Entrepreneurial Fellows Program

Updated: May 8, 2023

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 Entrepreneurial Fellows

2023 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, Rangnekar was a VC Fellow with Bay Area-based Fusion Fund. At the CBC, Rangnekar 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. Shelton 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, Shelton seeks to better understand the commercialization of science to move Chicagoland towards more equitable health outcomes.    ▸ More on LinkedIN


Rachel is an immunoengineer who’s expertise lies at the intersection of immunology, materials science and nanotechnology. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Molecular Engineering in Jeff Hubbell’s lab at the University of Chicago. Throughout her Ph.D. she leveraged not only scientific but business resources through the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and as a Fellow at Northpond Ventures to gain skills in deep tech venture due diligence and evaluating technologies for their commercialization potential.    ▸ More on LinkedIN

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2022 CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows:


Elan possesses a unique ability to bridge AI and ML with biology having conducted extensive “wet lab” work as an undergraduate at MIT and identified genes that are under Circadian control in his thesis in Rosemary Braun’s lab as part of the Northwestern Center for Quantitative Biology centered on the biology of circadian rhythms. He communicates about biology and AI in his blog “The Data Byte”.    ▸ More on LinkedIN


Schnaude, an accomplished neuroscientist, who completed her thesis in the lab of Mitra Hartmann at Northwestern University, is using new methods to measure how animals perceive their environment, learn, and remember. A phenomenal communicator who shares her love of science with undergraduate mentees, Dorizan has championed diversity and equity on the Northwestern campus, serving as student representative on the NUIN Student Advisory Council and as president of the Black Graduate Student Association, efforts that helped her earn the McBride Student Award.    ▸ More on LinkedIN


Amanda plans to use her Fellowship training to expand commercialization of treatments for women’s reproductive diseases. Completing a thesis in the lab of Dr. Joanna Burdette at the University of Illinois Chicago, Maldonado is the recipient of an NIH-backed grant referred to as the T32 and on the executive board of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Graduate Chapter since 2018.   ▸ More on LinkedIN


Karol is a Chicago native who worked on novel antibiotic delivery, completing his thesis in the lab of Dr. Richard Gemeinhart at the University of Illinois Chicago, where he was a recipient of the Reed Henninger Award. In the future, Sokolowski intends to make valuable contributions to further Chicago’s biotech ecosystem, as well as support science students in the Chicago Public Schools where he was educated before attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.   ▸ More on LinkedIN

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See more:
▸ Past Funded Entrepreneurial Fellows
▸ Back to Entrepreneurial Fellows