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Alix Ventures: Supporting Early Stage Life Science Startups Engineering Biology to Drive Radical Advances in Human Health
Calling All Innovators — Click to Reach Out 🚀
After receiving countless applications, conducting multiple rounds of interviews, & much deliberation we are excited to announce Alix Ventures’ new class of university ambassadors.
Welcome to the family folks, we look forward to having you a part of the team, & sharing the journey ahead!
This year’s class hails from leading research universities such as:
Cambridge, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, UCSF, Yale, amongst others…
Alexander Evans: Pathology PhD @ Cambridge
Alexander Evans is a 2nd year PhD student at the University of Cambridge and an aspiring biotech entrepreneur, dedicated to advancing the translation of basic science innovations into improved patient outcomes in the clinic.
Alex’s research is in immuno-oncology, centered on conventional T cell responses to solid tumors with a specific focus on metabolic adaptations to the tumor microenvironment and induction of functional exhaustion. He is actively developing synthetic biology-based approaches to preventing exhaustion and enhancing the functional persistence of adoptive T cell therapies. Before his PhD, Alex gained experience working within biotechnology in a collaborative position between UCL and Achilles Therapeutics.
In Cambridge, Alex is helping to build a new chapter of Nucleate, pioneering the movement for founder-led biotech within the UK. His role involves sourcing sponsors and partners to support the flagship Activator programme. He is also completing accelerator programmes alongside his lab mate to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. Alex is especially interested in breakthrough technologies within the cell and gene therapy spaces, where he hopes to see developments towards in vivo genetic engineering for combatting cancer, autoimmunity, and rare diseases.
In his free time, he can be found traveling, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, or trying to lower his scores on the golf course.
Paula Schultheiss: Biomedical Engineering PhD @ Columbia
Paula Schultheiss is a third-year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering in the Microscale Biocomplexity laboratory of Prof. Lance Kam. In Paula’s current research, she develops biomaterials to optimize immune cell production for subsequent use in cancer therapies. The project combines her previous experience in material science and tissue engineering with her fascination for the immune system. It allows her to use critical technologies in quantitative cell analysis, such as single-cell sequencing and machine learning.
Before her Ph.D., Paula graduated with a Master of Science and a Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley, a program that focuses on the intersection between engineering and entrepreneurship. Eager to learn more about technology ventures, she assisted in two courses at Columbia that bridge the gap between innovation and business (Biomedical Innovation and the Lab-to-market Accelerator Network). In her role as an assistant to the AlleyCorp-led “MathmeetsBio” incubator cohort, Paula was involved in supporting early-stage start-ups working at the intersection between computational biology and bioengineering. Furthermore, Paula is a lead for mentorship relations at Nucleate, a student-run nonprofit organization that empowers grad students to form new life science startups. Paula is dedicated to harnessing her passion for cutting-edge biomedical research and tech venture creation by helping founders with innovative ideas in the tissue engineering and immunotherapy space.
Outside of the lab, Paula enjoys Muay Thai kickboxing, learning new riffs on her bass, and exploring New York city.
Hannah Dayton: Microbiology PhD @ Columbia
Hannah Dayton has always had a love for science and is looking forward to completing her thesis work and contributing to the next wave of scientific innovation.
She began her scientific training at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she received her BS in Microbiology. During this time she spent four years studying ABC transporters and their effects on multidrug resistance. She then brought that skillset to Harvard Medical School as a Research Fellow to study commonly altered tumor suppressor genes in human colorectal cancer.
Continuing on her academic journey, Hannah is currently pursuing her PhD at Columbia University, where she now studies biofilm development of the pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In this work, she specifically studies how cellular arrangement within the biofilm facilitates the transport of molecules such as antibiotics. Cutting-edge applications of science are what originally brought her to the laboratory and she is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to the biotech space. She is a member of the Nucleate leadership team, where she helps promote the formation of life science companies by students and early-stage scientists.
Hannah is originally from coastal Massachusetts and enjoys spending her free time on the water, whether that be kayaking, swimming, or water sports.
Veronica Russell: Comp Bio & Bioinformatics PhD @ Duke
Veronica Russell is passionate about spanning the junction between the development of impactful biotech innovations and business in contexts that further human health.
Her enthusiasm for innovation and discovery in biotech was sparked by her undergraduate experience at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies where she had the opportunity to design her own accelerated course of study and engaged in biology research as a Norman F. Sprague fellow. This experience inspired her to pursue a doctoral degree in the interdisciplinary field of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke University.
Veronica has broad interests in the biotech world, but her background is primarily in human genomics research, with an emphasis in virology and oncology. As a 4th year PhD candidate, she designs computational workflows to elucidate therapeutic and diagnostic targets in blood cancers and ultimately improve patient outcome. She also serves as a computational lead for multiple projects under the globally collaborative Atlas of Blood Cancer Genomes (ABCG) initiative.
While engaged in research, Veronica has observed a prevalent bottleneck at the junction between research/development and important innovations reaching society. She has become interested in this space after garnering initial exposure through law and policy coursework as well consulting competitions.
She is originally from Templeton, located on California’s Central Coast, but currently resides in Durham, NC within the Research Triangle area. In her free time, she enjoys trail running, bouldering, and is an avid skier. You can also find her in the kitchen experimenting with gourmet cooking.
Claudia Hill: MS/MBA Biotechnology @ Harvard
Claudia Hill is passionate about working with early-stage biotech companies which are harnessing innovations that have the potential to improve the lives of patients globally. She believes that supporting innovation in biotech and digital health at its earliest stage is an important way to support her future ambition of delivering world class therapies to patients equitably.
Claudia is currently pursuing a joint MS and MBA in Biotechnology at HBS as a Kaplan Life Sciences Fellow. While at HBS she has been involved in the VC/PE clubs, Biotech Club, Healthcare club, and E-Club.
Prior to that she got PhD in Biomedical Engineering in the Oxford Centre of Drug Delivery and Devices; a multi-disciplinary research environment which combined engineering of biology, chemistry, and medical devices with the aim of improving drug delivery at the University of Oxford. Her thesis investigated ways to enhance the pharmacokinetics and targeting of oncolytic (cancer-killing) viruses. Her research was disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, a book chapter in “Oncolytic Virotherapy” and talks at conferences. After her PhD she worked as a Scientist for Evox Therapeutics, a biotech spun out of the University of Oxford which is engineering exosomes to develop a novel class of biotherapeutics.
In addition to her work within the life sciences, she co-founded Neumind, a digital-health company working to provide accessible, world-class rehabilitation therapy to patients with brain injuries and neurological conditions.
She is originally from London, England, and in her free time you will find her playing soccer, cycling, or listening to podcasts.
Aaron Edwards is an immunologist that has always been passionate about developing innovative treatments for patients while also ensuring these next-generation technologies can be equitably distributed to all.
Education has always been a top priority for Aaron, wanting to make sure he was in the best position possible to achieve his long term goals. He received his BSc in Biology at Centre College and immediately pursued his Masters degree in immunology & virology at Boston University, where he was funded by the Department of Defense to help develop mRNA technologies for glyco-enhanced monoclonal antibodies. Since then, he has spent nearly a decade building his career in the biotech industry as a scientist at multiple companies in the Boston area. His passion for developing innovative therapies has led him to work on mRNA vaccines at Novartis, gene therapies at bluebird bio, and most recently on gene-editing at Beam Therapeutics, where he was the in vitro biology lead for their first CAR-T clinical candidate.
In order to ensure these next generation technologies he has worked on over the last decade reaches the most patients in need, Aaron recently pivoted away from a career as a bench scientist to an industry leader-in-training, currently pursuing a joint MS and MBA in Biotechnology at Harvard Business School as a Kaplan Life Sciences Fellow. Outside of dedicated class time, he serves as a Vice President of Harvard’s Healthcare Club and as a National Director of JDEI (Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at Nucleate, a free and collaborate student-led organization that facilitates the formation of pioneering life sciences companies. He is also a member of Harvard’s Innovation Labs and the Entrepreneurship Club, where he continues to build upon his “North Star” of founding and leading biotech companies of his own someday.
Aaron is originally from Henderson, Kentucky, and in his free time you can find him obsessing about the latest scoop from “BioTwitter” or busting a move on the nearest dance floor.
Eric Hsu: Neuroscience PhD @ Johns Hopkins
Eric Hsu is excited to work at the intersection of science and medicine and partner with scientist and entrepreneurs to help turn groundbreaking scientific research into transformative therapies for patients.
Eric studied neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, where he did his research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease commonly seen in football players. At Hopkins, Eric is pursuing his doctoral research in the Bergles Lab, where he studies how astrocytes, a major cell type in the brain, can communicate and coordinate with neurons to influence how the brain develops and dictates our behaviors. Eric is also a member of the Nucleate Baltimore Nucleate Team and is a member of the Johns Hopkins Graduate Consulting Club executive team.
Eric is passionate about harnessing science through early-stage venture to drive positive impact in the world, supporting the development of technologies to address society’s greatest challenges.
Outside of lab, Eric is an avid dog lover, occasional swimmer, and voracious (but picky) eater.
Davy Deng: Health Sciences & Technology PhD @ Harvard / MIT
Davy Deng is passionate about medical innovations both in cutting-edge technologies and in low-resource humanitarian settings. He hopes to become a physician scientist and an entrepreneur to create new therapeutic modalities for major global health burden including infectious diseases and cancer.
Davy graduated from UC Berkeley with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, psychology and genetics while researching the role of non-canonical electron transport chains underlying listeria pathogenesis. Afterwards, he moved to Boston and pursued a master’s degree in computational biology at Harvard while studying the structural variants of adult and pediatric glioblastoma. He is now using machine learning to predict evolutions as a doctoral student at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology (HST).
Davy is particularly excited about the potential applications of deep learning to forecast and engineer evolutionary process and its implications for controlling intractable public health concerns such as antibiotic resistance and chemoresistance.
He is originally from Loess Plateau, China, and in his free time, you can find him cooking, making cocktails, traveling, volunteering, exploring restaurants with friends, and working out.
Reha Mathur: Chemical & Biological Eng Undergrad @ Princeton
Reha Mathur is excited to support the merger of technology and biology to deliver higher quality and more accessible healthcare through life science investing.
She is currently a junior at Princeton University studying Chemical and Biological engineering with certificates in Computer Science and Statistics and Machine Learning. Her love for chemistry and biology drove her to work in chemical engineering labs at both Columbia and Princeton throughout high school and into her undergraduate career. She also spent this past summer as a senior chemistry intern at D.E. Shaw Research working on methods to improve ligand binding-energy estimations.
At Princeton, Reha is one of the executive directors of TigerLaunch, one of the world’s largest student-run startup pitch competitions. She is also currently starting the Princeton Biotech Group to help provide a centralized community for those interested in biotech and entrepreneurship at Princeton.
Reha grew up in North New Jersey and loved the state so much that she stayed there for college. In her free time, she likes to play video games, go to concerts, try out new restaurants, and travel.
Min Joo Kim: Biomedical Sciences PhD @ UCSF
Min Joo Kim is a neuroscientist with a passion for innovation and translational science and a keen interest in supporting meaningful biotech start-ups with a patient driven impact.
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Min Joo left for undergrad in Southern California at Pomona College where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and English Literature. Then she went on to pursue a Master of Science in Prevention Medicine at Stanford University. While at Stanford, Min Joo interned at the Stanford Internal Medicine Clinic where she worked with physicians to understand how gender disparities in drug prescriptions affected heart failure patients. She also conducted lab research where she investigated how dysfunctions in mitochondrial motility led to Parkinson’s disease. Min Joo then went on to work as a research scientist on the Translational Discovery team at Bristol-Myers Squibb where she investigated on solid tumor indications using organoid models.
Min Joo is now a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences at UCSF studying the role of microglia in APOE4 driven pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. She utilizes new cutting-edge techniques such as single cell RNA sequencing, induced pluripotent stem cells, and chimeric disease models to investigate the scientific questions regarding disease onset and mechanism. When not in the lab, she is also a Biology/Genomics fellow with Life Science Angels where she works with leading angel investors to screen start-ups, perform due diligence, and conduct market analysis.
In her free time, Min Joo loves to read and to live an active lifestyle where she enjoys climbing, running, hiking, golfing, tennis, and taking her cat on walks.
Sung Yeon: Immunobiology PhD @ Yale
Sung Yeon is passionate about entrepreneurialism and is excited to see important academic discoveries go from bench to bedside.
Sung is currently an Immunobiology Ph.D. student at Yale School of Medicine developing tools to interrogate epitopes in the tumor microenvironment and understand new mechanisms of tumors escape. He is currently a Venture Fellow for Canaan, where he is conducting market research for investment considerations, and was previously a Blavatnik Associate for Yale Ventures, helping provide commercial strategy to faculty startups. He co-founded the Yale Biotech Club and is enthusiastic about growing the biotech community in New Haven.
Prior to Yale, he worked internships at Illumina and Roche.
Outside of work, Sung enjoys searching for the best ramen, triathlons, weightlifting, golfing, and playing chess.
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