New Mexico Lab-Embedded entrepreneur program announces first cohort

Winning fellows will refine their innovations by spending two years collaborating with Laboratory experts

By Tricia Ware | March 21, 2022

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Kristina Trujillo of TNeuroPharma, Cliff Chan of OAM Photonics and Srikanth Kodeboyina of Blue Eye Soft are the first cohort of the New Mexico LEEP program.

The New Mexico Lab-Embedded Entrepreneur Program (New Mexico LEEP) launched in January 2022 with three fellows in the program’s first cohort. The program, offered at Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides a two-year fellowship for entrepreneurs focusing on deep tech for national security.

“New Mexico LEEP presents a unique opportunity for Los Alamos National Laboratory and our community to support deep-tech innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We look forward to providing the expertise and resources needed to develop new solutions for key national security challenges.”

“Deep tech” refers to technological solutions to society’s biggest issues including chronic disease, climate change, clean energy, and food production. Deep tech is often pioneered by start-up companies with the freedom to be innovative but not the resources to take their technologies to the next level. Partnering with a national laboratory such as Los Alamos promises to change that.

The three selected New Mexico LEEP fellows are:

  • Kam Wai "Cliff" Chan, OAM Photonics, San Diego, CA: Providing photonic sensing solutions for 3D imaging with applications in autonomous driving, drones, and robotics
  • Srikanth Kodeboyina, Blue Eye Soft, Greenville, SC: Building artificial intelligence models that predict satellite anomalies due to space weather events
  • Kristina Trujillo, TNeuroPharma, Albuquerque, NM: Detecting and deterring Alzheimer’s Disease via an application of radiation health care research

A total of 35 innovators applied for the program following a national solicitation. The selection process consisted of rigorous evaluations from industry experts, investors, and scientists.

"We had an outpouring of interest and strong candidates across our four target areas — artificial intelligence and advanced computing, advanced materials, biotechnology, and space systems,” said Duncan McBranch, program director of Entrepreneurship for Mission Innovation, Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Each fellow will have access to world-class experts and resources at the Laboratory to develop a scalable commercial product that addresses pressing national security and economic competitiveness needs."

New Mexico LEEP is operated by the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, who helps the fellows relocate to northern New Mexico for two years to participate in the experience.

“LACDC is very excited for these three fellows to locate and grow their high-tech businesses in northern New Mexico,” said Lauren McDaniel, interim director. “Our goal through New Mexico LEEP is to equip the organizations to thrive in permanent New Mexico locations at the conclusion of this two-year program.”

Fellows will interact with an experienced network of mentors and business resources and participate in a curriculum tailored to support high-tech business growth.

Applications for the second New Mexico LEEP cohort are open until April 25. For more information, visit