2020-2021 TFP Fellows

Ben

Ben Clayton, PhD

What is your student/job title? Postdoc

What is your fellowship project? Our venture is leveraging novel cellular assays to identify and develop a universal therapy for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? For me it’s the opportunity to take an exciting scientific discovery outside of academia where it has the potential to positively affect people’s lives. 

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model? If so, who? My postdoc mentor Paul Tesar.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? It’s a tie between the Zoo, Aquarium, and National History Museum.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Hiking with my wife and daughter.


 

Eun

Eun Kyung Lee, PhD

What is your student/job title? I currently work as Postdoctoral Scholar at the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health.

What is your fellowship project? I am working on enhancing FM (Farmers’ Market) Tracks software, an iOS platform and website which is currently being used by 500+ farmers’ markets and farmers’ networks across the U.S. to support nutrition incentive program tracking and evaluation. The software is deemed the “gold standard” for tracking nutrition incentives at FMs by the USDA. Some end-users have five years of data in FM Tracks creating both opportunities as well as challenges for data utilization to inform on-the-ground decision making to target and tailor nutrition incentive programming to maximize public health impact.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? My favorite part of entrepreneurship is that it can be practical, realistic and can have significant and positive impact on society (if well intentioned). Everything can be related to entrepreneurship, ranging from food, medicine, education, cleaner energy, sports, arts & culture (entertainment). During the Translational Fellows Program, I have appreciated learning from different perspectives and insights from mentors and fellows of all possible ways that entrepreneurship can go. I have learned that, with good intentions and visions, entrepreneurship can have significant impact on people’s lives and used for a greater good to improve the lives and health of our communities.  

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? While I don’t have an entrepreneurial role model, I have been inspired by Catlin Powers, a co-founder and CEO of One Earth Designs who has created innovative solar cooking stoves (SolSource cooker) to address issues of indoor air pollution in developing nations. While conducting her research in the Himalayas on indoor air pollution, she quickly discovered that innovative and sustainable solutions for health damaging cooking stoves were needed, which led her to entrepreneurship.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? My new favorite places have been Squire’s Castle and Huntington Beach in Bay Village.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? I love exploring locally and visiting different places. I have enjoyed being outdoors at Metro Parks, Farmers Markets and walking on the beaches around Cleveland. I also enjoy cultural activities -- attending an in-person Cleveland Orchestra Concert is still on my bucket list!


 

Chhavi

Chhavi Jain, PhD

What is your student/job title? I am the Translational Project Manager for the Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics Program (PI: Vincent Tuohy) in the Department of Inflammation and Immunity at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic.

What is your fellowship project? My fellowship project is on Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer, where I am working towards translation and commercialization of a monoclonal antibody that targets human epithelial ovarian cancers.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? I am passionate about driving the translation of novel innovative cancer therapeutics from discovery to preclinical development and implementation in the clinical setting for patient benefit. It is the opportunity to drive innovation by solving problems, bridging gaps, and pushing a potential therapeutic product through its lifecycle from concept to commercialization that motivates me.

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur, who I find very inspiring. She is the founder/director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangaluru, India. She started her company from a seed funding of mere ~$150, from the garage of her rented house, and today has successfully grown this into a billion dollar venture.

I am inspired by her belief in "affordable innovation" and need for affordable drugs in developing countries, she has looked for opportunities to develop cost-effective techniques and low-cost alternatives, so that people can afford the drugs they need. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? I love to visit the Chagrin Falls in Cleveland. It is a charming picturesque community with historic architecture.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Hiking in Cuyahoga County.


 

Curtis

Curtis Merriweather, Jr.

What is your student/job title? Chief Executive Officer and Executive Doctoral Candidate 

What is your fellowship project?  My MedTech innovation seeks to better enable high quality diagnostic decision-making in a clinical setting using technologies.  

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? I love innovation strategy or better stated the strategy used to realize innovation.  

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who?  Howard Hughes - Hughes was a true visionary and innovator.  

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? I love trying different food venues and visiting museums

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?  Binging on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc.


 

Eser Tuna


 

Dhruv

Dhruv Seshadri

What is your student/job title? Research Engineer and PhD Candidate

What is your fellowship project? Wearable electroceutic device for the site-specific repair of chronic wounds

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? Customer discovery, cold calling, meeting key opinion leaders in the field, working through the unknown

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Monte Ahuja

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? Any place downtown!


 

Jesse

Jesse Davila Calderon

What is your student/job title? Ph.D. Candidate

What is your fellowship project? Our team leverages biochemical and biophysical assays to develop drugs targeting viral ribonucleic acid (RNA). 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? I am fascinated by doing science that has an impact on the world. I enjoy working on a product developed by basic research and that can have an impact on society.

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Steve Blank. His development of the Lean LaunchPad provided a new that start-ups can follow to be successful in the marketplace.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? Downtown Cleveland and the MetroParks.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? An ideal day off will consist of watching shows on Netflix (and other services), try a new restaurant, and relax at home with my wife. 


 

Jessica d

Jessica de Abreu

What is your student/job title? I'm a PhD candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering.

What is your fellowship project? I'm developing a Neural Tissue Mapper to assist surgeons in quickly and precisely mapping targeted neural tissue to motor actions in the operating room.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? The excitement of creating a new product, and witnessing as it positively impacts peoples' lives.

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? I was lucky enough to have an entrepreneurial role model at home. My father, Claudio Abreu, started his first company when he was 23 years old, with nothing but his unstoppable energy and his dream to help bring Brazil into the digital era. His optimism, resilience and integrity will always be a source of inspiration to me.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? The Cleveland Orchestra. It has world-class musicians, and it makes shows accessible for students.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Going for long hikes with my fiance, reading books, and playing the piano.


 

Jessica S.

Jessica Scarborough

What is your student/job title? I'm a second year graduate student in the combined MD/PhD program (MSTP) at CWRU. 

What is your fellowship project? I am developing a gene expression signature to predict how patients will respond to cisplatin, a common chemotherapy agent. 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? I enjoy working to find a product's niche in the marketplace. It's fun to see how the original vision for a product translates to the real world, filled with unmet needs, competition, and potential for profit. 

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Absolutely! My entrepreneurial role model is Michelle Obama. She's had a fascinating career after taking a leap of faith in leaving a position at a prestigious law firm to focus on a career in public service that spoke to her. With her successes, she promotes the importance of advocating for yourself, leading by example, and seeking out mentorship at all stages of your career. She inspires me to work hard in a career path I'm truly passionate about, not one that simply looks good on paper. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? I love exploring Cleveland's many metroparks, and right now my favorite spot is Acacia Reserve, where I bring my dog for long walks and training sessions. 

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? My ideal day off would involve trying a new restaurant around town and relaxing at home with my partner, pup, and a movie.


 

Jose-Andres Portillo, MD

What is your student/job title? Research Scientist, at the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

What is your fellowship project? Inhibition of CD40 Signaling for the control of Inflammatory Disorders

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? My favorite part of entrepreneurship is to be able to follow my dreams by assuming calculated risks to create new products and ideas that will produce benefits for the society

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? I do not have an entrepreneurial role model. I believe that everyone is a role model in its way. Everyone can teach us something, it is up to us to extract the best from each person. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? My favorite location to visit in Cleveland is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? My favorite way to spend my day off will be relaxing at the beach (In Cleveland hiking/walking in the metroparks)


 

Selva

Selva Jeganathan, PhD

What is your student/job title? Postdoctoral Scholar

What is your fellowship project? Nanobubble Contrast Agent for Real-time Ultrasound Guided Prostate Cancer Biopsy 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? Apart from developing my technology, my favorite aspect of entrepreneurship in healthcare is communicating with people of different backgrounds from lawyers, to investors, to scientists, and to clinicians. These interactions allow me to discuss my technology from the basic science level all the way through the big picture. 

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Bill Gates is my role model for many reasons. First is his passion to help those in need through his foundation. This is a great quality to have and what I strive for when pursuing my career. Second is his ability to synthesize information from very different fields, which is attributed to how much he reads. Each year he releases the top books he read, including topics in physics, self-development, investing, health and many more. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? The Flats is my favorite place. There is a lot of great food, music, and drinks to enjoy while having a fantastic view of the Cuyahoga River. 

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? I love to take my dog to the surrounding metroparks to hike. There are so many places that I still haven't gotten a chance to hike, but my favorite metroparks to hike at are Rocky River Reservation and North Chagrin Reservation.


 

Samantha

Samantha Oblander, PhD

What is your student/job title? Post Doc

What is your fellowship project? Commercialization of a platform technology for the detection, visualization, monitoring and treatment of tumors.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? Working on breakthrough technology in science and medicine with a diverse network of stakeholders.

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? There are so many entrepreneurs to learn from! My mother was the first. Others of note are Anne Wojcicke of 23 and me, Shoshana Shendelman of Applied Therapeutics, Reshma Shetty of Ginkgo. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? The Cleveland Museum of Art

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Quality time with family and lots of good food.


 

Saba

Syeda Nur-E Saba

What is your student/job title? Masters student of Physics Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at CWRU and a part time research associate at Roll-a-Rack.

What is your fellowship project? CWRU student founded startup named LiON Care, which provides real-time accurate easy-to-use feedback on the health of Li-Ion battery setups—reducing uncertainty, risk, and downtime of systems that depend on Li-Ion battery technology.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? Researching about the unmet needs and finding innovative opportunities to improve a project. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? The Cleveland Botanical Garden

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Sleep, Eat while watching a movie and Repeat. 


 

Xiaoye Qian


 

Yehe

Yehe Liu

What is your student/job title? Graduate Student (PhD)

What is your fellowship project? A few innovative ways of doing microscopy

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? Learning / the different way of thinking

Do you have an entrepreneurial role model?  If so, who? Elon maybe?... may sound boring

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? Costco in Golden Gate (there is a Chick-fil-A across the street)

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Focus on doing something for a long period of time (e.g., working, crafting, painting, etc.)

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Watching sports and a walk along Lake Erie 


 

Zachary Eschweiler