in NYU office of industrial liaison. She is also a board member of NYU’s postdoc council.
Rich is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Günter Blobel at The Rockefeller University. He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry in the laboratory of Tom Steitz at Yale University in 2010 and his A.B. in Biochemistry at Vassar College in 2004. His current research involves using x-ray crystallography to investigate the nuclear pore complex. Rich's work may provide clues as to how mutations in pore components result in diseases such as cancer and infantile bilateral striatal necrosis.
His primary career goal is to obtain a tenure-track faculty position at one of NYC's prominent research institutions. Rich decided to work with NYC Tech Connect to network and to learn how to start up a biotech company from the viewpoint of a professor. Finally, as a life-long resident of the NYC Metropolitan Area, Rich is particularly passionate about New York and hopes to contribute to its growth.
Jieling Zhu is a PhD candidate in Chemistry at Columbia University, where she studies the structural and mechanical properties of biopolymer gels using multimodal imaging technologies. These gels are used as 3D in vitro environments in which to study mechanisms of cancer cell invasion. Jieling received her B.S. in Chemical Biology at UC Berkeley in 2009, where she completed research opportunities across the life and physical science spectrum, from spending hot summer months in South Dakota chasing prairie dogs to developing assays that assess drug oxidation at Genentech. Jieling shows her passion for science outreach with her involvement in Women in Science at Columbia and Science Saturday Starters, and she is also a New York Academy of Sciences STEM Education Fellow, where she teaches hands-on afterschool science classes to middle school students. Her immediate goal is to pursue a career in healthcare consulting after graduation, and she is particularly excited by translational technologies that lead to biotech start-ups. Outside of research, she enjoys running, binge watching TV dramas, and listening to This American Life.