Two UIC researchers receive fellowships from Chicago Biomedical Consortium
Two researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago have been named to the inaugural class of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium Entrepreneurial Fellows program. The program aims to inspire, identify and coach an inclusive cohort of the next generation of Chicago’s bio-entrepreneurs to commercialize promising scientific discoveries.
Amanda Maldonado, a PhD candidate in medical chemistry, and Karol Sokolowski, a PharmD/PhD candidate in biopharmaceutical sciences, will be part of the inaugural class.
The cohort will be trained to navigate the complex and interconnected research ecosystems in Chicago, which include three R1 universities, two national labs and nearly a half-billion dollars in biotechnology venture funding in 2021. Each researcher will receive a full-time, paid fellowship and will be guided by venture capitalists, biotech executives, strategic business development professionals and senior scientists to experientially learn to advance commercially promising research projects sourced from the three-member universities — UIC, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. The best of these projects will receive up to $250,000 from the consortium to advance science.
Each of the 2022 fellows was selected to be part of an intellectually and demographically diverse team, where each member shares the mission of building Chicago’s biotech hub and turning life sciences research into biomedical applications.
Maldonado plans to use her fellowship training to expand the commercialization of treatments for women’s reproductive diseases. Maldonado has completed a thesis in the lab of Joanna Burdette, professor and associate dean for research and graduate education in the UIC College of Pharmacy. She also is the recipient of an NIH grant and is on the executive board of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Graduate Chapter.
Sokolowski plans to contribute to Chicago’s biotech ecosystem, as well as support science students in the Chicago Public Schools, where he was educated before attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Sokolowski completed his thesis in the lab of Richard Gemeinhart, professor and associate vice chancellor for research at UIC, where he investigated a hydrogel delivery system capable of personalized, flexible antibiotic delivery for the treatment of bacterial skin and soft tissue infections.
“The opportunity to serve as a CBC Entrepreneurial Fellow provides me with an avenue to develop novel therapeutic technologies capable of addressing current gaps in patient care. I am excited to learn from biotech leaders in academia and industry while working alongside my co-fellows to advance biomedical innovation within Chicago,” Sokolowski said.
This inaugural cohort also includes Elan Ness-Cohn, who has conducted extensive wet lab work as an undergraduate at MIT and identified genes that are under circadian control; and Schnaude Dorizan, a neuroscientist from Northwestern who is using new methods to measure how animals perceive their environment, learn and remember.
“We’ll see new life sciences startups come to life through this collaboration and mentorship among the CBC Entrepreneurial Fellows, professors at Chicago’s tier-one research institutions, and young scientists researching and developing new biotechnologies in the lab,” said Brad Henderson, CEO of P33, whose organization is partnering with Chicago Biomedical Consortium to develop the program.
About the Chicago Biomedical Consortium
The mission of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium is to stimulate collaboration among scientists at Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Chicago and others to accelerate discovery that will transform biomedical research and improve the health of humankind.