This story by Lauren Woods, Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine, originally appeared on UConn Today August 21, 2018.
UConn School of Medicine and Canaan Partners, a multi-billion-dollar venture capital healthcare and technology firm of Westport, CT, have launched a new fellowship program for UConn Health’s medical and graduate students.
The UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program, which launched this summer, is now educating select UConn students pursuing M.D., Ph.D., or M.D./Ph.D. degrees with entrepreneurship skills and fostering real-world, hands-on venture capital work project experiences.
Fellows of the program are gaining knowledge of healthcare business concepts while training to think more like venture capitalists. Their teachers are Tim Shannon, M.D., a general partner at Canaan and graduate of UConn School of Medicine’s Class of 1985, and Colleen Cuffaro, Ph.D., a principal of Canaan Partners who is a member of the advisory board for UConn’s cutting-edge Technology Incubation Program (TIP).
“We are very excited for the exceptional hands-on learning experience opportunities Canaan Partners is providing our UConn students,” says Blanka Rogina, Ph.D., committee chair of the UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program at UConn School of Medicine. “The new fellowship program is showing our students how venture capitalism and entrepreneurship can have a big impact bridging across biotech, science, and medicine.”
“We are teaching the UConn students, but they are also teaching us about the latest they are learning at UConn in medicine and bioscience,” says Shannon. “The UConn medical school fellows we have met are all fantastic. They are indeed the next generation of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in healthcare.”
The fellowship program is helping take the mystery out of the venture capital world for students and enlightening them about future career opportunities whether they stay in academia, medicine or scientific research or decide to move into the business community.
“The new fellowship program covers what I wish I had the opportunity to learn more about when I was pursuing my Ph.D.,” shared Cuffaro. “We are enjoying giving back and helping guide the next generation of healthcare providers and entrepreneurs.”
The program’s inaugural fellows have enjoyed the new exciting, educational experience.
Third-year UConn medical student, Gerard Kerins of Madison, found the fellowship program really valuable. “It has really blended together everything I know about medicine and entrepreneurship. The pace of medicine is picking up so quickly including how bioscience and venture capitalism is facilitating changes in how diseases are now treated.”
“This fellowship experience has been very cool. In medical school you don’t always get exposed to the business side of things. This was a good opportunity that can strengthen me as a physician in the healthcare landscape,” shared Christian Gronbeck, second-year medical student at UConn originally from Simsbury.
Mitali Adlakha, a graduate student at UConn Health shared: “This fellowship is the perfect kind of opportunity. The experience is really valuable and I hope I can apply what I learned in the near future.”
“This fellowship has taught me about venture capital biotech, what’s important, how good your idea may be, and how different firms can help you bring your idea to fruition,” said Scott Adamson, a Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences at UConn Health.
Patrick McMullan, a M.D./Ph.D. student at UConn who worked previously at biotech startup and medical device companies, added: “In this program I learned about the big picture of venture capitalism and how to move full circle your big idea to entrepreneurship. The experience has definitely been valuable and fantastic.”