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Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals: A Professional Development Course

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The 2024 applications are now open. Apply today!

Are you curious about the role of entrepreneurship in moving science forward into medical innovation, but do not know where to start? Learn essential elements of academic entrepreneurship and work with tools and skills that can be applied to other potential entrepreneurial uses and to general research in the future. This course is designed to be offered to all CHOP faculty, staff, and personnel, including trainees.

Frequently Asked Questions

The CHOP Innovation Ecosystem defines academic entrepreneurship as “the intentional focus on translating science and technology developed in academic settings into health impact via commercialization routes.” Academic entrepreneurs perform many activities from within an academic setting and often with others' ideas (i.e., most academic entrepreneurs are not hoping to become CEOs of new companies).

This course is designed for anyone interested in using entrepreneurship to make medical innovations accessible to patients. All CHOP faculty, staff, and personnel, including trainees, are welcome to apply! No previous entrepreneurship experience is required.

Seven weekly, 3-hour, in-person skill-building sessions, with mentorship/coaching from current academic entrepreneurs and industry experts. Snacks provided each week.

2024 Course Topics (Tentative)

Date Session
10/9 Course Introduction & Key Considerations: Communication, Costs, & Common Pitfalls
10/16 Defining/Refining the Problem: Customer Discovery & Articulating a Problem Statement
10/23 Early Solutioning: Market Research & Prototyping
10/30 Regulatory Considerations: Internal & External Bodies & Common Challenges

Legal Basics: Intellectual Property, Conflict of Interest, & Working with Office of Technology Transfer

11/13 De-Risking Business Plans & Team Members
11/20 Presentations & Course Wrap Up


October 9th - November 20th, Wednesdays 1:00-4:00 pm.

All classes are in person on CHOP Main Campus.

  • Value to participants: Completion of this course will increase your knowledge and confidence with academic entrepreneurship, highlighting skills, processes, and resources that you need to be successful on this path. It will also provide a chance to network with academic entrepreneurs and those providing them with support both within and outside of CHOP.
  • Value to research supervisors or clinical program directors: Completion of this course by a member of your staff may accelerate the translation of work underway in your program.
  • Value to mentors: Completion of this course may provide your mentee with critical answers and direction that may lie outside your own expertise.

Applications for the Fall 2024 session are open as of April 3, 2024. Admission is rolling and space is limited! Stay tuned for announcements regarding future course sessions!


Course Overview

During this course, students will learn essential elements of academic entrepreneurship. They will be exposed to the general process of academic entrepreneurship and will work with tools and skills that can be applied to potential entrepreneurial uses and to general research in the future. Participants will engage in self-reflective exercises and be exposed to potential future collaborators and mentors in academic entrepreneurship, gaining insights about themselves and their own potential interest in being an academic entrepreneur. CHOP and Penn resources will be highlighted throughout the course to guide participants on their entrepreneurial journeys.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize common pitfalls, costs, and business terminology associated with pediatric healthcare innovations.
  • Describe at least one framework for evaluating perceived problems and potential solutions in pediatric healthcare.
  • Explain a value proposition from the lens of multiple stakeholders.
  • Define key elements of effective communication to gain support for proposed ideas at various stages of development (e.g., pitching).
  • Identify key funding considerations and resources for financing pediatric healthcare projects, beyond traditional academic funding structures (e.g., federal research grants).
  • List major technical and business milestones and risks related to pediatric healthcare solutions, specifically related to pediatric medical devices.
  • Identify and evaluate skills necessary to be an academic entrepreneur (in themselves and others).
  • Summarize resources available for future exploration of academic entrepreneurship pathways (e.g., networking/mentoring, accelerators/hubs, educational opportunities).

2024 Course Faculty

Faculty for the 2024 cohort will be added soon!

2023 Course Faculty

Below are the faculty members who participated in the Fall 2023 course, listed alphabetically:

Emily Blum, MD; Pediatric Urologist; Medical Affairs Liaison, Global Center for Medical Innovations

Rachel Bushey, JD; Partner, Co-Chair, Goodwin Law, Philadelphia Office

Charles-André Brouwers, MBA; Co-Founder Galileo Life Sciences

Alice Choi, JD; Associate Goodwin Law

Daria Ferro, MD; Attending Physician General Pediatrics CHOP; Clinical Advisor to Phrase Health

Nalaka Gooneratne, MD; Director, UPenn Masters in Translational Research - Entrepreneurial Science Track; NIH STTR recipient

Dana M Hammill MS, MBA; CEO Head of Manufacturing/CMC at the Gene and Cell Therapy Institute, Mass General Brigham; Former Director of Strategy and Business Development Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine

Sharon Irving, PhD, MSN, CRNP; Vice-Chair in the Department of Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania Nursing

Marty Jacobson, CSWE; Medical Device Engineering Project Manager, Global Center for Medical Innovations

Mark Kessel; Cofounder and Former CEO Symphony Capital

Robert Masella, JD; Partner Goodwin Law, Life Sciences group

Natalie Napolitano, MPH, RRT-NPS, FAARC; Research Clinical Specialist, Respiratory Therapist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Sherri Oberg, MBA; Co-Founder of Particles for Humanity – funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Jiah Pearson-Leary, PhD; Chief Executive Officer, Spire Advisors; Senior Analyst, inThought Research

Vasum Peiris, MD, MPH, FAAP FACC, FASE; Chief Medical Officer for Pediatrics and Special Populations, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health

Katie Reuther, PhD, MBA; Executive Director, Penn Health Tech

Jen Rodi Hoglin, MBA; President, Kithaka Consulting

Daniel Scolnick, PhD, JD; Partner, Goodwin Law

Evonne Sepsis, MBA; Founder ESC Advisors

Stanley Stachelek, PhD; Research Associate Professor, PerelmanSOM; Co-Investigator, PennsylvaniaPediatric Medical Device Consortium

Jason Van Batavia, MD, MSTR; Attending Pediatric Urologist CHOP; Co-creator UroGenie

Tiffany Wilson, MBA; President & CEO, University City Science Center

Flaura Winston MD, PhD; Co-Founder, Diagnostic Driving, Inc.; National Medical and Science Advisor, Toyota Way Forward Fund


Course Graduates

Congratulations to our first cohort of participants, who completed the fall 2023 session of Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals: A Professional Development Course! The cohort represented a mix of disciplines and areas from across CHOP that provided for rich discussion and learning.

Fall 2023 Course Graduates and Faculty

Fall 2023 Course Graduates and Faculty

Dept. of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

  • Sanjiv Mehta, MD, MBE, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine
  • Katie Weeks, Biotechnical Research Engineer

Biomedical and Health Informatics

Frontier Program

  • Olivia Cashan, Program Manager
  • Richard Panak, BSMT, CSSGB, Project Manager

Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

  • Huajun Bai, PhD, Res. Post Doc Fellow

Dept. of Pediatrics

Dept. of Radiology

Dept. of Surgery