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The UMass Life Science Solutions Team

  • Ankit Bhatta

    Ankit Bhatta

    Academic Role: Ph.D. Candidate

    ULiSiS Co-founder and Board Member

    I am trained as a molecular biologist, virologist and an immunobiologist currently studying innate immunology in Kate Fitzgerald’s lab at UMass Medical School. The primary goal of my projects have been to uncover mammalian immunological response against pathogens and their immunogenic products that affect human health. At present, I wonder how the industry side of biology brings the needed medical and pharmaceutical products to the masses. As research scientists, our understanding of the increasingly mainstream biotech industry is pretty limited. Therefore, my colleagues and I have founded ULiSiS to educate ourselves and others about many industry-related problems, including scientific, managerial and financial. I imagine these endeavors of ULiSiS will prepare us to become solution finders and independent industry leaders of tomorrow.

  • Io Long (Welles) Chan

    Io Long (Welles) Chan

    Academic Role: Ph.D. Candidate

    ULiSiS President, Co-founder, Board Member

    I am a graduate student in Oliver Rando’s lab with a strong interest in genetics and genome evolution. My current work focuses on using C. elegans as a model to study how local genetic architecture influences gene expression during development.

    At UMass Medical School, career development courses covering wide range of career paths are integrated into regular curriculum to encourage every PhD student to plan ahead for their career. Even with this program, typical discussions on career choices remain focused on two topics - research in academia or research in industry - but what about other career paths? At the beginning of my fourth year, I joined the career pathway community on business and commercial development of science and was immediately intrigued about how our training as a scientist can be applied to solve business problems in the life science industry. Following this interest, Ankit, Kyle, Mike, Alex and myself started the UMass Life Science Solutions (ULiSiS) aiming to establish a local education and discussion platform for trainees interested in a career in business consulting and development.

  • Kyle Foster

    Kyle Foster

    Academic Role: Ph.D. Candidate

    ULiSiS Co-founder, Board Member, Website Editor

    I am a molecular biologist and innate immunologist, focusing primarily on intestinal epithelial immunity. I attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. While attending WPI, I worked at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the lab of Dr. Jeremy Luban where I worked on defining entry requirements of phenotypically diverse HIV-1 isolates.Upon graduating from WPI, I was accepted to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where I joined the lab of Dr. Read Pukkila-Worley. My thesis project focuses on using a C. elegans model to elucidate novel regulatory mechanisms that exist to coordinate the induction of immune defenses at epithelial surfaces. As core elements of innate immune signaling are well conserved between nematodes and humans, our hope is to utilize this simple organism to gain a better understanding of how mammalian innate immune pathways are activated and regulated. Currently, I am exploring how sensory neurons can respond to pathogen virulence factors and elicit appropriate protective host responses within the intestinal epithelium. After the completion of my Ph.D., I hope to pursue a career as a life science industry consultant or science policy advocate

  • Mike Jones

    Mike Jones

    Academic Role: Ph.D. Candidate

    ULiSiS Co-founder and Board Member

    I am currently a graduate student in the Swain Lab, where we study CD4 T cell memory in the context of Influenza infection.  I hold a Molecular Biology B.A. and Economics minor from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. I enjoy working with numbers, and have an interest in efficiency, whether that is in regards to improving experimental outcomes in the lab, or thinking more broadly about how a company can pursue various disease indications.  After the completion of my Ph.D., I plan to pursue a career that focuses on bringing life-saving treatments to market as quickly and safely as possible in order to improve patient outcomes. In my free time I enjoy exploring the outdoors in New England, from skiing and hiking in the mountains, to boating and fishing on the coast.

  • Alexander Park

    Alexander Park

    Academic Role: GSBS Student

    ULiSiS Co-founder and Board Member

    I am a first year graduate student, focusing on bioinformatics. My goal in this organization is to apply my knowledge in data science and economics to analyze the biopharmaceutical market.

    Academics: I graduated from Boston College with a major in Biochemistry and minor in Economics. Since then, I did wet-lab research at Korostelev Lab and Zamore Lab before matriculating to UMass Medical School GSBS.