Entrepreneurial Fellows Program

The CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows (EF) Award program identifies and supports the professional development of junior life sciences researchers who are keen to develop the skills and experiences needed to move translational projects from a university lab toward commercialization and potentially into a Chicago-based biotech start-up. The program exposes Fellows to a breadth of real-world experiences across the CBC institutions and connects trainees to a network composed of the Chicago biomedical community.2022 Entrepreneurial Fellows  I  2023 (Spring) Entrepreneurial Fellows  I  2023 (Fall) Entrepreneurial Fellows

Entrepreneurial Fellow Alumni

2023 (Fall) CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows:


Dennis is a neuroscience PhD and rare disease advocate who worked to develop mouse models of genetic epilepsy syndromes under Dr. Jennifer Kearney at Northwestern University. Dennis comes to the CBC hoping to augment his scientific training with skills related to due diligence, opportunity assessment, and project management. Going forward, Dennis aims to shake up biotech by bringing a critical perspective on the value of preclinical models and how rethinking their utility can facilitate the commercialization of ground-breaking therapeutics.   ▸ More on LinkedIN


Lucas Shores, PhD is a trained immune-engineer with a background conducting research in a variety of disciplines including tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, drug delivery, viral immunology, vaccine design for autoimmunity and infectious disease, and metabolic disease. Lucas was the first in his family to attend college and earned his B.S. in biomedical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and his M.S. and PhD in biomedical engineering from Duke University. Most recently, he conducted research in the labs of Jeffrey Hubbell and Melody Swartz at the University of Chicago, studying the intersection of lymphatics, immunology, obesity, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. After several years at the bench, Lucas hopes to learn the path from the bench to commercialization through his time at the CBC.    ▸ More on LinkedIN


Alex earned his B.S. in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He completed his thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Ryan Hunter, where he developed analytical methods to interrogate microbial community interactions regulating bacterial pathogen virulence within the cystic fibrosis airway environment. Outside of the laboratory, Alex promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion through his involvement in the Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program (SMDP) and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). He is thrilled to be moving back to his hometown of Chicago to work with the CBC on developing the city’s biotechnology ecosystem.
▸ More on LinkedIN

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2023 (Spring) CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows:


Ahmed is a patient-centered, collaborative, and highly motivated scientist-pharmacist with strong experience in neuroscience biomedical research. Ahmed earned his Pharmacy degree from the School of Pharmacy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2016 where his research was focused on medicinal chemistry and drug development. Following Pharmacy school, Ahmed joined the biomedical sciences PhD program at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he worked under the supervision of Dr. Orly Lazarov. During his Ph.D., Ahmed studied the extent of hippocampal neurogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease patients and its impact on their learning and memory. After successfully completing his PhD, Ahmed joined the CBC as an entrepreneurial fellow where he aims to close the knowledge gap between the bench and the pharmaceutical market and build a strong biotech ecosystem in the Chicagoland area.   ▸ More on LinkedIN


Sonal is a nanomaterials researcher, award-winning science communicator, and community leader. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley and is completing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in Mark Hersam’s group at Northwestern University. Her Ph.D. research has focused on the development of nanomaterial inks for electronic devices, and she has published several papers on printed graphene biosensors for detecting small molecules, proteins, and pathogens. Driven to work at the intersection of science and business, Sonal was a VC Fellow with Bay Area-based Fusion Fund. At the CBC, Sonal looks forward to building out resources for budding biotech entrepreneurs in Chicagoland.    ▸ More on LinkedIN


Owen is a neuroscientist who has studied how the nervous system generates movement. Owen completed his thesis in the lab of Vicki Tysseling at Northwestern University where he used a mouse model of spinal cord injury to better understand how spasm presentation varies across populations with different SCI severities. With the CBC, Owen seeks to better understand the commercialization of science to move Chicagoland towards more equitable health outcomes.    ▸ More on LinkedIN

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CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows Alumni:

Schnaude Dorizan

2022 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Venture Acceleration Manager

▸ More on LinkedIN

Carissa Heath

2019 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Program Manager
Foresite Labs

▸ More on LinkedIN


Amanda Maldonado

2022 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Innovation Portfolio, Manager
Lurie Children’s Hospital

▸ More on LinkedIN

Elan Ness-Cohn

2022 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Senior Consultant

▸ More on LinkedIN


eric schiffhauer

2019 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Director of Outreach
Deerfield Management

▸ More on LinkedIN

Karol Sokolowski

2022 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Director of Strategic Growth
Portal Innovations

▸ More on LinkedIN


Rachel Wallace

2023 Entrepreneurial Fellow

Current position:
Scientist, Translational Medicine
Pioneering Medicines

▸ More on LinkedIN

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See more:
▸ Past Funded Entrepreneurial Fellows
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