Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

Winter 2023 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series with Janis Weeks
From Academic Neuroscience to Co-founding a Biotech Company, via Africa

When: Monday, Feb. 6, 2023 | 10:00 am
Where: Beetham Family Seminar Room at the Knight Campus


About the talk:

Please join us for the Knight Campus' Winter 2023 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series seminar. Janis Weeks will share her experiences moving forward from academia to co-founding a successful biotech company, motivated by years of neuroscience capacity-building activities on the African continent.

About Janis Weeks:

A Professor Emerit of Biology at the University of Oregon’s Institute of Neuroscience, Dr. Janis Weeks is the Co-Founder and Chief Global Health Officer at InVivo Biosystems (formerly NemaMetrix), a University of Oregon spin-off company. She is an academic expert in neuroplasticity and infectious and parasitic diseases.

portrait of Janis Weeks


Previous Speakers

Suzanne Tabbaa 

Principal Consultant, SymplexBio Consulting, LLC

Why You Should Consider Being a Scientist and a Marketer ("The Dirty Word")

Suzanne Tabbaa shared her unexpected career journey toward becoming an entrepreneur, discussed the importance of living in the commercial space, and offered lessons learned from working with F500-size companies to start-ups.

Suzanne Tabbaa from SymplexBio Consulting, LLC.


Andrés J. García

Georgia Institute of Technology
Executive Director, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Petit Director’s Chair in Bioengineering and Bioscience
Regents’ Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Michelle C. LaPlaca

Georgia Institute of Technology
Professor, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

The Many Paths Across the Valley of Death

Professors García and LaPlaca shared their experiences in translation and commercialization through personal case studies of ventures that were successful as well as some unsuccessful ones. They also highlighted lessons learned.

Andrés J. García portrait


michelle laplaca

Arlyne Simon

Biomedical engineer, author and inventor

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Arlyne Simon discusses lessons learned in commercializing immunoassays and designing medical devices like hypodermic syringes and ultrasound machines. Interestingly, these lessons of customer-centricity also apply when sparking an inventor’s mindset in K-5 students through the Abby Invents STEM picture book series.


arlyne simon

Chris Gibson

Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion

The Serendipity of Failure: A Journey from Graduate Student to Biotech CEO

Chris Gibson highlights the serendipity of science and failure, and the role each played in the journey he took from an MD/PhD student to CEO of a multibillion-dollar public biotech company in seven short years.

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Chris Gibson

Carolyn Bertozzi

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University

Therapeutic Opportunities in Glycoscience

Carolyn Bertozzi discussed how her research in glycoscience could lead to new therapeutic strategies.

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carolyn bertozzi

Samantha Zyontz

Fellow at the Center for Law and the Biosciences and Research Fellow of Intellectual Property at Stanford Law School

Mapping the Worldwide Research, Innovation, and Diffusion Activity of CRISPR

Samantha Zyontz discussed how CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) has profoundly influenced innovation in a range of applications around the world. Her analysis of CRISPR academic articles, patents, companies, and clinical trials highlights an explosion of innovative related activities since the technology’s introduction.

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samantha zyontz

Michele Marcolongo

Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering, Villanova University

Start-Up Campus: How to Translate Your Scientific Discovery to a Successful Product

Michele Marcolongo discussed the roadmap for translating technology to product launch, as well as how to execute the necessary steps to create and launch a start-up company. In addition to her extensive work in academia, Dr. Marcolongo is a successful entrepreneur who has co-founded three biomedical technology startup companies and is a co-holder of 15 patents/patent applications.

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michelle marcolongo

Jennifer Elisseeff

Director and Professor of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering

"Regenerative Immunology – the Role of Technology Translation in Guiding Discovery"

Jennifer Elisseeff discussed regenerative immunology and the role of technology translation in guiding discoveries. She is currently working to understand the role of the immune system and cellular senescence in the biomaterial response and repair across different tissues. This new therapeutic target serves as the basis for the design of regenerative immunotherapies.

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jennifer e ​​​​​

Kate Rosenbluth

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Cala Health

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Kate Rosenbluth shared the story of founding and building a growth startup from spin-out through product launch. She spun Cala Health out from Stanford on a scientific moonshot to deliver a new class of bioelectronic therapies that use wearable devices to deliver non-invasive neuromodulation for major chronic diseases.

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kate rosenbluth

Ken Gall

Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University.

“Translation of New Materials into Medical Implants”

Ken Gall discussed the translation of a diverse set of new material technologies into medical implants. In all the applications, the implementation of the new materials was accelerated by basic research leading to a new fundamental understanding of the relationship between processing, structure, and mechanical properties of the constituent materials. 


  ken gall