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Life Science Entrepreneurship

Roles of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers in High-tech Startups

March 11 – April 17, 2019
Mondays and Wednesdays, 5 PM – 7 PM (EST)
Room 403, Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Building (Rose St & South Lime)University of Kentucky (via Video Conferencing)

Course Registration: Here
Free – No charge – Attend any lectures of interest
Questions: Contact Tony Elam – tony.elam@uky.edu

Sponsored by UKHealthcare, Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, Center for Clinical Translational Science (CCTS) and the College of Engineering.

The roles of physicians, scientists, engineers and MBAs in biotech, medical device, and other life science companies will be described and characterized. The major trends and innovations driving the creation of new products in large, established companies and venture-capital-backed startup companies are discussed. This pragmatic, experienced-based course describes the venture capital process, the formation and capitalization of high-tech companies, sources of technologies, role of tech transfer at universities and medical schools, startup operational issues, role of VCs and board members, execution time frames, the liquidity process, IPOs and mergers, and payout prospects for founders and investors.

A pragmatic, experienced-based course giving essential knowledge for anyone who is considering being a life science entrepreneur. Inspirational Storytellers!

Core Lectures on Entrepreneurship:

  • Entrepreneurs, Venture Capital, VC Industry
  • Startup Company Dynamics
  • Startup Financings, Valuations & Outcomes
  • Biotech & Pharma Industries
  • Diagnostics & Medical Devices Industries
  • Stock Options & Compensation
  • Role of Boards in Startups
  • Landmines on the Road to Success
  • Intelligence, Leadership & Entrepreneurship
  • Twelve Life Science Case Studies
  • Career Planning for Life Science Professionals

Live, ongoing case studies featuring guest speakers: biotech, medical device and healthcare informatics company stories presented by many notable MD and PhD founders and CEOs. Hear insider startup secrets and success stories from decades of highly successful company formations and Venture Capital practice in medical, biotech and infotech companies.

Guest Speakers for 2019:

Reginald DesRoches, PhD, Dean of Engineering, Rice University
Mehdi Razavi, MD, Founder & President, Saranas
William (Billy) Cohn, MD, VP, Medical Devices, J&J Innovation Brittany Barreto, PhD, Co-Founder, Pheramor
Larry Lawson, Founder & Chairman, HeartcoR and Proxima C.R.
John Cooke, MD, PhD, CV Chair, Houston Methodist Research Inst.
Scott Parazynski, MD, Founder & CEO, Fluidity Technologies
Bryan Haardt, CEO, Decisio Health
Tom Luby, PhD, Head, JLABS@TMC
Lance Black, MD, Associate Director, TMCx Accelerator
Brad Burke, MBA, Managing Director, Rice Alliance
Leadership team of enventure. Houston’s medical entrepreneurs James Welsh, MD, Founder, MolecularMatch, MD Anderson
Joy Wolfram, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic
Todd Rosengart, MD, FACS, Chair, Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine

Course Faculty:        
Jack M. Gill, PhD
Will Clifton, MD
Paul Cherukuri, PhD

Adrian Trömel, aht2@rice.edu
Norah Owiti, norah.a.owiti@uth.tmc.edu

Class Schedule

Mar. 11 Course Kickoff: Reginald DesRoches, PhD
Course Intro, Schedule, Grading, Homework Entrepreneurs, VCs & VC Firms, Vanguard Story

Mar. 13 Startup Company Dynamics and Role of Boards in Startups
Guest: Mehdi Razavi, MD

Mar. 18 Medical Devices and Diagnostics
Guest: William Cohn, MD

Mar. 20 Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industries
Guest: Brittany Barreto, PhD

Mar. 25 Startup Financings, Valuations, Outcomes
Guest: Larry Lawson

Mar. 27 Stock Options & Compensation
Guest: John Cooke, MD, PhD

BBQ Dinner w/ Scott Parazynski, MD

Apr. 1 Twelve Life Science Case Studies
Bryan Haardt

Mid-semester Quiz

Apr. 3 Entrepreneur Support Organizations
Guests: Tom Luby, PhD; Lance Black, MD;
Brad Burke, MBA; enventure Leadership

Apr. 8 Landmines on the Road to Success
Guest: James W. Welsh, MD

Apr. 10 Intelligence, Leadership and Entrepreneurship
Guest: Todd Rosengart, MD, FACS

Student Essays Due

Apr. 15 Career Planning Lecture & Student Discussion
Guest: Joy Wolfram, PhD

Apr. 17 Summary, Q&A and Course Survey; Student Presentations


Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.18.53 AM copyJack Gill is a 35-year veteran of Silicon Valley and Boston and has founded and financed dozens of successful companies in the instrumentation, computer, telecom, and medical industries.  He co-founded Vanguard Ventures in 1981.  Vanguard’s first five funds invested $155 million in 103 startups which generated more than $1 billion return to investors.  Successes include Aldus, AFC, Ciena, EndoSonics, Indigo Medical, Mycogen, Digital Microwave, Tut Systems, Cobalt Networks, Digital Island, Network Appliance and Hansen Medical.  Dr. Gill joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 2000.  He teaches entrepreneur courses at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Rice. Jack was on the boards of the National AcademiesProject HOPE, the Horatio Alger Association and MD Anderson.  He is a former Trustee of Indiana University & member of the Executive council of the Texas ETF.  Jack was a 1999 winner of the Horatio Alger Award
E-mail: Jack M. Gill, PhD


20ccdfePaul Cherukuri earned his PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley and R. Bruce Weisman at Rice University and has a 15+ year history in academia and industry. As Executive Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB), Paul is responsible for the development and implementation of cross-disciplinary research and educational programs that strengthen Rice University’s scientific development in biosciences and bioengineering. He serves as the key liaison between Rice University and the Texas Medical Center to support and develop collaborative research opportunities for IBB faculty and the broader Rice science/engineering community. Paul also directs an active research program in the field of scalable directed self-assembly of artificial and biological nanoscale materials (Teslaphoresis) and is a subject matter expert in nanotechnology, drug development and biomedical devices.


Will Clifton is Director of Global Medical Innovation at Rice. He is a life-science entrepreneur and bioengineer with a background in medical device and innovation education. His focus is on the global future of medical innovation, where the city of Houston, with its prolific medical research community and diverse culture, is a natural home.

Prior to his work at Rice, Dr. Clifton was Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Procyrion, where he spent six years developing a minimally invasive pump to treat heart failure, taking it from a prototype through first-in-human clinical trials. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 2012, with advanced research in otolaryngology as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow.



Download Spring 2019 Agenda for Life Science Entrepreneurship Roles of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers in High-tech Startups