Four postdoctoral researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been named Entrepreneurial Fellows as part of a new joint initiative of the University of California and Los Alamos. The researchers will participate in a six-month pilot program designed to help early-career scientists think about their technologies from a commercial perspective and bring them to the marketplace faster.
“These postdoctoral researchers were selected based on the potential for their projects to have both scientific and commercial impact,” said Kim Budil, UC’s vice president for national laboratories, which is funding the Fellowship program. “We worked with Los Alamos to design a training program that will help the postdocs understand how to accelerate a path to market for early-stage technologies. This reflects the commitment of the University of California to develop young scientists and entrepreneurs at Los Alamos.”
The four Entrepreneurial Fellows are:
- Vamshi Chillara from the Laboratory’s Materials Physics and Applications division, who is developing a technology that would power implants using ultrasound, thus providing wireless energy delivery for biomedical applications.
- Jessica Kubicek-Sutherland from the Laboratory’s Chemistry division, who is developing a universal bacterial biosensor that will allow for the rapid differentiation of bacterial pathogens in a patient’s bloodstream to quickly determine the appropriate treatment.
- Anand Kumar from the Laboratory’s Bioscience division, who is developing a universal gut microbial cocktail to treat Clostridioides difficile (C-diff), a severe intestinal infection in humans.
- Maruti Mudunuru from the Laboratory’s Earth and Environmental Sciences division, who is developing a low-cost, energy-efficient, and near real-time monitoring of Earth and environmental processes.
It is expected that at the end of the six-month pilot program, these researchers will have a fuller understanding of market requirements and the best commercial opportunities for their technologies. “This is the first program of its kind, where we award a Fellowship as part of the postdoctoral experience at Los Alamos, with dedicated training and mentoring from experienced venture investors, and funding to pursue technology commercialization,” said Duncan McBranch, chief technology officer at Los Alamos. “The University of California has been a leader in fostering entrepreneurship at its campuses, and this new Fellowship extends that spirit into our unique postdoctoral research program.”
The Fellowships will end in April 2018 with final presentations and a closing ceremony. Solicitations for the second year of the Fellowship program will go out to the Los Alamos postdoctoral community in November 2017.