A significant highlight of my graduate school experience has been my time spent at the Commercialization Academy. I have always sought out spaces that champion the question “why?” – schools, labs, and most recently, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV). As I progressed through my education and scientific training, I gravitated toward the intersection of business and science, an unknown and unexplored space for many Ph.D. graduates. To address this gap, JHTV’s Commercialization Academy is designed to educate and expose undergraduate, graduate, and medical students to the commercialization of discoveries, ideas, and cutting-edge advancements in medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

I started my time at JHTV as a Graduate Fellow, tasked with compiling due diligence and competitive intelligence for recently disclosed inventions. I reviewed technologies, often learning (and re-learning) scientific principles in a matter of hours. And then critically evaluated how the science and the invention, fit into existing academic, market, and patent landscapes.

“My favorite part of the experience was that it allowed me to ask questions: What makes this idea different? How does this product solve users’ problems? Who would be interested in licensing this technology? And most importantly, why does this matter?”

Although I enjoyed contributing to the commercialization strategy of technologies through evaluations, I was eager to take on new responsibilities. A year into the program, I was promoted to the role of Senior Fellow where I managed a team of seven Graduate Fellows, assigning and reviewing their respective evaluations. As a Senior Fellow, I also contributed to various JHTV projects across their Technology Development, Corporate Partnerships, and Technology Marketing teams.

“The beauty of the Commercialization Academy is the exposure it provides to new responsibilities and skills learned through experience.”

As a Senior Fellow, I also worked closely with the Corporate Partnerships team to identify, initiate, and build relationships with industry partners in the RNA therapeutics. A tenant of my scientific career, RNA has always fascinated me with its duality as a therapeutic target or a therapeutic modality. Daniel Caraviello, Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships and Tom Ng, Director of Corporate Partnerships were mentors who taught me the fundamentals of business development and allowed me to apply my expertise in molecular genetics and RNA to identify mutually beneficial opportunities for industry-University partnerships.

As a member of the Technology Marketing team, I contributed to the marketing strategy of promoting ground-breaking JHTV technologies, creative faculty members, and the JHTV brand. The team, led by Stewart Neifert, Associate Director of Technology Development, strategized how to leverage LinkedIn to digitally market technologies ready for out licensing. With a penchant for creative visuals and value propositions, I helped brainstorm scientifically relevant and persuasive visuals to highlight technologies to potential licensees. A highly collaborative team, the Technology Marketing Team allowed me to simultaneously exercise my creative eye and scientific brain, a melding of personal interests and technical skills.

My time as a CA Fellow provided me invaluable experiences across the spectrum of venture creation through direct exposure to ideation, due diligence, partnership management, marketing, and venture funding. As I conclude my time with the Commercialization Academy and reflect on my experience over the last two years, I am grateful for the lessons, insights, and relationships built within, and because of, JHTV.