2021-2022 TFP Fellows

Adam Lauko

Adam Lauko

What is your student/job title?

I am an MSTP student currently in my fourth year of graduate school in the lab of Justin Lathia.

What is your fellowship project?

We are working towards commercialization of short interfering peptide targeting a complex of proteins found in triple negative breast cancer.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

What I enjoy most about entrepreneurship is the excitement around the product and investing all one’s time and energy into the endeavor. The feeling you get when all that hard work pays off is unbeatable.

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

Dr. James Olson. Dr. Olson has been able to spin off the discoveries made in his lab into three separate companies. The way he is able to maintain robust scientific research while at the same time continuing the commercial development of his technology speaks to his ability to lead a wide-ranging group of scientists, engineers and businesspeople.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

Progressive Field. For me nothing is better than relaxing on a summer day watching baseball and hanging out with a group of good friends.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

Ideal day off includes a bike ride, enjoying my cup of coffee while reading in a good book and then watching sports.


 

Bo

Bo Zhang

What is your student/job title?

PhD candidate/Research Assistant

What is your fellowship project?

The project I plan to investigate for translation is a Multilayer Microfluidic Transport Device (MMTD) that is capable of quantitatively transferring nitric oxide (NO) into banked blood and to form S-nitrosothiols (SNOs), which is an important signaling molecule for hypoxic vasodilation. The purpose of improving SNOs in banked blood is to restore the ability of hypoxic vasodilation and thus to improve transfusion efficacy.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

For me, my favorite part of entrepreneurship is to bring cool and great scientific discoveries from the lab to where it could have a positive and significant impact on people's life.

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

Elon Musk, always passionate to bring surprise to the world and impact people's life

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

Cleveland Cavaliers 

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

I love to visit different cities and cultures if I have enough time off. If it is just one or several days off, I would take my dog to the wild and enjoy nature. I also love to go to the gym and play basketball.


 

Brecken

Brecken Blackburn

What is your student/job title?

PhD Student

What is your fellowship project?

Phase Decorrelation Optical Coherence Tomography for Corneal Assessment -- 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

The creativity and latitude that's required

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

Jonas Salk -- I recognize that entrepreneurship, including scalable and profitable business plans, are a critical part of translating scientific research for wider benefit. However, when the public incentive to translate a technology is great enough on its own, traditional business plans may no longer serve the public good. Salk and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis distributed the formulation and production processes of the first polio vaccine to several pharmaceutical companies for free -- an admirable decision. As a Pittsburgh native, I also appreciate that Salk's research was conducted in Pittsburgh. 

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

Girdled road reservation (snowy, sunny, or rainy!)

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

Hiking with friends (and my dog)


 

Bushra

Bushra Alghamdi

What is your student/job title?

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics.  

What is your fellowship project?

 I’m working on a conversational agent tool to improve assessment and management of delirium in the hospital setting. 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

My favorite part of entrepreneurship is to engage with others’ aspirations to transform their ideas into a real-world necessity.

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

Wail Yar, MD, MPH, my husband, he is the one I started translating ideas into products with him 10 years ago. He was and still my role model and my inspiration.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

The Arcade, it has an astonishing architecture with the best coffee shop in town. 

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

Brewing my coffee, reading, and making creative projects with my kids.


 

Edwin

Edwin Vazquez-Rosa

What is your student/job title?

Senior Research Associate

What is your fellowship project?

My fellowship project is based on the use of acetylated-tau as a blood biomarker for diagnosis and staging of traumatic brain injury.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

My favorite part of entrepreneurship is the opportunity to move scientific discoveries “from bench to bedside” to improve human health.

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

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are my entrepreneurial role models, because of their vision, innovation, and desire to help those most in need.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

My favorite location to visit in Cleveland is the West Side Market. I like the freshness and variety of products that they offer, and the restaurants.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

I love to spend my day off with my wife and children.


 

Lauren

Lauren Yeh

What is your student/job title? 

I am a second year PhD candidate in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences studying cystic fibrosis modifier genes. 

What is your fellowship project? 

My project is to bring our discovered pulmonary therapeutic molecules to market and improve patient QoL in cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases. 

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

In biomedical research, we often gain inspiration from patient needs.  I want to make sure we bring our work back to help patients directly through creating new products or therapeutics.

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

Too many to mention! My first role model was my father who taught me that there is something to learn from everyone we encounter - even if it’s just how not to do something.  I try to live with this mentality and learn from everyone around me.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

I love visiting “Sweet Moses”, an old fashioned soda fountain and ice cream shop in Gordon Square.  It’s an excellent chance to slow down and remember that sometimes the old ways are best!

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

When I have free time I like to relax at home: baking, solving multi-thousand piece puzzles, watching asian television shows, and playing tennis.  


 

Matthew

Matthew McPheeters

What is your student/job title?

Post doc

What is your fellowship project?

The laser otoscope for diagnosing otitis media with effusion.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

Turning good ideas into something workable in real life

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

Elon Musk, with caveats

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

The emerald necklace (Metroparks)

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

In the woods


 

Seth

Seth Fillioe

What is your student/job title?

Postdoctoral Scholar

What is your fellowship project?

Translating serum markers of fatigue into a real-time sensor worn by aviators

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship? 

I enjoy taking what I know about science and merging it with what others know about business to create a product that betters people’s lives.

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

I find people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to be strong role models.  They are rich and successful businessmen, but they also take their knowledge and resources and use it as a way to help others much less fortunate than them by beautifully pairing entrepreneurship with philanthropy.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland? 

Progressive Field because nothing beats live baseball.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off? 

Exploring a new restaurant or area with my wife.


 

William

William Wulftange

What is your student/job title?

MD/PhD candidate (MSTP)

What is your fellowship project?

Rapid Biomimetic Microfluidic CAR-T Assay for Real-Time Potency

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

My favorite part of entrepreneurship is the creativity that is integral to the process. Beginning with an idea and seeing it transform into something physical gives a sense of unparalleled fulfillment. Knowing that your creativity could help patients in a clinical setting is also very motivating.

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

Donald Ingber, MD, PhD – his scientific and entrepreneurial work in the organ-on-a-chip space is absolutely inspiring.

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

I absolutely love the Cedar-Lee area. The neighborhood is so pretty, the cafes are cozy, and you cannot beat the $5 movie Mondays at the Cedar-Lee theater.

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

On my days off, I like to make my way to the local nurseries to pick up new plants and colorful pots to put them in!


 

Yue

Yue Xu

What is your student/job title?

PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering

What is your fellowship project?

To develop a nanoparticle based “PhotoVaccine” for cancer treatment taking advantage of both phototherapy and immunotherapy.

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

The communication and exchange of ideas with people from different background. it is fascinating to start with an idea in the lab and end up solving the unmet needs in real world.

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

Used to be Elon Mush, before he twittered on the bitcoin…

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

Chagrin Falls and the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

Exploring new places and restaurants nearby.


 

Zoe

Zoe Sekyonda

What is your student/job title?

PhD Candidate

What is your fellowship project?

Optical detection of hemoglobin variants a diagnostic tool

What is your favorite part of entrepreneurship?

I'm fascinated by research that could be turned into a device; imagine taking an idea from the lab and turning it into a product, similar to entrepreneurship. It would be extremely rewarding if that device could save a life somewhere in the world.

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

My entrepreneurial model is Ray Kroc. I commend his perseverance in growing a single-stand modest business into one of the world's most successful enterprises. On occasions I use his quote, "Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent,"

What is your favorite location to visit in Cleveland?

I like Cleveland's natural scenery, especially wandering along the Cuyahoga River

What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

Running, spending time with family and friends and trying out new recipes