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Home News Media Coverage: Supporting Early Stage Life Science Startups Engineering Biology to Drive Radical Advances in Human Health

Media Coverage: Supporting Early Stage Life Science Startups Engineering Biology to Drive Radical Advances in Human Health

By Alix Ventures

BIOSNucleus of Life Science Innovation


Behind every transformative technology is a team of brilliant scientists and researchers. Academic research in particular is a driving force for technological innovation. Here, we have identified a ‘Midas List’ of researchers who have pioneered highly transformative technologies that have translated to the clinic. Using venture backed startups as a primary guide along with other impact metrics such as patents, citations, and thought leadership, the following professors have demonstrated patient impact, providing significant contributions to the startup ecosystem.

Duke University is ranked among the top universities in the United States and in the world by major publications. With the university’s vast network of researchers and resources, faculty year over year have been able to deliver important advancements in discovery, invention, and translation, leading to 13 new companies this past year alone. Duke spends more than $1 Billion per year on research, making it one of the ten largest research universities in the United States. More than a dozen faculty regularly appear on annual lists of the world’s most-cited researchers. As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alumni also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton and Harvard), and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. As an example of the amazing work that this university is producing, we would like to highlight ten professors leading life science entrepreneurship efforts at Duke, both in innovation and strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the school.

We asked Ashutosh Chilkoti for comment on how Duke University fosters an entrepreneurial environment & what entrepreneurship means to him:

“As Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke, I have been deeply committed to empowering our faculty and students to be entrepreneurial. I created an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program within the department, and we have had several EIRs in residence who have helped launch faculty and student-led startups. I also created the Entrepreneurial Post-doctoral fellowship program for select PhD graduates to turn their PhD research into a start-up, and also created a Bioengineering focused incubator —BRiDGE— to provide the physical infrastructure for these startups.”

—Ashutosh Chilkoti

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