Please join us in welcoming our thirteen Fellows who, beyond technical expertise, exhibit the drive to translate technologies from academia to the clinic, the compassion to keep patients at the center of transforming care, and a passion to improve the future of healthcare.
As we close out the year, we're thrilled to announce our newest class of AV Fellows, a group of talented and dedicated individuals with a shared passion for using technology and biology to improve healthcare. After a thorough selection process that included reviewing hundreds of applications and conducting multiple rounds of interviews, we are confident that these fellows will be invaluable assets to our team as we work to identify TechBio opportunities with real-world impact for patients.
This year's class of AV Fellows brings a diverse range of technical expertise to the table, spanning protein design, neuro-engineering, drug discovery, synthetic biology, cell therapies, and more.
The 2022 ARTIS Ventures Fellows:
Cameron Anderson Expertise: computational antibody engineering
Cameron is completing a PhD in the Howarth Lab at the University of Cambridge, UK. His research focuses on engineering highly stable antibody mimetic proteins for action in the gastrointestinal tract. Disease targets of particular interest include the inflammatory pathways involved in IBD, the microbiome, food intolerances and microbial infection. Cameron completed a masters degree in the Biggin Group (University of Oxford) using protein MD simulation and high-throughput fragment-based drug design to inhibit novel cancer targets. He now uses this computational experience to complement protein display technologies for antibody design. Cameron is also involved in growing the new chapter of Nucleate in the UK.
Jessika Baral Expertise: computational oncology
Jessika is a second year MD/PhD candidate at Harvard Medical School with a broad range of research expertise, having worked previously at UC Berkeley and Stanford Medicine. She is primarily interested in computational biology, oncology, and immunology, and runs the Oncology Interest Group at Harvard Medical School.
She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology, focused on Computational Biology and Genomics, and minored in Computer Science and Mathematics at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was awarded the Florence Moog Fellowship and was a part of the University Scholars Program. There, she worked with Dr. Li Ding, and focused primarily on cancer multi-omics research and better characterizing protein complexes integral to cancer progression. For her research, she has been named a Barry Goldwater Scholar and an Astronaut Scholar, and received the 2019 Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship.
She grew up in the Bay Area in California and enjoys spending free time in nature, choreographing and teaching dance, and trying new cuisines to fuel her inner foodie.
Gavin Hui, MD Expertise: hematology & oncology, internal medicine
Gavin received his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Stanford. This year, he began his Hematology & Oncology Fellowship at UCLA. He is interested in the intersection of big data and cancer care. Outside of his professional career, he enjoys watching the Lakers and playing basketball.
Cheng Kai "CK" Lim Expertise: synthetic biology, DNA storage
Cheng Kai is a PhD-MBA student at the National University of Singapore, where he works on synthetic biology and DNA data storage. He is interested in developing tools that can enable everyone to engineer biology more effectively, thereby accelerating the process of bringing therapies to market. He is also keen on new models for doing science and how it can be more equitable. He was previously with iGEM as the Global Chair of their Entrepreneurship Programme (EPIC), and has worked in multiple biotech startups, helping them drive their business development efforts. Cheng Kai was a Leader of Tomorrow for the 2020 iteration of the GapSummit, a conference dedicated to selecting top potential biotech leaders, and was also a highly commended awardee for the Global Undergraduate Thesis awards. In his free time, Cheng Kai enjoys playing the piano, bouldering and reading all sorts of content - online or offline.
David Mai Expertise: T Cell engineering
David is a Bioengineering PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania in Dr. Carl June's Lab working on T cell engineering to enhance function in solid tumor settings. Previously, he completed undergraduate degrees in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley, where he worked on magnetic particle imaging and point-of-care diagnostics research, which he took through the NSF I-Corp program and UC LAUNCH accelerator as a startup called Clean Slate. A San Francisco native, David enjoys outdoor adventures and trying new bakeries, and appreciates a good public transportation system. He currently focuses his free time on keeping up with new science and tech, rock climbing, and improving his pottery practice.
Niraj Mehta Expertise: synthetic biology, chemistry
Niraj is a Chemistry PhD candidate at Stanford University. He was born in India and attended school in Pune, India. He did his undergraduate studies at UCLA, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering, studying the continuous manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs. At Stanford, under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Sattely, he studies the production of therapeutic small-molecules in plants and ultimately aims to enable the transfer of plant molecule biosynthetic pathways into scaleable heterologous systems like yeast for sustainable, large-scale production. Outside of his work, he enjoys reading, running and airplanes.
Tommaso Menara, PhD Expertise: neuroscience and machine learning
Tommaso is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, San Diego. He received his training in multiple engineering disciplines, with a particular emphasis on neural engineering and robotics. He completed his B.Sc. at the University of Padova, Italy, M.Sc. at the University of Pisa, Italy, and PhD at the University of California, Riverside.
Tommaso's current research interests lie in the emerging intersection of neuroscience, machine learning, and control engineering. He studies biologically inspired recurrent neural networks. Previously, he focused his PhD thesis on reverse engineering brain-wide neural synchronization phenomena to inform novel neurostimulation and neural therapeutics methods. During his graduate studies, he also interned at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) in Japan, where he developed data-driven models for neurofeedback therapies.
Outside of work, Tommaso loves spending time outdoors. Besides being an avid hiker and backpacker, he enjoys surfing, golfing, and skiing.
Jeremiah Sims Expertise: protein design
Jeremiah is an MD-PhD student at the University of Washington, where he studies under the mentorship of David Baker in the Institute for Protein Design. His ongoing work focuses on data-driven deep learning approaches to improve protein interface design and function, towards the goal of de novo protein therapeutics for infectious diseases. Jeremiah’s research focus anticipates a career in the protein-based pharmaceutical space, one that he hopes will be aided by recent technological advances in the laboratory and the clinic.
Hailing from Richmond, VA, Jeremiah developed deep passions for science, medicine, soccer, and music. As an undergrad, he studied Chemistry and began protein drug research in Elsa Yan’s Lab before pursuing a postbaccalaureate position at the NIH, where he developed an assay to probe malaria nutrient uptake.
In addition to being an ARTIS Fellow, Jeremiah is honored as this year’s Jim Valentine Fellow in homage of a great friend and longtime mentor of ARTIS who passed away after his long courageous fight with cancer. Jim is remembered for his brilliance, larger-than-life personality, and razor-sharp wit. He believed in taking risks, grand visions, and an entrepreneurial spirit, all the while maintaining his sense of humor. As a Valentine Fellow, Jeremiah embodies the technical expertise to drive innovation forward and the clinical focus to translate this research to impact human lives.
Emily Su Expertise: stem cell and developmental biology
Emily is a Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, where she also completed her bachelor’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math & Statistics. Her research centers on developing computational tools to aid in unraveling regulatory network structures within the cell and controlling cell identity transitions, with a particular focus in stem cell and developmental biology. Prior to graduate school, she worked in a synthetic biology lab where she studied calcium signaling and mechanosensation in primary cilia.
Outside of the lab, Emily dedicates time toward mentoring and teaching. She’s passionate about increasing diversity, inclusion, and innovation across STEM by making science approachable and by empowering young adults to pursue STEM fields. Beyond undergraduate courses, her teaching pursuits have also included developing stem cell biology summer immersion programs for high school students.
In her free time, Emily loves streaming drama series and indulging in ice cream and coffee.
Donna Taraborelli Expertise: public health, drug development
Donna is a Doctor of Public Health candidate at Harvard. As part of her doctoral research, she worked with a startup founded by a sleep scientist who developed a platform technology to shift human circadian rhythms to optimize sleep. Donna is the co-Managing Director of Nucleate Genesis, a student-led venture creation education program for life science trainees, and is on the leadership team of the Public Health Innovation x Technology Student Forum. She was previously a fellow with Yard Ventures and Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. Donna and her team were also part of Harvard i-Lab’s Venture Incubation Program and semi-finalists in the President’s Innovation Challenge.
Prior to Harvard, Donna worked in drug development across big and small pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, her work supported Clearside Biomedical’s IPO in 2016. She also co-led the company’s first new drug application for XIPERETM, approved in 2021 for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis, and spearheaded the company’s ocular gene therapy delivery program.
Dillan Villavisanis Expertise: plastic & reconstructive surgery
Dillan is a fourth year MD Candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Research Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. His current research includes translational innovation, applications of machine learning to clinical datasets, and global surgery.
Dillan graduated from Johns Hopkins with a BA in Medicine, Science, & the Humanities and Anthropology as a Hodson Scholar. During undergraduate he pursued a year studying Biochemistry at Oxford and a semester in Sydney at the Garvan Institute. Previous research at Johns Hopkins Medicine on neuronal synaptic plasticity and sensory impairment was supported by the James West Fellowship, Robert Young Grant, and Provost Undergraduate Research Award. He has authored over forty peer-reviewed publications and 100 abstracts.
In the community he enjoys serving as Co-Chair of the Young Leadership Board for Smile Train, as Co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee for the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and on the Advisory Board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Guy Wilson Expertise: brain-machine interfaces
Guy is a neuroscience PhD student at Stanford University, where he works with Professor Krishna Shenoy of the Stanford Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory (NPTL) and Professor Shaul Druckmann in the Department of Neurobiology. He previously studied mathematics and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked in Professor Robert Knight's lab analyzing EEG and ECoG recordings.
Guy joined the BrainGate clinical trial team in 2019, where he works on algorithms for intracortical brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). His research focuses on translating basic science into high-performance BCI systems, leveraging unparalleled access to high spatiotemporal resolution signals from individual brain cells. This includes prototyping speech decoding systems, as well as building robust systems that can fare against changing neural signals, with the ultimate aim of helping move BCIs from the lab and into the clinic.
While born on the east coast, Guy has traded teams and embraced the mild California climate. He enjoys hiking around the Bay Area in his spare time.
We are excited to see what the AV Fellows Class of 2022 will achieve over the course of the year, and we are confident that they will make a significant impact on the future of healthcare. Please join us in welcoming them to the ARTIS Ventures team!
Read the full press release here: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/12/14/2573912/0/en/Leading-TechBio-Investment-Firm-ARTIS-Ventures-Announces-2022-Class-of-Healthcare-and-Life-Sciences-Fellows.html