Summer Internship Panel #1: Biomedical Ventures

As part of its Summer Internship Program, the Skandalaris Center is hosting six panel discussions with St. Louis area startups who are hosting students as part of the program. These panel discussions are open to the public. Each week we will recap the panels and share important insights from the local ventures. 

On June 5, the Skandalaris Center hosted representatives from biomedical ventures who are hosting students as part of the internship program. The panel was moderated by Jake Eshelman (EN, Biomedical Engineering ’20), a summer intern at Illumino and featured the following panelists:

  • J.R. Johnson, Project Leader at MediBeacon, a company focused on commercializing biocompatible optical diagnostic agents for physiological monitoring, surgical guidance, and imaging of pathological disease in the human population.
  • Trent Moeller, Founder and CEO of Posture Solutions, creator of Smart Posture, an app focused on improving the posture of smart phone users.
  • Dr. Nancy Tye-Murray (Professor of Otolaryngology), Founder and CEO of clEAR, an auditory braining training program that allows users to train with the speech of someone important to them.
  • Shaker Sadasivam (MBA ’99), Founder and CEO of Auragent Bioscience, a company focused on developing novel technologies for transforming biodetection.
  • Dr. Tiezhi Zhang (Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology), Founder of Tetralimaging, a company developing novel x-ray imaging technologies for image-guided radiotherapy.

The panel explored various topics related to having a biomedical startup. The conversation included many questions specific to research and biomedical funding. Dr. Zhang and Mr. Sadasivam shared advice for transitioning from research to business and Dr. Tye-Murray explained the difficult and rewarding process of applying for the SBIR program.

The panelists also shared why they decided to do business in St. Louis. Many of who agreed with Mr. Johnson when he said that St. Louis “has a good culture that fosters early business”. The culture, according to Johnson, includes the fact St. Louis has low costs of living and doing business,  is centrally located, has a strong meeting of industry and education. Dr. Zhang added that WashU’s Office of Technology Management and experience handling IP are a huge asset to the city. Dr. Tye-Murray cited the vibrancy of the city’s startup community and various resources a reason for doing business in St. Louis.

When asked how to commit to a project and a day job without sacrificing either the panelists joked about sacrificing sleep and agreed with Mr. Moeller when he discussed the  importance of having a strong team and a strong belief in the work you are doing.

In addition to the insights above the panelists also shared tips for leading a strong team and identifying mentors.  The session ended with the panelists sharing their favorite things to do in St. Louis over the summer which included visiting the zoo, going to baseball games, exploring Forest park and spending time with their family.

Following the panel attendees and panelists were invited to join the Center for a networking reception.

To find the next Summer Internship panel visit skandalaris.wustl.edu/events/.

To learn more about the Summer Internship host ventures and students read our blog about this year’s program.