Working to promote gender equity in bio-entrepreneurship
The HS Chau Women in Enterprising Science (WIES) Program at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), made possible by the generous philanthropic support of Solina Chau Hoi Shuen of Horizons Ventures, is an exciting opportunity for researchers who are committed to addressing gender inequity in biotechnology and are driven to commercially develop solutions for some of the world’s greatest problems for the benefit of the public.
The IGI is working toward a world where revolutionary biotechnology is routinely applied to treat genetic diseases, enable sustainable agriculture, and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Translating scientific breakthroughs into real-world solutions that are accessible and affordable is central to the IGI’s mission, and the IGI seeks to support and guide nascent entrepreneurs who align with the IGI’s mission.
WIES starts by offering fellows one-year of paid custom bio-entrepreneurship programming to further their research and form their businesses. At the end of that year, up to two fellows may be selected by our generous third-party donor to receive up to $1,000,000 directly. These funds will have no strings attached and will help the chosen fellows further the development of their startup venture.
The WIES program is a one-year fellowship to explore turning your research into a business with the exclusive opportunity to receive a no-strings donation of up to $1,000,000 directly from our donor.
April 1, 2023 — Applications received by this date will receive priority consideration.
April 9, 2023 — Applications closed.
June 2023 — The top finalists are announced and asked to interview with the selection committee panel.
August 2023 — WIES programming team to meet the new fellows. IGI entrepreneurial space is prepared for new cohort arrival.
September 2023 — The 2023 Programming starts, and WIES Fellows move into the IGI Lab
Navneet Matharu is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, the Institute for Human Genetics, and School of Pharmacy at UC San Francisco, and is a co-founder of Regel Therapeutics Inc, a gene therapy startup based in Berkeley CA and Cambridge, MA. As a WIES fellow, Matharu is working to target genetic diseases caused by gene dosage defects, where a copy of a gene is inactivated or deleted, resulting in physiological symptoms. Gene dosage effects on the X chromosome disproportionately affect women. Matharu’s previous work provided a proof of concept approach to addressing gene dosage effects using CRISPR, and she will further develop this approach during her WIES fellowship. Learn more about Navneet here.
Jenny Hamilton is currently a postdoc in the Doudna lab at the University of California, Berkeley where she works to develop novel approaches for delivering CRISPR-based genome editing tools. Hamilton’s project for the WIES fellowship will explore a new method of improving targeted genome engineering in humans using CRISPR. Currently, CRISPR therapies can be limited by our ability to deliver genome editing tools to disease-relevant cell types. Hamilton’s work builds on her research on viral-like particles (VLPs), where she has demonstrated the ability to target delivery of genome-editing molecules by harnessing the natural abilities of viruses. Precise, in-vivo delivery of CRISPR to specific cells and tissues will further enable new human therapies and lower the cost of treatment. Learn more about Jenny here.
Lin Du is currently a postdoc in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, where she works on scalable fabrication of biosensor arrays. For Du’s WIES fellowship, she aims to develop synthetic DNA biosensors for precise detection of hundreds of species of viruses simultaneously using aptamers. Aptamers are synthetic nucleic acids used for detection and capture that can be rapidly and reliably designed, optimized for both diagnostics and therapeutic purposes. Aptamer-based platforms could prove to be transformative and broadly applicable in detection and monitoring of infectious diseases, as well as potentially transferable to other medical and environmental applications. Learn more about Lin here.
Follow along with the WIES Fellows and how they are progressing on the IGI's social media channels (see bottom of page for links).
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