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A pitch competition & symposium to empower academic women entrepreneurs



  • Pitchers must hold an academic appointment (tenured/tenure track/research) or a post-doc or graduate student position at an academic research institution as well as have a pending or issued patent or copyright.
  • Product concept no more than 5 years from IND or product launch
  • No formal incorporation required. However, if a startup has been formed, the company should not have raised more than $1M USD.
  • Ability to attend at least a single 1-hour Zoom meeting per month January — June 2024 with their mentor
  • Attendance and participation in the final pitch day: June 20, 2024
  • Technology is a STEM innovation in one of these categories:
    • MedTech
    • Therapeutics
    • Physical Sciences
    • Digital Tools


November 17, 2023
Applications Due

November-December, 2023
Application Review

Late December 2023
Pitchers Announced

January — June 2024
Pitcher/Mentor monthly 1:1 meetings, 1 hr per month minimum
Education sessions (8 to 10 in total)
Cohort meetings

April 29 or April 30, 2024
Planned in-person experiential learning day in Cambridge, MA (New for 2024!)

May-June 2024
30 minute practice sessions

June 20, 2024
Virtual pitch event

2024 Pitchers


Charlie Childs | University of Michigan

Stem cell derived human intestinal organoid

Farah Laiwalla | Brown University

Cardiac mapping system using wireless integrated microchips (AF/VT ablation)

Kalen Hall | Tulane University

Infectious disease detection and precision medicine through AI/ML-driven analytics of next-generation sequencing data

Leila Daneshmandi | University of Connecticut

Precision diagnostics for personalized cancer therapy

Rosalind Sadleir | Arizona State University

Low-cost imaging of physiology using electrical properties

Sepideh Nouri | University of California Los Angeles

Wearable technology for continuous monitoring of digital biomarkers

Shu Yang | University of Pennsylvania

Next generation skin-like tissue adhesive

Valencia Koomson | Tufts University

Wearable oximetry sensor that is insensitive to skin pigmentation (AI/ML)

Luba Perry | Harvard University

Patient-derived, Vascularized 3D Tissue Constructs for Personalized Soft Tissue Reconstructio

Lisa Lancaster | Vanderbilt University

Wearable for delivering oxygen therapy

Physical Sciences

Alyson Santoro & Melissa Omand | University of California Santa Barbara & University of Rhode Island

Biodegradable materials for use in ocean applications

Fatima Ebrahimi  | Princeton University/PPPL

Fuel efficient and power-scalable rocket engine

Mingye Xiong | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Blue energy harvesting device

Nili Persits | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chemical sensing for large scale real-world applications

Arshia Khan | University of Minnesota
Humanoid robots caring for elderly and people affected with dementia

Digital Tools

Aakriti Pandita | University of Colorado Anschutz Medial Campus

AI powered note writer for hospitalists

Elizabeth Stormshak | University of Oregon

Digital health tool to support families in promoting mental and behavioral health in children and adolescents

Bryn Loftness | University of Vermont

Digital platform to collect digital biomarkers as well as the use of predictive AI models for discovering digital signatures of childhood mental health disorders

Rasheeta Chandler | Emory University

Mobile sexual health resource that messages, markets, and provides telehealth access to women

Sarah Ostadabbas | Northeastern University

AI-powered cloud-based baby monitoring system

Shu (Joy) Jiang | Washington University in St. Louis

AI-driven histopathology annotation tool for identifying rare and complex features

Kat Schmolly | University of California Los Angeles

AI-powered point of care clinical decision support for rare and genetic disease


Ashima Shukla | Northwestern University

Novel CAR that is highly versatile and employs a modular strategy to allow targeting of multiple tumor markers

Julia van Kessel | Indiana University

Chemical therapeutics to treat bacterial infections caused by Vibrio bacteria

Julie Saba | University of California San Francisco

Gene therapy for sphingosine phosphate lyase insufficiency syndrome (SPLIS), a rare pediatric disease

Karrie Dudek | Vanderbilt University

Injectable hydrogel to promote the growth of new, large blood vessels for restoring blood flow to tissues that have experienced restricted blood supply

Katherine Croce | Columbia University

Disease-modifying therapeutic approach to combat abnormal accumulation of aggregated proteins across different neurodegenerative diseases

Rebecca Keate | Northwestern University

New molecule with powerful antioxidant activity, UV absorbing properties, and promising health capabilities

Rachel Newsome | University of Florida

Novel bacterial-derived small molecules to improve immunotherapy-mediated anti-tumor response

2023 Pitchers

MedTech Pitchers

Ping Wang
University of Pennsylvania

Christine O'Brien
Washington University in St. Louis

Christine Hendon
Columbia University

Farah Laiwalla
Brown University

Cristina Checka
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Kristy Townsend
Maine University/Ohio State University

Therapeutics Pitchers

Yu-Shan Lin
Tufts University

Virginia Cornish
Columbia University

Jitka Virag
East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine

Mojdeh Dehghan,DDS
University of Tennessee College of Dentistry

Claire Clelland

Amanda Woerman
UMass Amherst

Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy
Northwestern University

Physical Science Pitchers

Mari Winkler
University of Washington

Sakineh Chabi
University of New Mexico

Stephanie Taboada
Stony Brook University

Greeshma Gadikota
Cornell University

Deirdre O'Carroll
Rutgers University

Digital Tools Pitchers

Sharon Rogers Moore
East Carolina University

Breanna Hetland
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Pallavi Tiwari
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Rachel Tinius
Western Kentucky University

Rachel Tinius
Western Kentucky University

2022 Pitchers

MedTech Pitchers

Jennifer Blain Christen
Arizona State University

Maria Croyle
University of Texas at Austin

Mary Driscoll
Yale University

Nancy Guo
West Virginia University

Ariella Shikanov
University of Michigan

Katelyn Swindle-Reilly
The Ohio State University

Danielle Tullman-Ercek
Northwestern University

Therapeutics Pitchers

Julie Magarian Blander
Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University

Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg
Washington University in St. Louis

Ornit Chiba-Falek
Duke University

Julie Goodwin
Yale University

Sui Huang
Northwestern University

Monica Jablonski
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Barbara Osborne
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Karin Westlund High
University of New Mexico Health Science Center

2021 Pitchers

MedTech Pitchers

Guelay Bilen-Rosas
University of Wisconsin

Susann Brady-Kalnay
Case Western Reserve University

Hong Chen
Washington University in St. Louis

Anjelica Gonzalez
Yale University

Anais Rameau
Cornell University

Kyuson Yun
Houston Methodist/Cornell University

Therapeutics Pitchers

Moshmi Bhattacharya
Rutgers University

Angelique Bordey
Yale University

Ashley Brown
North Carolina State University

Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova
University of Kentucky

Ruchi Gupta
Northwestern University

Carrie Perlman
Stevens Institute of Technology

2020 (Inaugural Pitchers)

Diagnostics & Medical Devices

Reetuparna Das
University of Michigan
Startup: Sequal
Technology: Ultra-rapid molecular diagnosis of cancer

Melanie Joy
University of Colorado
Katharos, Inc.
Extracorporeal device for optimizing phosphate control in hemodialysis

Sunyoung Kim
Louisiana State UniversitySchool of Medicine & Health Sciences Center
Startup: Chosen Diagnostics Inc.
Technology: Biomarker panel to improve necrotizing enterocolitis diagnosis

Kacey Marra
University of Pittsburgh
Startup: AxoMax Technologies, Inc.
Technology: Biodegradable nerve guide

Sarah Vigmostad
The University of Iowa
Startup: SynderBio, Inc.
Technology: Novel, high-throughput cell separation techniques for single cell sequencing and cancer diagnosis

Pamela Woodard
Washington University in St. Louis
Startup: GwynTech
Technology: AtheroBrite


Alexis Demonbreun
Northwestern University
Ikaika Therapeutics
Genetic modifiers of muscle disease as therapeutic targets

Barbara Ehrlich
Yale University
Startup: Center Pharm
Technology: A new target for treatment of Wolfram Syndrome

Yiping Han
Columbia University
Technology: Novel therapeutics to treat familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Sandhya Kortagere
Drexel University
Technology: A disease modifying and neuroprotective agent to treat Parkinson’s disease

Martina Roos
University of California, Los Angeles
Startup: Sardona Therapeutics
Technology: Small molecules targeting RNA regulators in cancer stem cells

Judith Sebolt-Leopold
University of Michigan
Startup: Mekanistic Therapeutics
Technology: A first-in-class therapeutic targeting deregulation of EGFR and PI3K